lifestyle, self confidence

The Money

I mean, it’s money from my piggy bank.

It’s the last day of the first month of 2021 and I’ve got my mind on my money (….). I didn’t make resolutions, but I did add up all the money that came in, how much of that money is still with me and how I used the money that’s gone. I finally put that box of receipts in order and filed them. I finally put tabs on the folders, a task I managed to put off for months.

Money I found in the street… yes, I pick up pennies

After an exhausting two days I figured out where the money resides and it’s not at my house. I spent money on bills (WiFi, utilities, phone, rent), kept up credit card payments ( but have only recently started paying accounts down to zero), and bought supplies for paper and soap making. I bought a sewing machine. I bought paint and cleaning supplies. I bought a mattress and furniture. I bought a teapot. I bought a clock. I bought two towels that cost more than all my other towels put together.

I bought a bike. I bought a jump rope and ankle weights. I bought clothes. I bought sneakers and a pair of calf high boots. I bought a puffer jacket. I bought gloves. I went to sample sales. I bought clearance items on line. I bought a new iPhone (SE) and an iPad. I bought an iPad cover and a matching stylus. I bought a new stamp pad, and printer ink and paper. I bought containers for things. I bought sheets and pillowcases.

I bought nail polish base, little funnels and scoops and mixing beads and bottles. I bought a nail polish shaker. I bought tissue paper and custom poly mailers and ribbon and holiday themed treat bags. I bought a stepstool. I bought a shit ton of food. Lobster, crab legs, wine, takeout from pizza to tapas to New Orleans haute cuisine (so good). I bought stocks, which hopefully won’t flatline now that the stock market is under attack.

And now it’s the last day of the first month of the new year. I’m not broke, but I’m not as together as I’d like. I’m not making any resolutions, I’m just focusing my energy on the ebb and flow of the money. Keeping my eye on the money. I saved. Not a ton, but I paid $2200 for a root canal and there’s money and credit left. I paid off three little cards and in the next week I’ll knock down two more so I can concentrate on the big cards. I am not debt free but I can be if I work towards that goal.

I am conscious of my money. I take care of my money. I am the conservator and steward of my money. I have love and respect for my money.

And that’s on…. Mary and her woolly pet.

Fashion, fashion designer, fashion month, fashion photo, models, photo, photo shoot, Photography, styling

The Magazine

Click to check out all back issues of The Magazine Ok

Eleven years ago I created an online magazine. I was living in Chicago and sick of not getting opportunities to publish my fashion work. I wasn’t one to sit on my ass and let other people determine what I deserved and I knew my work was as good as anyone else’s. I took graphic design classes while I was studying photography, and I spent years studying magazines and fashion photography and I knew that technically it wasn’t that hard. Mostly I didn’t want those Chicago assholes thinking that they could keep me down. Nobody wanted to hire or book me, so I hired and booked myself. Screw them.

Click to check read The Magazine OK on issuu

There’s something maddeningly frustrating about having your work ignored that I couldn’t live with. I really busted my ass coming up with ideas, finding locations, looking for models and designers and makeup artists and stylists and shooting and editing and then getting nowhere. Every so often I would get a job or win a little contest or something but it wasn’t enough. I worked hard and I tried hard and I deserved to be published. No one could tell me that I didn’t deserve success.

See the rest of this shoot that I styled by clicking

I asked people that I knew and had worked with and I even styled another photographer’s shoot to get what I wanted. The pics in the Pink Lady spread features all clothing that I had collected. I settled on a pink/black/white color scheme with a punk, new wave feel. I could have shot it myself, but I wanted to try starting a styling career back then since I wasn’t doing assisting work. You have to get on the sets somehow. I only did a few styling gigs, though. I ended up selling and giving away all my stuff and moving to New York.

Yeah…. Lexi Tomchek from ANTM cycle 15

Here’s a funny thing, I did a shoot with a nice girl who was looking to start a modeling career and one night in hotel in Montana I found out that she made it onto ANTM’s 15th cycle. And I only saw it because I was fighting with the person I went out there to visit so it was completely random that I found out. She was a cool girl, but that Mexican wrestling shoot did her in. Anyway. I was renting the first floor of a grey gardens type house in Humboldt Park and I had people come over to shoot all summer and she just happened to be one of them. Crazy, huh?

