The Dangers of Thinking and Diving

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“The ocean is a beautiful world

which we can’t possess

but that we’re lucky enough

to borrow on occasion.”

- anonymous

 

Whenever I meet someone for the first time, I’ll invariably divulge two things in the course of conversation.  One is that I’ve been a scuba diver for 8 years and I LOVE IT.

The second is that being a scuba diver makes me extremely uncomfortable when I think about it.

I, who have always been a poster child for claustrophobia, motion sickness and slimy creature freak-outs, am now so invested in diving I’ll lug 50 pounds of equipment across the planet if there’s a reef involved.

And yet, my brain persists in saying, “No. Don’t do that.”

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Should I stay, or should I go now?

It usually hits me when I step onto a dive boat.  There’s always a checklist in my mind of bad, bad and more BAD, and there I am readying gear and chatting with the other divers while drowning out my rapid fire reasoning for staying on the boat.

My most recent break with reality occurred mere weeks before our once in a lifetime dive trip to Wakatobi, Indonesia – the spectacular details of which will be blogged about soon…  

If you can believe it, I actually got angry about having to GO there.

So blatant were the dire consequences of Indonesian diving that I totally skipped over the usual high probability of a plane crash (8 total flights including a prop) and went straight to my own tragic version of “diver down”:

  • What if my air tank explodes?
  • Will I get dizzy during a dive?
  • Is there a big green thing residing in the coral that wants to make a meal out of me?
  • Will I succumb at depth because I decide not to shave my armpits one morning?

Certified divers are trained for emergent situations.  We’re taught, “never hold your breath” and “problems at depth must be solved at depth”  and “don’t wear that diveskin – you’ll frighten all the fish away.”

Because I’ve completed training of the highest nonprofessional level, and I dive conservatively, I maintain faith that my chances of having a catastrophic event are greatly minimized.  I leave myself very few gray areas to challenge this.  I dive with a buddy, safety check all my gear, plan the dive and dive the plan, and make sure my armpits are free of strays.  I also tend to stay off the reef but in close proximity to my buddy while checking my depth gauge and air supply to the point of being Rain Man.

I also don’t shake a finger, stick, or camera at the marine life.  However, because my primary dive buddy likes to take underwater macro pictures, it is my duty to keep my buddy in my sight at all times even if he has absolutely NO idea where I AM.  I also furiously ponder all possible rescue scenarios when that octopus yanks off his mask and chomps through his air hose.***  After which, of course, I shall succumb at depth due to a septic combination of traumatic shock and unshaved legs.

*** Disclaimer: Octopi typically don’t grab or chomp on anything.  Unless you really do poke it with a stick, a startled octopus will more likely shy away or ink the water.  An inking octopus really does looks like a Sharpie exploding underwater.  Or rather, a Sharpie with eight tentacles exploding underwater. 

By most definitions, I’m a safe diver… possibly a boring diver.  This isn’t to say that a safe, boring diver is immune to danger.  Underlying medical conditions and equipment malfunctions can pop up at anytime – and trust me, I will consider all of these just in the few seconds it takes to defog my mask.

And now I’ve just read that scuba should be considered an extreme sport for anyone over 50.  This both concerns and perplexes me.  I never had a taste for base jumping or formula one racing, so I find it wildly odd that as I close in on 50, I’m about to be truly engaging in dangerous activity. Living on the edge, if you will.

So, where is my BRAIN in all of this?

Oh, it’s freaking out.

It’s also dwelling on how edgy my life already is.  Midlife has its own edge which I’m trying to skirt the best way I know how.  

Age is much like gravity.  The bigger the number, the more grounded one is expected to be.  The youngsters look on 50 as devoid of movement and extreme flights of fancy.  Diving defies that.

I’m a diver – an almost 50 year old diver.

A mermaid….

And that’s pretty damn cool.

So what I will do is breathe out, dip under the waves and open my eyes to a world without age or gravity.  I’ll continue to poke a stick at fear until it inks me and swims away.  

I’m going to remember that one morning in Indonesia when I broke through the surface of an azure sea, sank 40 feet into the cradling arms of a coral wonderland and floated effortlessly above a cuttlefish displaying his various shades of crimson to a group of gawking divers

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Cuttlefish on display – Wakatobi, Indonesia
Copyright 2014 www.midlifealamode.com

I will remember how I caught myself in that amazement and realized that my thinking about diving could not compare to the dive itself.

And that is what I hope to impress upon anyone who has given diving a bit of thought, only to run away like a child shown to the dentist’s chair.

Don’t think.  Just dive.

Oh, and that quote at the top of this page?  It’s not really anonymous.  

My husband wrote that…

…just after the octopus let go of his mask.

 

 

POSHible or NOT? HERE’S the LIST…

Hey, Poshers!  Good news! You can now SUBSCRIBE to receive blog news, including updates to this Posh list.  Subscribing is FREE and your email will NOT be shared or sold to any third party.

Note that this list is current as of 12/10/14, but I ALWAYS suggest you refer DIRECTLY to the Poshmark site for further information and to pose inquiries not covered here.   As Poshmark updates/changes their list, so will I.  It only works if we’re all speaking the same language….

So, let’s get the bad out of the way…shall we?

 

“ITEMS NOT ALLOWED ON POSHMARK”

aka “MISSION IMPOSHIBLES”

aka “THE DARK FORCES ALIGNING AGAINST MAKING

YOUR CLOSET HOST PICK-WORTHY

NO FAKE DESIGNER ITEMS – Including but not limited to FAKE HANDBAGS, FAKE CLOTHING, FAKE JEWELRY, FAKE SHOES

For a detailed explanation of FAKE, INSPIRED, etc. please click HERE and scroll down to the middle of the article.  Don’t plead “I didn’t know” and list something that you aren’t sure of.  Be aware that it’s a FEDERAL OFFENSE TO SELL OR BUY FAKE MERCHANDISE.

NO BOY’S or MEN’S CLOTHING/ACCESSORIES

NO INFANT/CHILDREN’S CLOTHING 

NO PET CLOTHING or ACCESSORIES  

NO CHILDREN’s TOYS or GAMES

NO PERFUME, NAIL POLISH or AEROSOLS

NO LIQUIDS OTHER THAN LIP GLOSS & MASCARA

The NO Liquids rule is straight from Poshmark HQ.  Even if USPS allows it, POSHMARK DOES NOT.  

NO MAKEUP FOUNDATION OR CONCEALER (even if they are new).  

NO HEALTH AND WELLNESS PRODUCTS

Please, NO wraps that flatten your tummy in 20 days or diet pills or supplements of any kind.  No herbal products, incense, or aromatherapy oils.   You CANNOT Posh contact lenses, vitamins, sunscreen, toothpaste, shampoo, hair gels, body washes, lotions/creams of any kind, combs, brushes, cotton swabs, manicure kits, first aid kits, hair coloring kits or pregnancy testing kits.  NO feminine hygiene products.  (yes, I know you technically “wear” those but NO…)

NO ELECTRONICS

No iPhones, Droids, or any other smartphones or cellphones.  NO Xbox, Playstation, Wii, handheld gaming devices, CPUs, monitors, keyboards, iPads, tablets, Kindles, Nooks or laptop computers.  No stereos, calculators, lamps, toasters, heating pads, lava lamps, alarm clocks, or refrigerators.  No musical instruments.  No flashlights or lightbulbs.  No earbuds, speakers or electronic chargers.  No curling irons, hairdryers, hair straighteners, electric razors, breast pumps, or electronic toothbrushes, or “sensual” items.  If you can plug it into the wall or put batteries into it, it belongs ON ANOTHER SITE.

NO BOOKS, HOME GOODS or HOME DECOR

You can’t Posh books, posters, stationary, CDs/DVDs/Blu-rays, videos, video games, bedsheets, blankets, pillows, wall decor, towels, picture frames, rugs, photo albums, journals, styluses, notebooks, address books, password books, candles, figurines, furniture, indoor fountains, “Bedazzlers”, Christmas trees and Christmas decorations.  NO Victoria’s Secret stuffed DOGS.  No jewelry trees, big hanging jewelry organizers, or standing jewelry boxes. (NOTE that  jewelry bags that go in your handbag or luggage ARE acceptable).  No standing shoe holders, no clothing storage bags (the ones you vacuum until you’ve sucked all the air out of the item AND the universe), and no standing makeup containers (eg. acrylic holders).  Below you will read that makeup bags which are portable (for your handbag or luggage) ARE acceptable.

NO KITCHEN UTENSILS or FOOD ITEMS

NO TO THE FOLLOWING as well…

NO cars!  No car parts! No houses! No items found in hubby’s garage. No RVs, pop up trailers or horse trailers.  No bicycles or skateboards. No sporting equipment (weights, exercise bands, water bottles, skis, basketballs, frisbees, hula hoops, pool tables, jock straps, etc.)  No horses or livestock.  No puppies or kittens or baby ducks. If it has a heartbeat, it certainly doesn’t need to be Poshed and then placed in a Priority Mail box.  That’s a whole new kind of WRONG…

No tobacco products or smoking paraphernalia. This includes anything that might be whipped out in celebration of 4/20.  No drugs or alcohol-containing products of any kind (i.e. NO ALCOHOL, rubbing or otherwise, NO BEER and NO WINE)   When we say “Posh Party” we don’t mean THAT kind of party.

No guns, knives, ammunition, hand grenades, tanks or surface to air missiles.  If it’s something that might have been exchanged for hostages in the 1980’s, it’s NOT ALLOWED.

Remember

MAKE POSH LOVE, NOT POSH WAR.

And now, the good stuff…

INTRODUCING:

“THE POSHIBLES”

aka “WHAT YOU CAN SELL ON POSHMARK”

aka “HELLOOOO, HOST PICK!”

LADIES CLOTHING

This includes ALL ladies’ clothing in sizes Petite, Misses, Womens, Maternity and Plus.

UNISEX CLOTHING

This includes items that could be considered wearable by a woman (who will make it look 10x better, by the way).  Remember that you can call anything “unisex” if you have a cross dresser in the house…so tread lightly.  And yes, there are numerous fashionistas who love going “Annie Hall” with their wardrobe, wearing men’s ties, belts, trousers, shirts, and shoes.  These are Poshible if suitably accommodating to the female form (i.e. altered or manufactured that way).  Again, tread lightly and ask first if you aren’t sure.

Unisex also encompasses sports jerseys and tee shirts, hats, workout clothing and certain jewelry items.

Just be forewarned – the red flag WILL go up on that pair of mens size 22 Nikes…if it was purchased in the MEN’s Department and has MEN’s sizing, it is NOT ALLOWED.

