Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Double the Bloggers, Double the Dresses: Our Joint eShakti Review

Have you heard about eShakti

This online retailer offers a wide range of custom clothing options, tailored to your size and style specifications. When eShakti contacted us and asked us to review their services, we decided to get the full experience try out all of their custom options - M used the custom size and styling option for her dress, while B opted for custom styling.

After searching through the available options, I selected the floral art print stretch dress because I really liked its bold, splashy pattern.
Floral art print stretch dress
One of the biggest benefits about eShakti is that you can truly customize the shape of the dress to reflect your personal style. I made some style alterations, including changing the cap sleeve to sleeveless, swapping the standard V-neck for a deep V, and changing the length of the skirt to mini. In fact, the only shape option that I left as is was to keep the pockets - because seriously, you can't go wrong with pockets in a dress!


When the dress arrived, I was impressed with how well it fit, despite being a standard size. I am typically a 2 which is what I ordered, and if anything, it is slightly loose (I quickly remedied that by tossing on a belt - problem solved!).

My favorite thing about the dress is its length; being only 4'9", I was a bit concerned that it would still be far too long, despite requesting the miniskirt style. Luckily, I was asked to enter my height (even though I was not doing the custom fit option) so they were able to ensure that it was actually a mini on someone my size, since a miniskirt on most people can sometimes look like a maxi on me!

Since I work at a theater, this dress is the perfect combination of conservative yet artistic enough for business functions. In these photos, I took my dress out to Sunday brunch to celebrate my parents' anniversary; it was a very warm day in NYC and I knew we'd be doing a lot of walking, so I paired it with summer wedges and a khaki belt with red piping. I'm planning to wear the dress again this week with a black belt, colored heels, and statement jewelry to an opening night party at my theater.

The only negative part of this experience occurred with my shipment - eShakti ships from India through DHL and I had received a notification that my package was on its way but 10 days later, it still had not been delivered. I reviewed my tracking information and noticed that it had been held in New York because my apartment number had been omitted from the package (even though I had clearly provided that information). It was a bit annoying and inconvenient that I had to track down the package and make arrangements for re-delivery, and that I had not been notified that there was an issue with the address. This is more of a problem with DHL than eShakti, though eShakti should have verified that my complete address information was included on the shipping label.

I'm sure I will get many uses out of the dress since it can easily transition into fall by throwing on a cardigan, tights, and a pair of boots. Overall, this dress was a success for me - the fit wasn't exactly perfect, but I'm confident it would have been more tailored if I had opted for custom sizing since eShakti paid close attention to my height in relation to the length of the skirt. The fabric is light yet seems durable, and I really love the colors and my customized style options!

Off the bat, I was super impressed with how many great options eShakti had to offer, and I was quickly earmarking several dresses as I narrowed down my selection.  Unfortunately, most of my top picks had already been selected, which is admittedly my own fault, as I waited too long to finally make my selection.  Finally after seeing a dress that I thought was cute, I decided to go for it.
Fall floral embellished poplin dress

I decided to take advantage of both of eShakti's custom options, choosing a custom style and custom sizing.  As you can see from the above picture, the original dress had short sleeves, but I opted to make mine sleeveless.
Custom sizing and styling options

I was most impressed with the custom sizing option.  I won't bore you with the details of my size, but I do have to say that my custom size ended up being different than the one I would have ordered, and for a couple of the measurements I was actually either between sizes or one size in one measurement, and another for a different measurement.  As a shorter gal with a bigger bust and some curves, I really love the custom size option, especially since my dress fit perfectly!

Cue the awkward non-fashion blogger photos...
While B had some trouble with her shipping, mine arrived the day after I received my shipment notification.  I'm guessing there was just a delay in when I received the notification, since I definitely didn't get overnight shipping from India, but either way, it was a pleasant surprise.

Overall, I was a little unsure of the style in person.  It was a little more conservative than something I'd normally pick, which I think had a lot to do with the pattern.  But since it looked exactly as it appeared on the website, I have no one to blame but myself!  After trying it on, I was still a little hesitant of what occasion I'd wear this style for, but then I realized I had a family baptism coming up and decided it was the perfect occasion to give it a whirl.  I ended up jazzing up the look with my accessories, and in the end I was pretty happy with my look!  The leopard shoes, crazy feather belt and sequined(!) clutch helped to make it a little less conservative while still being reserved enough for church and a family lunch!

I definitely agree with B that the fabric is a great quality and seems very durable.  I also appreciated that the skirt had an inner liner so I didn't have to worry about a see-thru wardrobe malfunction!  Overall even though the style wasn't exactly what I normally would wear, I was very happy with my dress and I'd absolutely order from them again, especially now that I have my measurements ready to go!
Loving the pockets!
eShakti has generously offered all readers of The Sequin Notebook an exclusive deal for 10% off any item when you shop between now and October 20th using the code thesequinnotebook - plus, you'll also receive $25 off when you register on their website! Please note:

- Code has to be entered in the ‘promotional code’ box.   It is not case-sensitive.  
- Code can be used any number of times until the validity period. 
- It can be clubbed with any other promotional offer, gift coupon or gift card in the same order unless explicitly specified otherwise in the offer conditions.
- This discount code is not applicable on clearance / sale, gift cards & overstock categories.
- Not applicable on previous purchases.

