What I bought: Black Friday & Cyber Weekend 2019

Does anyone else find the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales period overwhelming (and a bit overrated)?

The first store I took notice of was Clearly. I recently made my first order there and found the prices to be one of the cheapest around when I used the first-time customer 15% off discount. Due to a back order on one of my prescriptions, I also was in touch with the customer service staff (to check for alternatives) and found them to be excellent. Surprisingly they credited $30 to my account, so when they announced 15% off for Black Friday, I thought it would be a great time to buy more of my contact lenses (I buy 90x daily packs that cost anywhere around $90-$120 at full price, depending on the store, though I never pay full price as I find ways to stack deals and coupons). I was about to make the order on Friday but decided to wait until Sunday as I was sure the sale would still be on over the weekend. I’m so glad I did because on Sunday they announced 20% off for Cyber Monday, so in the end, with the $30 credit and 20% off, I paid $137.98 for two boxes, which is by far the cheapest I’ve ever paid for my contact lenses (although $30 of it was a “fluke”).

On the Friday itself, I headed to two shops after work because we were going to be busy all weekend and wouldn’t have time to visit them. T is starting to run low on his Nespresso capsules and they were 15% off. He got six sleeves and we paid $41.31. The other shop I visited was Muji, which was having 20% off. I use their cotton pads and cotton buds so I stocked up on those items. I also got a tall soap dispenser for the kitchen because I like the little one we got for dish detergent. I will admit this was an unnecessary $4 purchase. I also picked up my favourite black ballpoint pen as a back up (unfortunately I did discover I had three back-ups at home already, whoops!). I’ve never seen such a long line at Muji and the queue was around 20 minutes! In total I spent $15.00.

ShopBack announced $5 cashback for eBay on purchases over $5. I went on and bought some screen protectors because T did a poor job for my recent screen protector change and he wants to change his as well. My Mum has also been complaining that she wants a new one. I got five for each phone size (10 total) and paid $7.26 (expecting $5 cash back).

Yesterday I also impulse purchased Japanese face masks at YesStyle. I have been into face masks lately and I really like the big packs of ~30 masks in one case, which are more economical and less wasteful. YesStyle is such a throwback to my teenage years/early 20’s but the prices are genuinely pretty good. The masks were 15% off and I stacked a 20% off Cyber week coupon. With GST, it came to $57.75 (expecting ~$1 cash back).

I’ve also kept my eye on Ziera shoes in a number of retailers but there were no further discounts over the recent sales period. My Mum suddenly informed me her brow pencil was almost finished but Sephora, which was having 15% off, was sold out so I ordered it for her at full price from another retailer. One other stores I was going to buy from was Chemist Warehouse, which had 10% off storewide over the Black Friday weekend. This is typically exciting as I have a list of things I always buy there, such as antihistamines, nasal sprays and eye drops. Their year-round prices on these items are always below the retail price, but for the sale weekend, these prices were marked “up” to retail and then marked “down” with 10% off, rendering them more expensive than every other day of the year. I’m finding that a lot of retailers are re-using deals they frequently use throughout the year, or have subpar deals (compared to others throughout the year) for the Black Friday sales period. On the other hand, one of the more amazing deals I saw was after Cyber Monday when Sephora had 20% off Dyson for one day only, and from my memory that is the cheapest the Air Wrap has ever been.

Travel: Japan Trip #4 2016 (13 – Himeji, Kobe)

See: Travel: Japan Trip #4 2016 itinerary and intro

Day 13: January 30

In the morning, we took the shinkansen from Kyoto station to Himeji station. I had wanted to visit Himeji on my previous trip to Japan, but Himeji castle was under renovation (it has been quite common during every trip that something I want to visit is under renovation so it gets postponed for future trips!). Thankfully Himeji-jou (Himeji Castle) full re-opened in 2015. It is one of the country’s few original castles and considered one of, if not the most, beautiful. From the station, it is a 15-20 minute walk through the main city centre to the castle grounds.

The crowds at Himeji-jo are substantial and moves as a line into the castle. As with most castles, it is not so pleasant to shuffle up and down the narrow stairs inside in single file.