JUNIOR (TEEN GIRLS) CLOTHING

There are many Poshers who are under the age of 18 or who need similar sizing that junior fashion provides them. Bring on the ODD numbers and make sure you designate TEEN in the title and size!

LADIES NIGHTWEAR

This is basically bathrobes, pajamas, nightgowns, nightshirts and camisoles.  That said, you need to be aware of the style of your item.  If it fits the body in similar fashion to panties or a bra (i.e teddies and intimate apparel), you can ONLY list those that are NWT.

NWT LADIES UNDERGARMENTS

You can ONLY sell bras (sports bras), panties, pantyhose, tights and Spanx if they are BRAND NEW.  Make sure all of these have tags attached or are NEW in the box.  Used leggings are allowed as they are not considered undergarments (though some of them fit so tightly they’ll likely vote in the 2016 election)

NWT LADIES SWIMSUITS

That little panty shield “wannabe” (the sanitary strip) should be attached along with the hang tags.  Don’t list a bikini top if you wore it once – that’s considered USED!!!

 A NOTE ABOUT NWOT SWIMSUITS (ya still have to show those tags):

It IS acceptable to sell a swimsuit if it’s new but the tags are detached and in your possession.  If your swimsuit is brand new but you removed those tags in a fit of excitement and STILL HAVE THEM, you can list it NWOT (make sure it’s spelled out).  It only fits the guidelines for NWT items as LONG as you HAVE NOT worn it and the sanitary strip is in place.  Make sure you provide photographic evidence of both tags and sanitary strip or else Posh will have no choice but to yank the listing.  

FORMAL WEAR

LADIES SHOES

LADIES ACCESSORIES WORN ON THE BODY

These include new and used scarves, mittens and gloves, socks, watches, belts, aprons, sunglasses, reader glasses, and frames suitable for lenses. Yes, you can also sell garter belts and garters.

LADIES ACCESSORIES WORN ON THE HEAD

These include hats, fascinators, beanies, headbands, wedding veils and that halo you earned from stopping at crosswalks.  If you have an item that “grasps” the hair tightly – such as scrunchies, rubber bands, and barrettes – they should be NWT (for sanitary reasons).

LADIES JEWELRY & LOOSE GEMSTONES

The store boxes/pouches that your jewelry originally came in are also allowed, as well as the shopping bags that held those boxes (eg. Tiffany, David Yurman, Chanel, J. Crew, Charming Charlie, etc.)

LADIES HANDBAGS

This includes clutch bags, wallets, checkbook covers, coin purses and waist/fanny/belt bags. If you carry it to accessorize your look, it’s definitely allowed!

SMARTPHONE COVERS/TABLET COVERS/ KEYCHAINS/UMBRELLAS/PASSPORT COVERS

Again, this falls under the “accessorizes and is portable” category.  Just like you accessorize 20 pounds of junk with a cool handbag, so you can accessorize your phone, iPad and Nissan remote key fob with all the fashionable panache you usually save for yourself.  Be mindful that certain phone/pad/tablet accessories are still NOT ALLOWED and these include stylus pens and those holders that keep your pad upright while you work.  Detachable keyboards are NOT ALLOWED.

LUGGAGE & other BAGS/CONTAINERS

Totes, diaper bags, carryon bags, shopping bags, handbag dust bags, shoe dust bags, fabric lunch boxes and all manner of luggage are allowed.  Keep in mind your 5lb. POSHPOST label must be increased in weight (and in price to you, as the seller) if you choose to ship a heavy piece.

Yes, you are allowed to sell travel containers used to transport makeup and jewelry (jewelry rolls, pouches).  Also acceptable are mirrored purse compacts, lipstick holders, and contact lens cases (keep in mind that the lenses are not allowed).

CRAFTED/HOMEMADE FASHION & ACCESSORIES

If you construct an item and make it wearable (or an accessory), it’s definitely allowed.  There are numerous Poshers who are building their own brand of clothing, jewelry, handbags and more.  Many are selling exclusively on Poshmark, thus giving you the advantage of buying items that are both UNIQUE and HTF!

LADIES HALLOWEEN COSTUMES

MAKEUP THAT IS NEW AND SEALED ONLY

Makeup is very popular on Poshmark but it must be NEW AND SEALED before it can be listed.

NOTE, if you open a makeup item to show the shade or test the color for your listing, it is no longer new and you CANNOT sell it.    RESIST THE URGE. DON’T OPEN IT.  If your seller is asking for the shade on a face, look for a stock photo online from the cosmetic manufacturer.  Again, ALL factory seals MUST be intact and the item should be in the original box or packaging.  The condition of your makeup should be the same as if you purchased it from a department store counter.

YES, you CAN sell the following items: eyeshadow, blush, dry foundation, dry finishing powder, eyeliner, eye pencils, lipstick, lip pencils, lip gloss, mascara, concealer, pressed powder and powdered bronzers remembering that they must be FACTORY SEALED and in those original boxes.

YES, you can also sell false eyelashes and attachable nail appliqués (NO LIQUID NAIL POLISH) if they are NWT and factory sealed.

:) :) :) :) :) :)

CHEERS!

CLICK HERE for my original POSH article that led to this list being created

 

 

Carryon My A-Wayward One

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Fashionistas pay attention. I’m about to make a startling announcement.

I did something quite amazing, and I couldn’t be more proud.

Are you ready?  Here goes…

I traveled in Europe for 3 weeks in only a carryon!  

And I’m NOT a guy!

I knowwwww.  Scary, right?

I always thought this kind of thing was impossible – like unicorns that fart rainbows, or breakfast cereals that don’t contain sugar.

Let’s be clear:  I did this on a dare and it was no easy task.  Converting to the idea was really quite brutal.  No woman in her right mind hands over her American Tourister without wailing and tearing a few clothes in the process.

But I had to admit, our travel plans consisted of far too many opportunities to crash and burn while commandeering anything bigger than a backpack.  We visited 6 countries in 20 days. That’s 6 different airports, 4 different train stations, and 6 different hotels. There were also the requisite taxis, subways, buses and that day when we walked 2 km across London to a rental flat – only to be met by 3 flights of stairs.

(I’m sorry.  That’s not “flat” at all.)

With such a large chunk of the continent laid out before us, it was clear that my luggage HAD to be small.  After all, anything larger than 22″ usually comes with wheels…

and wheels are where the nightmares really begin….

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Getting Stoned & Sizing It Up:

Europe On a Big Wheel

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Look, kids. It’s a deadly nest of COBBLESTONES

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I hit the “motherlode” with this fabulous convertible backpack available from ebags.com (click the pic for more deets)

Overpacked tourists arriving in Germany are in for a real treat the minute they haul their wheeled steamer off the baggage carousel at the airport.

They don’t know it yet, but the bane of their European vacay waits just outside the turnstile door — in the form of this thing called a cobblestone.  

One cobblestone isn’t bad – it’s like a lone jellyfish swimming past you in the ocean.  Everyone screams but no one gets hurt.

Two cobblestones is definitely pushing it.  Someone is going to turn their back and then they’ll be sorry.

More than two is just plain agony, and Europe is RIFE with them.

Cobblestones comprise 150% of the sidewalks in Germany – and are where people actually have the nerve to walk, stand, and suck face in your path.  Having visited Europe numerous times before, I’ve found that the safest way to approach a cobblestone is in a flat shoe whilst sipping from a very large stein.

Still, it’s difficult not to wince at the poor girl schlepping her rolling suitcase in and out of the beer fest with taxis and vespas threatening every move she attempts toward the street.

If lucky, you can find areas where the cobblestones turn into actual slabs of concrete, but then someone throws a moat into the mix for a few extra laughs.

Ah, those madcap Germans.

Switzerland is even worse. The cobblestones are smoother, yet annoyingly they keep going UP.  By the time you require supplemental oxygen, you might as well be dragging an ox behind you – one that is hopefully carrying your baggage and not requiring hits from your oxygen tank.

But once you escape the cobblestones, you can’t escape the fact that size really does matter in Europe – as anything over 28″ is cause for alarm.

Btw, I’m still talking about luggage.  Relax, gentlemen…

The Roman empire may have at one time been vast, but it has been reduced to ruins along with itsy bitsy teeny weeny FAST AS HELL taxis with trunk space that at best can hold a pair of miniature dachshunds and a cannoli.

And know that ALL bohemian Paris hotels are tall, skinny and have elevators resembling a coffin turned on end.  Either you OR your luggage will be staying the night.  Not that it really matters. Your room has just enough storage space to accommodate your toothbrush and maybe a panty shield.

The coffee maker is in the tub, btw.

What’s troubles me the most is this crazy concept of “getting around” without your own car.  Madness.

Europeans rely on mass transit in much the same way that Americans just want free wifi and ice cubes in their drinks.  Subways are fast, efficient and cheap.  They just aren’t conducive to a Samsonite 28″ Spinner that’s spinning out of control and taking out unsuspecting street performers.  Once you finish your spinning spree, the mime-field that was Paris is left a desolate wasteland of accordionists and a few specks of white paint on the cobblestones.  Tragic.

Londoners are also confused about the car thing.  Did you know the GAP in the London Underground is quite REAL?  It’s the rumored resting place of of broken heels, displaced wheels and perhaps a severed leg or two.  When you venture around London with luggage, the Underground lifts are few and far between.  Escalators fail or are full.  Stairways abound with people abounding on them in all directions and at various speeds.  Here’s a fun idea.  Announce your presence with authority by bouncing a heavy wheeled duffel down 4 flights of stairs in one of the many Underground tunnels. Sounds just like a machine gun firing squad.  Don’t be surprised if the Brits start crouching in corners.  Nobody liked the blitz the first time, you know…

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The Gilligan’s Island Theory

My initiation into “no checked bags, thanks” is summed in this harsh reality:  I’m traveling to see the sites of Europe.  Unless I’m married to Jay Z, it is highly doubtful anyone will consider me a site to see.

Does it really matter what I wear, how many times I wear it, or that I’m wearing my comfy combat boots with every outfit?

Remember, half the castaways on Gilligan’s Island had no luggage and they survived for 3 years.  My aim is to simply NOT be the Mrs. Thurston Howell of my family.

What I really desire on vacation is to look decent for pictures, and…..well, that’s about it.   My husband is a master pic sneaker, sometimes clicking 2-3 hundred images over the course of one day, from all of the most unflattering sides – front, back, above and below, double chins, flaring nostrils and panty lines.  And just when I’m sure I can’t look any less flattering, he snaps an angle from the side in full panoramic view which shoots down my theory and leaves my self esteem waving a white flag and demanding photoshop.

