Middle Of The Week, DIY Chic

DIY; all you need is a vision and some gluestick!

Supermarkets across New York were busy restocking shelves in the wake of Hurricane Irene. People bought out all sorts of supplies and non perishable food to last them the days following the hurricane. But buying tomato paste and soup cans wasn’t the only way to prepare for the end of the world. The do it yourself fashion,  DIY fashion movement has taken hold in the streets of New York and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere at least until the world is actually over. Whether its styles inspired from the third world, or apocalyptic chic, DIY fashion appears in many versatile and constantly changing and evolving  forms.  This anti fashion sure makes a statment and  at very little cost, too. A few tips from some of these DIY fashionistase:

1. Affordability! Save that money for an exit visa! Don’t kill that budget. Remember it’s all going to get cut up and recreated in another form whether its into another shirt, or into a pair of pants, a scarf, or some intricate hat.

2. Raid the back of your closet, your mothers closet, and your grandmothers closet. There may be some  great stuff that needs some DIY attention or an updating. Never throw away those throwaway items.

4. Hit up thrift stores and utility shops. Not only do they hold possible DIY diamond in the roughs, there is plenty of material you can experiment with.

3. Be careful with the scissors and needles. Your look should be more Alexander Wang and not your neighborhood homeless person.

Moon, (right) is wearing a DIY denim shirt which she cut the shoulders and adorned with sequins. Her pants are a couple size bigger so that she can create that harem look.
Drea, (middle, left)  is working a denim work vest that she purchased from a bushwick thriftsore and her inner hood shirt is from a Salvation Army. Her boots from the army supply store.

The aftermath isn’t just the name of a rap album; it’s fashion.

Vanessa's Dumpllings, 118 Eldredge Street off of Broome Street, Lower East Side

Eating Dumplings Is Easy

There are few summer city past times quite like the pursuit of cheap food. I guess that easily could be considered a year round effort. Perhaps it is to save a couple of bills so one can tramp around at the newest hotel lobby or to go to that club that hasn’t been subverted by the bridge and tunnel communities; or to drink fancy seasonal margaritas sans sour mix and with jalapeno sugar rims; or even to buy some sort  of end of the world, Asian designer’s drop crotch, filmy tank top that’s worn in reverse; or perhaps its some combination of all the above… And then you stumble into Vanessa’s Dumplings in the Lower East Side…or maybe you read about it in a guidebook…or a financially conscious friend told you about it because fortunately (or unfortunately), they eat here everyday. It is at once, a stop for the local residents, weary from the smells, sounds, and sore ankles of Chinatown food shopping; a YMCA and impromptu meeting ground for families of the UN security council and other international travellers excited to eat authentic Chinese food without having to enter some sort of massage parlor that serves turtle intestines soup; and an ad hoc fashion show for those wan, young, fashion fascistas, AKA fashionistas, who may have only most recently become obsessed with the Alexander Mcqueen exhibit at the Met and are desperately in need of nourishment in order to keep their interests relevant and their clothes hanging so artistically off their bodies. Vanessa’s Dumplings just has that all encompassing appeal.

Vanessa's Dumplings, 118 Eldredge Street btw Broome & Grand Streets, Lower East Side

“241! 242! 243!!!” The women who run the business at Vanessa’s will vociferously shout out above the bus crowds, ticket numbers as orders are ready, annoying those grumpy, impatient patrons nestled in and jostling to get on the go while amusing other patrons who seemingly understand and or are oblivious the rituals of this place, where people of diverging interests and contrasting virtues converge in search of a common goal; cheap dumplings. With 4 plump dumplings priced at a $1, you can eat your fill, sweat it out, and come back to fill up on some more and still afford your designer craft beer at the whole foods, or get a new set of soles from the shoe repair ladies at Columbus park in Chinatown. Affordability aside, (there’s a dumpling spot around the corner that sells 5 dumplings for a dollar!) these dumplings are actually very tasty, as are other items on the menu. The standard pork and chive dumplings are flavorful and juicy. The wrapper, best when steam fried to a crispy crunch on one side, is slightly chewy without being gummy and the garlic and porky flavors of the filling are well complimented when dipped into the pungent rice vinegar and soy sauce dressing with a splash of the sriracha (watered down) sauce they offer.  Also the sesame pancake sandwiches are a real guilty pleasure. This isn’t your regular kind of bread, its FRIED bread! The savory flavor of the bread is enhanced by a generous sprinkling of chopped scallion in the dough and scattered  sesame seeds that cling to the glistened, oil slick surface of the bread. I usually get the one with ham and egg as a breakfast or lunch item but they have other meat and vegetarian options as well. It’s the kind of sandwich that leaves an imprint not only in your tummy but also leaves an imprint on your DIY designer clothes.