The Magazine OK and other projects on issuu

I didn’t end up getting the editorial work I wanted, but I did get a fashion internship which helped me learn more about desktop publishing. Then I started getting paid to write for a fashion website. Then I started publishing on another site and drifted into fashion/beauty blogging. The Magazine OK helped me get fashion show invitations and gave me a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. I had my own magazine. If I wanted to, I could do it again. If I felt like it.

Eleven years ago I made a decision not to let other people determine my fate and it led me on a path to where I am right now. I’m not a world famous anything, but I’m happier just chilling and being basic and loving the life I have. I’m capable of affecting change and shining a spotlight that lets other people shine, even as people judge me worthless. I took great photos, and then did a great job editing my own publication with no help from anyone else.

I can do anything.

beauty, entrepeneur, entrepeneurship, Fashion, manicure, nail polish, nails, pedicure, recycled fashion

The Pedicure

I haven’t gotten a pedicure in a minute, and that minute includes pre-COVID. In my usual procrastinating manner, I kept promising myself spa days and then not quite getting around to it. Just shortchanging myself by not keeping my own promises. Tragic. But it’s a new year and I decided that I need to make my feet a priority, not just out of vanity, but because when you take care of your feet they take care of you. But it was super important that I go to the right place. So of course I used instagram to find the perfect pedicure. Of course.

Images from Nail Diva BK

Remember when I blogged about Fro.ology and GoldenBrownSkin? Well, I was on the lookout for manicurist of the same caliber: brilliant, talented and black. I want to feel that same level of comfort that other people get to feel when they get services from people that share their racial and cultural background. I want to feel welcome and at peace with where I am. And I still want a perfect pedi and great service. I’ve been following Shaneeka for awhile and when I finally got it together to make a appointment, I was gratified to find myself using a streamlined online process that had me booked in minutes.

I have big feet that I have to remind myself to sand down, so I won’t be making any foot fetish cash, but I do believe that a good pedicure makes you feel better about life. It’s like lingerie. Polished toes and smooth soles make me feel like I’m in control of my life. I got super excited about getting Shaneeka’s Charcoal Pedicure ($40) and I was not disappointed. There was soaking, a delicious scrub, the mask and a massage. I had asked for a paraffin treatment as well, since I got addicted to them at bliss, but I actually didn’t need it. And she was super chill, down to earth and professional. I usually don’t talk during services, but I felt like I was hanging out with a friend instead of someone who’s just grabbing my money.

Here’s the finished pedicure, after being sprayed with oil, wrapped in plastic plus my socks and rainboots. Perfect condition when I got home. 10/10 recommend Nail Diva BK if you’re in Brooklyn. We started on time, and she was done within the time frame quoted. She does all of the little things that I’ve gotten used to from going to upscale places like Nail Bar in Chicago and Bliss in New York, and she was nice enough to use the polish that I made. I love dark colors for toes and since I started making polish during quarantine, I’m now in love with the idea of only wearing my own. Win/win. I can’t wait to show my boat feet off this summer!

Fashion

The Business

When I started selling on eBay in 2015, I remember thinking how badly I needed that to work. My blog had gone bust and I was so broke. I had been selling cookies and baked goods on the street all summer, but it made me nervous not to have the proper licensing. All I had was a bunch of beauty products, plus a ton of shoes and clothing and shoes from brands. I didn’t need or want or like any of that stuff anyway. I was so desperate for a way out of homelessness that if they had put dog shit in a tube I would have pretended to use and like it.

Fast forward six years and I’m still selling online, but I’m on multiple platforms. I learned how to score inventory cheap from thrift store outlets. I learned how to buy new jewelry and accessories cheap on AliExpress. And this summer I had time to work on tiedying t-shirts and sweatshirts. I’m making soap. I found out where to get cheap denim jackets to paint on. I finally got transfer paper to create my own iron t-shirts. And at some point I’ll get my papermaking up and running. I’m not all they way where I want to be, but my side hustle held me together during quarantine, so I’m putting all of my extra time and money into it.

I’m currently thinking about how to make my side hustle into a big girl business and even signed up to get advice from a women’s business non-profit, but that was a bust because they didn’t really listen. Ever go through that? You tell someone what you want to do, they say they understand but then give you advice that might get you arrested for tax evasion? It was like that. She tried to rush me into an LLC, which would have netted me some tax fees later which I may or may not have been able to pay. So I’m currently looking at how LLC filing really works, and what the up and downsides are.

