Exponentially fresh.

Heart Failure, huh? Sounds a little bit like the Valentines experiences I’ve had for the last five years. Torae’s latest work, mixed by DJ Blazita, is the tale of a relationship from start to finish, and what better time to drop it than Valentines Day? Be on the lookout for my interview with Torae at TheWellVersed. Download link/stream below. Also, a no-DJ version is dropping on iTunes tomorrow, and you can cop his limited edition watch collaboration with Flud Watches at Karmaloop.

[DOWNLOAD AND STREAM] Torae Heart Failure EP, mixed by DJ Blazita

[COP THAT] Limited Edition Heart Failure watch from Flud Watches x Torae [via Karmaloop]

Like these? Yeah, me too. It’s pretty rare that you find a great sale in an expensive neighborhood unless it’s a sample sale, but it looks as if Shoe Market on N. 6th St. in Williamsburg is clearing its inventory for Spring. Or going out of business. I don’t know. All I know is that I have a shoe fetish and I’m one hell of a penny pincher, so this is perfect. Not only is nearly everything almost half off in the store to begin with, they’re having a buy one, get one half off sale on everything. Every product in the store. Basically you could cop those, and say, these…

….for about $40. Deal, right? They have a decent variety of kicks for the ladies and fellas, although I honestly like the guys’ selection better. The ladies end of the spectrum borders on a little too hipsterish for me, but I was eyeing down some patent red round toe stiletto pumps. Oh my God Based God, I can’t wait for Spring.

Get fresh for the season change and go have a good dinner on Bedford Ave. while you’re over there. Thank me later.

Want to browse some of their selection online? Click here. Shoe Market is located at 160 N. 6th St., right near the intersection of Bedford Ave. Take the L to Bedford.

At the ripe ol’ age of twenty two, I have my own Brooklyn apartment, bills to go along with it, personal upkeep expenses (hair done, nails done, everything did), a German car that sucks up premium grade gasoline and requires $100 synthetic oil changes, an endless pit of a stomach to fill, and natural female instinct to drown my sorrows with expensive liquor and/or retail therapy.

In other words, these days I’m the cheapest bastard you know.

Once upon a time I braided hair and burned CDs for money, lived with my parents, and got an allowance, and for some reason back then I was ballin’. I had no problem dropping $150 on a pair of jeans or just as much on a pair of fly kicks. If only I had half the fashion sense that I have now with that kind of budget…sheeeeeeit. I had the Coach bags, Sergio Valente jeans (I’m young but I just aged myself with that one), the ill Playstation games…and I must have been one of the only kids in grade school with a Motorola startac. Oh, and I still have two. THAT WORK. Fuck yo’ Blackberry.

But I don’t have that budget anymore. Now I’m in one of the most fashionable cities in the world (D.C. was definitely not) and broke. So how do you keep up with dressing yourself in this model-infested concrete jungle while not falling behind on your ridiculously high rent payments?

You take your ass straight to the hood. Or to Chinatown. But your average retail block near a shady neighborhood of Brooklyn probably smells better than Chinatown, so ideally you want to go there. Dressing yourself is especially difficult in winter, because boots, coats, etc. are way more expensive than sandals and skimpy sundresses. The only problem with hitting Broadway  (Brooklyn’s Broadway, not so much Manhattan’s) or Canal St. is that if you’re not careful, your bargains will have you looking extra trashy. Like an even cheaper slore version of Snooki. And that’s bad. Bad meaning bad, not bad meaning good.

So I’d like to compile some rules to shopping in NYC when striving for poverty-stricken chic. Please adhere.

1. Lower your expectations. You get what you pay for. That dress that cost you $12? It’s not going to last you very long. But if you get a few compliments on it throughout one season, you’ve pretty much gotten your money’s worth.

2. Sharpen your needle and thread skills. Or find a friend who is nice with the seamstress duties. Buttons will pop at these prices. Zippers will break. Holes will emerge. And even though you should be following rule #1 so these things don’t disappoint you, you can get even more of your money’s worth if you can fix things yourself and get more wear out of them.

3. Be extremely picky. After all, this is your image at stake here. You ABSOLUTELY don’t want to look like you actually shop at these places. No matter your status it’s important to feel and look like a million bucks. Sad to say, this goes a long way in the professional world. Pay attention to materials. If those faux-suede boots feel like cheap foam and smell like carcinogenic chemicals, walk away. Even if they are on sale for $15. Walk away. Anything made out of that nylon-like material that’s ever so popular at Forever 21, especially if it hugs you tightly and is in the form of something that will only be in style this season? Walk away. Places like these are good for certain things: pleather goods, cheap denim, cheap basics like tanks or thermals. These stores are not where you go to buy a dress for a photo shoot or shoes for your sister’s wedding.

4. Limit your spending. When buying things at such low cost, it’s easy to overdose before you realize what a dent you just put in your pocket. I mean why not buy those jeans that make your ass look incredible that are on sale for $11.50? And while you’re at it buy 3 colors of them, right? Well, you only needed one, and in 6 months you might have gained 20 pounds and they won’t look so good. So please, don’t OD. Go in with a mission of what you need and stick to it. Your credit score will thank you.

