Saturday, September 17, 2011

Our Sisters' Keepers (Some Thoughts)

This has been a rough week for us, hasn't it? Most of us are now well acquainted with the details of the scandal surrounding the now defunct blog, Anthroholic and its author, Kim (if not, read here and here). Neither Kathryn nor I were personally involved with Kim's personal shopping service, so can't speak from experience, but as is true for many of us, we liked Kim and her blog (and we're willing to admit it - she had cute outfits), and even though we didn't really know her and had only limited interactions with her (via blog comments, the occasional tweet, and one or two emails), we thought we knew her, and as such trusted her.

It's a little devastating, and queasy-in-the-stomach-making, to know that one of us (is there still an "us"? I hope so...) could do this to others of us. I have no idea what Kim's motivations were, so will make no statements regarding those. I am really and horribly disappointed, though, and if I'm being totally honest, very put-off by all of it. In light of what's happened, I've come to the realization that I really perceived our little niche blogging community, bonded by our shared love of pretty clothes, as an anomaly in an otherwise very catty, snarky, and often aggressively harsh online reality. I really valued the fact that we were so nice. In fact, I have repeatedly explained the appeal of the Anthro-blogging community to non-believers (haha) by describing a group of women who were supportive of each other, non-demeaning, kind, caring, trustworthy, intelligent, and appreciative of the variety of perspectives we could offer each other regarding style, body shape/size, and life experiences.

This week, has, unsurprisingly, totally shaken my perception of who we are as a group. And I wouldn't be completely honest if I didn't tell you that both Kathryn and I have both wondered whether we should just stop. Blogging that is. What's it for? What's it worth? Why is it important? Are we nuts to be doing this (the peeps on GOMI seem to think so)?

And the fact is, that as much as part of me wants to just hit the "delete" button, and pull out, the truth remains that the community we have here is real. It's not virtual. It's not make-believe. It's people and shared interests, affection, and respect. Those things are all important. We've all invested lots of time, effort, and work in building this fun, creative, sharing place, and that's a worthwhile endeavor.

I love that when I started this blog with Kathryn, a few months after giving birth to my second child, still carrying post-pregnancy weight, awkward and eager and (very often) silly (something that hasn't changed much), no one said, "You're ridiculous. Your body is soft and pudgy, and you're badly in need of a haircut."(haha, something else that hasn't changed.) Do you know what people said instead? "You look great in that!" "Thanks for sharing these reviews!" "I loved this post!" "You made me smile today." "You two are great."

There are so few places in life where we can feel safe, respected, and valued this way, by other women. So often, women and girls can be really adversarial with each other - snarky and cutting and critical and exclusive. Working in education, particularly with topics surrounding school climate, bullying, and safety, I never fail to notice how common the problems with "mean girls" can be. For whatever reason, girls (and women), intentionally or unintentionally, tend to create hierarchical, exclusive (meaning we select who's in and who's out) social groups. We also tend to use social-emotional tactics to punish each other, when we feel someone has broken a group norm. Hence, the "mean girls" behavior and typing.

I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this, except to say, we are our sisters' keepers. We owe it to each other to hang in here, be more mindful, more supportive, and more reflective about the way we interact, the way we motivate each other, and the way we speak to and about each other. We should continue to be inclusive and welcoming. We are a real community, populated by real people with real relationships and shared interests. We should be able to offer help to each other and feel able to ask for help when it's needed.

With a title like, "In Pursuit of Pretty Things," it's hard to be more than a blog about shopping and style. But when I wrote the very first post for it, over a year and a half ago, I rather hoped that it would be more than that. And maybe there are some structural changes that can be made here to help facilitate this. However this may happen, we want to say that we hope we all come through this, somehow the better for it.


Hi. Kathryn here.

I'm not really sure what I can say about this whole situation that hasn't already been said so eloquently by Anjali, Jess, Tara, JG, Carol and seemingly countless others. I'm a little tired of thinking about all this, to be honest.

I agree with Carol - this whole incident is a good reminder (to me, at least) to be mindful of my own behavior. There are times that my words get away from me, and I know I need to take a good look in the mirror and make sure my own behaviors and attitudes are encouraging and that I'm mindful of the snark. Sometimes I do okay, other times I don't. I need to fix that ratio.

