Home Ec At Home: How to Sell Clothes

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There are many second-hand shopping platforms that allow sellers to independently ship items to buyers (the most popular ones are eBay, Depop, Poshmark, and Mercari).

The first step in getting some cash out of your old clothes is to sort out your clothes into piles: keep and sell.

Once you have your sell pile, ideally, you should iron them or wash them if they are wrinkly or dirty so the buyer knows that they will receive an item in wearable condition.

Next, find a solid background with good lighting. It is crucial that you take these pictures when it is sunny outside or with artificial lighting so that they can easily be seen.
If you are able to, modeling the clothes is a great option to allow your customers to see what the clothing will fit.

You don’t need to invest in an expensive camera to take pictures– a smartphone camera will do just fine. Make sure that your shadow is not in the frame, and snap a picture with the clothing item centered in the middle. Many platforms show items in a square format, so you should switch your camera setting to square mode if needed.
If you are modeling the clothing yourself, you can invest in an auto-take handheld clicker, or use the self-timer.

Finally, post the picture with a detailed description highlighting any flaws, measurements, manufacture date, and size. Set a reasonable price, or purposely set it high and have buyers offer their best price. Keep in mind that many platforms have around a 10% fee.

The final step is to wait! If your item is sold, all you have to do is pack it up and print out the prepaid label that your selling platform may provide.

Happy selling!

-Irene K.

Book Review: The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Wind in the Willows is a classic novel by Kenneth Grahame.  The stories in the book revolve mainly around a mole, a water rat, a toad and a badger.  These main characters, along with the other animals, are anthropomorphic.  They interact with humans and dwell in harmony together.  Mole is a gentle and timid creature.  Rat is quite practical and pragmatic.  Mr. Toad is exceedingly wealthy and boisterous.  Mr. Badger is elusive, but extremely wise.  Their stories weave together throughout the book.

Mr. Toad is particularly amusing.  One day, he brings along Rat and Mole for an exciting trip with his horse and gypsy cart.  Suddenly, a “motor-car” drives by and knocks the gypsy cart to the side of the road.  Mr. Toad is amazed by this new machine.  He becomes obsessed with the idea of acquiring and driving a motor-car.  This new obsession leads to many wild adventures, and many smashed motor-cars.  Things really get out of hand when Mr. Toad goes so far as to steal a motor-car.  He lands in prison for the crime, and finally begins to realize that his careless behavior has led to destructive consequences.  Still, his daring antics are quite entertaining.

Overall, I think The Wind in the Willows is a delightful book.  I loved reading about the little adventures of Rat and Mole, as well as the ongoing story of Mr. Toad.  I especially enjoy the differing personalities of each character and how they interact with each other.  The author incorporates various compelling themes, such as friendship, greed and redemption.  This is definitely a book that I would recommend to readers of all ages.

-Oliver H.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame is available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Book Review: Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie

Amazon.com: Cards on the Table: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot  Mysteries, 15) (9780062073730): Christie, Agatha: Books

When Mr. Shaitana, a flamboyant yet slightly sinister collector and party host, reveals to famous detective Hercule Poirot his newest “crime collection” – that of criminals who have evaded justice – Poirot naturally has some misgivings. These suspicions come to a head during an evening bridge party with the “collected” people, when Shaitana is murdered in full view of the entire room, all of whom have a reason to want their host dead.

The interesting aspect of Shaitana’s bridge party was the even matching of detective to murderer – four of each. The former group consisted of the previously mentioned Hercule Poirot, the mystery writer Ariadne Oliver, Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard, and secret serviceman Colonel Race. In the latter group, Shaitana had “collected” Dr. Roberts, Mrs. Lorrimer, Anne Meredith, and Major Despard, each one with a criminal past.

Lacking a clear suspect, the detectives are forced to go far back into each person’s history to find the psychological connection between previous crimes and the murder of Shaitana. However, it quickly becomes clear that the murderer has only grown bolder with time, and as red herrings abound, the killer is not afraid to strike again…or again.

Cards on the Table is certainly a departure from Agatha Christie’s usual affair, but the plot is no less tightly woven, nor the end less surprising for it. Christie keeps the reader guessing throughout the novel until the dramatic final reveal. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of Christie, or investigative novels in general, because it provides a new perspective to crimes and motives.

-Mahak M.

Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie is available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library.

Writing Tips!

Photo by Judit Peter on Pexels.com

Creating things can be difficult.  Frequently, writers develop a lack of motivation or good ideas, known as writer’s block.  When in one of these moods it can feel impossible to begin writing, like your writing is no good, or that you will never finish on account of not finding the perfect synonym for “yesterday”.  