To that end, I needed to look comfortably put together, cool and absolutely thrilled to be climbing 300 stairs to the top of the Arch de Triomphe, taking two trains on a warm day to Windsor Castle (cobblestones!!!), walking the ruins of Pompeii in 95 degree heat (hot cobblestones!!!) and traversing in the rain around Versailles (wet cobblestones!!!).

And now you understand why I crossed stilettos OFF the packing list FIRST.

Heat. Humidity. Hot flashes.

Italy in July.  Inspiring destination.  Perspiring frustration.

The only things that don’t sweat in Italy in July are those aforementioned mammals that fart rainbows.  To which, I slashed my packing list of nearly everything 100% cotton.  Instead, I selected lightweight fabrics that would wick moisture away.  One of my fave staple items in the bag was a pair of black wrinkle-free poly blend cuff pants from Chico’s.  I could vary the length on them and they looked fabulous with both sandals and my beloved combat boots.  Amazingly, they breathed and kept me cool*** even in the more extreme temps.

***3 gelato servings a day didn’t hurt either.

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Crepe You Need and Crepe You Don’t

Some may think of style as relative to the size of their luggage – whereby one must have different shoes each day, the perfect coordinating jewelry, and the appropriate handbag for each outfit.

I say “pack to NOT be naked and then STOP packing.”

And if naked got along better with non-naked, this article would be done.  I could’ve just packed a few breath mints, a curling iron and my iPhone.

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Oh, to be Venus. That chick certainly had no packing worries.

With destinations ranging from the chilly Alps to balmy Naples, I needed items that I could layer for abrupt temp changes.  This was made even more evident when moving from the colder Paris streets to the Metro – always a 20 degree difference.

Aside from no high heels, I also withheld a lot of my usual girl items.

Instead of a more substantial handbag, I selected a small black cross-body zippered wallet that held my phone, cards and cash.  It also had plenty of space for 4 passports (mom is always in charge of the important documents), a compact and lipstick.

It really doesn’t matter if you fly first class or coach, once you reach your destination, the pickpockets and bag grabbers don’t discriminate.  It’s best to just leave your Gucci bag at home.

Rather than lug heavy accessories and jewelry, I sported weightless flag-inspired nail art that served as a focal point as well as the subject of a few concealed photos taken by those standing on the Metro – especially when Germany took the World Cup.

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Nails hand-painted by my manicurist, Tracy (she’s da bomb). Note how I predicted Germany would be #1 (I’m da bomb).

For my wardrobe, I began by selecting staple clothing in poly blend fabrics perfect for hand-washing and air-drying with little wrinkling.  I stuck with the neutral palette, but blue was my complimenting color and I selected lightweight colorful scarves to accent.

In all, my modest carryon bag held the following:

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10 different outfits for 3 weeks

  • 5 short sleeve tops
  • 3 long sleeve sweaters
  • 1 raincoat
  • 1 cardigan
  • 1 denim jacket
  • 2 pairs of wicking pants
  • 1 pencil skirt
  • 2 maxi dresses
  • 2 camisoles
  • 1 nightshirt
  • 6 undies
  • 2 bras
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of sandals
  • 1 pair of sneaks
  • 1 pair of flats
  • 3 scarves

So how did I fit all of this (along with a hairdryer and my makeup) into a 22X15 carryon?

I LOVE compression ziploc bags.  Just tuck everything in, zip shut, and roll the air out of the bag.  With so many hotels, I was unpacking and packing constantly.  These fit the bill.  Though I must note the larger bags were sometimes harder to maneuver when purging extra air.   I found it easiest to put mine on a flat, sturdy surface and do my impression of a whoopie cushion.  Sometimes it’s fun to just sit and let the air fly.  It also helps if baby got back, if you know what I mean…

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Have heaviest items on, will travel…

When changing destinations, I traveled in my heaviest items – combat boots, rugged rhinestone jeans, layering tee, a layering longer sweater, scarf and my fave denim jacket.  The airport was the one place where my husband put his camera away, so it didn’t matter if I was wearing the same travel clothes each time.

For my actual carryon bag, an Ebags Motherlode was my weapon of choice.  It could be carried multiple ways – even as a backpack.  Though it was admittedly heavy when full – at about 30 pounds – it was far easier to lug than anything heavier on wheels that would’ve needed to be hand carried on trains and stairs.

And the most fabulous feature of all was when we walked right past the baggage claim in every single airport.

I also used a smaller carryon bag that fit under the seat in front of me.  It also happens to be my regulator bag when we dive.  I love it because it opens full like a small suitcase – no rummaging blindly for my earphones.  This held all of my toiletries as well as my quart bag with 3.5 ounces of everything I needed.  Trust me, you can buy anything in Europe to supplement smaller bottles of liquids.  Even if it isn’t exactly what you use in the States, it won’t matter for the short time you are traveling.  Think outside of your box.

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Yes, Virginia.  There IS a Santa….

and Laundromats in Europe

During weeks one and two, I found laundromats in or near our hotel where I could do a few loads of wash for my family.  All 4 of us traveled with carryons so the wash load was substantial.

It’s a choice you have to make.  Either travel heavy or do a bit of wash.  You can’t have both. However, laundry time gave me a few minutes to rest between our day hikes, check email, or just chat up a local about where to dine that night.

I will admit that laundry machines in Europe aren’t cheap.  It cost 10Euros each for the larger 15 kilo machines and 1Euro for every 10 minutes of drying time – on low heat machines.  My total spent for two large loads was 26Euros (about $33).

One important note about the laundromats in the UK and Europe, most will provide plenty of washing machines, but the dryers are harder to come by.  I was so excited that our UK flat had a combo washer/dryer unit, though it only held 5 kilos (essentially 1 pair of jeans and 3 shirts) and took around 2 hours to cycle through. After the wash cycle completed, the machine changed to dryer mode.  It’s more like a centrifuge than a gentle tumble dry.  I didn’t mind – my lightweight items dried fairly quickly – but my sons did NOT enjoy the callousness of air dried jeans.  Their morning gripe was short-lived as we worked our way through London, with their focus changing quickly to “why isn’t there any wifi here?”

Doing laundry in Europe didn’t make me feel less on vacation.  On the contrary, it made my return to simple US domestication much more magical.  I only had two loads of laundry to wash when I got home and I’ve entered into a new understanding (I’ll NEVER take you for granted ever again”) with my LG large capacity dryer…

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The Bad, The Worst and The FUGLY

Here’s where I expound on the negatives of my decision to go light in the luggage during our European Odyssey.  There’s a few things that I would have done differently and a few things I will never do again.

  1. I could have packed even lighter.  There were 3 shirts that I never wore and 1 pair of shoes that I really didn’t need.
  2. Don’t overlook packing one pair of gloves.  Even in July, Paris can be downright chilly if you are operating a Vespa in a driving rain shower.  Especially when the rain is driving better than you are.
  3. There was never any room for souvenirs, but that’s okay because there was never any cash flow left to purchase them.  We did come very close to buying another sword in Germany.  And there’s a funny story about buying the first sword in 1993 and carrying it through airport security in Paris…but I digress….  Suffice it to say, any souvenir bigger than your hand should be shipped directly to the States.  Makes for a nice surprise when you arrive home.
  4. Doing laundry in a foreign machine can sometimes have a learning curve. My best advice is NOT to overload a 5 Kilo washer/dryer unit and then head off to bed for the night.  It will eventually sound like someone is killing a cat in the kitchen.  So much for uninterrupted replenishing sleep.
  5. Pharmacies and grocery stores carry everything you need, but not everything you want.  Politely coerce your traveling companions into lending you some extra room in their TSA-approved quart bag for those second and third containers of the shampoo and hairspray you KNOW works.  This helps if you are traveling with boys because they never carry enough personal hygiene products.  

I won’t go into the details, just that there was a day when the hairspray I purchased in Germany got into a nasty fight with the hair conditioner bought in France.  It was to be expected as they’ve never been the best of friends, but I never want to experience that again…  EVER.  (and my husband has assured me that those pictures HAVE been deleted…)

********

The Take Away

Pride is such a wonderful thing.  The minute we touched down on home turf, I realized I had done something VERY special by going full carryon.  But I did have one regret…

It happened while I was walking into the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs Elysee.  I couldn’t help but feel like I was doing my own take of Pretty Woman – the moment when Julia Roberts “obviously” doesn’t belong in that Rodeo Drive boutique.

Not that I was dressed like a prostitute…but….

…it really boiled down to the fact that I was in Paris – city of glamourous people and haute couture – and there I was in LV wearing sneakers, wicking pants and drugstore sunglasses that fit neatly (with 9 other outfits of equal subtlety) into a $90 carryon.  That no one rushed to help me was of no surprise.

However, there is this gem.  Even in the absence of a Louis salesman fawning over me, I managed to visit 6 countries, impress with my French, drive 160 mph on the autobahn, spend quality time with my husband and children, ride Vespas through Versailles, stand where my grandparents stood in 1944 when the US liberated France, and eat a LOT of gelato, a LOT of French bread and a freakishly large number of these:

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Does it get any better than this???

 

Would You Rather Posh Than Sleep? You need these.

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poshpjs

Let the world know that “SLEEP” is no longer in your vocabulary!

There’s a saying that I love –

“Wear cute pajamas… You never know who you will meet in your dreams!”

Dream of Poshing all night long in these one-of-a-kind Queenmumm designed PJs!  The black scoop neck tee is 100% cotton, available in a shorter loose or longer fitted style***.  The soft flannel pajama pants are available in black or pink plaid.  Quote on front of tee reads:

“POSH IS THE NEW SLEEP and I’ve never been hAPPier”

Quantities are limited.  Get your POSH PJs TODAY!

***Plus sizes available starting mid-September.  For best selection, place your pre-order by clicking/commenting HERE.

Have Smartphone, Will Consign (Interview with The Tennessean)

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I’m so excited to have done this interview with Shopping Diva Cathi Aycock of The Tennessean.   For a quick look into how I took my Poshmark closet to the next level by starting my own at-home consignment business, just click HERE.

Do you have an amazing Posh-related story to tell about yourself?  Tell it now at the “PosHER-STORIES” page of this site!

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Posh Pajama Giveaway!

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Do you have a dream that’s been realized through your Poshing experiences?  Detail how Posh has changed your life and you will be entered to win a pair of “Posh is the New Sleep” Pajamas.  Contest ends at 12:01 am CST on Saturday, 6/28.

Don’t forget to list your pajama size.  Size chart is found by clicking here.

I will draw the winner at random from all entries submitted here (and those submitted previously in the Poshmark closet).

