Tool of the Trade: When to Trust Online Reviews (Fakespot Review)

when to trust online reviewsI sometimes wonder, “What would I do without online reviews?” because I rely on them so much (for example, as a very frequent Amazon Prime user). When I’m looking for a new bra or shoes or a flash drive or a book (ha, remember when Amazon was about books?), I note the average rating and often read a few of the reviews. At Amazon, I’ll often use “4 stars & up” as a search filter. Recently, I was looking for something for undereye circles, and besides the usual suspects, my search turned up a bunch of products from brands I’ve never heard of — and they had thousands of positive reviews. (Some of the products appeared to be the same ones as others sold under different names, which seemed like a red flag). Around the same time, I came across a site called Fakespot, which proposes to solve the problem of how to spot fake reviews on Amazon and other sites. It quickly analyzes online reviews for Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor (especially relevant after its recent controversy), and Apple’s App Store, and grades each one from A–F. A indicates 90%+ reliable reviews and reviewers. After it takes into the account the real vs. questionable reviews for a particular product you enter, Fakespot gives you an “adjusted rating.”

I tested out Fakespot for a few of those eye serums I saw and got some interesting results regarding when to trust online reviews for beauty products:

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How to Cut the Cord: The Streaming Services And Devices to Consider

how to cut the cordCutting the cord and freeing yourself from that monthly cable bill is becoming more and more popular — people choose to do it not only to save money, but to avoid dealing with cable companies, who have earned their industry the title of most disliked in the country (along with ISPs). Kat recently decided to cut the cord, and I haven’t had a cable subscription since at least 2007. (My son probably doesn’t even know what cable is.) Still, finding out HOW to cut the cord can be a little nervewracking — so today we’re rounding up which streaming services you should consider, as well as which devices you may need.

At my house, we stream Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and we enjoyed a few months of Showtime … after I signed up through Prime Video and then forgot to cancel the free trial. We also use our huge DVD collection, borrow DVDs from the library (mainly Blu-ray), buy the Blu-ray versions of our favorite movies (I feel old saying those things), and watch various TV clips on YouTube, from Key & Peele to The Graham Norton Show. DVDs aside, there are so many great alternatives to cable that considering all the options can be really confusing. Still, that’s a good problem to have.how to cut the cord - image of a cable remote

Here are details of the main services and devices that can help you cut the cord for good:

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The Hunt: Classic Sheath Dresses for Work

classic sheath dresses for workSure, we all know what wardrobe essentials for work professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

For spring and summer, classic dresses for work are often the easiest thing to throw on — particularly if you keep a blazer and cardigan and a pair or two of classic pumps or comfortable heels at the office, you can almost create a work uniform from the sheath dress. (In fact, in our four-week work outfit challenge we dared you to try wearing the same sheath dress four different ways during the four weeks!) Particularly for summer, note that slipshorts are a reader favorite for comfortable layering under sheath dresses; if you want something to suck you in a bit more you may want to check out shaping shorts like these from Spanx. (If your office is extremely conservative, do check out our guide to pantyhose — and keep in mind that going sleeveless may be controversial in your office, so keep a cardigan or blazer close at hand if you’re new.)

Pictured above: some of our Hall of Famers! Clockwise from the largest: one / two / three

We’ve rounded up a ton of options below (including ones in a wide range of sizes, sheath dresses with pockets or sleeves, and more!) but I’d love to hear from you — what are your favorite dresses to wear to work in 2018? Do you feel like black dresses are classic — or is the color too heavy for warmer weather? Does your summer work uniform include a ton of dresses — and which are your favorites? 

classic sheath dresses for work in 2018

 

Hall of Famers: one / two / three / four / five

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The Hunt: Nude-For-You Pumps

Sure, we all know what wardrobe essentials for work professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

Tis the season, ladies — to do a nude-for-you pump roundup! As we’ve noted before, a shoe that is a close match for your natural leg tone is a great way to elongate your leg and make it look like it goes for miles — of course you can always just wear a beige, tan, or brown shoe as a neutral as well (regardless of whether it matches your skin tone).  We’ve rounded up something for everyone, hopefully — affordable nude-for-you pumps, dark brown pumps, light beige pumps, medium brown pumps, and some super light pink pumps for the pasty-legged among us (including me!). Readers, are you in the market for a new nude-for-you pump? Which ones did you wear into the ground last year?

Some Hall of Famers, pictured above (clockwise): one / two / three / four

Psst: looking for nude flats? Check this roundup.

nude-for-you pumps 2018

Hall of Famers, pictured above, top row: one / two / three / four // bottom row: one / two / three / four

For our featured nude-for-you pumps this year, read on after the jump…

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The Hunt for Jardigans: Jacket/Cardigans for Everyone

best jardigans for workSure, we all know what wardrobe essentials for work professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

I don’t know if the phrase “jardigan” was around before MM.LaFleur’s best-selling jacket/cardigan hybrid, but I do feel like they have not only made the phrase more common but in many ways set the bar for what to expect from a jacket/cardigan hybrid in terms of comfort, quality, and style. (At top, the two MM.LF jardigans: the shorter Sant Ambroeus, and the longer Woolf jardigan, both $195 and available in sizes XS–3X. Here’s our last discussion on the Sant Ambroeus.) Still, $195 is a lot to pay even for MM.LF’s beloved jardigan, so I constantly see readers searching for dupes or sharing notes on what was similar. So let’s go on a hunt today for jardigans, ladies, aka sweater blazers, knit blazers, and more… Which are your favorites? Where did you get your favorite jardigans for work, and how do you wear them?

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Tales from the Wallet: How Do You Store Your Bills, Receipts, and More?

how to store billsHere’s today’s topic, ladies: What are your best tips on how to store bills and otherwise organize your paperwork? How do you deal with the mix of paperwork, electronic documents, emailed receipts, and more? I describe my own record keeping system below, but I thought it’d be fun to see what other people do… 

I was 15 or so the first time I remember my parents talking about how to store bills, receipts, and other kinds of paperwork. By that point I already had savings accounts, and my mother also opened some early credit cards for me at various stores (thank you, Mom!) to start building my credit report. But it was probably when I got my first job that we actually sat down and started to talk about how to store bills, as well as other record keeping tips. Back then, my parents gave me a big subdivided redweld and suggested that each entity that I got bills and statements from should get its own little pocket. So my bank statements went in one pocket, my lifeguarding check receipts went in another pocket, and then my Gap card statements (or wherever) went in a third pocket. It was all very, very organized. Oh, and every time I made a deposit at my bank (or a withdrawal) I was supposed to enter it in the little checkbook register.

These days, I’ve backslid pretty far from that initial system for record keeping — but it works for me and my family. Here’s how I store my bills (both electronic and paper):

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