After visiting the castle, we walked back through the city centre to get lunch before returning to the train station. For lunch, we had simple oden lunch sets at Shusentei Nadakiku Kappatei, since local oden is a Himeji specialty.

We then took the shinkansen from Himeji station to Shin-Kobe station. It was also my first time in Kobe, where I only wanted to spend half a day to wander around and eat Kobe beef! We made our way down to the port area, stopping at a number of shrines along the way. It’s a really nice city and I can see why it’s considered one of the most “attractive” cities. That small taste of Kobe makes me want to visit again, especially to go up to Mt Rokko.

As mentioned, the prime reason for the stopping by Kobe was to have some Kobe beef! I decided against making specific reservations because it was difficult to pick somewhere early enough to get a reservation and the prices were mostly astronomical, especially after having the other expensive Michelin meal (and since I don’t like meat in the form of steak). We decided to just wing it. I think it ended up being a good decision because we didn’t want to go all out and decide it wasn’t worth it. We looked around a bit and settled on a moderately priced restaurant, Kobe Beef Kurosawa, with a range of cuts to choose from. It was empty the whole time, but it was an amazing meal and we were very happy with what we paid. We both had A5, and at a guess mine was sirloin and T’s was flank/bottom sirloin. They came in sets and ranged from ¥9,000-¥11,000 for 120-180g. I couldn’t imagine paying double or more. The meat was divine but it was too much meat for me, and even T thought it was hard to handle so much fatty meat by the end. A few bites would have been enough for me, hehe.

After dinner we went out to the other side of the harbour to see views of the city, then trekked all the way back to Shin-Kobe station to take the shinkansen back to Kyoto.

What I bought & Wardrobe diaries: October 2019

October was such a roller coaster. We went to Europe for two weeks from the end of September. My Godmother lost her husband and father. I found out when I returned that my Grandmother had a stroke while we were away, and the aftermath has been really tough on her and the family. Another close family member was hospitalised due to mental health just before we left. It was a pretty rough month. Shopping-wise, I made a couple of large purchases in Europe, and also “panic stocked up” on my favourite Ziera shoes since they went into administration (as of this month they are officially closing down!). It looks irresponsible, but I really believe in sticking with the shoes that work for me. Comfortable shoes for my problem feet are priceless and nothing has ever come close to my everyday Ziera shoes.

New in

Sportscraft Lorri floral knit (wine, S) – I ordered this before I went overseas. I mentioned when I first noticed the Lorri jumper in June because of its cotton and cashmere (4%) composition, which I tend to really like. I wasn’t too keen on the $149.99 retail price, or the price during 20-30% off promotions (still over $100!). Just before I left, I saw it was added to the sale for $49 but the smaller sizes were not available in any stores. I couldn’t find any other items to reach $200 for free shipping, so opted to pay $10 for shipping (I hate and rarely do this, but I thought the price was still good). The navy spotty Lorri jumper was and continues to be less reduced (currently $79) so I decided against it. I only picked it up from my Mum’s place a couple of weeks ago and have since worn it twice. The S fits comfortably and slightly oversized. More importantly, it is not short on my torso. It’s not as soft as my other jumpers in a similar cotton and cashmere composition, but I really like the colour and it’s a nice lightweight knit that’s not too lightweight. Was $149.99 reduced to $49 plus $10 shipping = $59

Celine Soft Cube bag (black with burgundy straps) – The Celine Soft Cube might be my favourite handbag. When I saw this colour combination at Bicester Village, I made a beeline for it and I knew I could not leave without it. The SA told me they received over a dozen Soft Cubes the day before (a Sunday), OMG. She sold a dozen and there were just three or so left. I can’t believe this colour was still sitting around!!! I definitely had a lot of lucky stars to thank! After the VAT refund, it will cost roughly the same as my other one I bought pre-owned (it was in as new condition though). I’m a bit torn with this purchase because my Mum also really wants a Soft Cube as it’s so unbelievably light. I’m indefinitely going to sit on this purchase until I find one for her (because I do selfishly love this colour combination so much!) or decide to give it to her (though she has hinted she wants my burgundy one!). I am so torn but I love both of them so so much! £792 ($1,448.11) minus pending VAT refund = to be updated