Winner will be revealed on my Instagram account (QueenmummPosh) at 1pm on Saturday 6/28.  Good luck!

The Closet Riddle: POSHible or Not?

 

“I have a fab item I want to sell.  

Is it POSHIBLE???”  

America, welcome to the newest lexicon.  Life will never be the same now that we’ve learned how to “Posh”.  And if you’re “Poshing”, you’re definitely on POSHMARK.

If you aren’t on Poshmark, download it HERE. You can thank me later.

Poshmark is America’s fastest-growing, direct-to-mobile platform for selling new and used ladies’ fashion.  Poshers “do it in the closet”, so to speak.  We list fashion we no longer wear, and in mere minutes our items go “live” – available for immediate purchase all over the country.  Never has cleaning out one’s closet been so easy.

This thing is SO successful, I’ve had men approach and ask me to tell their wives about Poshmark. Can’t blame you, guys.  When you hear that billions of dollars in clothing and accessories are lingering unloved in closets all across America, you wonder if it would be lucrative to have the “little lady” liquidate some of that inventory. That’s the sales pitch that gets ‘em everytime.

The hardest part of Poshing is figuring out what to sell.  That’s really the hardest part.  Everything else is quite simple after that.  From the moment you list an item to the moment you push it lovingly it into a priority mailbox bound for another Posher, you realize,

“OMG, I’m so high tech now and I still have my sanity intact!  And I’m making money!”

Poshmark extends new users the freedom to make a lot of their own decisions with regard to listing and promotion.  You can be your own closest entrepreneur, selecting items, snapping pictures to showcase them, creating listings, and setting price.  The app serves as the platform to build your closet with Poshmark backing every “in-app” transaction.  Poshmark also gives sellers access to their unique $4.99 POSHPOST flat rate shipping label (good for up to 5 lbs) and oversees the transfer of money from buyer to seller.

For this service, Poshmark takes a 20% commission on sales over $15, and a $2.95 commission on items $14 and under.

But “Poshing” isn’t just a term limited to buying and selling in the app.  There’s a community that resides there, of which you become a highly-valued member. Other Poshers “share” what they like to their followers, and this can build “word of app” for your items.  These shares are what fuel sales.

And here’s where I’ll depart from my rehearsed “What is Poshmark?” text…

For it is this same Poshmark community which is so instrumental in the exposure of your closet

…as long as you are following the rules.

If you are reading this as a rabid Posh newbie, there’s a slim chance you may have done what any rabid Posh newbie would do.  You just destroyed half your house in a frenzied attempt to list anything that wasn’t bolted to the floor.

{pant, pant, pant}

“MUST. GET. THESE. LISTED. NOW.

MUST. MAKE. SALES.

MUST. FIND. MORE.”  {pant, pant, pant}

{snort}

{growl}

Btw, did you read that fine print on Poshmark first?

{grunt}

{shakes head}

No?  Well, that’s okay, right?  Hardly any of us do that with the apps we download.  I mean, honestly, WHO can recite the Candy Crush Terms of Service?

Anyone??

Bueller?

What????  YOU DIDN”T READ the CCTOS?  And they are STILL letting you crush candy?!

Those heartless heathens.

That poor innocent candy.

Well then, it’s perfectly understandable that you’ve built a 50-item Posh closet in the span of oh, 30 minutes without double-checking that fairly important part of the app which tells you what you CAN and CANNOT sell.

It’s right there in the FAQs, starting with the phrase “we don’t condone” which is a really pleasant way of saying “we don’t support the selling of THAT item on THIS site”  The tone is not harsh because Poshmark is a happy place to buy, sell and network with women across the country who are just as fanatical as you.

But what Poshmark wants you to understand is how it has a very specific vision to sell women’s fashion and accessories.  Everything else – and there’s A LOT which falls into that category – doesn’t quite mesh with that vision.  And because it’s Poshmark’s vision and NOT yours, you shouldn’t get upset to hear you can’t sell EVERYTHING you own on the app.

I mean, really.  Can you blame Chick-Fil-A for not offering filet mignon and flatscreen TVs on the menu?

But that isn’t your worry at the moment.  Your real concern is why no one is sharing your Barry Manilow Deluxe CD set on Poshmark.   You’ve got it priced at an incredible bargain and you’re even throwing in a free bottle of “Eau de B.M.” with purchase.

What gives???

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Without checking the details of the Posh fine print, you’ve perhaps listed a “few” items that aren’t allowed on Poshmark.  And that all-important Posh community that you rely upon to share those items is…well, markedly absent.

It’s not that they don’t like YOU.  It’s not that they don’t like Barry… Well, maybe they do.  No offense, Barry.

The REAL problem is you have a closet out of compliance with the guidelines, and Barry’s presence is wreaking havoc on your shares and newsfeed.  And here’s where the realization sets in.

OMG.

Still likin’ Barry?

Yeah, I thought not…

Don’t panic.  What you’ve done is a fairly normal occurrence with new onset Posh addiction.  One which we’re gonna try and nip in the bud.  Right here.  Right now.

There’s definitely more than one Posher who came into the app early on and made the same hurried mistake.  Ahem. {raises hand}.  We have all done the typical listing frenzy thing and have seen our share of baby items, body lotions and dog collars in our own closets.

And usually what followed was a more experienced Posher coming into the closet and whispering “Ummm…you can’t sell that.”

So we just deleted those listings, lickety split.  And since a great many of us are veterans still kicking around in the app, it apparently wasn’t the be-all end-all of our Poshmark career.  We’re just all very careful now about what we list.  And we’re working hard to mentor new closets to build closet rule compliance sooner rather than later.  And the reason is: we WANT to share your items!!!  We’ll share the heck out of them if given the chance, but we’re too busy trying to get past all those baby clothes, body lotions, dog collars and Paypal transactions.

I can’t tell you how many Poshers have written to me – ready to close up shop – not realizing that something as simple as a bottle of perfume was keeping them from being host-picked.  Once the questionable item listing was removed, so a new era of Posh success was ushered in for them.

My BEST advice is to log onto Poshmark immediately and take time to read the Poshmark rules (NO PAYPAL) and all the guidelines (NO PAYPAL) and the section entitled “What Can I Sell”.  Then check out the Terms of Service  (NO PAYPAL).

Btw, did I mention NO PAYPAL?  Okay, just making sure.

Did you read everything?  Good.  Now it’s up to you to translate those guidelines correctly while building a compliant closet.

So, go to it.

Aye, but there’s the rub.  For as it is in so many facets of life – religion, politics, tax deductions…. the total calories in that cheesecake you just pounced on  – so everyone translates the same thing in about 40 million different ways.  The “we don’t condone” part of Poshmark is no exception.

That’s where this post comes in.  Just like TSA displays banned carryon items in a plexiglass case at airport security checkpoints, so here’s a highly detailed plexiglass version of the layperson’s guide to those items that we call “POSHIBLE” and “IMPOSHIBLE”.

Basically, what you can and cannot “carryon” to Poshmark to sell.

I’m aiming to save you the time of wondering if you are in compliance.  I’m giving you back time you’ll spend listing items that could later be deleted by Poshmark.  I’m telling you WHY you haven’t been chosen for a Host Pick… night after night after night…

This list, compiled with direct assistance from the team at POSHMARK, should help to stem the flow of misinformation and confusion with regard to item listings.  If you see something here that isn’t allowed and you are selling it, PLEASE help lighten the load at Poshmark Headquarters and voluntarily delete it from your closet. No one is keeping tabs on your item deletions. No one will judge.  We’ve all made mistakes.  The important thing is that we fix it and move on.

Please read this list.  Learn it.  Use it.  Then tag it to new Poshers (and older ones who might need a refresher and a lighthearted chuckle) for I have never been one to dole out serious info without a side of humor.  It makes for a much easier gut-wrenching moment that has you sweating profusely.

Then you laugh a little, make the necessary changes and continue your Posh crusade the way that you always dreamed it would be.

:) :) :) :) :)

Note that this list is current as of 12/10/14, but I ALWAYS suggest you refer DIRECTLY to the Poshmark site for further information and to pose inquiries not covered here.   As Poshmark updates/changes their list, so will I.  It only works if we’re all speaking the same language….

So which do you want first?  The bad news or the good?  Oh, don’t be a coward.  Let’s get the bad out of the way…shall we?

 

“ITEMS NOT ALLOWED ON POSHMARK”

aka “mission imposhibles”

aka “THE DARK FORCES ALIGNING AGAINST MAKING

YOUR CLOSET HOST PICK-WORTHY”

{cue the theme to “Jaws”}
We’ll begin with the great white shark in the room…

NO FAKE DESIGNER ITEMS

And I could stop right there, but this one needs further elaboration.

“I saw “Jaws” for the first time when I was 12.  All I could process was violent death and an enormous eating machine with jagged teeth.  I later discovered they filmed the movie with an enormous FAKE shark, but I’m telling you, that shark was REAL to me.  Such was the deception that kept me out of the ocean for years…”

Simply put, a designer “FAKE” is that big bad shark – a beast of many titles – including “Knock-off”, “Faux”, “Replica” and “Not Authentic”. Or, it may say absolutely nothing except “Chanel”, “Louis Vuitton”, or “Gucci”.

It’s fake, but it seems SO real.

Selling a designer knock-off can knock your Posh closet right off the app.  Buying and selling fake items anywhere is against the law, so don’t be freaked out when Poshmark deletes your listing and issues a stern warning or shuts your closet down.

(I don’t care how cute Elvis looked in the 1950s, nobody wants to jailhouse rock over a fake handbag.)

A “fake”, “faux”, “knock-off” or “replica” item is based on deception.  The manufacturer wants you to think you are getting the real thing, with all the bells and whistles of the authentic item it is mirroring exactly.  So sure are they at their replicating skills, they’ll offer the item at the same high price – LESS a really good discount to encourage you to buy.  Fake items don’t have to be a mirrored replication of an authentic designer item.  Anyone can create a regular handbag and slap a designer logo on it.  It’s still considered copyright infringement and theft of trademark.

Eg. Someone claims they are selling a “Prada” handbag because the emblem says “Prada” and the bag has all the logos and markings for “Prada”.  The bag was not made by Prada but it’s very hard to tell the difference.  Anyone who buys or sells authentic Prada can spot the counterfeit.  An unsuspecting buyer will shell out a big chunk of change to finally have her own “Prada”.

Welcome to the deception.

But there are also items considered to be designer “lookalikes” which cause another kind of confusion because they ARE ALLOWED on Poshmark.  Read carefully.  This is not where you want to be confused.