5. Pay in cash. In relation to rule #4, paying with cash instead of credit tends to be a more effective reminder of how much you’re really spending. I mean come on. Spending real money instead of imaginary dough that you don’t really have always stings a little bit more, right?

6. If you have the urge to try it on, but there is no dressing room, don’t buy it. This one is key. You probably live a busy life and don’t have time to deal with returns. And a lot of these places don’t have dressing rooms. Again, you get what you pay for. If you can’t try things on that tend to be tricky to size, avoid them. Why waste time trying to save money, when after all, time is money? This city is full of hustlers and that hour you spent returning something could have translated into profits elsewhere, and there’s other people gunning for your spot.

7. Splurge from time to time. If you buy everything at these cheap little spots, no matter how picky you are, eventually it will become obvious. So from time to time splurge on something high quality and nice, and mix the cheap pieces with the expensive. I find a great way to do this is with accessories. A good handbag, high-quality shoes, or jewelry (not the variety from those “everything is $2″ joints around Union Square) does the trick. I like to look for things like this at non-chain stores in artsy neighborhoods or at weekend flea markets. When you rock a good necklace, suddenly the focus goes onto that and your cheap shirt is really just a backdrop for your jewelry. Draw the attention where it needs to be.

Necklace, $25, purchased on N. 6th St. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

In a nutshell, keep it classy, not trashy. NYC does not have to break your budget. Keep your rent paid and still look fly. This is the perfect city in which to pull it off. If I told you how much some of the things cost that I’m wearing in, say, my facebook pictures…you’d never believe me. And that’s the goal.

First of all, kudos to me for slacking so hard this weekend on updating the site. Shameful, I know. I need to look into coffee shop sponsorships to keep me going because shit has been nonstop. Hopefully I remember to post some pictures from the Halloween party at PNC Studios in DUMBO and recap the middle aged white person frenzy at the W Hotel as they attempted to dance to the finest of reggae tunes. And then one pissed on the bar. At the W HOTEL. Yeah. Trick or muhfuckin treat!

So now that I’ve had a minute (literally probably one minute) to breathe after my photo shoot last night (oh you fancy, huh?) while peeping that new video for Joell Ortiz and Novel’s “Night Train”, I’ve decided to continue my multiple part series on shit that I don’t trust. Because I feel like it. And that’s the beauty of this site. So next up on that list we have…

People who wear sunglasses indoors!

What kind of douchery is this, anyway? There’s a reason they call them SUNglasses. You know, because the sun is a pain in the ass sometimes and we need to be blocked from it. Like that 8:30am glare when turning onto Prospect St. during my morning commute when I almost ether a pedestrian that I can barely see on a daily basis.

Fact: I own one pair of sunglasses. Last summer this girl I barely knew and I went out to buy liquor and shrimp because we’re luxurious like that and the BBQ we were attending needed more booze and food. Bushwick BK gets it poppin’. Anyway, homegirl was piss drunk, and I was not. I stop in a store to buy a dress cuz it was hot as shit. She does her thing while I do mine. We walk out of the store together, she looks down, and sees a pair of glasses she had tried on still in her hand. Then she proceeds to freak out cuz she just accidentally shoplifted a pair of $5 sunglasses. She decides finally to hold onto them, but then drunkenly leaves them in my car anyway. Now I’m the default owner of cheap, shoplifted shades that I use while I drive. You know, to achieve that perfect “I’m a diva in a German car” pretentious look.

My point is, I take them off indoors. What the fuck are you hiding your eyes from that you need to wear glasses indoors? I don’t care if they match your outfit, it looks retarded. I remember the exact moment when I realized I don’t trust people who wear shades inside. Long story short if I can’t see what direction your eyes are looking and I can’t read into those windows to your soul (it’s really true, you can read a person from their eyes) then I really don’t want to be anywhere near you. Clearly, there’s no sun indoors, so you must have something to hide.

Plus, IT JUST LOOKS FUCKING STUPID. Yeah, certain concepts necessitate some caps lock loving.

This may be the weirdest shit ever but…word.

I have very random conversations throughout my day. I surround myself with creative types and, well, the resulting banter is usually hilarious. Today’s random rambling was a discussion about melanin, most likely influenced by the fact that I could really use a bit of nature’s favorite pigment.

That’s right, I’m white. Extra white. Like a freshly bleached white tee. Well, ok, not quite. I’m more like an almond with a hint of olive oil because I’m a mideast mutt like that.”Off-white,” we will call it. Luckily I tan easily, but when was the last time I took a vacation? Seriously. I have no time to tan. So white as shit I remain. Tanning booths are supposedly cancerous and most self-tanning lotions smell really gross and I look bad in orange, so what’s left for me? Besides good ol’ sunshine (come next summer I will be tanning on my Bushwick rooftop). Then it hit me.

If they can pack THC into pill form, why not melanin?

