Top 5 Websites that Thrill my Girly, Retro-Gypsy Soul

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Author: Kara Mae Adamo

Hello. My name is Kara Adamo, and I am an internet-shopping-addict.

They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, but I doubt that in this case. I am merely embracing the obvious: that the internet wizards have found a way to combat the original reason why I never shopped much before: I am lazy.

Now I don’t even have to get up to grab my Visa. Google Chrome and I have both memorized the number and the little security code on the back (thank god for passcode protections). I can literally sink lower and lower into my seat without so much as blinking more than necessary and I will get absolutely everything I could ever want or need.

Okay, so I take bathroom breaks.

And coffee breaks–which leads to more bathroom breaks.

My point is, internet shopping is not only mad-convenient, but opens up a whole slew of possibilities when it comes to the things you own. I live in Orlando, Florida. Mall at Millenia, in all of it’s infinite glory and splendor, sits not fifteen minutes from my house. I’m not lacking options here–but there are things you can find online that you just can’t find in any ole’ town.

I’m talking about the artsy stuff: the really spiffy things that strange people like me get all giggly and googly eyed over. Some of these sites are pretty well known–one or two of them seem to be hosted by a single artist. Either way, my closet is fuller and my apartment is getting prettier and it’s (mostly) thanks to the following websites:

ModCloth

I have a thing for vintage clothing. I just love ruffles and skirts and bowler hats. There is something so classy about it. If I look at pictures of my mother or grandmothers, I can’t help but feel they had a good idea of how to do it. I like the high waists and the high heeled shoes. If I am having an ugly day, I don a pair of pumps, a cute dress and curl my hair under and everything is somehow turned around. You can’t help but feel more cheerful.

ModCloth is filled to the brim with exactly that kind of stuff. Right now I have my eye on a red With the Breeze hat and a black and white Ruffle Your Feathers dress. I also like the Thoroughly Modern Musician Headphones in Raspberry.

The site offers free returns, shipping and exchanges and is full of some of the cutest clothing, accessories, and apartment junk I’ve ever seen.

Ragtrader Vintage

This is actually my most recent find. Ragtrader Vintage is a site where you can buy handmade indie retro accessories that are all beautifully crafted and incredibly, wonderfully unique. I love the compass cufflinks and the little pocket watch cameos. There is something so quaint and almost gypsy-like about this stuff and I think it’s fantastic.

Just Fab

Of all of the sites that have me itching for a fix, this one is probably the biggest culprit. In fact, there was a moment when I started writing this blog where I nearly typed “Hello, my name is Kara Adamo, and I am a shoe-addict.” I blame my ex, Rob, for this fixation. He bought me my first pair of Aldo’s and it’s been a spiraling whirlwind tour of high heals ever since.

Just Fab make this all much more severe by offering free shipping on items that you’re already getting a deal on. You can also buy handbags and accessories and they even give links where you can purchase the clothing the models on the sites all wear. It’s a girlie haven and I’m loving it.

The way the site works is that, when you join, you select a pair of shoes and fill out a style profile questionaire so they can create a boutique based on your likes and dislikes. You can shop outside the boutique and, if you have facebook friends on there, you can even peak into theirs.

All of the items on the site are $39.95 flat. The site is ever-growing, too. It seems like almost every time I visit, there is another collection and they are all updated every month (along with your boutique). You can even rate shoes that you do or don’t purchase so they can better cater the easily-viewed products to you and your personality. They are, in essence, marketing geniuses. And I drank the Kool Aid long ago.

Membership to this wonderous site is $39.95 a month and that amount goes toward a new pair of shoes that you can either redeem or not, depending on your preference. You also earn points by getting people interested and by buying shoes. The points add up to get credits and one credit is good for one free item on the site. You can also ask them to “skip this month” if you don’t think that you will be buying anything this month. Even if you “skip this month,” you can still buy shoes later.

One of my favorite things about the site is that you can purchase Iron Fist shoes for 60% off the retail price and still get free shipping. It’s pretty awesome–but this particular brand does sell out pretty quick, so if you join the site and they have a cute pair of Iron Fist shoes in your size, my recommendation is to use your membership credit on them immediately.

Direct From Mexico

I have a big beautiful empty apartment with no shelving. It’s a travesty. I have 1,200 sq. feet of space and all of it is occupied by books that are stacked up the the ceiling and art supplies that are backed up against a wall. I am literally that crazed artist type that lives in semi-organized chaos.

This needs to be fixed.

I used to have bookshelves, I just didn’t like them anymore. They were cheap and they worked for a short time, but I’m not in college anymore and I’m in the market for something a little more visually pleasing. I’m also quite the bohemian, so unique is key.

I found some really really spiffy bookshelves at Direct from Mexico. They are handmade, colorful, and beautifully carved. They remind me of the gypsy cart in the movie Stardust, which is a big plus in my book because if I could actually be a romanticized storybook gypsy, I’d do so immediately. There are all sorts of beautiful pieces of furniture, pottery, etc. on this site, and each piece is completely unique as its own work of art. They even do hammered copper! It’s well worth the look.

Etsy

If you haven’t heard about this one yet, I’m assuming you live under a bridge somewhere and have only recently resurfaced to reconnect with the outside world for a short spell before starting your second hibernation in a cave somewhere.

Etsy is amazing. It is an eclectic hodgepodge community of artists that sell their stuff online. On the same page, you can buy a vintage 1960’s metal globe, a collection of blue Vespa art, and herbal salves…and those are just the first things I saw when I looked it up five seconds ago.

Some of it’s junk. Some of it’s cool. Some of it is just really cool junk. Either way, if you haven’t visited the site, I’d definitely stop in. You can even get Ragtrader Vintage stuff on there, lol.

Punk.Com 

This site is pretty cool because you can get a lot of my favorite name brands all at the same place, like Iron Fist and Betsy Johnson. Shipping is cheap on here, too. You only pay $5 on orders under $75, and anything over that is free. It’s also a pretty good spot for shopping for men, too, and they have a pretty extensive cosmetics section.

You have to love a site where you can get a Joan Jett t-shirt, a Hell Bunny Evita dress, and a pair of Chelsea Crew flats all in one swoop.

__

So yeah, these are the sites that have caught my eye recently. They thrill my girly, retro-gypsy soul and they are definitely making my apartment and closet a bit more pleasing to the eye. If you like eclectic stuff with lots of color and character, I definitely encourage all of you to check these out.

Happy New Year’s, everybody.

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About Kara Mae Adamo

I have 11-1/2 years in the restaurant industry and spent my first semester in college supporting myself as a professional mural artist in Orlando, FL. I used to be a food and wine critic for My City Eats in Orlando, FL. I was a professional blogger for SOS eMarketing and the Senior Editor/Contributing Writer for The Gates of Seminole magazine and Gates Media, Inc. I now work for an Interior Design Company. We specialize in turnkey decor for vacation homes in Central Florida. On a more personal note, I'm basically trying to paint, laugh, sketch, write, rhyme, skim-board, sew, act, sing and dance my way through life--it's haphazard, it's often irrational, but it's exhilarating...and really, what else is there?

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