Anyway, this isn't meant to sound flippant. But I feel like my feelings about this entire incident can be summed up though an ending of a particular episode of Firefly.

{If any of you haven't seen this episode in the 9 years since it first aired, I guess I should warn that there are spoilers ahead. Sorry, but I need to spoil the episode to make my point.}

In the episode, "Ariel" - Jayne betrays fugitives Simon and River to the Alliance, even though Mal has already agreed to keep them under his protection on his ship. Interestingly, Jayne ends up confessing that he did it for the money:

"The money was too good," he said. "I got stupid! I'm sorry, okay?"

Mal's speech to Jayne at the end of the episode is the kicker, to me. Even though Carol or I or several others have never used her personal shopping services and even though our limited experiences with her were largely pleasant, this next interaction illustrates how I feel about what she did to others:

Jayne, to Mal: "What are you takin' it so personal for? It ain't like I ratted you out to the Feds!"

Mal: "Oh, but you did. You turn on any of my crew, you turn on me!"

Mal concludes: "You did it to me, Jayne. And that's a fact."

This blogging community - you guys - are kind of like Mal's crew, to me. As...cheesy...as it may sound, you're my little bloggie family. And anything that's done to you, whether we know each other or not, is done to me too. And I think that's why I'm so bothered by all of this. And it makes me realize how important it is to treat everyone with respect, acceptance, and trust.

50 comments:

  1. carol - what an empowering speech. i know niche blogs are hard to propagate but you guys have great supporters. i'm shocked and didn't know this happened either until i read your post but that's upsetting. the blogosphere is really built on trust. but just because some people slipped up on their morals doesn't mean all bloggers are materialistic consumer-frenzied shopping addicts. we help each other grow. kathryn - i'm glad you view your community as a family. an apt quote. keep on keepin' on !

    www.pandaphilia.com

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  2. Firstly: there's a definite Mean Girls thing going on. I wish we could weed it out, but I think it's just one of those things. Like you, I've always loved the overwhelming niceness of our little online community. Snarky comments were rare and usually not left by anyone we knew. The fallout from Anthro-gate has shaken this a bit, but I'm hoping that those of us left standing will be better than ever about perpetuating not only the niceness factor but also just the honesty one. 
    On a less serious note: Kathryn, I lurve your Firefly references!

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  3. C & K...thank you. I have definitely had the thought too. "Should I just hit delete and forget about it all? After all, it *is* kind of silly. I feel so ridiculous." But then I remembered all the wonderful interactions that I've had in the community. I'm totally shocked and shaken over this whole thing, but I think eventually things will return to normal and the rest of the net will get back to ignoring us again. 

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  4. I think it's great the community is nice overall, but I think it's also the apparent niceness that caused a lot of people to feel that they can't express what their real experiences were with Kim for fear of repercussions because she was so influential in the community. It's sad that it took an outside blog to blow the lid on the whole scam. 

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  5. Like you ladies, I've run through a gamut of emotions over this - surprised myself with how I felt. Initially I was very disappointed, surprised. I still feel bad for those who have been directed affected. Now I have to admit my emotions are turning to annoyance and even anger - I think it's taken a lot to build this little niche style blogging community where we can share advice and inspire each other, why the hell are we letting one person ruin it?! True, I can only speak as a bystander to this whole drama, but shoot, let's take our time if we need it, reassess things if we have to, and then move on! I don't really know Kim, I have no idea what her motives are, but she did something sh!tty to a whole lot of people - and she's wasted more moments of my life now than she deserves, I'm over it.

    (Sorry for ranting here on your blog - if you gals aren't comfortable with this comment, feel free to delete it).

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  6. Sara-You, Me and AnthropologieSeptember 17, 2011 at 6:50 AM

    Your post shed some light on what has been a very dark week for me (and I'm sure many others) :) 

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  7. I'm late to the game apparently and learned about all of this through your blog this morning. I'm just as stunned as I'm sure everyone else is. But the feelings of safety can't be lost. You ladies are blogging from a place of truth, and so am I and all we can do is continue to move forward from here. It's hard to trust people you only know via the internet, and things like this only make it harder. But if at the end of the day we can look at ourselves and know that we've been true from the beginning, and continue to do what we've always strive to do, than we are still doing what we love :) ( Also, you ladies are just to inspiring to stop now!) 

