Tuesday, 22 April 2014

LIFE: Celebrating Vinyl - Record Store Day 2014

Record Store Day

Saturday saw the annual return of Record Store Day. If you're not aware, Record Store Day is a great day if you love limited releases, shopping in your local, independent record stores and especially love vinyl (you might remember my post regarding the day in 2013). The list of special, one off releases tends to come out a month before the day, you eye up what you'd love and cross everything in the hope that the record store(s) by you might have something. 

We'd originally planed to shop at UHF in Royal Oak, but after driving pass the crazy long queue at 8.30am, we decided to go to Flipside in Clawson which wasn't opening until 10am. So we spent over an hour, somewhat cold standing in what turned out to be pretty close to the front (we were like 15/16 in the line). While the sun was shining and the skies blue, Michigan skies can be very misleading this time of year, and dancing on the spot for warmth was the order of the day. Once the doors are open it's pretty much an orderly scrum and you have to grab something when you see it. It's all so very hit and miss.

So what did we get?

Record Store Day Record Store Day

The biggie was the 30th anniversary special edition glow in the dark Ghostbusters theme 10" record - it is pretty awesome and has one of Joe's favorite films, I'm glad we managed to pick it up. It comes with the original version, instrumental and a couple of dance/dub versions. Plus like I said it GLOWS IN THE DARK!! And yes the Ghostbusters film is 30 years old this year, doesn't that make you feel old?!

We're both fans of The Zombies - the English rock band who formed in 1962, with The Beatles they were one of the big British Invasion Groups of the 60's. They had two special, limited re-release vinyls for Record Store Day - Odyssey & Oracle (2,500 copies) and The Zombies (1,500 copies) as we've never managed to come across any Zombies records at estate sales, we finally have some to add to our collection. 

Record Store Day Record Store Day Record Store Day

Joe's a Jimi Hendrix fan - so the Jimi Hendrix Experience Live at Monterey was a must grab, and although I'm not a big Hendrix fan, it's a pretty cool album, it's also 280 gram vinyl - which if you're into such things is a big deal, it's set at the quality of an audio file although you need a top notch record player to get the most out of it. Also all our purchases came home in a pretty neat illustrated bag by Edward Ubiera - which you can see partially in the first photograph.

Sadly the increase in the day's popularity wasn't matched with quantity of vinyl available. Tweets, facebook comments and blog posts from record listeners and collectors seem to be echoing for a need for change in the future. Both Broken Record and Nailler 9's underlying message suggest RSD should be less about inferior titles and the quantity of them available and more about supporting the local, truely independent record stores throughout the year. Personally I hope next year they fine tune the number of listings and increase the number of pressings, which I know won't make them has "limited" it would allow more people the chance to find the record(s) they want after queuing for hours. As it stood on Saturday, If there's more than three people queuing in front of you wanting the same record, you have little hope.

Don't get me wrong I love the experience of Record Store Day, getting to meet some like minded people and support local record stores (which we do throughout the year anyway), I'd just like everyone to have a better chance of getting what they want.

What were your experiences with Record Store Day 2014? What did you buy or wish you could of got your hands on? Or just tell me what music you love - I'd love to hear!

Blogger Tricks

Monday, 21 April 2014

LIFE: April #PhotoAnHour

Back in February I took part in my first of the #PhotoAnHour monthly challenges organised by Jane, I sadly missed March due to being at a home buyer course so photos were somewhat impractical, but luckily, Saturday was busy busy for things and places for what we go up to.

With Saturday being right before Easter, estate sales where few and far between and with Record Store day we turned our attention to other things, hopefully this'll give you a peek into a different kind of Saturday for us!


8am // spring means finally digging out my old Converse, and when I say old they are like nine years old and somewhat falling apart. But they are so darn comfy. But I forgot how cold my feet feel in them when it's not super warm out.  

9am // after driving around we decided to start queuing up at Flipside record store for Record Store Day, they didn't open till 10 so we spent over an hour on not the warmest of mornings - Michigan skies are deceiving. 

10am // just a little after 10am we came out with all our vinyl goodies in a fancy Record Store Day bag, we also stocked up on some much needed 12" protective covers and such - I'll be sharing the vinyl purchases in a post later this week.


11am // sadly Flipside didn't have the Cake boxset so we headed to Royal Oak and queued outside of UHF (they didn't any left by that time, sigh). I did notice this neat Record Store poster in their door though, sadly since noticed the lack of female musical artists in it though.

12am // waiting for a exceedingly long train to cross Woodward up in Ponitac, we were driving up to poke the Homes for Humanity resale store to see their prices on electrical appliances that we're going to need to buy when we buy a house. 

1pm // back home after picking up a meal from steak and shake for lunch - awesome place for a burger (they also do good milkshakes just so you know)


2pm // lazy afternoon started catching up on twitter, blogs and ebay, record player on, glaring at the tetris pile of moving boxes in the far distance

3pm // starting to stitch a blackwork piece I designed around the state map of Michigan for another embroidery hoop design for myself

4pm // currently playing Led Zepplin II, having a stackable record player we also had Blue Oyster, Black Sabbath and some of Ozzy's solo work all playing prior


5pm // snack before we headed out, didn't particularly like then when I first moved, but Pop Tarts have certainly grown on me. I'd highly recommend the Cookies and Crème flavour. Nom.

