Spotted a Free People tunic for $2.99 and thought to myself "Lucky Find".  A quick inspection revealed two small holes and suddenly the deal wasn't so sweet, not for that price.  I knew that I could repair it with no trouble, so I asked the store manager if I could purchase it for 99 cents.  I left the store with a damaged second hand top and my mind went back to a recent tour of George Washington's plantation where enslaved women were given 2 coarse linens shifts, 1 linen skirt, 1 wool skirt, 1 wool jacket, 1 pair of stockings, and 1 pair of shoes to last ALL YEAR LONG!  What if I had to wear this same top everyday?  How many holes would have to be repaired in a 365 day period and what would be the condition of the garment after repeated wearings?  Funny how one ripped Free People tunic and a miniature slave memorial on Washington's plantation speaks volumes about this nation.
Remember when the logo for Guess was an inverted triangular shaped patch with the red question mark in the center?  I will never forget my first pair of Guess jeans.  They were straight-legged with zippers at the ankle and were purchased at Factory Connection.  I made the mistake of letting my sister borrow them and she wore them until they were distressed, which was not even the trend at the time.  I was sad, angry, and since they couldn’t be salvaged, I destroyed them.  I vaguely remember smoke and flames but oh how I wish I had them now!

Fast forward twenty plus years and I'm still wearing Guess denim sans the inverted triangle.  One pair has Guess written in rhinestones on the back pocket and the other has an embroidered G on the back.  I still long for my vintage skinnies so guess who’ll be in the thrift store tonite?  

After a long drought, I was thrilled to see a pair of red, patent leather finish, Jessica Simpson heels in the thrift store for $6.99.  Although the style was simple, not as jazzy as I usually prefer, I purchased them because my shoe collection really could use some help.  I decided to wear them to a picnic today, the heel was not too high, and the shoe was really comfortable.  After the picnic, we walked around in the mall and still no discomfort.  The bloody disappointment came when I removed the shoe to get some photos and what do you know?  I had bloody colored stains on my feet!  Cheap, cheap, cheap!  
"I'm in a sad mood tonight.  Oh, I'm in a sad, sad mood."  Why?  Something's gone terribly wrong at my usual spot.  My favorite thrifting hole has dried up and has me singing the blues. Three days this week, I've left the store with nothing.   That's right.  Nothing.  I compare my feelings to a nicotine addict who goes to purchase cigarettes only to find that there are none there. You can guess what's going to happen next and no, I will not be buying alcohol instead.  

I've already started eyeing more jewelry in Wakefield's department store.  I'm sure a few pieces from the Brighton collection will lift my spirits and calm my nerves. See?   I'm already feeling better and singing a new song.  Now "Ain't that good news."

Why is counterfeiting so bad?

First, it steals creativity from the designer and luxury labels want their products to be associated with the luxurious.  Coco Chanel would roll over in her grave knowing that her designs are carried into Dollar Tree stores in droves.  Guccio Gucci's Italian leather wear is now plastic wear made in China and so commonly worn that buyers think that his first name is Faux. Louis Vuitton's Speedy is regularly carried by the needy and the designer world is in a frenzy.

Secondly, the government is said to lose out on significant tax revenues and the sellers operate with huge profit margins.  

Thirdly, it is estimated that at least 90% of the funds used to purchase counterfeits are used to fund terrorist groups and linked to child labor. So what can we do?  Punish the seller, the buyer, or both? 

Luxury brands were dangled over our heads to make us swoon and we fell in love with the prestige that comes with owning designer labels.  Then along came the replicas which were more affordable. Now buyers and sellers alike are viewed as criminals and the crime of passion could land both behind bars.  What's the charge?  Identity theft or receiving stolen property?
The ladies of Nappy Model Inc recently dropped by Dillards in Oxford, Alabama for a little demo on what to wear for spring.  It's no surprise that Loris chose body con dresses, itty bitty fringed and painted on mini skirts, while adding another 4 inches to her already 5'7 inch frame with sky high stiletto pumps.  BeBe chose an ivory, sleeveless crochet sundress with nude pumps and ripped jeans with a tie front tunic.  No matter what the occasion, everything you need for spring can be found at your nearest Dillards location.  
I'm just back from a 4 day visit to Washington D.C. and Virginia with my 12 year old daughter.  I can't count the number of times that we saw the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, and other historical landmarks.  As I am no American history buff, after a while historical facts were all scrambled in my brain and I just wanted to shop!  I had planned to take a few business cards to leave around the nation's capital, but forgot them. (Awwh man!)  Since it's all so fast paced there and I couldn't do the usual "Hi, I'm BeBe of Nappy Model Inc. Do you mind if I take a photo?", imagine my frustration. 