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  8. As Guest has said, many are of the opinion that the "community's niceness" was what was to blame for perpetuating the wrongdoing. Honestly, maybe that's partially true, but I'm happier being part of a community that's a wee bit nicer than necessary, than one that's a lot meaner than necessary. At least with the former, once  the sh*t finally hits the fan, I feel like I still have a somewhat safe place to retreat to, and women whom I can lean on for support. Thanks for this positive spin on the matter.

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  9. I completely agree - it is sad. And I think it's an indication that our community was not as safe as we actually perceived it to be, because in a place of true safety and trust, it's _uncomfortable_ but still _acceptable_ to speak up about things that aren't right for some reason. I'm really hoping that we take this moment, as a group, to evaluate our norms and transition towards a more thoughtful and reflective stance on our interactions here. I don't necessarily know if that means we should ever be able to say, "You look like a cow - I can't believe you went out in public wearing that f---ing ugly outfit." But we should be able to say, "I'm not entirely convinced that's your best color," or "It may be the way the photos are taken, but this might not be the best cut for your figure. I think you'd look fantastic in something with a more defined waist."

    And we should definitely be able to say, "I cannot recommend doing business with this person. I did not have a good experience with her, and that is a result of A, B, and C behaviors/actions."

    Fingers crossed that we get there. =) 

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  10. When this whole thing came out, I was saddened and shocked. But with such a big community, I realized,  you just cannot avoid bad apples. What eventually shocked me more, was the number of people that considered this to be a "punishment" of sorts for our shopping habits. Sure, this whole thing started because of a shopping service, but scams and frauds come out all the time. People have used charity fronts as a way of milking people of their money. Would you stop giving to charity? Madoff famously stole millions from people who wanted to invest their money. Would you stop investing and hid your stash under the mattress?
    Yes, our obsession with an obscure albeit alluring store is silly. But it provides a respite to our otherwise busy, complicated lives. Personally, I had to quit my career to homeschool my son due to various issues. And if obsessing about a sweater is my way of blowing off steam, it should be nobody's business.
    And the point that I wanted to make with my comment is. Please guys, do not go away. I know I am not commenting here, but reading your posts provides a moment of smile in my life and I don't want this to be taken away from me. After the Anthro gate exploded, I took several off my list of favorite blogs, but You are  my bloggie family, and I would terribly misssed you :(

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  11. Thank you for writing this eloquent post from both of you. Thank you also for citing and linking my input on the matter.

    I think the issue now is where to go from here. A lot of us are wondering whether blogging is a worthwhile pursuit and whether our community is as facile and fragile as the scrutiny of digital mass media (coupled with the stomach-sinking details of what happened) has made many of us feel. I know I will keep blogging but I am neither high profile nor exclusively an anthroblog.

    Still I feel allegiance and membership to the community. I feel invested in it and as a scholar of the history of technologies and communication, I believe strongly that digital communities have become as legitimate as "traditional" social circles. I worry that this will provoke jadedness and cynicism within our group. And virtual or not, for me this circle has felt very real.

    In fact I was just saying to Chris that if I end up going with him to his field's major conference this March (held in San Diego) that I'd love to catch up with some of my blog friends. As silly as that might sound to some, I feel kinship with the women that inhabit our corner of the blogosphere, especially the ones who regularly share aspects of their thoughts, politics, interests, and life in addition to the contents of their closets. So, selfishly I hope that you and many others who are contemplating whether to continue keep on keeping on.

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  12. I agree, I don't think personal attacks should be allowed but people should feel comfortable giving constructive criticism or suggestions. 

    I think it's a good thing the truth came out now even though it hurts, it removes a bad apple from the community and people can be reassured this behavior will not be tolerated. 

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  13. Beautiful post... it made me laugh and it made me get a little teary.  You are both so right.  This is a group of women who respect each other and hold each other up, not bring each other down.

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  14.  