Chanel Classic Zipped Coin Purse (black caviar leather and gold hardware) – I was still on the fence about the Loewe compact wallet due to the silver hardware and I was kind toying the idea of a “interim zip coin purse” (queue eye rolls). Last time I went to Paris I wanted to get the small flap wallet but it is so bulky and feels a bit… flimsy? This time around I went straight for the zip coin purse, which is really compact and has been saving me so much bag room. Do I love it? It’s okay but it’s not worth the mediocre quality. Could I find another zip coin purse that I liked more? No. I fully acknowledge this was an emotional and impulse purchase (I have been harping on about a wallet for over two years and I’m quite sick of my large wallet) because I have serious FOMO issues (the timing). €460 ($749.32) minus pending VAT refund = to be updated

I will quickly wrap up the Ziera purchases (all except one are stock ups). Though it wasn’t the case in October when these purchases were made, in November Ziera announced that the brand was not bought and so will be closing down. This is devastating and I’m not sure where I will go to for shoes after I go through my Zieras. Me and my feet are absolutely devastated! There are a lot of brands that claim to be designed by podiatrists, but in my experience only Ziera really follows through with every aspect of the shoe. I’m almost positive these will not be my last purchases and I will keep picking things up if I find stock from other retailers. I picked up my (first) Tosca sandals exactly a year ago and the footbed is starting to disintegrate from my heavy wear so I need to figure out how to prolong my shoes’ lifespan! They’re not necessarily better quality and last longer than the average leather shoe brand, but all the thoughtful foot-friendly features in the shoes means I can actually wear them all day. I picked up:
– Ziera Lennon (black, 38; via Ziera) – Sold out online and rang my local store who had one. Since they kindly held it for me, I felt guilty to not buy it even though I found it cheaper from a different retailer a few hours later. So I rushes there after work to pick it up. T says I’m weird. $224.95
– Ziera Lennon (black, 38) and Tosca (black, 38; via Evans Shoes) – A back-up pair of the black Lennon. I will have to source a second pair of the nude Lennon shoes from another retailer that is selling at RRP. When I was looking for walking sandals to take to USA a year ago, I tried on the Tosca sandals and was tossing up between that and the Topaz, which I now own three pairs of. I quite liked it back then so picked it up too. $249.95 each down to $199.95 each minus 10% newsletter sign-up discount = $359.91
– Ziera Topaz (brown; 38; via Ziera) – Ziera was participating in the Vogue online shopping event and this was the only thing I could find. There is no free online shipping or member points system anymore. $219.95 down to $125.96 minus 20% online promotion plus $7 shipping = $107.77

October 2019 total: $2949.06 (to be updated as VAT refunds pending)

Considered or tried

I was tossing up between the famous Chanel zip coin purse and the Louis Vuitton Zippy Coin purse. Personally I like the layout of the LV coin purse better, with the leather interior and the specialist credit card slots. The Chanel coin purse now comes with an exterior pocket, which I considered a pro but now don’t care for as I discovered I didn’t like constantly pulling my credit card out from that pocket. However there simply isn’t a line of leather from LV that I can get on board with (to suit me). I did try to find the LV Zippy Coin for my Mum but they were out of stock anyway.

Since I decided not to get the compact Loewe wallet (though unbelievably I regretted it as soon as I arrived back home, good grief!) I ended up on a side project of getting a belt. I quite liked the reversible Loewe anagram 3.2cm belt in black/tan with gold hardware but the 3.2cm in that colour combination and my size was sold out everywhere. After running around Paris looking for it, I was told it was sold out in Europe! It was actually really hard to take off, so I’m parking that idea for now.

I ordered a pair of the AG Farrah jeans in black from David Jones. All my AG jeans are pre-loved and mid-rise. I love The Legging Skinny range a lot (in particular the Contour 360 range – ugh these are so good! – but can’t seem to find them anywhere) but they are all mid rise so I wanted to get some high waisted jeans (as far as I’m aware, the Farrah jeans seem to be the same as the Legging jeans but with a higher rise). It’s been a long wait for black or dark wash Farrah jeans on the pre-owned market, so I bit the bullet and purchased them from David Jones after purchasing the giftcards with an extra 10% value offer (buying $200 gave me $220). Unfortunately when my pair arrived, I noticed quite a lot of dodgy stitching and discovered it was not Made in USA! The fit is still great but I am really not sure about paying premium dollars for it. I will, at the very least, request to exchange for another pair but I’m feeling a bit skeptical about the change in quality so I may also just return it altogether. I will have to do some investigation into the Farrah line…

