adventures, Fashion, recycled fashion

The Sale

Self explanatory.

I went to my first estate sale this week. It’s something I’ve built a fantasy around, but most are out in the suburbs or New Jersey so it seemed like too much trouble. Somebody I’m not speaking to now found this one for me on Clubhouse (I’m only mentioning them because I didn’t find this on my own, and want to illustrate how information gets exchanged on there), and it turned out to be an hour from my job and near a bus route. So I went from thinking it was impossible to planning the day and time I was going. Just that quick.

I am going to admit right now that I used this trip as an excuse to get a burrito. The burrito had farro instead of rice, and lean pork instead of beef and this was a business trip, so… Anyway. Managed to get to Port Authority full of food, and only stood at the wrong gate for half an hour. Then I miraculously managed to pull up to the right gate in the neck of time to catch the bus. Magic. It was definitely the burrito that saved me.

The directions were perfect (well, I blinked and missed my stop and had to wait for a bus back and it turned out that I could have walked 🤦🏿‍♀️), and I was able to find the house easily. There was a line and one woman was loudly complaining, which felt inappropriate on the doorstep of someone’s home. People came flying out with big bags of stuff and then the hardened regulars shouted ‘anything left’, which felt weird to me. Because I could see this happening to me after I’m dead and it gave me chills.

I still went in, but I stayed quiet and patient, looking around the pretty yard with the wishing well, trees and bench feeling strange. Someone thought carefully about this yard and everything in it. Someone chose the monogrammed stone planters that flanked the door and the red paint that made house seem both warm and dramatic. When it was finally my turn to go in, I realized that even though I was uncomfortable I just had to see what the place looked like. And it was just as adorable inside, I can’t lie.

I’m didn’t want to take too many pics, but there was sooooooo much stuff! Housewares, furniture, bags, jewelry, shoes, racks of clothing, Christmas ornaments and chatchkes. At first I felt weird, but then I just started looking and evaluation, realizing that I was touching 90s and Y2Kvintage that had been in use. There some bags that were a little tatty, but would have been at home on SATC. She really liked leather booties with stilletto heels. And embroidered shoes. And colors. And costume jewelry.

I started curating s collection with a theme and I even negotiated a deal on some higher end items when disaster struck… they expected cash. I have some emergency cash I keep around, but I never use it. And they didn’t have WiFi so I couldn’t move money to my PayPal. I thought for a second and ended up leaving everything. Now I realize that I could have asked them to total it and send me an invoice and then I could have picked up my stuff later, but I wasn’t thinking. I just assumed that the universe was telling me to get out of there and leave that dead lady’s stuff alone.

Even though I left empty handed, I’m glad I went. Now I thinking about writing a will with instructions as to how to handle all the stuff I’ll be leaving, passwords to my online shops and blog, plus how the money in my accounts will handled. I’m not sure how long it will be before I brave another estate sale, but it was a good experience overall. At least now I’ve done it.

If you want to find one, go to www.estate sales.net.

Bring cash.

Fashion

The Club


So I was supposed to blog yesterday and I was working on updating my listings and getting all of my inventory organized by May 1st so that I can start working on my Shopify, sewing projects and making paper. I really meant to do my Saturday post, but I started a club on Clubhouse and the room started at 4pm and didn’t end until 3am. No joke, I actually spent all night on Clubhouse and forgot to blog.

It’s funny because I was totally stubborn about joining clubhouse. I didn’t have anyone to invite me anyway, which is probably why I was bitter. I joined a Poshmark Accountability group on instagram and over the course of six weeks, made friends with people and ended up getting invited. Then I helped the group leader get on, since she had an Android I coached her through setting up on her iPad. I gave a few invites away on Instagram, too. As a pay it forward thing.

I’m an intermittent user at best, but the magic is that you always seem to pick up some new friends if you participate, not to mention learning a ton about reselling, vintage and just getting a chance to speak to people instead of just trading dm’s or comments. I haven’t spoken on the phone in years, but lately I give people my number so we can talk. It’s wild. I am talking on the phone, laughing, listening, and enjoying the company of people that I’ve never met.

I decided to start my own club because I actually met a reseller here in NY and I realized that while I enjoy meeting people from all over the country, it would be nice to network and hang out with people right here in New York. So far I haven’t gotten that many New Yorkers, but they’re trickling in little by little. And while I kind of try to stay on topic, last night we talked about a frog on a lady’s deck, whether or not we’re just living in a simulation, NFTs, the stock market, and one person went to get her oil changed.