The designer “lookalike” is mimicking without trying to be what it is NOT.

Eg. – Someone is selling a bag that has the same look as a Louis Vuitton Neverfull, but there is no labeling that mentions LV or Louis Vuitton.  There is no LV logo on the canvas though it has similar styling, maybe even extra hardware or features.  It is clear, even in the eyes of the average consumer, that this is NOT a Louis Vuitton.  The seller should be making it clear in title and description that it is merely a “trendy designer lookalike bag” that is NOT Louis Vuitton.  The price will be very reasonable because the LV brand is absent.

At this time, lookalikes are legal because the trademark/copyright has not been infringed upon – as long as there is no branding on the item and the seller doesn’t claim or categorize it as a designer brand.  I’m not saying that they are RIGHT or WRONG in selling them.  Laws may one day change, but for now many gals choose to buy, sell and carry lookalikes and so Poshmark does allow them.

That said, “lookalikes” on Posh are sometimes termed “designer inspired”, which is still a source of controversy because many consider “inspired” to be just another word for “fake”.  Again, you must look at the item, not the title.  If there is any mention of a designer logo or mark on the item, that makes it a counterfeit.  I would suggest listing lookalikes in the generic sense, with no reference to the designer anywhere in the listing. I would also leave off the term “designer inspired” to save confusion.

If you have an item with designer branding but can’t verify the authenticity, DON’T LIST IT. And understand that “fake” includes more than just handbags.  We’re talking jewelry, shoes, clothing, sunglasses, scarves and makeup.

To confirm authenticity, you can seek out a verified authenticator.  These are found online (for a fee) or as local appraisers. There are a few Poshers who will offer to authenticate at no charge. Use all of these services at your own risk.  I would ask for proof of expertise before asking someone to verify.

Note that “I learned about your handbag on the internet” is not the most desirable proof since the internet has been known to not tell the truth all of the time.

BTW, DESIGNER RETAILS STORES/OUTLETS ARE NOT IN THE BUSINESS TO AUTHENTICATE 

It’s not in the sales associate’s job description to verify that bag from the thrift store.  There are just too many “ifs”, especially with regard to vintage items.  And if it is truly a fake, you wouldn’t want to be caught holding it.

If you still aren’t sure about “why all this big hoopla over fake designer items”, the Association of Retail Professionals has a great article on their site which explains why it is illegal.

NO BOY’S/MEN’S CLOTHING or ACCESSORIES (don’t despair yet – there’s a followup to this category listed under “UNISEX”)

NO INFANT/CHILDREN’S CLOTHING This includes all those INFANT/CHILDREN’s ACCESSORIES for the little sprites, too.  I gush over kids and have busted out a few of my own, but the items that they threaten to drop ice cream on are NOT allowed on Poshmark.  Take ‘em where they are wanted, such as Thred Up or Kidizen.

NO PET CLOTHING or ACCESSORIES Those pink Bruiser Woods doggie booties fashioned to match your Elle Woods pink sunglasses are really really REALLY not allowed on Poshmark.   Bend and snap those kitty and puppy accoutrements (leashes, collars, beds, scratching posts, dishes, metal cages/crates, squeaky toys) out of your closet pronto.

NO CHILDREN’s TOYS or GAMES

NO PERFUME/NAIL POLISH/AEROSOLS/LIQUIDS This one surprises so many, but the reason is easy to grasp once you know it.  

First, repeat after me:

“Poshmark ships everything by USPS and USPS ships NEARLY EVERYTHING via AIR TRANSPORT

Perfume is NOT allowed on Poshmark because the USPS prohibits transport of alcohol-containing products via air shipment.  We MUST comply with USPS rules.  Our fantastically easy-to-use POSHPOST labeling makes for easy packaging and shipping without having to visit your postal counter, ever.

Perfume, nail polish, aerosols and other liquids are considered hazardous items which require special handling and have extra restrictions.  Many of these items will break through the factory seals above 30,000 feet.  Suddenly, your new, factory sealed body lotion is doing its impression of “The Blob That Ate The USPS Cargo Hold”.  Not cool.

The restrictions to designate ground transport for such items are NOT included in your POSHPOST labeling.  It’s a standard label for all Poshmark sales.  Even if you KNOW your item is just going 10 miles down the road, PLEASE respect Poshmark’s wishes to enforce the non-allowance of these items across all listings.  UPDATE: The only liquids that Posh approves are NWT mascara, liquid eyeliner and lipgloss.  All other liquids are prohibited.

Make it simple on yourself.  Don’t sell these items on Poshmark.

Want more info?  Here’s the official USPS list  PLUS an extra article about shipping restricted substances.

NO HEALTH AND WELLNESS PRODUCTS** Please, NO wraps that flatten your tummy in 20 days or diet pills or supplements of any kind.  No herbal products, incense, or aromatherapy oils.   You CANNOT Posh vitamins, sunscreen, toothpaste, shampoo, hair gels, body washes, lotions/creams of any kind, combs, brushes, cotton swabs, manicure kits, first aid kits, hair coloring kits or pregnancy testing kits.  NO feminine hygiene products.  (yes, I know you technically “wear” those but NO!)  

Another thing that people wear but that aren’t allowed on Poshmark are CONTACT LENSES. Again, even if those lenses are new and sealed, they are not supported by Poshmark.  Unfortunately, we’ll just need to look elsewhere for Bella Cullen’s red ravenous eyes.  Ew!!!!

Think of it this way – if it’s found in a drugstore, ask yourself first if it’s something a woman can wear or use to accessorize her look.  If the answer is no, it’s probably NOT ALLOWED on Poshmark.

**This also means NO to those “personal items” such as what might be purchased at Hustler Hollywood (of which I know ZERO).

Seriously, I’ve never been to HH more than like, twice.

NOOOOOOO ELECTRONICS!! No iPhones, Droids, or any other smartphones or cellphones.  NO Xbox, Playstation, Wii, handheld gaming devices, CPUs, monitors, keyboards, iPads, tablets, Kindles, Nooks or laptop computers.  No stereos, calculators, lamps, toasters, heating pads, lava lamps, alarm clocks, or refrigerators.  No musical instruments.  No flashlights or lightbulbs.  No earbuds, speakers or electronic chargers.  No curling irons, hairdryers, hair straighteners, electric razors, breast pumps, or electronic toothbrushes.  If you can plug it into the wall or put batteries into it, it belongs ON ANOTHER SITE. 

Trust me, people will pay good money for your electronics… ON ANOTHER SITE

NO BOOKS/HOME GOODS/HOME DECOR You can’t Posh books, posters, stationary, CDs/DVDs/Blu-rays, videos, video games, bedsheets, blankets, pillows, wall decor, towels, picture frames, rugs, photo albums, journals, styluses, notebooks, address books, password books, candles, figurines, furniture, indoor fountains, “Bedazzlers”, Christmas trees and Christmas decorations.  No jewelry trees, big hanging jewelry organizers, or standing jewelry boxes. (NOTE that  jewelry bags that go in your handbag or luggage ARE acceptable).  No standing shoe holders, no clothing storage bags (the ones you vacuum until you’ve sucked all the air out of the item AND the universe), and no standing makeup containers (eg. acrylic holders).  Below you will read that makeup bags which are portable (for your handbag or luggage) ARE acceptable.

You cannot sell clothing hangers, but if you want to include a nice hanger in the box for your buyer, I think that’s sweet.  Just make sure you don’t pack it in a way that it would puncture your item.  That’s not so sweet.

No kitchen gadgets or utensils, and no food.  Just put the butcher knife down and walk away slowly.  

Gentle reader, I can’t list everything in your house because I want to sleep sometime this century, but you should have a very good idea as to what is NOT ALLOWED.  But if you are still clutching that turkey baster to your chest, VERY intent on Poshing it, PLEASE ask below to make sure the rule on kitchen utensils hasn’t changed JUST for you.**  

**The short answer is NO.

OTHER NO cars!  No car parts!! No houses! No items found in hubby’s garage. No RVs, pop up trailers or horse trailers.  No bicycles or skateboards. No sporting equipment (weights, exercise bands, water bottles, skis, basketballs, frisbees, hula hoops, pool tables, jock straps, etc.)  No horses or livestock.  No puppies or kittens or baby ducks. If it has a heartbeat, it certainly doesn’t need to be Poshed and then placed in a Priority Mail box.  That’s a whole new kind of WRONG…

OTHER OTHER No tobacco products or smoking paraphernalia. This includes anything that might be whipped out in celebration of 4/20.  No drugs or alcohol-containing products of any kind (i.e. NO ALCOHOL, rubbing or otherwise, NO BEER and NO WINE)   When we say “Posh Party” we don’t mean THAT kind of party.  

OTHER OTHER OTHER No guns, knives, ammunition, hand grenades, tanks or surface to air missiles.  If it’s something that might have been exchanged for hostages in the 1980’s, it’s NOT ALLOWED.

Remember

MAKE POSH LOVE, NOT POSH WAR.

And now… (drumroll)

INTRODUCING:

“THE POSHIBLES”

aka “WHAT YOU CAN SELL ON POSHMARK”

aka “HELLOOOO, HOST PICK!”

YES!!! LADIES CLOTHING This includes ALL ladies’ clothing in sizes Petite, Misses, Womens, Maternity and Plus.

YES!!! UNISEX CLOTHING This includes items that could be considered wearable by a woman (who will make it look 10x better, by the way).  Remember that you can call anything “unisex” if you have a cross dresser in the house…so tread lightly.  And yes, there are numerous fashionistas who love going “Annie Hall” with their wardrobe, wearing men’s ties, belts, trousers, shirts, and shoes.  These are Poshible if suitably accommodating to the female form (i.e. altered or manufactured that way).  Again, tread lightly and ask first if you aren’t sure.  

Unisex also encompasses sports jerseys and tee shirts, hats, workout clothing and certain items of jewelry.  Unisex clothing is everywhere – ever heard of “boyfriend” jeans?  After all, I don’t know a single woman who has never raided a guy’s closet for a big fluffy warm sweater to lug to that football game.

Just be forewarned – the red flag WILL go up on that pair of mens size 22 Nikes…

YES!!! JUNIOR CLOTHING There are many Poshers who are under the age of 18 or who need similar sizing that junior fashion provides them. Bring on the ODD numbers!

YES!!! NIGHTWEAR This is basically bathrobes, pajamas, nightgowns, nightshirts and camisoles.  That said, you need to be aware of the style of your item.  If it fits the body in similar fashion to panties or a bra (i.e teddies and intimate apparel), you can ONLY list those that are NWT.

