More Love for Zenni Optical

I wrote a longer review of Zenni Optical about a year or so ago, but I took it down and now I can’t find it. Since I recently bought two new pair of glasses from them, and I hadn’t taken any photos in a while, I went ahead and snapped some shots of them and will do a quick write-up. I also took some more fun photos that I’ll edit and share in a later post, so let’s move on.

For the second year in a row, I chose to buy my yearly pair of glasses in an optical shop, and for the second year in a row my $600 glasses have ended up thrown in a drawer while I wear my $130 glasses from Zenni instead. So, you know, lesson definitely learned there.

The reason I wanted to buy my glasses in a store this year (LensCrafters, with whom I’ve never had a problem) was because I cannot get the absolute thinnest lens available through online sources due to my need for a progressive lens. The lenses I got at LensCrafters were a 1.74-index lens, and the highest I can get at Zenni is the 1.67. When I wrote up a Zenni review last year, I took some comparison photos of my 1.74 lenses vs. the 1.67s, so I’ll share those again:

1.67 Zenni lens

1.74 Lenscrafters lens

That’s a pretty big difference in thickness, something to consider when your prescription is strong (I’m -7 in one eye, -5 in the other), and yet for two years in a row I’ve preferred my Zenni frames with the thicker lens to the thinner ones. This year, it was all about comfort. I was pretty convinced a thinner lens would be more comfortable; my previous Zennis felt fine, I just thought the lighter lens would feel even better. The glasses I got were cute enough, the service and prescription were fine (as I said, never had a trouble with LensCrafters)  and yes, the lens was thin – but after five months wearing them I still had not completely adjusted to them, and they always hurt my head, especially where the temple pieces hit the back of my ear.

Cute but OW

I don’t know if this is because these frames did not have spring hinges, which is something I’ve always insisted on but somehow forgot to check this time before I bought them, or if they were just never a good fit. But after giving it five months and getting numerous tension headaches, I decided I was going to have to buy a new pair, so back to Zenni I went. I made sure to get frames with spring hinges, and at Zenni I always go for the more ‘expensive’ frames (which at Zenni means $35), since mine are for everyday wear and have a thicker lens; once again the glasses I received did not disappoint. They needed a bit of adjusting with a blow-dryer to heat up the plastic and bend them into shape, but once I did that they were perfect from the get-go. And infinitely more comfortable than the $600 Tory Burch frames I bought this summer. Go figure.

Zenni frame #189715 – my favorite of the two. Oh yeah, I bought two pair. Don’t judge, they were cheap.

Once again the prescription in both pair was perfect, even with the added progressive no-line bifocal. In fact, I’ve always felt I see better with the 1.67 index lens than I do with the thinner 1.74 – things appear sharper and more crisp, but maybe I’m imagining that. And as you can tell when you compare both photos, it’s not as if my eyes look more magnified with the thicker lens, or really that in looking at them on my face you can tell any difference in lens thickness. So fine – my obsession with thinner lenses is finally put to rest.

Zenni frame #637721 – in spite of the fact that in this photo it looks like I’m trying to do so, I don’t believe these glasses have the power to hypnotize you

I sprung for the express shipping like I always do, and had my glasses within a week. Easy-peasy. And honestly, soooo much more comfortable than my store-bought glasses – have I mentioned that already? And I only forked over $254.65 total for both pair, as opposed to the $600 I spent for one pair at Lenscrafters over the summer. So once again, I’m a happy Zenni customer, and the backs of my ears are finally sore no longer. Everybody wins!

And yes, regular blog readers, I’m still playing around with the new Topaz plug-ins I bought over Thanksgiving break, so I think these shots are guilty of skin over-softening, but I’m still getting used to the best way to use the new tools. More interesting photos later, when I have time to process them. Another busy week coming up with the end of the semester looming, so I  may not be able to do any editing until next weekend, but we’ll see.

Men Don’t Make Passes…

I think you know the rest.

Anyway, I got new glasses last week, as I do every year – not because my prescription changes all that much, just because I get bored. I decided not to get my glasses through Zenni Optical this year, because I wanted a higher-index (and therefore thinner) lens, so I went to my old standby LensCrafters instead. My husband keeps insisting I can get better-quality frames from an optometrist, but I tried that last year and it was disastrous as the lab kept screwing up my order and I had to take the glasses back three times to get them right, then never liked the frames I got and ended up wearing the cheapies from Zenni as my regular ones. Plus, I always find plenty of nice frames at LC that last a year with no problem. I did try this year to get glasses from the optometrist (a new one, since I essentially fired my old one last summer) but once again the cost was going to be outrageous – $850 for one pair of glasses! I knew I could do better than that, so I said never mind, paid for my eye exam, and took my prescription with me to get it filled elsewhere.