I did manage to snap a few photos of a few unsuspecting passersby at the Cherry Blossom festival on Saturday while wishing that I didn't have on boring linen pants and sneakers.  Now back at home, I'm thrilled to be in my Joe's jeans, stilettos, and vintage top.  

So where is the nation's fashion capital?  Today, it's in Alabama.

I have fashion ADD.  If I see someone wearing something I like, I ask a few questions, take a few pictures and I'm on to the next, quickly.  See?  I just confessed and it was easy.  It was just as simple for Metro Bank's investment representative, Cindy McLaughlin to give her confession.  When asked "Where did you get that beautiful jewelry?", her response was "Belk, I'm a Belk-aholic!"  Then she quickly gave me the 411 on each piece: necklace and earrings are by Erica Lyons, bracelet by Lucky Brand, and ring by New Direction, all Belk brands. Cindy loves shopping on line, but her favorite Belk location is Trussville.  Hold on.  The interview didn't stop there. Click on each photo below for additional information on her amazing spring outfit.  On the spot interview and workplace photo shoot in less than 10 minutes, that's the positive side of having fashion ADD.  The positive side of being a Belk-aholic is that your collection of jewelry is spectacular!
I can't swim, but I love the beach.  Watch the waves roll in, then watch me run to safety.  I can sit pool side, wade my white tips in 4 ft while looking fabulous in over sized sunglasses and lace cover up.  But the only way you can get me to take a dive is to show me a treasure box full of nautical jewelry, then head first, I'm going in.  Check out the sea of nautical treasures at Wakefield's department store in Anniston, Al, then go off the deep end in style.
My mother and I were taking a trip down memory lane, remembering the days of Belk Hudson, Berman's, Kitchin's, and Withit department stores in Anniston, Al.  At the mention of Withit's, a vivid image of a striking beauty in all black attire comes to mind.  Those were the days of searching racks for back to school clothes or collecting sterling silver rings and bracelets at bargain prices. I was always intrigued by "Mrs. All Black"  as she was always runway ready. After Withit closed its doors, we often wondered what became of Mrs. Eva Carver.  Lo and behold, 14 years later we found her, as lovely as ever, still doing what she loves as a beauty consultant for Clinique at Wakefield's in Anniston. This woman has definitely found the fountain of youth and Nappy Model Inc's inquiring minds wanted to know her secret.

NMI:  Admiring her stacked Brighton bracelets.  Do you mind if I get a picture of your jewelry?
Mrs. Eva:  (blushing) Sure.
NMI:  How long have you been working in the beauty industry?
Mrs. Eva:  Over 38 years (flashing her President's award badge for top sales in 2011 and 2013)
NMI:  Do you mind telling your age?
Mrs. Eva:  No.  I'm 72 years old.
NMI:  No way!  
NMI:  Your skin care regimen, which products can you not live without?
Mrs. Eva:  The whole line of Clinique products.
NMI:  How do you stay fit?
Mrs. Eva:  I walk and do aerobics.  I try to keep my weight constant by not going 5 lbs over my desired weight.  When I reach the 5 lb limit, then I start to monitor what I eat.
NMI:  What's the key to your success?
Mrs. Eva:  Having the right attitude and loving people.  Without it, you can't make it in the beauty industry.

Clinique policy requires that their consultants wear white jackets at all times; therefore, I was not able to get a photo of Mrs. Eva in her iconic black ensemble.  However, I was able to capture her beauty, inside and out, and of course those black hose and black heels.  NMI promised to come back soon for a makeover and of course, I will be wearing all black.


    We are glamour girls on a budget, “Frugal Fashionistas”.  We know beauty and fashion basics and would love to share them with you.  We can skillfully transform a “meager” look into a “money” look without breaking the bank. You want a magazine look at a fraction of the cost?  No problem.
    Not only are we into fashion, we are into living life.  The highs and lows, the ins and outs, the joys and tears, we all experience those moments.  But what we want to remember are the laughs and that we came through LOOKING like a rose.
    Chaquita and Lola Belle


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