My brain’s most frequent writing issue is that I ramble.  My ideas come so fast, my fingers don’t have time to get them down on paper, and before I know it I’ve forgotten what I was writing and moved on to a completely different topic.  This leaves my writing sporadic, confusing, and without purpose.  

A tip to cope is letting go of your standards when you first start writing and entering a “brainstorming” mindset where your fingers can get down the most important parts of your ideas without having to worry about grammatical errors or better word choices.  This allows you to get more work done and gives you more material to work with during revision later.  You’ll also feel more satisfied with how much you were able to write and express yourself.  

This brainstorming mode can even take the form of a list or other grammatically incorrect forms.  Long run-on sentences branching out your ideas or even sketchy, bulleted outlines of stories all work to combat writer’s block, give you more motivation and satisfaction, and help you become a more confident and efficient writer.  You’ll be surprised how much more you’re able to get done!  Happy writing! 

-Giselle F. 

George and Lennie: Curley’s Context (Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck)

What if George from John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men was charged with the murder of Lennie? What if Curley, the Boss’s stuck-up son was testifying? That too for the prosecution? I wrote my interpretation of Curley’s character and stance below – I hope you enjoy it!


I first met George and that monster-of-a-man Lennie the day they arrived at the bunkhouse. They struck me as strange from the beginnin’–they travelled together, and George wouldn’t let Lennie talk. My old man told me that Lennie barely said five words to him too. I knew they would be trouble, and what happened in the bunkhouse a few days later only made sure of that. 

Some of the guys had started to make fun of me after I asked them if they’d seen my wife, and I saw Lennie smilin’. I got mad! Usually, I can fight a big man and ever’body will hate on the big guy, and I honestly thought that Lennie wouldn’t have the pluck to fight back, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Lennie wouldn’t raise a finger until I made a proper job of his face, but when George yelled at him to get me, that big hulk grabbed my hand and crushed it in his. Slim convinced me to say that I got my hand stuck in a machine, but for some’un like Lennie to insult my dominance is unacceptable.

The day we found my wife’s body, I instantly knew who did it. I knew he was trouble, and I was still real mad about my hand, but I never could’ve imagined that the beast would take my wife’s life. I shoulda been the one to shoot that Lennie, and it woulda been completely fair if I had! However, Lennie’s death by George’s hands is a show of George’s cruelty.  

George and Lennie seemed to have the relationship of a dog and his master, with the dog completely dependent on his master but available at his master’s every wish or disposal. Lennie was a big guy, and he could’ve used that strength to his advantage loads of times, but he wouldn’t defend himself, or even talk without George’s permission. Workers never travel together, and Lennie’s actions make me think that the two were only travellin’ together because they were either runnin’ from something, or because they had foul intentions. Why, they could have been plannin’ murder all along.

As for the question of George’s sanity, I definitely think that he was in his right mind while shooting Lennie–he was not at all insane. Like I said before, if the two were runnin’ from something, George must’ve killed Lennie after the incident to spare himself a whole lotta trouble. It’s obvious that George sees Lennie as a burden, and shootin’ him under the excuse of Lennie being a killer was the perfect opportunity to lighten George’s shoulders.

-Ayati M.

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Wow. As someone who spends hours having an existential crisis and constantly reads sad books to feel something. I think this book may have broken me.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab is an absolutely brilliant book, if you understand it’s simple complexities. However I will admit, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

The book is set around Adeline LaRue, an eccentric young women set on living her own life. No restrictions, no arranged marriages, and plain freedom. But in France, 1714 she’s forced to marry a man she doesn’t love. Desperate to escape she prays to the gods as her mentor, Estelle, taught her. However, she went against Estelle’s greatest warning. “Never pray to the gods that answer after dark.” A god answers Addie, granting her freedom and also immortality. The consequence, you might ask? She will live forever alone, without being remembered by anyone she’s seen or met. She will never leave a mark on the world.

When she turns to her village, no one remembers her. To them she is a stranger, a traveler, someone foreign and lost. But once she was a daughter, a friend, and now she is nothing. Desperate, she flees and decides to travel the world.

I’ll spare you the boring details because this book sadly has little to no plot. Instead you just watch a lonely girl wander the world, stealing to live, and slowly losing herself in the process. No one remembers her except for Luc, the god who cursed her. Who visits her every year on her birthday to try and claim her soul. But Addie hasn’t given up and refuses to die despite being alone.