I’ve personally never had a problem with LensCrafters glasses, and my eye prescription is quite strong. What I like about them is, first of all, the 30-day guarantee. I also like that the salespeople there don’t just immediately ring you up for the highest cost, but will work with you to come up with creative ways to keep the cost down. The woman who helped me this time calculated four different prices for me, each price having different features for me to choose from. I really appreciated that. In the end, I went with the thinnest lens, but to keep the cost down I didn’t get lenses that will transition to sunglasses when outside. The cost came to about $600, which is still a lot of money compared to getting a pair from Zenni for $130, but the lens is thinner and lighter. And I absolutely LOVE the frames!


Most people can’t tell I got new frames at all, because they’re dark and cat-eye shaped like my last pair and let’s face it, people don’t pay all that much attention to such things. But I can tell, and I love these – I think they are an even better shape than my Zennis I was wearing before. I’ve had a heck of a time getting used to them though; they don’t have spring hinges which means they are a bit less comfortable and press against the back of my ears harder, but after wearing them for five days I am finally starting to get used to them. I was considering taking them back for a different frame (something I can do at LensCrafters, remember) because for a few days there they were really hurting my head – but I hate to give them up, because I think they’re great looking. So I’m glad to be finally getting used to them. They’re a Tory Burch frame, by the way, style #TY2044, if anyone is interesting in looking them up.

Anyway, since I wasn’t going to have transitions lenses put in, I figured I’d pick up a pair of prescription sunglasses from good old Zenni. And since they were only going to be for wear when out in the sun, I figured I’d get some fun ones. They came in Monday morning, and I decided to make a pic of me wearing them my Day Five shot for my 365 project:


Yep, that’s right – I got some John Lennon sunglasses and I love them (or, depending on your age, Harry Potter sunglasses). The frame was a whopping $19, and with the mirror-tinted prescription lenses and express shipping, they came to $130. So, two pairs of glasses from LC and Zenni for less than one pair from the optometrist (oh and get this – the frames I was going to buy from the optometrist were also at LensCrafters, but for $40 less! So much for my husband’s theory that you get better frames at the doc’s office). The style number on these little round plastic frames is 430023, in case anyone wants to get a pair. For most people, they won’t cost near as much as mine did, since my prescription is stronger than most. I’m thinking about picking up another spare pair, because with these I should have just gotten a distance prescription and left off the bifocal part; I have to look through the top half pretty carefully when driving. Or maybe I just want a second pair because they’re so cute. I kind of do that sometimes.

Anyway, a lot of these test pictures for my Day Five photo turned out cooler than I expected, especially since I threw them together without much setup or planning, so I processed a few more (including the test shot of me in my regular specs which I posted above). I edited these shots using both the RadLab plugin and my new Nik collection one; I am really loving the Analog filters on the Nik software and am learning how to use it to nice effect. Here’s one more I worked on tonight:

And isn’t that necklace fab? Got it at Nordstrom during my latest Galleria trip. On sale for about $24.

I love being able to add and adjust light flares and textures, and had a good time working on these. Of course, I worked on them to the detriment of other things, like working out – but that isn’t my fault I swear. My computer did that thing where it freezes up entirely and you have to shut it down, then you boot it back up and it says it needs to run a disk check, and you let it even though you really don’t want to and it takes thirty minutes, so rather than go do useful things for that thirty minutes you sit and stare at your computer while pouting because it’s really screwing up your plans not to be able to use it. OK, so maybe I’m the only one who does that last part. To sum up: I did get Day Five of my 365 project done, and I did get new glasses and sunglasses, but I didn’t work out. Moving on.

In other news, work is going to be hectic as hell the next week or two, so I may slow down on blog posts. But I’ll still be around, doing my 365 shots if nothing else. Or I may not have to slow down at all. We’ll see. And yes, my perm is still going strong! I’m  figuring out how best to style it, so I was in the midst of a good hair day when I shot these. Always helps. Oh, and I haven’t mentioned this all that much, but I am still growing out my hair dye and letting my grey come in – not sure it’s really noticeable at all, but there is some gray in my hair as I haven’t colored it since March. Not sure why that matters, just filling you all in. Unlike my gray, which I am not filling in at all.

And by the way, I didn’t share Day Four’s 365 shot, so I’ll close this out by sharing it now. It’s Simon, doing Simon-things in my bathroom:

And yes, I still hate that wallpaper.