    I'm a big lurker, haven't commented much over the years but
    I just want to say you guys are obviously good people and it shows very
    plainly.  Also I'm pretty sure I'd be Kathryn's BFF in real life and we'd
    watch Firefly and Star Wars all day :p

    Kidding aside, I've seen some nasty stuff go down that I found really
    disheartening.  Yes, the Kim debacle was awful, and I'm very sorry for
    those affected but I'm a fraud examiner and honestly the whole thing barely
    made me blink.  I'm mainly upset by the mean girl high school stuff going
    on.  I finally weeded out all the people making nasty, passive aggressive
    comments to others in this community.  The thing is, you can only hide who
    you are for so long and that goes for meanness as well as criminality. 

    I look forward to reading your blog as long as you guys have one!  As a
    lurker I do appreciate all the work people put into these things, it can't be
    easy.  I'm going to try and comment more to show my appreciation.

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  15. One person should not ruin it for everyone.  As Adiaphane pointed out so beautifully in her latest post, people have to realize that there are real individuals behind each carefully crafted blog entry.  I think the main thing that I really love about the Anthro (and co.) blog community is the connections that I've made with smart, funny, fashionable, and thoughtful women that feel free to share some aspect of themselves with everyone else.  

    Kathryn and Carol, I've always loved reading your entries, from light-hearted to serious, and I look forward to your future posts.  I am sad that many women are second-guessing themselves and their blogs because of everything that has happened.  This whole debacle has shaken a lot of people, but I do hope that some good can come out of this; however, I think it is wise to remember that as with any friend, relationships take time and trust needs to be earned.  

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  16. I hope we don't lose to many blogs to this- it IS a wonderful community, and that sharing of ideas is so rich- the idea of someone deleting their blog is so sad and final and all those conversations are silenced.  I still miss anthropologie girl!  And I agree with Mary that it is definitely not all about sick shopping overload- in many cases it was people just looking for help to find an item or two.  Yes, there is often a mania around sale day etc, but we are responsible for we what do ourselves, and the thrill of the hunt is part of the fun of anthropologie!

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  17. Hopefully I'm not misconstruing your point Carol, but one of the reasons why I love blogging is that it's so not important. It's a relief for me from my real life (and real job) which are considered "mission critical," and where every step I make are scrutinized by family, friends and coworkers. Blogs are still like the Wild West in many ways. Anyone can become a blogger -- all they need to do is sign up and create a page. That's a wonderful thing! It just means there are also downsides that can rear their ugly heads.

    This event has shaken me in that our readers didn't feel comfortable questioning one of us out loud. That's wrong and something we need to rectify. But call me naive, I still trust in the blogger relationships I have. I will not turn my backs on any of you because of one bad egg, and while I may be a bit more skeptical and deliberate in the future I will not stand still while the world around me continues to move. I believe in the relationships I've built and those I've chosen to avoid. And even for the ones I've avoided there are olive branches and ways to build and move forward. All good things in time. We should learn from this event but we should not turn our backs on each other or become skeptics to the point of meanness. Trust that the cream rises to the top.

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  18. Hello.  I'm not an member of the Anthro community.  I don't have a blog of any kind.  I am simply a reader who enjoys your blog.  I don't comment too much, but I wanted you both to know that I'm glad you've decided to keep your blog going, despite the unpleasantness that has surrounded your community.  I know that there are those out there who believe fashion blogs are silly or frivolous, but for someone like me, they are a light in my day.  

    In Pursuit of Pretty Things was the very first blog of any kind that I had read.  I don't recall how I came to find it, but let me tell you, it was like a much needed friend who had finally arrived.  Maybe that sounds silly, but that's how I remember feeling that late night I first came across it.  It's been over a year since I first read your blog and about a year and half since my only child was diagnosed with autism.  I remember those first months after his diagnosis as being some of my darkest days.  Any parent of an autistic child will tell you that it is a struggle to accept the diagnosis, and I was no different.  It felt as if someone had died, yet no one had.  My life quickly became consumed with behavior therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy.  My days were very, very long and it was if my life was just autism.  Then, very late one night, I found your blog.  It was so wonderful! It provided me a respite from all things autism, even if it was just for 5 minutes. I enjoyed seeing the beautiful clothes, how you each styled your outfits, and I really loved the fun and witty style of writing the two of you are so adept at. More than once I found myself stifling a laugh so as not to wake my sleeping husband. Your blog was and is something I looked forward to at the end of each day.  It is a beacon of light and normalcy in a life that had been turned upside down. 

