6 New Instagram Finds And One I Regret

Just to be extra clear, I am completely independent of the products and resources I recommend in my blog. I research and provide information to my audience of “women of a certain age” who share my values for supporting women-owned businesses, female entrepreneurs, sustainable businesses, and in most cases, the goods come directly from the manufacturer to your doorstep side-stepping the middle man. This makes prices much more favorable.

You know from my previous posts like this one, this one and this one I am a devout Instagram shopper for all of the above reasons and enjoy sharing my finds and breaking them down to make your own shopping experience more effective.

6 New Instagram Finds and One I Regret

I am mostly so pleased with the quality, service, and convenience of shopping online, but sometimes I get a clunker. And this one below was a real doozy.

I purchased 2 classic cashmere V Neck sweaters recently. One was from Everlane @everlane (a dependable resource for quality basics) and the other from a brand I never purchased from before titled Gentle Herd @gentleherd.

Gentle Herd defines itself as “a team with a passion for sustainable fabric and high-quality garments rooted in urban style’s practicality.” They go on to say, “We source our cashmere and wool from the world’s largest pasture – Inner Mongolia.”

Maybe women in Inner Mongolia are very skinny and petite because I ordered a size large from both manufacturers and The Everlane sweater is 4″ wider and 3.5″ longer than the Gentle Herd sweater.

In fact, the Gentle Herd sweater looks like it might fit a child. And their return policy is completely archaic. Meaning – I’ll have to gift it to someone. Thumbs down on Gentle Herd.

I don’t keep my Instagram finds to myself. Besides sharing them with my audience, I also buy for other important people in my life — like my husband and sometimes my daughter. Recently, my husband was in the market for some winter sweaters and I came across a label titled Quince @quince. They define themselves as “quality shouldn’t be a luxury. Our mission is to bring the world’s highest quality goods to everyone for an affordable price.”

So, I took a risk I bought him 3 cashmere sweaters and they are of great quality and fit him perfectly. Way to go Quince. They also make home decor items as well.

A recent discovery and new favorite is a site titled Tuckernuck. Apparently, Tuckernuck @tuckernut is an island off the coast of Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. The women who started the business used to vacation there in the summers growing up.

The back story is one we hear from a lot of female entrepreneurs. “We became fixated on creating a happy and authentic retail brand that embodied our classic style and spirit, rooted in sport, travel, family, friends, and celebration. So, we quit our day jobs in finance and retail and launched Tuckernuck together.”

I was in the market for a real shearling jacket and found it on Tuckernut. It was made of real suede and real shearling and priced extremely well for $395. So, I ordered an Extra Large because I wanted to be able to layer bulky sweaters under it, but it was way too big on me. The suede exterior was beautiful and shearling in the lining was great, but I returned it anyway because I found one on another site I liked even more.

Tuckernut Shearling Jacket – $395

Instead, I decided to splurge and used another Instagram resource titled Overland @overland. It’s been a family-run business since 1973 and they offer “superbly crafted outerwear, clothing, and home accents inspired by the American West and made from the finest sheepskin, leather, wool, and other natural materials. make authentic western outerwear.

When I first discovered them, I bought this sherpa half-zip jacket at the beginning of the season and I love it.

So, I decided to splurge and go with an authentic western-style rancher shearling coat from Overland instead.

Price $895

It checks all the boxes for the dream winter coat. It covers the bum, still short enough to get in and out of the car easily and it has a button closure – I hate zippers on winter coats. It’s called the Marleigh and I can’t wait until it arrives. I’ll keep you updated on the fit and overall look and feel.

Another tried and true brand I bought several pieces of athleisure wear from is Beyond Yoga @beyondyoga. I love the fact that they re-think yoga pants for women who don’t want to wear skin-tight leggings. This is especially true for those of us women of a certain age and if you need to run errands after class.