Entering the new year, I’ve been tallying up expenses for inventory, art supplies, soap supplies, shipping supplies, and equipment. It’s staggering. Even with the extra thrown in from unemployment and stimulus. It’s amazing how money can find any little hole to flow out of! So I’m catching up with all expenditures and starting a spread sheet to track everything from now on. And a spreadsheet to track sales and cost of goods. I feel like 2020 was the last year that anyone can walk around acting like they don’t know how to do things. I saw a guy build a bathroom on instagram…I can learn how to properly run a business.

The pictures in this week’s post are all stuff that I sold. From designer samples to perfume to tiedyed t-shirts. I sold a handpainted designer bag in few hours on instagram. I still have a job and I’m trying to get another one, but this little side hustle keeps me alive. I’m so grateful that in a moment of despair I figured out a lifeline for myself. Because let’s be real, any damn thing can happen these days.

You can drop by any of these online locations for new, used, vintange and upcycled fashion, as well as my handmade soap and nail polish:

Depop: new, used, upcycled,vintage, high end,fragrance, soap, home

Poshmark: new, used, upcycled,vintage, high end, soap, home

Tradesy: new, used, upcycled,vintage, high end,fragrance

Ebay: new, used, upcycled,vintage, high end,fragrance, soap, home

Grailed: men’s new, used, handmade and vintage, designer

Thrilling: vintage and designer

Mercari: new, used, upcycled,vintage, high end,fragrance, soap, home

Feel free to follow the Facebook page, too.

Fashion

The Apartment


I moved into my apartment six years ago and it took me a year to believe that it was mine, and that nothing was going to mess it up. I’ve been through some things. This picture is from the first few months of quarantine, I think. I’m pretty sure because I got those roses at target the last day that I worked before going inside. For what turned out to be three months. Now I think we should have just carried on like normal because things don’t seem to have gotten better and now, after finding vaccines and shipping them… we have mutant strains.

But this post isn’t directly about Covid-19. It’s about what happens when you suddenly have time and money to make a better, more comfortable, home instead of just a place you stay in between shifts.

The Beginning:

Just constant mess. Stepping over boxes from deliveries and trying to find room for things. I’m in a large-ish studio, well larger than some people’s teeny tiny closet apartments, and I’m extremely grateful for that, so the hardest thing was just figuring out what area should be where. I started reading a book on feng shui before lockdown,and I had already started by moving the bed over by the window, but there was a lot more to do. I had to get rid of a hulking clothing rack in the living room, figure out where to put my desk and the kitchen table and the front room had to be rearranged. Luckily I had nothing but time. And an extra $600 a week.

The Personality Test:

I’ve never had the opportunity to really decorate anything. One, no money. Two, lack of ideas and information. Like, what do people do with their homes? What looks good? What do I actually like? After a stint in a museum gift shop (that’s where I got the feng shui idea), I had a little crystal collection and a Himalayan salt lamp, and I had started to buy plants, another thing that I had just never done. Which is wild. There were no plants in our home when I was growing up. Not even a homemade avocado plant. No green. My mom was into animals, cats, fish, dogs. All badly taken care of, just like her kids.

Sorry. That happens lately. I’ve spent so much time alone and thinking, that along with a new ability to decorate, I now remember why I felt like I didn’t deserve nice things.

The Nice Things:

So I bought myself a filing cabinet, and a little storage unit for the bathroom. I got a lovely antique mirror from Brooklyn Vintage Company (they delivered just like the wine shop) and I used my arts education to do stuff like make marbled pencil holders out of plastic bottles. I painted an old mannequin leg that I found in the street a few years ago, and organized the closets. I got a shelving unit to put my soap and packing supplies together. I used an old board from my diy bathroom table to create more storage space on top. Now that’s my little office type thing. Much better.

The Paint Job:

Now I’m up to wall treatments. I’ve been dying to paint the front wall red, and after messing around with sample stickers and such, I got Behr paint sample (8 ounces) from Home Depot and got to work. I got reusable wallpaper from target for the bathroom, and I’m using that to redo the outlet covers. I found a glass pumpkin at goodwill and painted it. Im iffy about the color I got for the bathroom wall, but work with it.

I’m a long way from finished, but my space feels more like the me I’ve been trying to be. I deserve a beautiful place to inhabit and flourish in. It sucks that it’s taken so long to get to this point, but oh, well. It did take this long. It just did. This is when everything came together. I’m working on accepting that.