    So, if you and any of the other bloggers in your community wonder if it's worth it, if it's important, I for one, can say it is.  Maybe not to everyone, but you make a difference in my world, and I can't imagine I'm the only one. 

    Thank you.

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  19. Wow, I had no idea. Makes me think twice about trusting people -- something I've learned the hard way a few times. But you know what? You are a fabulous human being Carol, and Kathryn too. And community is whatever you ask of it to be. So I think it can go on thriving. 

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  20. First, I LOVE the Firefly reference. I got giggly with nerdiness when I read it. (But quickly snapped back to reality when I remembered the sobriety of this post).

    I, too, have wondered if I should hang up and stop posting. I mean, I knew her even less--and I'm not in any position to truly comment on the situation. Yet, I still felt a little betrayed. Like my little naive bubble got popped. I think that blogging makes us so vulnerable--and we tend to trust others that have let us into their lives. There's the understood trust--we're sharing pictures of ourselves, information about our lives, and even some of our most intimate thoughts. Our immediate reaction is to assume everyone else who blogs feels the same. You two put it beautifully. Thank you for sharing!

    Whitney - Between the Lines

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  21. I was very moved by your post and thank you for sharing. I, too, am a mother of a young boy with autism. A condition like that in someone we love can be very devastating and can feel very isolating. You are not alone in this and my heart is with you. Like you, those daily struggles have also made me appreciate this blog all the more. We all have dark parts in our lives and challenges, whether its in our jobs or personal lives. There's nothing wrong in "pursuing pretty things." It's about finding joy in the little things because there are so many ugly big things out there. It's about trying to feel good about ourselves, wanting to treat ourselves (and each other) well because we deserve it. It's about survival. Kathryn, Carol, what you do with this blog is not small. Yes, in the grander scheme of things it won't lead to a cure for cancer or autism. But we need levity in our lives and beauty. I think one of the reasons this has upset so many in this "community" is while we were celebrating beauty, something ugly was occuring behind the scenes, a wolf in sheep's clothing as it were. I feel deceived about Kim as well, not because I used her services, but I too bought into a persona that was not real. Or, rather, a dark reality was brought into an otherwise sunshiney world. But I think we can get over this. It's good to have healthy debates and constructive criticsm and remain civil. It's good to keep a good head on our shoulders yet remain trusting. It's great this has caused some introspection, but I for one would like the good things, the pretty things, to continue. (Let's all get together again soon. I liked our San Diego meet up in June.)

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  22. I agree! Anthro Closet Chaos (http://anthroclosetchaos.blogspot.com/) just had a post about constructive criticsm

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  23. I really agree with you here, Carol. A little constructive (read: nice, useful and coming from a good place) criticism should never be seen as anything more or less and people should be reasonable enough to take it for what it is. I did read that another blogger (think her name is Bonnie but not sure of the blog name) was attacked because of a comment she made indicating that a certain anthro dress looked better on the curvier anthro bloggers who had reviewed it. I don't know about others, but this is useful info to me. I always wish people would review more on what body types best suite what.....so why would anthro bloggers attack her for this? I am a fairly new reader of these blogs and I don't participate much....but I was shocked at how other bloggers expected her to conform to some unwritten set of rules. If people could be a touch less sensitive, things would be much more peaceful, fun and happy! ohmmm! :)

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  24. Thank You!   : )  

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  25. I love your blog and am sad by reading of the recent events (not from your blog though! 

    Thank you for posting this and your comments provoke thought. This is not merely a person who made a mistake nor a shopaholic out of control, however. I only just read about this today as I have been too busy at work to even look into the Anthro blogs lately.I am sad to hear this as I got to know Kim through e-mails. For two and a half years.She always seemed kind, friendly, helpful.

     Now I am upset because what she has done is outright criminal, she lied many times, and then denied it. Really pathological behavior.I once tried her shopping service almost two years ago and had a bad experience (didn't think much of it at the time - until I read similar stories here today), so for her to say things got beyond her is a ridiculous lie. Not for two years of continuing to take thousands of dollars from people.I hope that people press charges. 

    This is definitely criminal, and it seems Kim has a problem with telling the truth and is always blaming others.I heard in about 5 different e-mails from her about how “some problem she used to have on a fashion forum” was due to people who were jealous of her. I then heard her talk about some guy who was stalking her and “was just crazy.”, so she said. Lots of grandiose stories that portray others as against her and her as the victim. Really?

