Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tart Deco Mother's Day Sale

I have put a few items in my store on sale, including my vintage teacup pincushions and hanky sets. The sale runs until May 7th so get your goodies while they last!

EShakti Review

Last year I started reading about a clothing website called EShakti on some of the fashion blogs I subscribe to. My interest was piqued- an online store that allows you to customize their clothing by changing sleeves, collars, and even measurements? I visited the site and thought they had some cute designs, some even vintage inspired. Unfortunately, because I am a graduate student I don't have the money to order something that isn't a sure shot. Luckily I was able to contact them and in Dec. 2010 they offered to allow me to choose an item to try for this review. Yep, this was a while ago, but I have been putting off writing this review because I don't like to post a lot of negative things on this blog, but I do feel that I need to follow through on my agreement to write a review. Plus, I want to post my experience if anyone else is trying to decide to buy something from the EShakti website.

My initial e-mail conversations with a customer service representative were prompt and pleasant. I was very happy with this because I had read conflicting reviews online. I had a gig coming up for Valentine's Day and was excited to pick something for the show. I started looking in early January because I had read in other blog reviews that because the dresses come from India that they can sometimes take more time than is listed on their website (7-10 business days). Their website is fairly easy to navigate and they have a lot of choices. They also offer various options to customize, depending on the dress. One issue I had was that they don't show examples of the custom options (ie. what their idea of a "wide V neckline" looks like). If someone isn't familiar with clothing terms they are going to have a hard time figuring this out.

I found a vintage inspired black crepe dress and sent my choice and measurements to them through a special link that they sent me on Jan. 16th. On Feb. 3rd, I still hadn't received the dress, nor had I heard from eshakti, so I emailed my rep and asked for an update. I received this reply 4 days later:

"As per the update given to me, our team had emailed requesting you to choose an alternate sample since the one that was made ready for you was rejected at our Quality Check for a fabric defect.   We await your response on an alternate choice.

We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause you.   We have pulled out the style now and await fresh lot of fabric to bring it back online.   Kindly use the same link to submit your new product choice.  Please rest assured that we will process this new sample within 3-4 business days and have it shipped to you"

 I had never gotten any email from them, but I understand that things do happen and since I was essentially getting a dress for free I didn't feel that I should push that point. There was still enough time to get the dress for the show so I quickly reordered the dress to the left. I gave my measurements and had them add flared short sleeves, which is an option they offer.

Feb. 20th and I didn't hear anything about my second choice. Both times I ordered I sent all of my information through the link they provided and to my customer rep to make sure it was received correctly. I also double-checked my email address to make sure I got any email messages from the warehouse. So that day I emailed my rep and on Feb. 21st I received this reply:

"Yes we have received your alternate choice and are processing it.   The sample is nearing completion and will be shipped to you within the next couple of days.You will receive the tracking number information from our Customer Care as soon as it is dispatched."
 At this point my gig came and went (which was great by the way). Now I was just interested to see what was going to happen. Needless to say, I never received an email from Customer Care in "the next couple of days." In fact, I never got an email from Customer Care even when I received the dress in the mail in the middle of March, almost 3 1/2 months after I put in my first order.

Unfortunately, it doesn't end there. The dress came shoved into a small box roughly 12x12" and only 1" high inside a mylar envelope. I honestly had no idea that the package was my dress until I opened it because it didn't seem possible that a package so small could hold my item. Needless to say the dress was insanely wrinkled and I had to steam it multiple times and let it hang for a week to get them out. On a positive note, the dress itself is adorable and looks just like the picture from the website. The workmanship is good and I didn't see any visible flaws.

I would show you a picture of me wearing it, however it doesn't fit. The measurements are all 1/2" too small. You may be tempted to say that maybe I took my measurements wrong or it is a human error and I could take out the seams, but I am a seamstress that knows how to take measurements correctly and I actually entered my measurements an inch larger, just in case. So basically they missed the correct sizing by 1 1/2", which is pretty excessive. It also looks like the hem is a little short (it was supposed to be mid-knee), but I can't know for sure until I am able to wear the dress. Hopefully this will be soon since I have started losing weight.

So there you are. I really, really wanted to have this experience be positive because the concept of EShakti is so great, especially for plus-size gals like me. Other reviews I have read online have been a mixture of positive and negative, so it looks like ordering from the company is inconsistent. If you do decide to order from them, it looks like people who go with the standard sizing fare better than the custom sizing.

Do you have any experience with EShakti? I would love to hear your comments!

Friday, April 15, 2011


I hate that I have been neglecting this blog the last month or so because of Graduate school. Actually, it's more because I started a library internship in January that took 15 more hours a week away from my free time. Obviously this is a really good thing for me career-wise, but it means less time for creative endeavors.

I have found though that doing a small swap every now and then satisfies my creative side and I can do them when I need a mental break from music theory or French for Reading (zut alors!). It feels a little like christmas when I get my package in the mail and open it up. Sometimes I leave the goodies in their boxes so I can re-open them if I am feeling a little down or stressed out. The swaps have also reminded me of the power of actual physical mail in this age of electronic communication.

Right now a have a few of them going on, like the vintage brooch swap, the petite inspiration swap and a pin cushion swap (see sidebar). I also finished a few swaps last month and haven't had time to post pictures, but I will soon.

Do any of you do swaps? If so, what are they and why do you like them? I have been thinking about doing a rockabilly-themed swap once school is done in May- would anyone be up for that?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Viva Las Vegas Series #16- Music

I am surprised that it took me this long to post about music as it is my main thing, besides being a librarian. There is SO much music at VLV and I managed to track down the websites of a lot of the bands, concentrating mostly on those on the side stages.

Hopefully this will help you to make the difficult decision on who to see when you are there. And if you aren't going, this will help you to familiarize yourself with some of the rockabilly bands that you might not know yet.

Big Sandy- 
Delco nightingale-
Don Juan y los Blancos-
Hillbilly Hellcats- 
Jinx Jones-
Karling Abbeygate-
Los Straitjackets- 
Miguel & the Atomic three- 
Modern Don Juans- 
Morry Sochat & the Special 20s-
Neon Swing X-perience-
Nick Curran & the Lowlifes- 
No Dice-
Psycho Devilles-
Roy Kay Combo- 
Shakedown Combo-
Sin City Surfers-
Slip & the Spinouts-
Still Creek Brothers-
Vicky Tafoya & the Big beat-

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'm Still Alive- I Swear!

My cat Nigel Bunster is embarassed for me
Hey there readers,

I have been absolutely terrible about updating my blog lately. I actually should have been better because last week was Spring Break from Graduate school, but I decided to take a few days to really relax and not write anything while I could.

Bootless%20BettiesI was also taking some time to concentrate on my hot jazz vocal trio Bootless Betties and set up some potentially amazing gigs. One of the gigs I am getting together is a fundraiser for our local PBS station MPTV in July. We will be performing with another local group called Wisconsin Hybrid Theater (Radio WHT) that does old-timey radio show adaptations and original plays. It is going to be a wonderful interactive show, so if you are in town make sure and sign up for our newsletter so we can let you know how to get tickets. We also have a dieselpunk & steampunk show coming up in June.


Back to blog stuff, I know a lot of you are on the verge of Viva Las Vegas 14. I envy you, really. I wasn't able to make the 350 followers I hoped for to have a mega-giveaway. But I am so close to 300 that I am starting to put together some vintage goodies for a giveaway then.

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