Holy shit. I spazzed out to the recipient of the conversation, thinking I had the next pharmaceutical revolution on my hands.

And then I googled it. And got sad because melanin pills already exist.

Certified fuckery.

It’s incredible to me how vain society is that there is such a market for pharmaceuticals of a cosmetic nature. Botox, skin bleaching pills, melanin pills, diet pills, you name it. In my head the idea was genius – if you pigment yourself from the inside out you effectively avoid UV rays, tan lines, and shitty orange tones that come with tans, and spray tans. And you do all this with something that occurs in the body naturally anyway. Apparently the internet says the actual outcome isn’t quite so amazing.

Obviously the underlying problem here is society’s perception of what beauty is, but is that argument really necessary anymore? Not much to be said about that, that hasn’t been said before. See lovely Anne Hathaway up there? Proof that pale ass YT’s like myself can still be perfectly desirable. I think she’s my dermatological idol. Her counterpart in the picture? Well, he needs help.

The best part about this conversation was stumbling upon this messageboard thread.  Humans need help. Quotables, shall we?

“After circumnavigating the globe and purposefully attempting to destroy the livelihoods, heritages, living cultures and physical bodies of every tribe of man they came ever in contact with, the Pale Human, the Euro-Peon, has finally received his just deserts and is now able to see the looming end of his woe-begotten days coming into view. He cannot reproduce at a level which will ensure his own survival. It won’t be long before he becomes nothing more than a paragraph in a Word History text-book. Period.”

Euro-Peon. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that sooner. I seriously had to stifle my laughter. I’m definitely stealing that.

“melanin is what give black people rhythm and soul, and has other benefits as well! ive heard that melanin is extracted from dead black people and injected into whites also they make these melanin pills with it. allegedly”

I’m speechless.

…OK, actually I’m not. But I’m just going to sum this up by saying that Googling your random conversations is one hell of a way to pass the time. Would you pop a tanning pill? Are pale pasty chicks fascinatingly hot? Hmmm…

The tasks I complete on a daily basis require me to sift through a ton of information pertaining to a multitude of subjects. Today’s work led me to stumble upon ItsHot, a New York-based jewelry wholesaler. You know, bling bling, money ain’t a thing, C.R.E.A.M., diamonds are a girl’s best friend, make it rain, all that fancy shit. As I browsed the categories like Diamond Watches, Women’s Jewelry, Men’s Jewelry, Engagement Rings, etc., I noticed one I had never seen before: Hip Hop Jewelry.

Have rappers, producers, and DJ’s become so famous for their ice that they are now worthy of their own gemstone demographic? What, conductors of world renowned orchestras don’t buy fancy watches? Rock and roll types don’t buy themselves 2 carat studs? I only mention the musical side of Hip Hop not to neglect the other elements, but when was the last time you saw a b-boy sporting rocks, rather than uprocking? Graf writers? Yeah, thought so. Unless they’re extra flashy with it, in which case I’d say they’re a rare breed.

Why would a jewelry retailer want to market to Hip Hop? Most people notable enough to have the money to blow on the shit have rags-to-riches stories that most likely left them with a horrendous credit score, and a healthy bunch have nice criminal records. What up, TI? DMX? Shyne? Tru Life? I’m all for giving ex-cons a second chance but when I’m selling merch valued at $100k I’m going to think twice about the source of the money (“eyes is out, son, they watchin’ us”), and the longevity of my client’s career because payment plans don’t go away overnight. Unless of course I’m hustling conflict diamonds and have no morals or standards anyway.

But then it hit me. The same bullshit that makes these guys high-risk is the exact same thing that makes them the perfect market. Where there are rappers, there are chain snatchers. And where there is chain snatching, there is a constant demand to replace the snatched goods. Put enough codeine-laced beverage into them and they probably would be crazy enough to drop over $20,000 via an online purchase that will be plopped in a truck in a cardboard box to be transported to them. No wonder It’sHot is one of the top companies in the NYC metro area on the Inc. 5000 list. Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me in this economy if jewelers are hiring people to go snatch some chains up from their own rappin-ass clients. Keep ‘em coming back, supply and demand, all that shit, right?

I’m still a little mad that they put a Mickey Mouse pendant in the Hip Hop section, though. I know rap got corny these days, but that’s still tugs at my heart strings a smidgen. Somehow I don’t think Mickey would be too happy about that either.

Hang on tight to those Jesus pieces, folks, shit is real in the streets these days.

Just one of many reasons that my move from D.C. to NYC is one that I don’t regret happens to be the shopping. The sample sale scene in NYC stays shitting on the DMV’s. Then again the fashion scene in general here is just on another level. I’ll just assume that you, the reader, enjoy a good sample sale as much as I do…especially when it’s actually some dope streetwear and not some preworn by mad muhfuckas “vintage” shit you wouldn’t have worn even in the era when it was hot.

Plus, it’s in DUMBO, aka the neighborhood I now roam during the day Mon.-Fri., so if you decide to stop by  you should definitely hit me up.