    Now all the true stories of her stealing thousands of dollars and lying that she never received people’s e-mails, UPS lost at least 50 packages, etc.Everything is one big grandiose lie. I think this lady needs serious help and to be prosecuted too. I am not trying to be harsh, but just how many years can someone get away with all this?

    I, like many members of the community, am upset at being taken for a ride, and lied to. I thought of Kim as a friend but there were just too many stories of everyone being against her. She even once told me she was stalked by a neighbor too. Seems suspicious when more than half of the people she comes in contact with, she later describes as crazy or stalkers. Very saddened by the whole thing.

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  26. Great post ladies. I think bloggers are great and that you all put yourselves out there for the world to see. It doesn't matter what the reason is for your decision to do it. It is a fun way to express yourself, it is that simple. It should be anyway. We can all be bloggers if we choose to. But for me personally, I am lazy and not the savvy with the technical aspect of it all. So I read yours and when I see something I like, I participate. All I am saying, it is a personal choice for all of us. We have a choice in making decisions for ourselves.

    It is a two way street between the bloggers and their readers. Trust with the practice of safety is the key.

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  27. Someone posted on two other blogs I read about receiving "fake shipping numbers " from Kim. I don't want to belabor or focus on that issue indefinitely, but that truly scares me.

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  28. I don't mean to belabor the point, but I just read from two other of Kim's "customers" that she was providing totally fake tracking numbers. I am very upset by this and how the depth of the scamming continue to unfold. I hope it is dealt with via the appropriate legal channels.

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  29. I dont have a blog of my own, but I have enjoyed selling, buying items from other EA's members. I never used Kim's service and not to be rude, I don't need too although I do not live near an Anthro etc.  I had have an a brief email encounter a year ago..

    Last year I was posting my popular items on the EA and Jcrew posts as I did every week.  One week I received an email from another popular blogger and her friend that our dear Kim was really looking hard for a dress...and in my pursuit just to sell itI agreed to email her to see if see was interested.  This was done really to get rid of the dress not to help her out at all. So, I emailed her  she if she wanted to buy my dress....the onther blogger suggested lowering the price for her too.  That seemed a little odd right there.  So, I emailed her and within a couple of days she emailed and asked my to hold the dress until she got paid.  I wasn't real happy with the email and in fear of being called out by others which seems to be a common theme here..held the dress for her. Between that dress she emailed me asking if I still had the dress AND for me to hold it for her...This went on for weeks until finally the dress sold to some other more deserving person. This was in Feb 2009 welll before weddings, etc.

    I believe for some strange reason girls saw her as like a best friend to them.  They saw her for a great person for advice on clothing, etc.. and many saw her for someone who had an ulimate wardobe.  I saw her for a spoiled girl who really did not seem to have a clue about life as a whole.  That's the reason she was so successful at what she did.  I would always wonder why sweet girls who worked hard for their money would literally buy her things: mint shoes,etc.,.


    As someone who lives in Illinois and who knows about our ATTY General she is tough and will go after this case, so I do believe that its so important to report it.  Not sure, that my story would help her or not.

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  30. I unfortunately have to agree with the post below that stated Kim was a very skilled manipulator. This is not about a person';s shopping getting out of control, it's criminal and part of a much bigger problem.I received a number of e-mails from her stating she was being stalked by a guy, that she had a lot of haters on a fashion forum who were" jealous" of her, even herd from her that now a neighbor was stalking her. All too unbelievable. Now I read below that she is telling people her father had cancer and her brother in law was suicidal - all of these given as reasons why she could not deliver their purchases. My experience with being e-mails friends with her for several years was that she always had some story of why she was the victim - and I doubt any of them were true.

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  31. Apparently this problem is continuing. Several readers posted on EA that a payment Kim promised to refund them was returned due to a closed bank account.