Pure anarchy.

It’s perfect.

Fashion

The Vaccine

I have been growing into a real adult lately. Paying bills and rent, organizing my business, making soap, avoiding fast food, cleaning my apartment, setting goals and now getting vaccinated. Adulthood is just being your own parent.

I was just complacently ignoring the vaccination frenzy, but then people I knew started getting and I got jealous. So I went on vaccine finder, but I couldn’t get an appointment, so I called 311 and found out that they were doing 24 hour mass vaccinations about an hour from me. I almost got stuck with a three am appointment, but finally got one for 6:30 am. I had to get up at 4:30 am, jump out of bed, wipe myself down and run to the train station where I missed the train because my card didn’t swipe. I was so pissed.

But the train came, I walked down a spooky, deserted block to the vaccination site and got there on time. Of course there was barely anyone there. And once I got registered and registered again, the shot wasn’t that bad. I didn’t even feel it. And I got Moderna, the one I wanted (what? I own one whole share of the company!). They made us sit for 15 minutes to make sure there wasn’t any bad reaction, and then I got scheduled for my second dose. And that was it. I got a vaccination card and a sticker for my trouble.

Half vaxxed and proud!

I made it home, got dressed for work, went to work, came home and fell asleep. My arm hurt and I just felt completely exhausted. Once I woke up, my arm still hurt a bit, but I felt great. And I got it done. I adulted. I’m a badass grownup.




Fashion

The Shopping Trip

Being a one person business means juggling roles in a timely fashion. I’m the buying and procurement department, the head of inspection and evaluation, the pricing consultant and the marketing department. I was listening to a vintage sellers group on clubhouse and they mentioned ‘rag pickers’. I googled and found a place offering verified vintage to people in the fashion industry… but it’s in Philadelphia.

I live in Brooklyn. Whomp whomp.

Except I got a refund for something which means that I could buy train tickets, lunch and new inventory. I had Friday off, so taking a three hour trip to Philly wouldn’t cause any scheduling problems. We’re not in quarantine, and I have a whole mask wardrobe. A road trip to Bulk Vintage went from not happening to a firm plan. In fact, it became a certainty. So in the rush of planning a trip and going on it, I didn’t get to blog yesterday.


I didn’t take that many photos because I forgot my charger, so this is it. I want to make a big dramatic deal out of it, but I just got up, went to Penn Station, went to Philadelphia, went shopping and then came home. Yep, boring.

But I got that vintage. Objective achieved.

beauty, beauty products, Fashion, lifestyle, soap

The Soapbox

I made these!

I’ve been procrastinating about making soap for weeks now. Tbh, I didn’t want to go in my pocket for supplies while there was a stimulus check on the table. I got mine two weeks ago and ordered more melt and pour soap blocks, liquid color pants and a loaf mold. A loaf mold lets you make ten two inch bars of soap in one go. A loaf mold lets you be creative and make prettier soap. A loaf mold sets you free.


I forgot to take a full photo of the mold, but it’s a silicone rectangle that fits in a wooden box, which holds the sides nice and firm. I decided to remake a Lemon Lavender Sea Salt bar recipe that I developed, but adding lavender colored shea butter soap accents. The first time I made individual bars and it smelled great and was moisturizing, but it didn’t have that artisan soap look. Last night I chopped up the unsold bars, added more lavender buds and rose petals and layered it with colored soap like a layer cake.

I cannot tell you how soothing and satisfying the whole process was. I used to strive towards these massive experiences and now, mixing and coloring soap, I am so happy. It’s such a logical craft. No wasted efforts or movements, no stress, and you get soap at the end.

Fucking perfect.

Fashion

The Bins

About two years ago I started running out of blogger swag to sell and I didn’t have a ton of money for new inventory. I started researching ‘reselling’ and found out that it as not only a massive industry of small business running independently, but there’s a huge source of inventory that’s practically free. It’s the goodwill outlet, otherwise known as The Bins. No decor, just big blue bins full of stuff that didn’t sell. It’s clearance on steroids. A couple of weeks ago I went out to forage for merchandise and found out things were a little different thanks to COVID-19.

Luckily I had gotten my days mixed up and got there an hour and a half early. And I still wasn’t the first one there. Some guy ran up to me and pointed at the line…random objects used as placeholders. After I finished laughing in his face, I realized that this ratchetness was real. I actually had to stand on line, which is never my favorite activity. Then I realized how early I was and resigned myself to misery. I’m luckier than the folks in the third pic, though. That was the line when I left.