Recently, I bought 2 pairs of pants that are as good in the studio as they are on the outside. The first is a plain front pant, no drawstring, in a marbled fabric design. They can be worn to a class or with an oversized sweatshirt or a chunky sweater and boots. It’s called the Natural Marble Easy Weekend pant.

Price $99.00

The second is a silky texture pant that has a stomach flattening high waist, a jogger cinch around the ankle, and fits loosely through the thighs. I absolutely adore them – they make your legs look longer and thinner through the thighs. They are called the Speed it Up Jogger and you can find them here.


In my search for the perfect sweatshirt/sweatpant set, I found a new Instagram find Mate The Label. @matethelabel Their, clean, non-toxic philosophy is no joke. Their tagline is, “Organic essentials. Clean from seed to skin. Sustainably made in LA… MATE is a company founded by women, run by women, and focused on making products for all women — through every stage of life (that includes our sisterhood of “women of a Certain Age).”

Perfect sweatshirt – not too bulky
Leaner sweatpants than most shops offer

I hope you found my Instagram finds of assistance in navigating the immense amount of available Instagram resources appropriate for “women of a certain age.” I take time to look for apparel, home decor, and accessories that are age-appropriate, sustainable and support female entrepreneurship. If you buy any of these (I do not get paid from these brands), I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can email me at amyharrisonline.com or @amysandelmanharris

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Real Estate Agents Don’t Get The Respect They Deserve

You’d be surprised how hard real agents really work and how little they make on each transaction.I have heard people say many times that real estate agents are considered lower than lawyers when it comes to professions deserving respect. It’s true. Whenever buying a home comes up in informal conversations at parties, at the coffee shop or elsewhere, everyone has a personal story to share about working with an agent they felt was shady.

Yet, despite the profession’s poor reputation, there are a whopping 2,000,000 real estate agents in the US (according to the National Association of Realtors). After being an agent myself for 9 years, I think there are two significant reasons for the public’s distrust of the profession.

The first, is the inherent flaws in how real estate agents are licensed and governed. It’s incredibly easy to get licensed. All it takes is a 4-week training course and passing an exam which the instructor basically gives the answers to in class. You don’t need a college degree and once you are licensed you are considered an “independent contractor” and pretty much fly on your own.

The second reason the public has a negative perception is because they think agents are way over paid, when the truth is just the opposite. They watch television shows like “Million Dollar Listing” and “Selling Sunset” where all an agent does is show one house, put in an offer, and they make $150,000 in commission. Sell two of those a year and you are in the top 5% of earners in the USA. Easy money – right?

Wrong! The reality of being an agent is vastly different. The actual median sale price of a home in the US in 2019 was $312,100 (according to Zillow). Based on these facts, agents earn, on average, $5,426 in commission per transaction. They would have to sell 55 homes to get into the top 5%.

In the real world good agents work hard for their buyers and are not adequately compensated. A great deal of preparation goes into showing houses and unlike on the TV shows, buyers typically preview 10 homes before they buy one. What they don’t show is the amount of work an agent puts in before the showings. Activities such as:

  • Preparing a list of all homes in the buyer’s price range in their towns of interest
  • They hone it down based on buyer wants and needs
  • From the final list, the agent goes to visit each home personally to make sure it’s in a good location and in good shape.
  • Lastly, they analyze the market data on similar priced homes on the market and recent sales in each neighborhood to decide if the list price is high, low or well priced in case the buyer wants to make an offer

What the public also isn’t privy to is that the acceptance of the offer is merely a starting point. There’s a long road before the deal gets to the closing table with a myriad of steps, each of which can become a stumbling block to the sale going through. These include;

  • Negotiating price
  • Writing up and presenting the offer
  • Attending the general inspection
  • Reviewing the inspection report with buyer’s attorney to figure if there are issues that require attention
  • Attending the specialty inspections
  • Attending the bank appraisal
  • Settle on a final price.