Have you tried eShakti before? What are your thoughts on the custom style and size options?

The Gals

[Disclaimer: We were provided dresses from eShakti in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are our own.]

Linking up with Lindsey, Sarah, Shanna, and Madeline!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Happy National Coffee Day + DISCOUNTS

Happy National Coffee Day! Hot or iced, latte or black, espresso cup or Venti, there is always room in my heart (and belly) for some coffee. If you're like me and guzzle down multiple cups a day, you'll be happy to know that you can get your fix today for free (or at least, a lot cheaper than you usually do). Here are some of the best National Coffee Day discounts:

Dunkin Donuts: Today only, walk into Dunkin and claim your free medium cup of their new Dark Roast coffee. If you really love it, you can go back between 9/30 and 10/5 and have another cup for only 99 cents.

Krispy Kreme: Pair your doughnut with a free 12 oz. cup of House, Decaf, or Dark Roast blend. If you want to be fancy and have a latte, mocha, or iced coffee, it will only set you back $1.

McDonald's: You'll receive a free small McCafe coffee during breakfast hours.

Tim Hortons: Pop by Tim Hortons and pay just $1 for a regular or dark roast coffee in any size!

Have fun celebrating!


Friday, September 26, 2014

Five on Friday: {September 26, 2014}

Happy Friday Gals!  For some reason this week has felt extra long, so we’re more than excited to welcome the weekend!  To kick things off, we’re sharing our 5 faves of the week (or actually 4 in this case, with 1 extra special request for some well wishes!).

1| Good Luck Fred!

We usually try and keep things pretty light here, but today I’m requesting some positive thoughts and good vibes for my best puppy Gal, Fred!  She is headed into surgery this morning to remove a bladder stone that’s been leaving her pretty out of sorts for the past couple of weeks.  Luckily the surgery is very routine, and we love her vet and trust that she’s in very good hands, but we’ll take all of the positivity we can get to ensure a successful surgery and speedy recovery! 

2|  Apple picking

This weekend the M family is headed out to do some serious apple picking and test out Big Boy M’s new wagon.  It’s supposed to be a beautiful weekend here in the North East so I’m excited to spend the day outdoors, though it does make me laugh to see just how settled I’ve become in my suburban way of life, after having lived in the city for so many years!  A year or two ago this would have never appealed to me, but now bring on the apples and hay!  Though I do have to admit, more likely than not, I’ll be turning those apples into apple martinis, not apple pies!

3|  Gilmore Girls Streaming on Netflix

Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s ridiculously excited for Gilmore Girls to come to Netflix streaming on October 1st?!  It’s been quite some time since I’ve caught up with my favorite Gals from Stars Hollow, but back in the day this was B and I’s go-to!  We’d call each other during the commercials (since this was waaaayyy before the days of dvrs and being able to fast forward!) and have our “commercial commentary” on all of the nonsense and heart-warming drama that was going on during the episode.   So now that it’s coming to Netflix, is it bad that I’m secretly hoping I come down with a sudden cold that leaves me bedridden so I can indulge in a little rewatching bingefest?!

4| The Return of Boot Season
Vince CamutoTory BurchDolce Vita, Corso Como
Now that fall is officially(!) upon us, I’m pumped for the return of boot season!  I’ll be breaking out my favorite pair of Stuart Weitzman knee high boots that I got on a ridiculous sale several years back, and while I love them to death, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been lusting after a new pair or two for the season.  The ones above are some of my favorites, which have been added promptly to my Shop it To Me and Shop Style Sale alerts, so who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and snag a deal that’s too good to refuse!

5| NYC blogger brunch!

Just a reminder that we’re hosting a brunch meet-up for NYC-area bloggers on Saturday, October 25th!  We’ve already heard from a bunch of NYC Gals and it’s shaping up to be a fabulous group, so if you are in the NYC area, please join us for a little gossip, some bloggy networking and of course mimosas!  Just reach out and let us know by October 10th so we can include you in the reservation count!

What’s everyone else up to this weekend?

Thanks to our gals AmandaJennieAmyKarliClare, Rebecca, Katie, Heather, and Lauren for hosting today's link-ups!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Guest posting - A Little Glitter

Hey Gals! Just a heads up that we're guest posting today over at one of our very favorite blogs, A Little Glitter! We knew right away that we would love Pam's blog as soon as we saw the title since a little glitter always makes everything better, and we've been obsessed loyal readers ever since. We love her shopping wish lists, book recommendations, and we're particularly obsessed with the amaaaaazing rock star party that she put together for her daughter's birthday.

