Cheaper is Better

Yeah, I said it. All you people complaining about other people being cheap: screw you. Because some types of awesomeness can only be found in thrift stores and secondhand bookstores.

Today, after running some errands, I decided to check out this store, the Fashionista Vintage and Variety Store (33 Church Street, New Haven, CT). First impression when I walked in - blown away. They have EVERYTHING in this place - from John Lennon glasses to wedding dresses to Aztec-y clip-on earrings. I couldn't take any photos because I am currently camera-less, but I made use of my webcam so I could show you what I got. I apologize for the crappy photos - better ones will come in the future.

My favorite thing about the store was that the owner packed my stuff up in this ADORABLE cloth bundle on a stick:

I got a huge kick out of carrying this around the city and having people look at me twice. It was a good kind of double-take, unlike Tuesday, when it was like 90 degrees out and I had a wool hat on because my hair was a mess and that was the only hat I had. lol.

Anyway, on to the purchases. First up, some gorgeous leafy earrings:

I LOVE these. Will dress up any outfit. Came in this cute little egg too:

But, what really got me was this kufi embroidered with bronze thread:

As soon as I saw it I knew I HAD to have it. I'm thinking of doing an Afropolitan fashion shoot as part of a multimedia presentation my cousin is coming up with, and to showcase at my school. This would be a perfect accessory.

Now, onto the second-hand bookstore. I have only been in the Book Trader Cafe once before, but this time I went in and actually looked for stuff. I found four amazing CDs, each costing less than $4, and in pretty good condition.

#1 Dione Farris's Wild Seed - Wild Flower

I saw her perform at the African-American Arts Festival in Baltimore a couple of years ago, and let me tell you, even though the industry has forgotten about her, she is as amazing as ever. People like her deserve so much more recognition than they get currently. This blog post pretty much sums up how I feel about the music industry today, except I disagree with what he said about Jill Scott, because I really like her. Alicia Keys is slowly moving to make herself more marketable (the Beyonce syndrome, as I call it) and India.Arie's last album failed to wow me. I actually went out and bought it too. Sigh. But I digress. Amazing album, will go get her other CDs as well., You should too.

#2 The Raveonettes, Chain Gang of Love

I fell in love with their sound when I listened to "Aly, Walk With Me" on suggestion from the Lefsetz newsletter. Dude has great taste in music, but his rants about the industry were a little too much, so I stopped subscribing. I got their second album, "Lust Lust Lust" and was really excited to find their debut this week. They kept to their fuzzy, underground rock sound, but gave it a slightly more electronic feel on the second album. Still love it though. To some people, all their songs might sound the same, but I love that their songs can each be unique even though they have similar elements. Good album to listen to all the way through. Skips a little on the first track, but otherwise amazing.

#3 ASAP: The Afrobeat Sudan Aid Project

Released in 2004 to raise money to fund aid efforts in Sudan, this album is the stuff I wish Nigerian artists still made today - songs that go hard but still carry a message. Pure Afrobeat, pure amazingness. My current favorite track is "Di Bombs" by Ikwunga.

And last, but not at all least, #4 Les Nubians, Princesses Nubiennes

Their debut album - where it all began. I love these women and their music. They were at Central Park Summerstage along with Asa and Oumou Sangare, and definitely held their own. Best way to describe their sound would be African hip-soul-and-blues. Listening to it now, and I know this is going to be on rotation for a while.

Finally I got this coffee table book called "Extravagant Crowd: Carl Von Vechten's Portraits of Women" and I love it. Famous women from all kinds of different backgrounds. My webcam will not do justice to the photographs in this book. Definitely inspiration for my own photography. My favorite image in the book is his portrait of Frida Kahlo, but I couldn't find it online, so here's another beautiful one of famous blues singer, Bessie Smith.

And all this amazingness cost me only $35. I kid you not. Same price as a shirt from American Apparel. I don't think I'll be buying anything from a major retailer anytime soon. (Except my Diana F+ camera, but that's not for a while.) I will keep you guys posted on my thrifting adventures. And if anyone knows where I can find cute hair accessories on the cheap, let let me know.


  1. Cool post! I'm ALWAYS listening to Les Nubians, and I love Dionne Farris!


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