But one day, in New York, March 13, 2014. The boy in the bookshop remembers her name. He remembers her. For the first time in hundreds of years, Addie hears the words, “I remember you.” Three small worlds, that tug Addie’s heart.

Because of all the people in the word who have forgotten Addie, the boy in the bookstore is someone special. Or at least- now he is to Addie. The rest of the story is a blur of tragic backstories, clothes tinged with alcohol, and running through the rain. Classic hopeless romantic tropes that may or may not have made me swoon.

But as I said before, this book will break you. Because what qualifies as love? Is it someone you have a connection with? Is it someone who you know everything about? Honestly who knows. However V.E. Schwab decided to write a triangle of sorts. It may be a love triangle between a god desperate to obtain her, a forgotten girl, and a boy who just wants to be loved. Or it’s just three “people” connected by horrible misfortunes. But none the less, it can only end in one pair.

So I have one question for anyone who wants to or has read this book. The same question I wondered after reading this book. Can you be manipulated into loving someone without knowing? And would you still love them?

–Ashley Y.

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab is available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

What You May Want To Know Before Watching Dune

The movie adaptation of Dune by Frank Herbert, which is directed by Denis Villeneuve, will be released in theaters on October 22 this year. The first movie is the first of a trilogy that will cover the first two dune books, Dune and Dune messiah. The book having 22 chapters and 412 pages. Dune the movie will cover around the first half of the book so around 11 chapters in 2 hours and 35 minutes.

Dune written in 1965, was in part inspired by The Sabres of Paradise by Lesley Blanch published in 1960. Dune is one of the most popular and influential sci-fi books of all time has changed sci-fi and set the standard for a great sci-fi book. Dune has been adapted into a movie before in 1985, where they tried to cover the whole book leading to the movie being a failure. This time with the movie only covers the first half might portray the complex story better.

*There may be spoilers ahead*The story focuses on the character Paul Atreides a thoughtful and quiet boy and son of Duke Leto Atreides. Duke Leto is the Duke of Arrakis. Arrakis is the planet most of the story takes place on. The nickname or other name for the planet of Arrakis is Dune. Arrakis is called Dune because the planet is almost completely covered in deserts.

The villain is Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, the Duke’s political rival and former owner of Arrakis. A power-hungry person he becomes the main villain trying to take control of Arrakis from the Duke.

Dune is expected to be a success, and from the looks of the trailer has great CGI effects. Do you think Dune will be a success or a failure?

-Luke G.

Book Review: American Betiya by Anuradha Rajurkar

American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar is a soft and bittersweet novel about an Indian-American girl’s journey through love and heartbreak.

When high school senior Rani Kelkar begins a romance with tattooed and moody school-bad-boy Oliver, she is forced to hide the fact from her Indian immigrant parents, and sneak around behind their backs, as she is not allowed to date yet.

At first, the relationship is perfect- Oliver makes her feel seen, makes her feel beautiful, in a way that no one has ever done before. But soon, Oliver’s problems with drugs and his family lead to him demanding more from Rani- pressuring her into situations she’s not comfortable with, and disguising increasingly alarming racial microaggressions as offhand comments and jokes. Eventually, things with Oliver come to a head- and Rani must choose between her first love and her family.

I really enjoyed this book, as it dealt with an issue I hadn’t really seen discussed in popular media before- the fetishization of women of color, and the seemingly harmless microaggressions and gaslighting they face. The content of the book really resonated with me as well- as a daughter of Indian immigrants, I fully understood Rani’s often-complicated relationship with her family, and what she initially saw in Oliver. Rani’s longing for India and her grandparents and extended family was a familiar feeling to me. However, Rani’s complete inability to recognize any sort of red flags in her relationship with Oliver was frankly frustrating. I understand that she was infatuated with him, but even then, she repeatedly brushed off or simply refused to acknowledge his questionable behaviors. Even so, this was an incredible read!

-Vaidehi B.

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This book is officially my new favorite young adult contemporary romance novel. It is the absolute cutest and most exciting read I’ve had in a while, so let this review be your wake-up call to go and find yourself a copy.

Anna Oliphant’s normal childhood in Atlanta, Georgia has been torn away from her ever since her father became a bestselling author. Sent away right in time for senior year, she now has to spend her last year of high school at a boarding school in Paris, France. Thus, leaving behind her best friend, Bridget and to-be dreamy boyfriend, Toph. This was the year she was going to finally get all the right people in her life, but now she has to start all over.