Visit us over at A Little Glitter today for our top 10 party prep tips, and make sure you follow along and check out more of Pam's wonderful posts!

B & M

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wise Words Wednesday

Love this print and need this blogspiration hanging on your wall? Visit ThePrintableGal on Etsy!
The Gals
Linking up today with Shanna, Wordless Wednesday, and Morgan!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Vanilla Pear Cocktail

Back when I hosted my summer kick-off party, I promised you a recipe for a vanilla pear cocktail based on the welcome shots I served that evening. It may have taken me a whole season, but the wait is finally over (and I always think of pears as more of a fall fruit anyway, so let's just say this totally works out).

Oh, and see that fancy faded label box in the picture above? Kristen taught me how to do that - her blog is hilarious, so read on to mix yourself up one of these cocktails and then visit her! I feel so swanky now that I can add this new design element to my photos (especially since I've been using that photo editor for over a year and never figured it out on my own...tech-savvy, I am not!).

Back to the cocktail - don't be scared by the combination of fruit and vanilla...it's not overly sweet, and is pretty refreshing on a crisp fall day, I promise. Plus, fruit is healthy! So that means this is actually good for you, right? Right.

Vanilla Pear Cocktail

* 2 parts pear juice (I got mine at Trader Joe's)
* 1 part vanilla vodka (I used Absolut)
* 1 fresh pear
* Vanilla sugar (optional)

1) For bonus vanilla flavor, rim your glass with vanilla sugar.

2) Mix the pear juice and vodka in a shaker with ice - serve in a tumbler, on the rocks.

3) Thinly slice a pear; float two slices inside the glass, and include one on the rim as garnish.


Linking up today with our gals EmilyKateJennifer JuniperEmily, Karyn, KristenEmilyMandy, and Mandy.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Party Planner: Monster Mash Birthday

When Baby M hit the 6 month mark, I started stalking perusing Pinterest for some fun first birthday ideas.  After seeing a bunch of adorable monster themed pins, I knew I had my inspiration!  I basically pinned my little heart out (and then some!), but got serious when we were about 2 months out.  I knew that we wanted to have the party at our house, with tons of personal touches and of course, lots of crafting!  And while this party was geared towards a one year old, the elements would work great for a Halloween party or an adult themed party (after all, we were celebrating Grill Guy's 33rd birthday too!).  Now that I've finally recovered from the big first birthday monster extravaganza, I'm excited to relive it all with a full recap!  Warning - This post is picture heavy, as no detail was spared, so prepare to settle in with a good cup of coffee or some wine and brace yourself for tons of monster-y goodness!!!

The whole design really came together once I crafted up the invite.  I combined a bunch of fun patterns with some vibrant colors and adorable little monsters, and of course, couldn't resist including some coordinating envelope liners.  And even though Baby M was pretty much the main attraction, I couldn't forget our other birthday boy, so I made sure to also give him a shout out on the invite too!

I went with a pretty colorful palette and tied in the theme with lots of orange, blue and green balloons.  I also added purple, green and orange table cloths to add some more pops of color.  I then made these goofy monster centerpieces that basically were tons of tulle, and a couple of floral styrofoam forms.  They definitely brought some fun to our tables, especially when the weather took a turn for the worse and forced us underneath the tents!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Customer Appreciation Day at Birchbox

Having been a Birchbox customer for three years and a member of its Birchbloggers community since it launched, I was excited to visit the new Birchbox Soho store yesterday for Customer Appreciation Day.

Birchbox invited subscribers and their guests to celebrate at the store by building your own free Birchbox - obviously, I knew I couldn't miss out on that!

From the minute we walked in the store, the glitz and glam were everywhere. I mean, they even had gold glitter all over the floor! I loved it!

This is basically what happens every time M and I do a craft project together.
The cheerful party atmosphere continued as we entered the main room and saw colorful balloons lining the ceiling.

We had some time to wander around the store before building our boxes, and it is GORGEOUS. I basically want to move in there and use all of the pretty products all the time.

Finally, the big moment arrived and it was time for us to BYOB - Build (Y)our Own Birchbox!

We were led to a product wall and given sheets of paper to make one selection from each of the five categories (hair, fragrance, etc.). Our Birchboxes were customized according to our specifications, and we also were given some yummy candy which was a nice bonus.

It was hard to narrow down my choices, but I'm super pleased with the items I selected.

I came home with Whish exfoliating body wash, Jouer lipgloss, Mad Madame eau de parfum by Juliette has a Gun, Juice Beauty green apple peel, Laura Geller GlamLash mascara, and Macadamia healing oil treatment. It was a pretty nice swag box!

Thanks to the wonderful people at Birchbox for hosting such a marvelous event, and for being so sweet to your customers!

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