YES!!! NWT UNDERGARMENTS You can ONLY sell bras (sports bras), panties, pantyhose, tights and Spanx if they are BRAND NEW.  Make sure all of these have tags attached or are NEW in the box.  Used leggings are allowed as they are not considered undergarments (though some of them fit so tightly they’ll likely vote in the 2016 election)

YES!!! NWT SWIMSUITS That little panty shield “wannabe” (the sanitary strip) should be attached along with the hang tags.  Don’t list a bikini top if you wore it once – that’s considered USED!!!

And while we’re on the subject – it IS acceptable to sell a swimsuit if it’s new but the tags are detached and in your possession.  Though I’ve NEVER met a woman who removed a tag without wearing an item first.  Men love to rip off tags the minute they get home from the store – in which case I must ask, ARE YOU SURE YOU AREN’T REALLY A MAN, baby???

So, if your swimsuit is brand new but you removed those tags in a fit of excitement and STILL HAVE THEM, you can list it NWOT (make sure it’s spelled out).  It only fits the guidelines for NWT items as LONG as you HAVE NOT worn it and the sanitary strip is in place.  Make sure you provide photographic evidence of both tags and sanitary strip or else Posh will have no choice but to yank the listing.  

YES!!! FORMAL WEAR I guarantee that a great number of wedding dresses and prom dresses are being recycled in the app.  One of my favorite sales was a white feather dress that was worn ONCE to a wedding rehearsal and will soon be worn for a wedding in Costa Rica.  That makes my romantic little heart so happy!!!  

YES!!! LADIES SHOES Everything from “flatter than my flat-chested cousin” flats to “cruising altitude of a 767″ stilettos is quite Poshible.  Shoes tend to be one of the hottest sellers on the app.  Take care to only offer used shoes that are still in really fabulous shape.  Don’t Posh them if you wouldn’t wear them yourself.

YES!!! LADIES ACCESSORIES WORN ON THE BODY These include new and used scarves, mittens and gloves, socks, watches, belts, garters, garter belts, sunglasses, reader glasses, and frames suitable for lenses. Yes, you can also sell that cute apron that makes you look like Wonder Woman. (Little do they really know.  You ARE Wonder Woman!)

YES!!! LADIES ACCESSORIES WORN ON THE HEAD These include hats, fascinators, beanies, headbands, wedding veils and that halo you earned from stopping at crosswalks.  If you have an item that “grasps” the hair tightly – such as scrunchies, rubber bands, and barrettes – they should be NWT (for sanitary reasons).

YES!!! LADIES JEWELRY & LOOSE GEMSTONES

YES!!! HANDBAGS This includes clutch bags, wallets, checkbook covers, coin purses and waist/fanny/belt bags. If you carry it to accessorize your look, it’s definitely allowed!

YES!!! SMARTPHONE COVERS/TABLET COVERS/KEYCHAINS/UMBRELLAS Again, this falls under the “accessorizes and is portable” category.  Just like you accessorize 20 pounds of junk with a cool handbag, so you can accessorize your phone, iPad and Nissan remote key fob with all the fashionable panache you usually save for yourself.

YES!!!  LUGGAGE & certain other BAGS/CONTAINERS  Totes, diaper bags, carryon bags, shopping bags, handbag dust bags, shoe dust bags, fabric lunch boxes and all manner of luggage are allowed.  Keep in mind your 5lb. POSHPOST label must be increased in weight (and in price to you, as the seller) if you choose to ship a heavy piece.  And while we’re on the subject: how exactly does one ship a steamer trunk?  Does it go into a ANOTHER steamer trunk?  Then what?  Am I thinking too much about this a la “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”  

Great.  Now my eyes are crossed and I can’t recall my own name…

ONE very important item to note: there are some accessories that organize your closet and life are NOT currently supported on Poshmark. This includes hanging jewelry holders, jewelry trees and boxes, shoe holders, clothes hangers, standing makeup organizers and clothing storage bags.

You CAN Posh the travel jewelry and makeup roll/pouches used for transport.  You can also Posh brand NEW contact lens CASES but not the contact lenses themselves (for hygienic reasons…)

YES!!! CRAFTED/HOMEMADE FASHION & ACCESSORIES If you construct an item and make it wearable (or an accessory), it’s definitely allowed.  There are numerous Poshers who are building their own brand of clothing, jewelry, handbags and more.  Many are selling exclusively on Poshmark, thus giving you the advantage of buying items that are both UNIQUE and HTF!

YES!!! HALLOWEEN COSTUMES!!! Candy NOT included.

YES!!!  MAKEUP THAT IS NEW AND SEALED ONLY!!!

Makeup is very popular on Poshmark but it must be NEW AND SEALED before it can be listed.

NOTE, if you open a makeup item to show the shade or test the color for your listing, it is no longer new and you CANNOT sell it.    RESIST THE URGE. DON’T OPEN IT.  If your seller is asking for the shade on a face, look for a stock photo online from the cosmetic manufacturer.  Again, ALL factory seals MUST be intact and the item should be in the original box or packaging.  The condition of your makeup should be the same as if you purchased it from a department store counter.

YES, you CAN sell the following items: eyeshadow, blush, dry foundation, dry finishing powder, eyeliner, eye pencils, lipstick, lip pencils, lip gloss, mascara, concealer, pressed powder and powdered bronzers remembering that they must be FACTORY SEALED and in those original boxes.

You can also sell false eyelashes and attachable nail appliqués (NO LIQUID NAIL POLISH) if they are NWT and factory sealed.

:) :) :) :) :) :)

And guess what???  WE ARE DONE!!!

hugh

(Hello, Gorgeous….)

Do you have an item that isn’t listed here?  Please don’t just list it and plead “dumb“.  And definitely do not list it because you saw it in another closet.  That’s pleading “dumber“.  When in doubt, give Posh a shout.  Email Poshmark directly and ask for a ruling on any item BEFORE you list it.

I’m also happy to ask Posh on your behalf.  Just comment below.  This helps me keep this list accurate and up-to-date.

And finally, a word to the wise…aka “the Posher who knows all of this already”.

Please remember that Poshmark’s community is one of mentoring and support.  We’re not here to judge and call out bad behavior.  It’s our duty to boost other Poshers and help them be successful.  If you see a closet or item in violation of the guidelines, it’s best to follow Poshmark’s lead: just click the report button and move on.  Poshmark WILL handle it.  

That said, if any Poshers come to you seeking guidance on their closets and you see something amiss, be very pleasant and discreet in helping to guide them towards compliance.  I’m reminded of the following indiscretion in our teen years:

“Remember in high school when that cute boy called your house and you were in the bathroom and your mom answered the phone first and TOLD him you were in the bathroom and that you had been in there FOREVER and then you found out who called and what your mom said to him and then you keeled over and DIED and then had get up the next morning, go to school and look that cute guy in the face again?  Yeah, neither do I.”

I know you can be a bit more discreet than that.

Be the Posh star in someone’s universe – “carryon” a discussion that addresses the compliance issue while fostering a friendship, keeping all dignities intact and making the Posh experience a nurturing one for both parties.

And when all is said and done, SHARE THE HECK out of that closet to show your support!!!

CHEERS!

QM

Looking for MORE POSH “Q-Tips”? Find them here

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Now Playing Near You & All Across America

INT. Bedroom – NIGHT.
A MAN lies alone in his bed, motionless, staring at the ceiling. 
THE VOICE OF GOD suddenly cuts through the darkness and addresses the MAN, who remains motionless.
 
        VOICE OF GOD
Hey, dude.  It’s 1 am.  Where’s your wife?
 
       MAN
(slowly shrugs shoulders)
 
       VOICE OF GOD
Could she be fridge-raiding?  I know how she was eyeing that last piece of cheesecake tonight after dinner.
 
       MAN
(shrugs shoulders)
 
       VOICE OF GOD
Oh, wait – was tonight Bunco?  Or is that tomorrow?  Maybe she’s still out with the girls?
 
       MAN
(shrugs shoulders)
 
       VOICE OF GOD
Poshmark?
 
       MAN
(nods slowly)
 
       VOICE OF GOD
(sighs) Remember when she used to go to bed WITH YOU at 10pm? 
 
       MAN
(shrugs shoulders, now looking defeated)
 
       VOICE OF GOD
Yeah. (pauses) Neither do I.
 

The ABC of AMAZING Poshmark Closets

Parts of the following are excerpted from the forthcoming “PoshMark’s the Spot”. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. No part of the following may be copied, reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without prior permission of the author.  

“ABC,

It’s as easy as 123…

As simple as DO RE MI….”

This little diddy, courtesy of a wee lad named Michael Jackson and his four bros, is a be-bop addicting tune that denotes the steps of  just how easy it is to fall in love…

It’s classic, it’s cute and it’s driving me crazy.

I’ve been singing “ABC” for 2 weeks.  Non stop.  OUT LOUD.  I’m not sure how it got into my noggin, but I’ve gotta write about it.  It’s this, or deal with repeated public humiliation.  I’m all for private humiliation.  Public humiliation, however leads to alienation at the DMV.  And let me tell you, those DMVers will take you out in the parking lot and GUT you for far less than singing a Jackson Five song in the waiting area…

My repeated song-stressing has been bad.  OscarDog has taken to cowering in his crate.  If speaking to a plant inspires growth, I’ve killed all of mine with a single verse.  This is worse than the Barney Song.  Worse than “Achy Breaky Heart”.  And MUCH worse than anything that Styx put out after Dennis DeYoung went all Kilroy on his head-shaking bandmates.

On the 53rd repeat of “ABC” one morning (as I was Poshing over Greek yogurt and granola), I started thinking of how easily one can fall in love… with a really amazing Poshmark closet.

You know the closets to which I’m referring.  They’re indelible.  You see one covershot and BAM, you know WHO it is.  You probably have the inventory memorized.

Poshmark does have some truly AMAZING closets.  What’s surprising is how many of these owners started out with ZERO previous selling or boutique experience.  Some as young as 14 are already funding future college expenses – while others are well-beyond middle age, thrilled to have extra cash.  Looks like it’s time to be the sugar momma, ladies.

Many have never left their home state. Others have gone around the world, wiring their exotic experiences through their closet wares.

Some Poshmark closets are powerhouses of designer fashion.  I know I’m not the only one aghast at the manner of high-end designer brands available at bargain prices – so high as to result in a nosebleed just scrolling through.

And yet, many of these amazing Posh closets are just like that old brick and mortar consignment boutique from your college days.  These are the “low to median” range closets – $10 sweaters, $15 shoes, vintage, mod, handmade…  You could just live there all day and forget about that midterm chemistry exam. These closets warrant no blood loss via your schnozz, no buyer’s remorse and no worry that a bundle could mean a “severe talking to” by your parents.