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  32. Personally she owes me $450 in refunds and I doubt I will ever see a dime. I kept getting told too many stories from her about how UPS lost TWO packages, about how she never received my e-mail, how her father was dying, howe her brother was suicidal, and how a neighbor was stalking her. There is a much bigger problem here than money mismanagement.Flag

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  33. Carol and Kathryn:  Thank you very much for posting about this.  If you hadn't I would have never known.  Your blog was the first "anthro-centric" blog I discovered and had branched off to reading others.  However, after my experience with Kim and Anthroholic, this past year, I remain only devoted to your blog (true story . . it only make me smile whenever I visit your blog!!). So I would have never known if you hadn't posted about this. 

    Yes, I had similar experiences with her, the same lame excuses, insulting my intelligence, lost emails, fake UPS tracking number, the whole shabang.  Fortunately, I can be very annoying and persistent via email, IM, etc.  I am in a customer service position and have high expectations from others who are, too.  Fortunately, I did get the item I was looking for (after many, many months), but still am owed a small amount of money.  I wish I has said something somewhere earlier, but I think I was just grateful to have the whole ordeal over with.  It did create a bit of anxiety on my part to go through that. 

    This blog is definitely more then just clothes and style.  As a mother of two who loves pretty things and to look wonderful on a daily basis, worked a full-time job, I am soooooo happy I have someone on the internets (Caro) that I can relate to. I love this blog and enjoy many others like it. 

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  34. So, I'm definitely in the "lurker" category on pretty much most of the fashion-type blogs and returned from a crazy trip and there was all of this buzz which then ended up being so much more than "just" buzz.  I'm not overly hooked into a blogging community, but it definitely seems that there are major positives AND negatives.  In a way, it plays to our better nature or our better selves because we want to connect with other people and build relationships with them.  Unfortunately, people can betray that trust.  This happens in "real time" relationships, but maybe there is a different quality to the betrayal or to the hurt and dismay that we feel?
    To get to my point - you are funny, and maybe what is best about your blog is the friendship between that you share with other people.  That is a level of transparency and openness that transcends the fashion aspect and makes it so much FUN to read your posts.

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  35. Thank you so much for sharing this. This kind of validation is really hard to come by, and it means a great deal to us to learn that we've been able to lighten your load. As Ichun wrote, you're not alone, and I send you great big virtual hugs, reassuring hand-squeezes, and irrepressible giggles, whenever you need them. xo, Carol

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  36. Thanks, Ichun. And I'm so glad you enjoyed the meet-up in June. I'm actually in the process of planning a couple more get-togethers, for interested parties - including one coming up in early October. I really hope you can make it!

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  37. It is very scary. The more we learn, the more amazed I am by the scope of her bad behavior. It's really wretched.

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  38. I'm sure that this is very late and people just want to move on so I apologize for the tardiness.  I just wanted to add that I think one of the contributing factors to Kim's credibility and to people being less inclined to speak up was her apparent relationship with Anthropologie.  She posted about their events sponsored for her blog and was even invited to attend the opening of BHLDN.  I think it becomes a very slippery slope when the businesses get intertwined with the bloggers because the roles and the 'customer' gets very fuzzy.  I think disclosures are very important and that most bloggers are very good about the disclosures.  However, sometimes it is like asking the jury to ignore the evidence just presented--the letter of the law is there but....the impact has already taken place.  All that said, I personally get alot out of your blog; like others have noted, its a smile and bright spot in a very hectic day filled with things that are not so beautiful.

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  39. Did you close your blog account??    : (

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  40. Am I the only one noticing many Anthro centered bloggers have closed their accounts or made it “private”??    : (

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  41. Carol and Kathryn, yours is one of few fashion blogs I read.  I like it because you both write with such eloquence and don't seem to take yourselves too seriously.  This is something that turns me off from many fashion blogs.  Fashion is highly individualized yet some seem to portray that they are some kind of "fashion gurus".  And if I'm being honest, with some, it seems to serve as some sort of validation of how cute, stylish, lucky, etc. they are.  "look how cute my new expensive outfit is!"  "Look what a wonderful fiance I have!"  I guess I feel that at the end of the day, if you're happy with your life, you don't need validation from others, least of all virtual strangers on blogs.