It wasn’t as crowded, since they had crowd control, but it was still hard not to bump into people. Even though there’s tons of stuff to sift through you still get people who operate from a scarcity mindset. They can’t help themselves, they have to fight for everything even when no one else cares. They bring out new items on a rotation, so there’s no way you can strike out. If anything, without pushing or shoving, there’s so much inventory and it’s all so different that it’s impossible to leave empty handed. I always end up having to throw back half of what I pick up because I take the subway to and from, and I can only carry so much. There’s no point being greedy because there’s always more.

A never ending stream of cast off items of varying value to be had for less than $2 per pound.


black fashion designer, Fashion, fashion designer, recycled fashion, streetstyle, upcycled

The Sales

I handpainted this Almost Famous jacket and it SOLD THIS WEEK!!!

One thing about the past year of worrying, anxiety causing, horrifying and alarming events was having to retreat into a bubble (quarantine) and having to really and seriously think about what I would do if my job didn’t come back. Luckily I’ve been selling stuff online since 2015, and I had that to fallback on. My online business gave me something to focus on and a lifeline, since so many were shopping online.

The last few months have been collectively better than the last few years, and the last few weeks have been amazing. But this week really floored me because I sold items that I had refashioned and handpainted, which made me super happy. I believe in everything that I list, since I picked these things to sell, but when I sell something that I personally created, it’s like having wings on my heart.


This week I sold a handpainted denim jacket for full asking price and I was on the floor because I also sold a pair of penny loafers that I reworked into fun fashion statements. I think these are so cute, tbh. I wanted to do something that suggested spats and had an old fashion, 30s feel. I’ve sold designer, vintage and plain old used but selling items that express my personal creative outlook is icing on the cake.

This week I sold a handpainted denim jacket, these shoes and a striped sweater with embroidered patches. I started experimenting with reworking and upcycling items in 2018, and I’ve sold 16 items, from bags, to tiedyed t-shirts to shoes. One the one hand, it’s an economic endeavor because I do want my items to sell, but they’re also individual artistic statements. I put a lot of effort into every piece, even the ones that seem simple like dip bleached jean shorts. I took a sashiko stitching class, bought a sewing machine, spent days in the bathroom tie dying. Every sale gives me the energy to work on more ideas. I’m dying to get into screen printing.

6 years ago I was just trying to make a little money selling blogger perks and thrifted items and now I’m a fashion designer. Granted, there are tons and masses of people ironing on patches, bleaching, tie dying g and stitching items. A lot of people have sewing machines and are doing creative things with them. I’m not the only person handpainting denim jackets, and I’m not the only one who loves drawing hearts. But that doesn’t stop me. You can’t always be the first and only, but you can do what makes you feel happy and creative and not worry about the competition.


dating, Fashion, relationships, self confidence

The Man

So when I went on my background acting gig I met this guy. And I was kind of annoyed, because this always happens to me. I go somewhere on a single lady mission and quickly attract a loser. Ok, maybe loser is unfair. I’m not that great of a catch myself. But I do often attract time wasting men that view me as non-threatening, low hanging fruit. That’s my life.

It wasn’t always like that, though. I guess technically I’ve done ok. I had some nice boyfriends, got married and divorced. So it’s not like it was all bad. But I was a different person then, and looking back I know I never found what I wanted because I didn’t know how to define or look for it. You can’t get what you can’t identify. And I still can’t define what I want so I attract … nothing. Human blanks looking for a meaningless good time. I have no image in my head or heart to guide me towards whoever I’m supposed to be with.

Also, I’m just finally getting a feel for who I am post COVID. I get that other people are bored and lonely and looking to hook up, but I don’t want anyone sweating up my new, expensive mattress. I don’t want to cook for anyone (the other day I made cheesy rice and it was basic and common and delicious), and I don’t want to suffer through anyone else’s cooking. I don’t want to dress up or wear makeup or do anything with my hair. I like being ugly and unstylish. It’s too hard to try to be anything else now.

I can’t see myself getting all excited to go date. I will puke if I have to act cultured. I did all of that shit for years and it didn’t make me happy and nobody cared. It’s not perfect being alone; you pay all the bills and there’s no one to rub your feet, but I’m getting good at taking care of things. I’m not ready for dating or even friendship. I’m just ready for me. That’s good enough right now.


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!