Al of these work hours come at a high risk to the agent because a buyer does not have to formally commit to the agent until almost the end of the transaction. The buyer can pull out any time before then and the agent doesn’t paid anything. This flawed system sets up an inherent distrust in the buyer/agent relationship. On one hand, buyers wonder if agents try to push any house on them just to make a sale, while the agent is trying to decide if their buyer is wasting their time or are really committed to go through with the final sale.

I was a college educated sales executive at a major media company when I transitioned into real estate. I put in the hard work and my colleagues would tell you I was a natural. But, despite my skills and earlier sales experience it was still challenging to build a robust business after 9 years. I was blind sighted by the inherent risk I had to take on each transaction. Though I watched the “Reality” shows with skepticism, I found myself still disappointed in my income.

I found most agents I worked with to be honest and hard-working. They deserve our respect because they are taking risks every day, flying solo and often work hard on deals that don’t materialize. To get the respect they deserve, we have to fix the system governing residential real estate to make sure equitable agent / buyer relationships are put into place. Then all that’s needed is to insert disclaimers on the real estate “reality” television shows saying, that they are anything but.

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Pivoting During the Pandemic

Like many of you who are reading this article, I was laid off when the pandemic hit. It basically killed off my company’s main revenue stream so most people were laid off, the office closed and the remaining employees worked from home.

I spent weeks trying to find a new job through online sites like Indeed, Zip Recruiter and Linked In. I easily sent out over 100 resumes for positions that I specifically targeted for their location, type of work, required experience, and salary.

Yet with all of these filters, 9 out of 10 jobs popped up that didn’t fit most of my criteria. I have worked since I am 14 tears old (part-time), and full time since college graduation. I never left a job without having another one lined up. I am serious about my career and have always gotten a great deal of self-worth from it. I became less optimistic about my job opportunities and thought the time might be right to pivot during this unending pandemic.

For over 20 years my senior-level positions were at large media companies in New York City where I commuted from New Jersey (view my glamorous career in magazine publishing here.). The hours were long and also included attending lots of evening events. And did I mention I was also raising 2 kids at the same time?

Sometimes the hectic schedule I was keeping was just too much and I would cry silently on the train ride while commuting into NYC. I felt overwhelmed, overworked, and worried about successfully juggling all aspects of my life.

Now that I am home full time, albeit unemployed, with my kids now adults it is a huge change and I find myself once again feeling overwhelmed. How many hours a day does it take to send out resumes? No more than 3 or 4. To fill the gap, I make nightly gourmet dinners from the NY Times Cooking app, exercise daily so I am in the best shape of my life and I read one book a week.

Despite these activities, I still felt unfulfilled. I still needed a project or a challenge to focus on. I gave thought to my professional dreams from my early days. In my teenage years, I dreamed of being Barbara Walters or Diane Sawyer, becoming an anchor on network news. It seemed like you had to be smart and glamorous. At the time, I thought I was both.

However, in college, I didn’t gravitate towards journalism and the dream fizzled. But not the writing. I absolutely love to write and have always gotten accolades at my jobs for writing well.

How I Pivoted During the Pandemic

The incredible quiet caused by the quarantine gave me the space to self reflect on where I am and what the next phase of life could be. My “AHA” moment came and I thought this might be the perfect time to pivot to having my own business in writing by starting a blog. Why not? I can still job hunt, make dinner and exercise in between while writing stimulating posts about life, politics, travel, beauty, and more personal stories. I missed being overwhelmed — I guess you could say it’s how I idle.

This new gig has been going on for a few weeks and it forces me to think about what’s important to me, pick a topic, do the research and write the post. It’s almost like keeping a diary.

Of course, I had the good fortune to be collecting unemployment during the start-up timeframe which was sort of the seed money used to start the business and to meet my personal expenses.

This is a professional pivot that could end up making my dreams a reality or then again you might find me sitting behind a desk, bean-counting in the future. Stay tuned.


It’s been almost two years since I started my blog and by all measures, it is well received. I have a big following on Instagram, and about 40 subscribers. If you are a woman of a certain age and want to be informed and entertained subscribe to my blog now.

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