    This experience also touches on a point that I have tried to teach my kids over the years.  You never really know someone you meet online.  As "close" and as "tight" as a community may feel, quite simply, you never know what's behind the screen.  People can say, do and be whomever they want on a blog.  And it seems that Kim was very skilled at doing so.  Count me among the group who thought she was "sweet" and "helpful".  I even sent her an extra 15% birthday discount I received last year.  I figured with her personal shopping business, she could use that and I just assumed she'd pass the savings on to others.  Highly unlikely now.  I'm just thankful I never enlisted her personal shopping services.  And I feel very badly for those of you who did.  We all work very hard for our money and for someone like Kim to steal to feed her own habit is reprehensible.

    This whole scandal, anthropocalypse as I've heard it called, has made me truly re-think reading blogs in my free time.  One thing I have noticed is that I tend to spend more money as a result.  You see something on someone that you "have to have" and it sort of snowballs from there!  I think maybe this is what happened with Kim, though I don't know her or the situation well enough to comment for certain.  But I will say in all honesty, I often did read her blog and wonder how she could afford so many cute Anthro pieces on her salary as an admin assistant in the financial industry (and how ironic is that!?).

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  42. I noticed this too!! :( :(

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  43. I'm normally very quiet in the comments sections of blogs I read aside from the occasional question or feedback, but I did want to take a second to tell you how much I appreciate all that you ladies have poured into this blog. I appreciate all of the  effort you and other fashionable bloggers put forth to create this community. I don't mourn the days of flipping through fashion magazines because blogs are such an amazing, interactive, esteem-boosting, diverse, and inspirational space to explore and be a part of. I also love that you ladies put yourself out there with such confidence and create a personal connection with your readers. 

    I don't think this community is about overspending either, as some have said (though everyone's finances are their own business and nobody else's). Whereas magazines make me want to buy new things and follow trends, blogs give me ideas about how I can remix the items I already have and use inspiration to cultivate my own style.Truly, I think of recent events as an anomaly--the exception, not the rule. I think it's clear from the outpouring of support in these comments! And kudos for the well-placed Firefly reference, Kathryn. I always love a woman who can quote Cap'n Mal to a T.

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  44. Jess, I agree with what you say about feeling a kinship with many of the women who we interact with on a daily basis here. I hope you do come out to San Diego in March. I'd LOVE to meet up with you in-person! Do, do, do! (Because...er, meeting with me should be the major consideration when making a decision to travel....)

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  45. I think one of the problems for me was where was I to question the bloggers antics? I didn't feel comfortable mentioning it on a blog; I thought my situation was a one-off and it would be bad form to criticize her in public. Further, she cultivated an environment of intimacy; her story to me was that her brother in law was struggling with addiction issues and had just tried to kill himself. It almost seemed as if she knew which line to sling me. This one hit close to home and I felt empathy for her, even with all the more obvious fabrications thrown in (the missing emails, the destroyed UPS label, etc, etc.) I feel so manipulated.

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  46. just a follow-up.  I just received my money back today.  it was very surprising, but I am very happy. 

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  47. I have to admit that I have thought about using Kim's services.  I live about an hour away from the nearest Anthro and do most of my shopping online.  I rely heavily on bloggers reviews of Anthro clothing to see if something will "fit" me right.  My mom always told me to follow my first instinct and something told me not to trust Kim...so I never used her services.  The fact that my instincts were right makes me so sad.  I love...I heart the community that we have.  Even though there are so many ladies that I have never had real contact with I always refer to y'all as my blog friends.  We read about each others lives and somehow we feel apart of them.  Thank you for not deleting your blog!  I am always in pursuit of pretty things and love the help that you provide:)

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  48. Carol, I think you're right that it is a very supportive and decent community, and I think that Kim is the anomaly.  She abused the trust and support that came from being a part of such an accepting group.  I know it's very disheartening to unknowingly support and befriend a person who would treat other people that way.  But I think there are so many more members of the blogging community out there that are good people, and would never dream of doing what she did, and fortunately, those people are the majority.

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  49. I'd like to think that Anthroholic is the exception to the rule. It's just how you described it, the group is "supportive of each other, non-demeaning, kind, caring, trustworthy, intelligent, and appreciative." The online world is full of love, and we shouldn't let this one event faze us.

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  50. I'd like to think that Anthroholic is the exception to the rule. It's just how you described it, the group is "supportive of each other, non-demeaning, kind, caring, trustworthy, intelligent, and appreciative." The online world is full of love, and we shouldn't let this one event faze us.

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