Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Online Rentals

As I finish my college career and begin life as an intern, I realize that life might be a little hard. Working without pay sucks. Fortunately, I have another job where I earn a livable amount, but in order to further my career, I need to start going on interviews. I need to look the part in order to hopefully get the part! I have the credentials down, the only part that is lacking is my appearance, specifically my wardrobe.

I have never been in a professional setting on a daily basis and it is hard to look good in the college girl clothes that fill my closet. Fortunately, I have discovered a cure - online rentals!

I first heard of sites like Rent the Runway and Bag Borrow Or Steal a while back, but I never thought about actually trying it out. That all changed when I realized that I needed to enter the real world...on my own. I couldn't (and still can't) afford all of the nice bags and cute dresses I used to get when I was dependent on my parents, so I revisited the idea of online rentals when a friend of mine brought it up in conversation.

I checked out the sites. Then I went to my favorite online coupon code site, Retail Me Not. I found some codes, so I rented a school bag and some sunglasses from Bag Borrow Or Steal for, get this - free!! I got to keep them for 3 months each (the max rental time, with the lowest weekly rate) and after that, I just returned them in the prepaid packaging that was provided.

After that I was hooked. What a great idea!

I tried Rent the Runway for the first time in late December 2010. I was in Miami for New Years and had yet to find the perfect dress. Everything that looked good enough was way overpriced and I didn't have the extra cash to spend. Then I remembered that I could rent a dress. I checked out the site and found the perfect LBD. I was able to get 2 sizes for the price of one to make sure it fit perfectly. I spent an even $50 on the dresses (that retailed at about $600 each!) for a total of 4 days. I sent it back when I was done and now I have beautiful pictures...and a fuller wallet.

RTR and BBOS is perfect for people who have lots of events to go to. In NYC, they even have same day delivery. When you wear a cocktail dress, it is usually for a special occasion and I would personally never be caught twice in the same dress! So why spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a dress you'll only wear once anyway? And as far as bags and accessories go, I usually get sick of a bag after a while and frankly, I can't afford to spend hundreds to thousands on a nice designer bag. Having a bag like the ones on the site make you appear successful and give confidence, but at retail price, it's just not possible for most people. But with BBOS, a 3 month lease on a Louis Vuitton will only cost you a fraction of the retail price.

Have you every used these sites? Are there other rental sites you use? How much have you saved?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Video Chatting

Friday night is date night in my small town. Since my boyfriend and I live together, every night is date night, so I opted for a different kind of date - a wine date with a few of my BFFs. The only problem is, one lives in LA, one lives in Alabama, one lives in New Orleans, one in Tampa, and one in Ft. Lauderdale.

In the past, this would be a sad night where I write letters on my personalized stationary as I drink a glass of wine. But today we have Skype, a video chatting technology that is available not only on computers, but also on smartphones and touch screen tablets. So first I had a wine night with my Florida girls, then moved through the time zones from Alabama to New Orleans, and finally to LA.

Video chatting is an amazing convenience that people of all ages use. My stepmother uses Skype to video chat with her son who is serving in Afghanistan. My roommates "skype" their long distance boyfriends from across the country. And my boyfriend uses it to keep in touch with his grandparents. Video chatting is a phenomenon that has changed communication as we know it and now, we can even do it with our cell phones.

Another cool way to use video chatting is a website called Chat Roulette. On this site, people from all over the country sign on, turn on their webcams, and chat with random strangers. Once you decide you don't want to talk with that person anymore, you can click the "next" button and move on to the next random stranger.

The site was created by a young Russian man and the success has bee phenomenal. It can certainly be creepy, but it is completely safe since you are in the privacy of your own home. My friends and I have tried out the game and it can be quite hilarious. We once chatted with a group of guys from Germany (or some country...) until my boyfriend got annoyed and pressed next. Some people (including me) even play drinking games to Chat Roulette. Just google Chat Roulette Bingo and you'll see what I mean.

Do you use Skype? Have you ever tried Chat Roulette? Let me know in the comments!