Other updates

That Comme des Garcons PLAY double heart T-shirt I purchased in April has been worn half a dozen or so times now. The other day I noticed some loose stitching coming from inside and upon closer inspected, noticed many issues with the blind hemming, which was poorly done! There was some issues with the finishing and some of the blind hemming wasn’t even on the fabric. I like the cotton but it seems very poorly made. I had all the blind hemming redone. I’m pretty disappointed with this experience.

Money Diary (Travel edition): #7 Weekend in Sydney

T had a conference in Sydney from Sunday (night) to Thursday a couple of weeks ago, so we both went up on Saturday morning and had a short Sydney 2-day weekend trip (he stayed on for work while I left on Sunday night). His flights and the hotel were paid for by his work. I don’t have time to organise photos (flying off soon and scheduling this post) but the Sydney Instagram stories are saved as highlights in my Instagram.

Our flight was with Virgin Australia and booked just over a month beforehand. I would personally never leave it so late because it gives me too much stress, but I had to wait for T to sort out his flight before booking mine. $294.63

Hotel was very central (near Town Hall and St James stations, and around the corner from QVB). It was located in a quieter street, in a hidden little building. The hotel was very basic but good value. T went against my choices and picked one half the price so as to use less of the group’s money, LOL. (Paid for by T’s boss; $141.74 (Saturday) + $103.89 (Sunday) = $245.63) (2 nights for 2 people)

We get up bright and early and drive to the airport. I discovered parking there for two days (with a company near the airport, not in the airport itself) would be cheaper than public transport. We arrive at the car park and then take a short shuttle bus to the airport. I will pay when I depart.

On arriving at Sydney airport, we take the Airport Link to St James station. We can use our credit card to tap! Melbourne doesn’t have a train system from the airport and our transport cards and readers are so bad. I’m jealous, Sydney! $17.39

After checking into the hotel, we walk for over an hour to lunch. It took a bit longer because we took a wrong turn and didn’t check our phone’s map for a while. Roads are very complicated in Sydney. We have lunch at Rara Ramen. T picked this one out of five ramen restaurants I shortlisted. The ramen was very average though. We each have a bowl of ramen, share gyoza and a yuzu ramume. $46.70

We were meant to have ramen with my friend but she missed her bus into the city. So we meet up at Koi Dessert Bar, my favourite dessert place! We have chocolate delight and yuzu mango desserts (my friend has some earl grey jar dessert). I’ve had the latter several times in both Sydney and Melbourne’s pop up. $21

We walk to an escape room I booked for T and I. Due to some circumstances, my friend only ended up being in Sydney due to not being able to fly out. I emailed the escape room ahead and they confirmed I could just bring her along and pay the difference when there, as I already paid online. As it turns out, she had already done that particular escape room (there are three), so we say our goodbyes there. $88 (two people)

We walk back to the hotel to chill for a bit. T’s knee is playing up again so we decide to take an Uber to dinner, although it’s only a 20-30 minute walk. $12.37 + $1 (tip) = $13.37

The first thing I did after booking my flight was booking dinner at Chaco Bar, which we came to last year. It is T’s favourite restaurant (ever) because he loves Japanese skewers and these guys’ skewer game is really strong. We get drinks and go straight into skewers. We order three rounds of skewers, including ordering four of one skewer. I also order a second drink, we try a non skewer dish, and finish with dessert. The verdict is to stick with skewers here. We stuff ourselves silly and it’s still not that expensive (considering we had three drinks and we ordered this fancy skewer twice at $24 each). I left a ~$15-20 tip and there must’ve been a small card surcharge. $182.48

T is feeling a little better after taking a break from all the walking, so we decide to slowly walk home.