There’s something about all of these closets that sets them apart.

We know them by username AND first name.  They know how to draw the customers in and make the sale.   They ooze great service and receive staggeringly positive feedback.  They get SHARES.  Wowsers, do they get the shares.  They have a loyal following and a lot of repeat business.  Follower numbers?  Some are in digits I can’t even count to, while others just seemed to have knocked it out of the park with their first at-bat.

As Poshmark grows endlessly by leaps and bounds, so does the number of new Poshers flocking into these closets – asking, inquiring, aching for a sign…..a formula to become their own AMAZING closet.  These newbie closets are that water fountain in the corner that REALLY wants to vend Coca Cola.  Or, at the very least Dasani.

They need and want a formula for success.

I’ve been spending a lot of time researching in some of the more iconic Posh closets to derive such a recipe.  I’ve browsed hundreds.  I won’t divulge any usernames here – that’s not my purpose.  My idea is to blend together what I’ve seen (in the best – of the best – of the best) in order to create a list of characteristics that ALL of these closets possess.

In essence, “9 Traits of AMAZING Posh Closets”.

Why 9 and NOT 10?  As soon as you read this and my next two posts, it will make perfect sense.

But be prepared.  If you catch yourself humming just a bit, go ahead and let the bubble-gum pop overcome you. You’ll have a better time reading through to the end.  But please, don’t hunt me down on Poshmark and toilet paper my listings because I’ve awakened an UNENDING musical interlude in your life.  Just move to the groove and feel free to apply these same 9 easy steps to EVERYTHING else you do off Posh….which can’t be very much. ;-)

A

Let’s start with A.  A is for “AMAZING” but here I want you to think of  A as in “ASK” and “ASSESS”  

(Please note: that’s NOT “asses”, but I’ll get to some later….)

BEFORE you list ANY item, ASK yourself two questions:

1. “WOULD I BUY THIS ONLINE without having it in my hands first?

2. “If I did buy it, WOULD I BE SHOCKED AT ITS CONDITION upon receiving it?”

If you said NO to the first question or YES to the second, Amazing Posh Closet survey says:  DON’T POSH IT.

Your closet items don’t have to be nosebleed high-end, but without the pull of a designer brand on the label, they should be in at least REALLY good to excellent condition.  ASSESSING what you have is key and that means a thorough inspection.

DON’T SELL IT UNLESS IT’S CLEAN!!!    Ya gotta take the time to clean or dry clean and ALWAYS remove the pet hair!!  If we can’t own Fido due to allergies, we certainly don’t want him in our mailbox.  Look for stains (makeup and deodorant are notorious) along with tears, snags, missing buttons, broken zippers. Take a minute to “smell what you sell”.  Yep, take a good whiff and see if you have a lingering odor that could offend.  If you are sinus congested, hand it to someone else and have them take a whiff. Make a party out of it.

(Btw, if that someone else is your DH, congratulate yourself for having an accommodating one.)

Smoke-based odors are bad, but even the perfume you use can be pungent.  Consider a second laundering with natural air drying, but please please please, don’t try to mask a smell with another smell.  That’s the teenage boy method of showering.  It’s what gives male locker rooms their distinctive “eau de THAT’S NOT RIGHT!”

By the way, that was the “asses” section of this post.  Feel free to draw breath again.

Like Sherlock Holmes, Ms. Marple and Inspector Clouseau, you MUST be a tough as nails bloodhound detective on your own items.  Yep, even the brand new ones you just acquired but have decided to Posh, must be evaluated using ALL OF YOUR SENSES.

(Ehhhh…. caught me, didn’t you?  Right now, you are saying, “Hey, what about the senses of taste and hearing?  How do I incorporate THOSE into my Posh detective work?”)

As for hearing, just put your ear to your shoes…

Try on a pair of older shoes, then take a brisk walk in a quiet area.  Hear anything?  Is there a “squishy squeaking” sound?  If they’ve been a favorite pair,  your weight and gait may have changed them.  If a rotund stalking rodent squeal wigs you out, imagine what it will do for your buyer.  And yes, even new shoes squeak.  You can still Posh them, but you may want to mention that in your listing.

Aside from handbags, shoes are the ONE item where you need to pull out all stops with regards to assessment. This is why amazing closets only offer shoes that are NWT, NWOT or worn gently – at most twice.  And they ALWAYS photograph the back of the heel for you.  The heel is the go-to view for shoe condition.  Misshapen heels imply heavy use.  Scuffs are not a good indicator since they can be caused by improper storage.  Sole condition, while helpful, can also mislead because leather soles can appear destroyed with only one wearing.  ALWAYS check the heels before you sell.  If they appear to have been chewed by that friendly beast that resides in your closet – the one that is staring at you right now – Amazing Posh Closet Survey says: DON’T POSH.

This isn’t to say that flawed items don’t belong on Posh, but you need to give the full 411 – flaws, warts and all, no matter how minute.

As for sense of taste – that’s easy, but it’s a play on words.  Amazing closets have great TASTE in fashion.  And this is summed in many, many ways.  They might have a gift for predicting future trends.  Perhaps they can tell vintage Chanel from new Chanel – vintage Target from new Target.  Maybe they rely on style with comfort, vending to you boho and grunge and anything that can get “mussed” and still look fabulous.

One thing is certain, these Poshers have the amazing ability to EDIT.  They don’t just Posh everything they find.  They take a minute to select what should be Poshed and what shouldn’t.  To be like them, you gotta think like them.  Always ASK and always ASSESS – consider the “Poshibility” on EVERY item.  If you REALLY wouldn’t want it yourself, chances are no one else will.  Your closet should be built around items YOU WANT, even if you’re SHOCKED to be letting them go.

B

B is for “BRAND”.  Not Russell.  He is soooo yesterday’s ex-husband.  I’m talking about THIS kind of BRAND.

No, you don’t have to be hog-tied and held down for a branding.  Though I suppose there are many Poshers who would rise to the idea of having the Poshmark logo branded somewhere I’d only show on the 3rd date.  After all, Poshmark has become a brand.  There are multiple selling apps out there, but who doesn’t say, on a daily basis,  “Yep. I can definitely “POSH” that”?

Posh closets can be branded as well, and many are now going this route as they’ve taken Posh from part-time hobby to full-time business.  Even without the taxed title of business owner, you are marketing yourself and your closet, so it’s important to bring your A-game.  You just need to have a niche that you can do easily and do well.  And you must stay consistent so your customers can grasp it and then tell others.

Examples are boundless.  If I said “shoes”, you probably have a seller in mind that you would seek first and send other buyers to.  If you’re hot on vintage, you know precisely which closet to find it.  If you want stylish, modern jewelry, “that certain Posher” is your trusted seller.  Guess what?  These are some of the Amazing Posh Closets I’ve seen.

What if  I said “chalkboard listings”, “girls’ name titles”, “world traveler”, “fashion blogger” or “smokin hot mannie”?  Closets can brand themselves without even trying.  A personality brand is much easier to acquire, but again it will be born out of consistency.

But branding isn’t an automatic given.  I know of many established Poshers who are still trying to find a hook that reels them in.  The best option is not to fly into it haphazardly.  Allow yourself time and don’t be afraid to ask others for input.  Branding can be elusive, but it is one goal you will want to strongly consider.

There are almost 300,000 Poshmark closets actively selling – and that figure grows every day.  Branding is one way to keep your closet from getting lost in the crowd.

C

C is for the “COVERSHOT”.  Bet you wouldn’t have guessed THAT one in a million years.

It’s the biggie on the list and there are plenty of reasons why….

The covershot, the FIRST picture for your item – the one picture WE REMEMBER most – is SO IMPORTANT it can’t be overstated ev-aaaaahhhhh.

It’s so important, I know more about it than Obamacare.  I can’t tell you what health insurance is doing these days, but I can tell you how I’m going to photograph these 20 items I’ve just acquired from a client.

I foresee Covershot 101 being offered at the next Poshfest, or at the very least as a downloadable online course.  There are so many considerations it’s impossible to list them all.   What ANGLES do you use when your item is too big for the Poshmark picture square?  How do you photograph ZEBRA prints without making them look distorted?  See?  From A to Z.  And on and on….

I could just say KEEP IMPROVING your covershots.  But that’s such the easy answer, and you’d likely blow me a raspberry for my effort.  One thing is certain: amazing closets have the covershot thing down to an exact art.  These sellers have their photo areas, lighting and creative juices flowing – and at their disposal – and they ain’t afraid to use them.

While it may seem tedious at first, nailing the mastery of covershot photography can become a natural state of Poshing.  You WILL actually reach the point where anything less simply won’t do.  So in an effort to rile you up and make you aware of your full CS potential, let’s all steel away our phone cameras and go over:

“THE BASIC RULES OF COVERSHOTTAGE – VOLUME 1, SECTION 1, PART 1, Subchapter 343,504″

No, you won’t be tested on the previous 343,503.

Not TODAY.

NUMERO UNO.  EFFECTIVE COVERSHOTS WILL SCROLL-HALT, NOT SCROLL-ENABLE.

Don’t be an enabler – in anything, generally – unless it’s something that will get me closer to meeting Hugh Jackman.

In terms of Posh, you don’t want us to scroll past – all cylinders clicking with no braking.  It’s imperative to halt the madness of our never-ending Posh feed scroll with your covershot prowess.  If I’m scanning and your item pops up, it needs to stop me dead in my tracks.  You want me to click, right then and there, and be EXTREMELY interested in making that item MINE MINE MINE or at the very least compelled to get my SHARE on with it.  And while I’m at it, I think I’ll just check out your entire closet.

The covershot is THE SINGLE most influential way to get a Posher into your closet. The second one is “HEY, COME INTO MY CLOSET!” but that doesn’t work so well when you post it on someone else’s listing.  You’ll probably get a reprimand and be stricken from that seller’s Christmas card list.  Bummer, dude.

Wanna lure ‘em for realz?  Give ‘em a covershot that knocks their stilettos as far away as Emma Thompson chucked those Louboutins at the Golden Globes last week. And once you get ‘em across the threshold, have EVEN BETTER covershots to make them STAY.

2.  COVERSHOTS AREN’T CONCRETE.

Once you have a covershot, don’t place all your eggs in that covershot basket.  If your item isn’t getting the shares and likes you had hoped for, don’t be afraid to switch photos in your listing.  If one pic shows your handbag sitting on a nice background, use that for a while.  Then, use picture 3 of you holding the handbag.  Even the best covershots do tend to get, well….boring.  The same lure doesn’t work for all the fish in Poshmark’s rapid stream.  Be prepared to cast a new line every now and then.

