Tag Archives: shopping

Discovering Hidden Gems: Flea Markets

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-Emily Fraysse

Right there, displayed in front of me, was a perfect, authentic pair of ruby red Chanel pumps for twenty bucks. They were exactly two shoes sizes too small for me.

Every time a new month began, I looked forward to one thing: the flea market in Alameda, California. Around six a.m. of the first Sunday of every month, I would drive with friends and family to an island located next to Oakland and across the way from the fog-ridden city of San Francisco. The sunrise loomed above us as we walked towards to entrance, each of us holding a cup of coffee in our hand.

Flea markets can be overwhelming. Different vendors displaying vintage items from clothing to taxidermy to just about anything and everything imaginable. But, it’s worth it. Through a careful scope of each row of vendors, you have the ability to find hidden gems that are unique and cheap. It’s amazing how time and money can disappear so fast while getting lost in the market.

The craziest thing that I have ever bought was a vintage, white bed frame and headboard, two white side tables, a giant white mirror, and a vintage seafoam green dresser for a total of $500. The vendor had used Ralph Lauren paints on all of the items and sanded them down a bit to make them look older. It was a steal.

There are a variety of flea markets along the west coast that are definitely worth checking out. The Alameda Flea Market, which is where I always went, is the second largest flea market in California. There are many in California, Washington, and Oregon.

A bit of advice for going to flea markets: sometimes there is a fee to get in, so the earlier you go, the more you’ll have to pay since you are looking at the vendors first. Bring a piece of paper or take notes on your phone of vendors that you might want to go back to.

Although sifting through each of the vendors wares can seem daunting, running across those unique finds is worth it.

Five Ways to Celebrate YOU on Valentine’s Day

-Rache’ll Brown

Valentine’s Day is here, and for those of us without a significant other, it can be a bit of a bummer. Everywhere you turn, couples are looking longingly into each others’ eyes and being adorable. The affection overload may remind you of how alone you are, but this year, instead of feeling sorry for yourself, do something just for you! Celebrate your awesomeness by relaxing and having a good time doing things you enjoy. Here are some ideas to get you started.

#5 Hike

Grab your North Face and head out for a solo hike. The fresh air and exercise will make you feel great, and a beautiful trek will help you clear your head. I love Spencer’s Butte (shown above)—the hike isn’t too grueling and the view is unbelievable.

#4 Shop

The endorphins you feel while shopping will help you forget about everything else in the world. If you really can’t afford to buy anything, head to Gateway and amuse yourself at one of the tacky dress shops. You won’t regret it.

#3 Spa Day

Break out all of your best beauty tools and spend some time just pampering yourself. Paint your nails, exfoliate your skin, light some candles, and blast some Lana Del Rey and Frank Ocean.

#2 Bake

Cookies, cupcakes, brownies, whatever; get your Laura Vitale on, and dirty up your kitchen. Baking is a fun way to relax, and there’s no more enjoyable way to celebrate yourself than with a giant cake in honor of YOU.

#1 Movie Marathon in Bed

Cuddle up in your comfiest clothes and enter a committed relationship with your bed. Break out all of your favorite movies, turn off your phone, and spend the day in total relaxation.

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Skip the Chaos and Shop Cyber Monday

-Rache’ll Brown

I’ve gone Black Friday shopping annually since my freshman year of high school, and I have no idea why. Sure, I get great deals (sometimes), and there is some excitement in fighting to the death for 40-percent-off a t-shirt, but are the insane lines and moms with crazy looks in their eyes worth it? I thought so—until I discovered Cyber Monday.

Every year, during the Monday after Thanksgiving stores hold sales online comparable to those that occur in-store during Black Friday. This year, Cyber Monday is November 26, and I can’t wait to scavenge the Internet for some awesome deals on gifts for Christmas (or in my case, gifts for myself. Sorry I’m not sorry.).

While on the hunt for Cyber Monday sales, its best to start in all of the obvious places. Best Buy, Target, Macy’s, Walmart, Amazon, and more will have some sort of Cyber Monday deal going on. I recommend these sites while getting gifts for other people. As for me? I like to hit some of my favorite clothing and beauty sites. One of the best places to shop for clothes online is Tobi. For Cyber Monday, the site is offering 40 percent off store-wide, but first time shoppers get 50 percent off their purchases any time of the year. Another clothing store, Foreign Exchange, is offering up to 75 percent off most items. For makeup, MAC is having a Cyber Monday special, but they haven’t announced what it will be yet, and Sephora is offering free mystery gifts all week long.

Next year, skip the Black Friday insanity and shop comfortably in your pajamas at home during Cyber Monday! Take some time to visit all of your favorite online stores to see what kind of deals are going on while sipping some hot chocolate—it beats getting a black eye from a vicious grandma trying to grab the last X-Box for her spoiled grandson.

Image from http://www.macys.com

Black Friday Madness

-Jamie Hershman

Every year, crazy sales-obsessed Americans line up in the wee hours of the morning after they’ve finished their double round plates of turkey and stuffing in hopes of being the first in line for Black Friday shopping. This year, while all the sane people were sleeping in their warm beds, I was lined up at 11 p.m. waiting for the stores in the mall to open at midnight. While I was mostly there as an outside observer to all the craziness, I did give in to a few of the sub-par deals that are highly advertised for Black Friday.

When I arrived at the mall, the lines were already in full force. Urban Outfitters had hundreds of people lined up that extended outside the mall. Security was lined up and ready for the massive amount of people that were eager for their exclusive Black Friday deals of fifty percent off already sale-priced items. Since the sale was only lasting until 10 a.m. on Friday, there was no other option but to arrive early and sift through all the good finds.

I refused to wait in the line at Urban Outfitters, but I visited the store just thirty minutes after it officially opened at midnight. Everything was trashed, and they were already out of stock on all sale item accessories. It was complete madness.

But, it was probably a blessing that there weren’t any items left for sale because a clear line wasn’t even visible. A large mob of people stood throughout every corner of the store waiting for a chance to get close enough to the cash register to swipe their Visa and exit the claustrophobic setting.

As my friend and I left the mall exhausted around one in the morning, we stumbled across a DJ booth blasting top 40 music to keep the crowd going. We felt as though we had just survived a tough battle, crawling out of the line of fire of the consumer-driven world. The lengths these businesses will go to get customers to keep buying more is a little ridiculous. Just like I told myself the last year and the year before that, I will never go Black Friday shopping again.

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