The next day, we head to Bourke St Bakery (Barangaroo) and share a pie, quiche, croissant and danish for breakfast. $19

Because we “have” to play Pokemon Go Community Day for the next three hours, we decide to Uber to the Royal Botanical Gardens even though it’s only ~20 minutes away as I want to visit the Calyx again and we are running out of time. As it turns out, because of the Sydney marathon, the Uber driver drops us off like 15 minutes away, so we wasted time and money. I’m quite grumpy that the driver just drops us off with not much explanation and we still get charged the full ride as though we made it to our destination. $10.22

I spend about 5 minutes at The Calyx (T doesn’t join), which is beautiful. Entry is by donation. $4

It is really hot and I am dehydrated from walking around. We grab a 7 Eleven slurpee. $1

We have a late lunch at Home Thai, which seems to be highly rated on the Internet, but honestly is some of the worst Thai food I have ever had! We have a grilled pork dish, pad thai and a lemon lime bitters (still feeling dehydrated). $30.50

We grab two lattes at Coffee Pitt and walk back to the hotel. $7

I finish packing up and T gets ready to leave for his conference. I get confused about the trains and why I can’t find the train to get back to the airport. But as I have lots of spare time, I quickly walk down to Sephora to take advantage of the black and gold member 20% off sale. My Mum has expressed interest in a foundation brush so I grab her my favourite one. The shop is so packed I don’t stop to look at anything else. (She ends up insisting to pay me back the $24.80)

I get my luggage and go the train station. I discover the reason Google isn’t showing trains is because the Airport line is down for today. I could take a train and then a bus… but I decide to just Uber because I have no idea how much extra time it will take. $32.73 + $3 (tip) = $35.73

It is a breeze getting through at the airport and I am left with almost two hours! I sit down at a cafe and have a jaffle and ice tea (still trying to rehydrate!) while watching stuff on my phone. $15.10

My flight is delayed and my neighbouring passengers are really annoying and loud. They were clearly drunk getting on and were still allowed to purchase three whiskeys each, for a one-hour flight. I am really put off by Virgin’s behaviour. When I get to Melbourne, I call and find the shuttle bus to take me back to the car park. I pay for parking as I leave. $31.25

Two days in Sydney
Total actual spend: $817.37
(minus hotel as it was paid for by work)
Total actual cost for one person: 294.63 (flights) + $423.80 (everything else) = $718.43 (with hotel and food/drink/hotel/activity/transport costs divided if they covered two people)

What I bought & Wardrobe diaries: September 2019

New in

Chanel CH5368 sunglasses (via Bassol Optic; black with rose gold) – There’s a bit of a silly and convoluted story to this. I love my other pair of Chanel sunglasses. I love the soft cloth pouch they provide so I can stick the sunglasses in my handbag instead of the giant case. I lost the pouch once, purchased one off eBay and then lost it again! I decided it wasn’t worth buying another pouch. But then this summer, I managed to lose the actual case itself (which is HUGE, by the way). It fell out of my full bag while I was running for something. The sunglasses are quite large and don’t fit in my other sunglasses case and basically it just went unused. I occasionally browsed to see if any new pair of Chanel sunglasses interested me (the $100+ it would cost to buy someone elses case and pouch, that may or may not be fake, was not worth it to me). I stumbled across this pair from a few seasons ago and really just wanted it because it’s so cool, regardless if I’d wear it or not. I’m not sure if I’m cool enough to pull it off, haha. It also fit the criteria of having nose pads as I only wear glasses with nose pads now. Ordering with Bassol Optic was a bit of a nightmare but it was basically the only legitimate place online that said it was in stock and would ship to Australia. The website would not accept my order and there was no update for two weeks after I placed the order (so nerve-wracking) but in the end it arrived. It does fit my face (most sunglasses do not) so that was lucky. Anyway that’s the rather stupid logic of my buying a pair of sunglasses I may or may not wear in order to replace the pouch and case for my other pair because yes, I want a pretty (and authentic) case for my sunglasses. €320 – €16 (5% off coupon) = €304 or AU$502.26

Everlane Cotton Mockneck Crop jumper (black/bone stripe; S) – I have this already in the heather grey and I enjoy it for our winters as I don’t need to layer a shirt underneath because it’s cotton. I do wish Everlane jumpers weren’t all boxy and/or cropped and I think the cotton fabric is not that great. At the “choose what you pay” price, it is a practical piece and I was looking for something to help me get free shipping. I chose US$39. See below for total.