3. COVERSHOTS ARE REPRESENTATIVE OF YOUR PRODUCT.

Stock pictures are a real draw for many Poshers.  These are the pictures found online that show your item when it was new. These pics entice because they are more than likely perfect.  The lighting is great, the model has straight teeth, and most importantly – no muffin top.  The item looks like it’s been gilded specifically for the shot which looks like it was photographed on the French Riviera.

We get it.  They spend millions of dollars on advertising and that makes their items appear to be of the anti-suck variety.  We just REALLY want the same from our iPhone 5s and this…15×8 painted wall.

And Lord knows we TRY. We brush our teeth, apply makeup, enlist the aid of Spandex and set up a fan so our hair looks like it’s blown by the tropical breezes we’re only just imagining while standing in our duplex hallway.  So what if we haven’t eaten in 10 hours.  Where are the children?  We’re at the photo shoot.  Leave us alone.

But DAMN if that designer’s website doesn’t ALWAYS do a better job.

If you’re selling what they’ve already photographed for you, it’s likely very chill to use that stock pic.  If it’s copyrighted, you need permission. One simple way to know this is to right click on the image and see if it prevents you from copying onto your computer.  Then look at the site for any mention of image copyrights and attain them if needed.  Either way, you need to give a credit in your listing. “pic 1 from macy’s.com”

However, from what I’ve seen in all those amazing Posh closets I’ve visited, sellers generally shy away from the stock image and opt for the DIY route with regard to covershots.  Why?  Because most buyers are aware of the stock pic thing and want to know what they are REALLY buying.  More often than not, the DIY photographed item sells faster.

Still convinced that you want to save time and go stock?  That’s cool, but here are a few examples where your covershot photo absolutely NEEDS to be a DIY:

EXAMPLE: You’ve got a green BCBG dress you’re selling but you can only find a BCBG stock pic of the dress in blue.  The model is fabulous – long hair, great legs, flat tummy – all the things you aren’t.

If possible, save the blue dress pic for your 2nd-4th listing photo and give us a really lovely composition covershot of your actual green dress. Doesn’t matter that you’re not wearing it.  Make sure you mention in the listing that the blue dress is what it is – a representation of what the dress looks like when it’s modeled, but you’re selling it in green.  Oh, and your pic came from BCBG.com, of course.

EXAMPLE: You’ve found a photo of brown Frye boots at lyst.com.  Your boots don’t look EXACTLY like the photo. Yours are a slightly different style and but they’re brown AND they’re Frye boots. No harm – no foul, right?

To the unsuspecting buyer who’s never seen your boots, this would seem like a fantastic option, except now you have a misrepresentation problem.  If she clicks buy, you’re sending her… well, completely different boots.  Time to chuck that pic.

Here’s an example of picture usage that gets sticky in the Posh universe:  You’re selling a cute tee shirt with a kitten on the front.  It’s 2 sizes too small for you and you can’t do it justice by modeling it.  Amazingly – Posher X is selling the exact SAME shirt!  SCORE!  You quickly screen capture her covershot showing HER wearing the shirt. She looks great, btw.  You upload it with a few pics of your tee-shirt on the hanger and… DONE!

Hold on, Jesse James.  You might want to rethink that tactic.  Using another Posher’s pics without their consent is actually covered in the Poshmark TOS (Terms of Service) under Intellectual Property, specifically the Infringement Policy. It can be found HERE.

Just as it is with all copyrighted material, Posher X’s original pics are her intellectual property.  Unless she gives you her consent to use them, you are clearly in the wrong to make them part of your own closet.  Make it simple for both of you.  Ask permission.  Usually, Posher X will be flattered that you think her pics are so worthy.  And make sure you give her a photo credit in your description.  Who knows, she may even start sharing it for you and increase your exposure.  That’s good business right there.

And btw, if YOU are Posher X, you can keep the photo thievery at bay by watermarking your photos.  Just printing your name across the item in a very faint script does it.  Yes, it takes extra time and can sometimes obstruct our view of what you’re selling, but that’s the point of making it difficult for someone else to use, right?

Along the same lines:  If you purchased something on Posh that doesn’t fit and you want to RE-POSH it, you can.  But it’s a common courtesy to let the seller know that you are going to list the item in your own closet.  She may even allow you access to her pics to save you time listing it – if the item condition hasn’t changed since she sold it to you.  Be prepared for her to say – “nope, you gotta go through the motions on this – don’t use my body in your closet.”

(Btw, I don’t know for certain that Ryan Gosling, Robert Downey Jr., Channing Tatum and my guy Hugh have absolutely NO QUALMS with us using THEIR bodies in our closets, but it’s PROBABLY fine.  Hold on while I attain a verbal ok….)

Seriously, in all of these examples, it’s clear – SAVE yourself the Posh drama of having a confused or angry buyer.  Photograph your item yourself and give us an accurate item description.  Don’t rely on that stock pic to sell your item because you noted the differences in your description.  A safe assumption on Poshmark is that most Poshers skim listing descriptions.  {hand raised} Ahem, …guilty.  I’m a picture book kiddie on Poshmark.  There are a few closets whose item descriptions I read fully, but that’s because they are so darn funny.  Nine times out of ten, I’m looking at that covershot and will read your description only if I’m interested in buying.

Pretty things attract.  Make sure your pretty thing is ACTUALLY what you are selling.

Whew, that was a long one.  How about we move on to our last rule?

4. COVERSHOTS (and all photos) ARE REALLY ABOUT CONTENT, CREATIVITY AND CLARITY

Here’s a challenge: If you already have an established closet, take a minute and approach each of your listings from a viewpoint of someone who’s never seen them.  Look at your photos and then look at the actual item.  Good match?

How’s that first pic?  Are you lured in?  Is the lighting good? Can you see the detail? What about the background? Worse thing ever, ladies – unmentionables on your unmade bed just off to the side of that blouse you’re selling.  It might have slipped your notice, but it certainly won’t slip ours.  This is a classic content mistake.  You won’t see that happening in an Amazing Posh Closet.

The CONTENT of your covershot needs to tell us immediately what you are selling without distracting us.  Even if you are wearing the item while standing outside on the roof of a building, balloons in one hand – we should know, without asking a single question, that you’re offering us something awesome at a bargain price.

This means figuring out the best way to display your item to showcase it.  This involves the background, the lighting, how it is modeled (on you, your friend, a mannequin, or even the floor) and what else makes it into the picture.  As they say in FBI training, “always check your corners…”

A naturally-lit item is best, but if you can’t take it outside, find an area of your home and make it YOUR PLACE to take photos.

No, the dog can’t lie there.  Nobody better be eating crumbly foods in the vicinity.  No running through with muddy shoes, kiddos. Yes, it can be your bed.  Made beds in neat debris-free bedrooms ooze organization.  Since we can’t visit you personally, you have to make a clear statement to us that you take great care of your wardrobe, so we’ll desire your clothes.  Debris and a messy photo shoot makes us wonder what you do with the item immediately after you take the photo.  I’m envisioning chucking it into a corner and letting the muddy dog eat crumbly things on it.

Make sure you have the BEST lighting available.  If you don’t have the lighting – find ways to create it.  I’ve previously posted that an LED flashlight in a dimly lit room can help spotlight smaller items without having to resort to the wash-out flash of your phone’s camera. But keep an eye on how that window light is hitting your item as well.  It can cause a glare on your screen and fade out colors in almost the exact same way.  This is the reason why the best nature photos are taken on days immediately after it rains. Color pops when the lighting is subdued.

CREATIVITY is your next consideration.  When you photograph for your closet, you need to think of every single photo as if it were a piece of art.  Let it show your personality.  If you’re a minimalist, you’ll stick to a neutral palette.  If you are the exhibitionist, you’ll have firetrucks and clowns and fighting matadors and it will be a feast for the sensations. And while we’re on that subject, be careful with TOO much pattern in your backdrop.  Especially if you throw a patterned item on top of it.  Seizures abound in this kind of creativity.  That makes us shut the phone off and swear away from your closet.  NOT good.

Looking for a cheap backdrop?  Go to your local fabric store and pick up remnant pieces of fabric in neutral colors.  You Lady Godivas should grab a small piece of color while at it.  Your local discount store also has inexpensive floor length drapery in black and other neutrals that can be hung on a wall (get light absorbing fabrics to aid in photography).  Butcher paper works just as well, in brilliant crisp white.

Now it’s time to get those creative juices flowing with the best ways to attract a buyer.  Too many examples here, but I strongly suggest you look at instagram stock photos or other closets for inspiration (don’t take their images!) Or just take a gander at a Nordrstom catalog.  Fully accept that in photography, the only limitation is what lies between your own ears.

Finally, (yes, finally!!!) we come to Covershot CLARITY.

“OMG, that handbag is GORGEOUS!  Wait.  Oh, I see – that small set of earrings you’re wearing are the only thing for sale here?  Um….your hair is covering them mostly, can’t really see what they look like.  Gold posts with…. No, silver with….oh, never mind….”

Be aware – misdirection only works when you’re a magician.  Illusions are fun until they turn off buyers.  To sell us your item, it has to be at least one of the bigger items in the window.  That’s one component of CLARITY.

The other is where you grab hold of your buyer with everything in focus and the item spotlit… without blinding us.  And by this, I mean that while I love the graphics apps, it’s so easy to overuse and abuse them.  If you’ve run a photo through 3 different graphics programs and then done a special filter through Poshmark and then added 3 more just as heavily graphic-laden photos to make your covershot a collage, you’ve lost me in translation.  Where’s the ibuprofen?

REMEMBER, COVERSHOTS K.I.S.S. – Keep it Simple, Sistah. The most beautiful covershots I’ve seen on Poshmark emote so much simplicity it hurts.

Always be editing yourself.  If you aren’t sure, ask for someone else’s opinion.  In this case, make it another Posher.  If she says that she’d be willing to remove organs to wear that dress, you might be on to something.

But if she mentions that your pic looks akin to that of a mug shot, please don’t despair….

Just ask the inmate to return your jewelry and try something else.

 

Stay tuned for my next post –  “The 1-2-3 of AMAZING Poshmark Closets” 

Hey, have you seen other distinguishing characteristics of AMAZING closets?  Feel free to comment below!  And for MORE Posh Q-Tips, please visit my closet at www.poshmark.com/closet/queenmumm

Ready For My Close-Up, Mr. DeMille…

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I’ve always dreamed of being on the big screen, and with Poshmark, dreams really do come true!

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