6pm // heading north to the Palace in Auburn Hills, if I'd of taken it a couple of minutes prior, you'd of seen the weaving jackass driver that was on the road too- there's many jackasses on the roads in these parts

7pm // took our seats for the Harlem Globetrotters verses the All Stars game which was a pretty fun evening (again, there's another post with more pictures lined up)

The rest of the night was spent at the game until just before 9, eating a super late tea at McDonalds on the way home, seeing the return of my cold and watching Scrubs. Another highlight - Skid Row favoriting one of my tweets, it's the little things that's for sure!

You can always check out the #PhotoAnHour tag on twitter to see what everyone else involved got up to!

How did you spend your Saturday?

Thursday, 17 April 2014

ZOO TIMES: Baby Red Pandas

Red Pandas Red Pandas Red Pandas Red Pandas Red Pandas Red Pandas

There is nothing cuter than seeing a couple of nine month old Red Pandas. For the first time we managed to catch them playing as they were brought back onto the exhibit at the Detroit Zoo on our last visit. Ta-Shi (mum) and Shifu (dad) had their first litter together in June of 2013, they were first announced as male, but in fact they are both girls and are spending their time occasionally outside in their exhibit before they both go off to another zoo for breeding programs.

As Red Pandas are on the vulnerable species list due to deforestation, they are selected into breeding programs as soon as they are born and despite their name, they aren't closely related to the giant Panda. Slightly larger than you domestic kitty, they mainly snack on bamboo but are omnivorous creatures. Typically they are largely sedentary begins and enjoy their own company and normally when we visit in the summer months they are lost high up in the trees so to be able to seeing all four of them out and playing, was a very rare treat indeed. Contrary to the norm, Shifu a first time dad has apparently been a bit of a hands on father with his babies, mother is especially playful as you can see in many of the photographs she actively plays.

Aren't they all just adorable?!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

EBAY: How To Price and List to Sell on Ebay

I thought I'd share some of my ebay wisdom, I've occasionally done things like this on the blog in the past, but it's high time for a bit of an in depth look on how to word and list your items so that they actually sell. To give you some background I run an ebay store and generally spend hours on the site daily listing, researching to relisting items, I've come across ways and means to get the most from your listings and hopefully they'll help you regardless of if you're an active ebay seller or you just list when ebay throws some free listing safter you've had a clear out.

So many times people share or I see listings that just lack the key information buyers are actively searching for they basically tell you nothing and it's any wonder the item sells. There are millions upon millions of listings upon ebay at any one time, you need to know how to make yours stand out through great photographs, full descriptions or free shipping.

So let's start at the beginning with the listings title. 

Full, concise key word heavy descriptions are your way to get your items into the search results. You need to cram everything in - colour, size, brand, date (if applicable), fabric, company. Take for example your selling an Old Navy tee - simply saying "Old Navy tee" might get you some views, but "Old Navy Tee Green Striped Medium 36" Bust Cotton" probably will get you more.

Next up are photographs, you can never have to many. Photograph the front and back of everything, tags and all flaws or issues - all of which need to be noted in your selling pitch - the description. You're photographs should be taken in a well lit place, keeping the item as true to the real colour as possible, this isn't the place for showing off your photograph editing and effect skills.

So you have your photographs and you're ready to get to the meaty part of the listing itself.

Selling on Ebay

Ebays made a push the last couple of months to make sure sellers are filling out the category listings. While they can be a pain to fill out and ebay often forgets them when you're relisting, they are basically the mini searches buyers can click (say colour, used/new) to narrow down their searching for a specific item. Sometimes there will be categories you just can't fill out because you don't have the information, just do all that you can or type in unknown.

Now the description - you'll find some sellers cram this with every piece of information, some barely say anything. What I do is repeat and elaborate what's in the title, but what else should you include? Well think about;
  • Measurements - not just the clothes size, actually measure and mention the length, waist- actual figures are better then just saying "medium" as as all know how much store size differs
  • Colour - now colours don't always sure up true in photographs so describe the colour as best you can - not need to be all fancy just pale, dark, medium
  • Issues - noting any issue is super important, it pays to be honest - mention tears, scuffs, stains etc
  • Extra details - is it still sealed? New in it's original box? New with tags? Heavily used? With or without instructions?
Selling on Ebay

While I know it's super tempting to start everything at 99p/c or lower, you really might be underpricing your items, especially when you factor in both ebay and paypal fees alongside the cost of buying your shipping materials - you might end up loosing money. And do you really want that dress going for 99c/p?! Make sure to use the search facilities yourself that ebay provides to check the price of what an item, or similar items have sold for in the past, or if they sell at all. Start the bids at a price you would be truly comfortable at parting with the item.

If you're in it for the long haul, becoming a top rated seller is another way to grab a buyers attention by getting your listings higher in the "best match" offerings, but that takes time and is also dependent upon your return policy (you have to expect returns), feedback scores and your handling time. Free shipping can attract some buyers however you need to factor in the costs in the selling price, but in honesty, if you have high price items you might be better off considering selling via the buy it now option. That's probably too much of a gloss over with regards to stores and buy it now options but if you're interested I can whip out a post about those alone just let me know!

Do you sell on ebay? What are your tips and experiences? Feel free to ask me any questions below or through twitter!