Everlane Cotton Turtleneck jumper (dark blue; S) – The reason I wanted to make an order was because this jumper was restocked in black and this new “speckly” blue colour was added. I already own the navy in XS, which I both like and dislike. I like how cosy it is and because it’s cotton, was the only turtleneck I owned and could wear. However the navy colour has quite a bright tone and is very blue rather than the dark navy I had thought it would be. The XS is loose on me but I wish the torso was longer as it kind of balloons a little, so I opted to try the S this time. The S is still not as long as I’d like and the turtleneck is rather overwhelming for my short neck. I do eventually want to get the black as well but am undecided on the size to get. Everlane continues to be quite expensive for the AUD currency. US$68 + US$39 (mockneck above) + US$10.70 (taxes) = $117.70 or AU$174.44

Saba silk sleeveless shirt (preowned via eBay; 8) – Er this is a regret purchase. It was only priced at $10 and then I got that eBay notification when it was reduced 30% to $7. I thought, “eh why not?!”. I don’t like the colour and print in real life and that was my fault because the seller had taken poor quality pictures in bad lighting. The fabric is thinner than my other Saba silk shirts and feels quite cheap. $7 + $8.55 (shipping) = $15.55

Lamberto Losani cardigan (preowned via eBay; grey; M) – I got suckered into this pristine Italian-made Lamberto Losani 75% cotton 25% cashmere cardigan despite the size probably being off. As it’s so lose and has a tie sash, it doesn’t matter that much though. It’s a little thinner than I would have liked but I’m loving how snuggly it is. It washed really well. $55 + $9 (shipping) = $64

Ziera Lennon flats (blush/rose gold; 38) – Yeup, another pair of Ziera shoes! I thought my days of panic purchasing shoes before travel were over, but apparently not. I wasn’t going to bring my grubby Ziera Oahu flats which are falling apart and a pain to tie up. I had anticipated the weather to be warmer where we’d be travelling so originally had planned to bring sandals instead of flats (plus well as runners and boots). Ziera had a VIP weekend with double the points earned. I was already planning to buy these shoes eventually so I just went for it. Just like the Oahu shoes, the footbed is amazingly comfortable with extra cushioning at the heel and sole, and cushioning at the back of the shoe so no rubbing. I have worn it four time already with no problems except the strap rubbing. The colour is nicer in person and the rose gold accents are gorgeous. $249.95 – $7 (rewards) = $242.95

September 2019 total: $999.20

Other updates

Those Ziera Topaz sandals I purchased in July have finally been worn a couple of times. It’s probably a bit high for me so ultimately they won’t be good shoes to spend all day in. The platform is quite skinny at the heel so I do have to be careful not to be clumsy and fall out of the shoe (which I do constantly for most shoes already). The leather rubs and is actually quite painful so I definitely don’t see myself being able to spend long in them.

The Bared Brolga shoes I purchased in June, I have been wearing almost everyday to work. They are really the perfect winter work shoe for me unless it’s raining heavily (then I pull out boots) and look great. I am still upset that they are not more comfortable and the footbed is rock hard. The leather has not softened up either. I walked quite a lot in them a few days ago and ended up with really bad blisters that took a week to heal. I don’t see myself wanting anymore Bared shoes.

A few weeks ago I noticed one of the heels on my Ziera Kylan books boots had worn down significantly at one corner and was causing me to twist my ankle. I knew I wanted these to go with me on my travels as they’re my go-to boots and incredibly comfortable (again with that Pillow Walk footbed). I would buy a backup pair if they restocked these! I took it to my cobbler and thankfully got it back the day before I fly off, though they only repaired the heel when I had asked for the sole to be TOPY-ed too. They had forgotten so I’ll take it back after I return. I was given $5 off the heel repair for that. $20.

I’m parting ways with my Country Road textured spot knit that I purchase just over a year ago. It’s roughly half wool and half cotton but so itchy. Recently it is so bobby and pills really badly. If I wear it, I’m walking around with some 50 pilled balls on me and they also go absolutely everywhere. I’m super disappointed in the quality! I’m surprised because this was recommended by a Youtuber and must be quite popular that it was brought back this year.