At the beginning of the book she finds herself in her new dorm at the School of America in Paris (SOAP) watching her parents walk out of the door. They leave her behind and abandon her to this foreign city where she can’t even speak French! However, as Anna has her first breakdown, Meredith, a girl from the dorm adjacent to hers, comes by to check up on her.

Meredith and her whole friend group are the people Anna hold close through her first few days at SOAP, and they soon become her best friends there. There’s Rashmi and her boyfriend Josh, but no one quite compares to Étienne St. Clair. When she first meets him he looks like a dream. The most perfect hair and devilish grin, his English accent and witty remarks. All the girls fawn over him, and for good reason, but there’s one thing that isn’t quite right. His flaw, his one letdown is that he already has a girlfriend.

So, as our emotionally-wrecked Anna longs for home she also finds herself appreciating the beauty of Paris. Late nights walking the streets, days spent at the movies, lab partners with you-know-who, the worst tragedies, and the most hurtful of betrayals, Anna truly experiences it all in the most romantic city on Earth.

I adamantly and seriously believe that anyone who even has the slightest interest in reading a rom-com turned book/epic boy-meets-girl should at least try to find a copy. When I tell you this book is phenomenal, it is phenomenal. It’s so phenomenal that I finished it during a 5-hour flight and could not put it down. It’s really that good. So, thank you author Stephanie Perkins for bringing this book and these characters into my life! Happy reading!

-Katherine L.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Argument: The Careless Consultant (Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare)

Cover of Romeo and Juliet

There is a reason why people often say they have “escaped into their favorite story” or “jumped into the pages” of a book. This is because the literary world is a place where writers express their thoughts, feelings, opinions, and imaginations so readers can discover them. Every piece of literature will exemplify different beliefs or opinions, but there are some things that stay the same–one of these is the respect for a mentor. In one of the most influential American novels, Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is the father to young Scout and Jem Finch, but he is also a teacher, a guide, and role model to his children. A mentor exemplifies leadership, righteousness, and a trustworthy presence, but the character of Friar Laurence is in stark contrast as he let two young children who looked up to him die by their own hands. William Shakespeare, in his tragic play Romeo and Juliet employs the character of Friar Laurence as the person responsible for Romeo and Juliet’s suicides in order to portray the detriments of an irresponsible and wrongly focused mentor.

Friar Laurence’s failed counseling is seen in his infatuation with the bigger picture, the larger impact, the greater significance. In this mindset, he fails to recognize the minute details and comparatively smaller consequences. When the excited Romeo arrives at Friar Laurence’s cell to ask the friar to marry him and Juliet, Friar Laurence disapproves, but later changes his mind. He shows no interest in the happiness of Romeo and Juliet; instead, he expresses his desire to end the feud between the Montague and Capulet families. The friar’s focus on the larger impact causes him to fail to see the impact of this marriage on Romeo and Juliet themselves. 

A sketch entitled "Friar Laurence gathering herbs" from Mary Evans Picture Library
“Friar Laurence gathering herbs” from
Mary Evans Picture Library

The character of Friar Laurence also exemplifies the trait of irresponsibility. As a respected teacher of both Romeo and Juliet, the friar must understand his role as a mentor to both children and be able to teach them to make responsible decisions. However, Friar Laurence exemplifies the contrary when Juliet arrives at his cell, desperate. She is engrossed in her dilemma of avoiding marriage to two men; moreover, she is grieving the banishment of Romeo. Despite Juliet’s hysterical state, Friar Laurence asks Juliet how desperate she really is, and proceeds to give her an outrageous solution, after Juliet’s “approval.” It is absolutely ludicrous to ask Juliet, in her present condition, for such an opinion. The friar demonstrates reckless thinking and proceeds to give Juliet a potion that will send her into a death-like state for hours without even attempting to discuss or reason another solution with her.

Despite the trust Romeo and Juliet placed in him, Friar Laurence is to blame for the suicides of Romeo and Juliet. Through his irresponsible mindset and wrongly placed focus on the larger impact of Romeo and Juliet’s actions, Friar Laurence failed at his role as a mentor. Unlike Prince Escalus, a merciful leader who well carries his responsibilities, Friar Laurence neglected his responsibilities of demonstrating proper decision making and instead offered an outrageous solution to a young girl who was unable to collect herself at the time. Unlike Atticus Finch, who paid proper attention to how his actions would impact his children, Friar Laurence disregarded the consequences of his actions on Romeo and Juliet and was instead consumed by the idea of him being the one to restore peace in Verona. Compiled by the pen of William Shakespeare, Friar Laurence well portrays the horrible consequences of failed mentorship.

-Ayati M.

Romeo and Juliet is available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.