A purse for all seasons!

I Can’t Stand The Rain…

A purse for all seasons!

TB:This past weekend’s storm kept me cooped up inside and feeling stir crazy! I couldn’t resist but to daydream about the last days of summer…relaxing on the porch or taking  strolls around the garden and gathering the season’s harvest.

Giddy Up!

But of course, that pastoral setting is really a backdrop for one of my obsessions,  PURSES! I can’t have enough of them! Just like a great pair of shoes, a purse can elevate an outfit from ordinary to exceptional. Don’t be a wimp like Irene, and wear a purse with some character. A great carry on bag for last minute getaways, I pack my Equestrian duffle bag and go to the races or the beach.

Fendi's Cherry Ice.


The vibrant red of this vintage Fendi bag reminds me of the luscious strawberries you pick off the vine at the beginning of the summer and  the beautiful heirloom tomatoes you pick off the vine at the end. But this bag is no tomato. Its more like a cherry ice that boys buy you from the coco helado man so they can see your lips turn red.


I thankfully, never spin myself into a cocoon, no matter how awful the weather is. Who would with all these bags!  And I love wearing this lovely, vintage Escada bag that features a little gold and silver caterpillar on the lid; a fun little reminder and nod to summers in New York.

And finally, when the summer does come to end, all big girls gotta go back to school or start that new job. Why not welcome in the autumn by looking a little smart and sling a calf skin Dooney & Burke drawstring bucket bag over your shoulder. It’s sturdy and chic for the fall months and you can definitely keep an umbrella in it for all those rainy days.

From Left to Right: Dooney & Burke Bucket Bag, Equestrian Duffle Bag, Escada Caterpillar Purse.

Bui Certified

Hurricanes In The Hood & Haute Canned Goods

UPDATE: Hurricane advisories are bad for business. So regretfully, BUI’s BONANZE will not be selling designer vintage goods this Saturday at the Hester Street Flea Market. Please check in next week for our next date.

AB: Meanwhile, as we prepare for the second natural disaster of the week, (does it feel like the beginning of the end of the world… or was that when all the tourists and college students stampeded NYC) we look towards our cabinets and pantries for  sustenance. That’s right y’all, CANNED FOODS!!!

I saw the restauranteurs, Joe and Lidia Bastianich, searing tuna steaks on their PBS show, before they got sued by their indentured servant who says she used to sear it for them! They generously sprinkled fresh oregano on both sides of the tuna in what they said was an authentic Southern Italian preparation of the fish. Now I don’t eat too much “fresh” tuna because of the, you know? Dolphins! But I love me a tuna fish sandwich. So I figured why not try oregano in my tuna salad. Below is a recipe for a delicious and easy way to prepare tuna salad. It might be the only thing you have to eat this weekend.

4 cans Chicken of the Sea, drained

2 Hard Boiled Eggs, chopped

2-3 Shallots, fine chopped

3 tbs mayonnaise

2 tsps Dijon mustard

½ to ¾ tsp Oregano

Pinch of Salt & Pepper

Stir all the ingredients together until everything is well incorporated and refrigerate. The recipe makes 4-6 sandwiches or goes well with a green salad or even with a little rice. The shallots and the hard boiled egg adds moisture, and creaminess while the oregano really adds a depth of flavor and a rich, rustic earthiness that you might not expect from eating canned tuna fish.

I’ve also attached a rainy day song that is hot like Fiyah! Brrrrrrrappppp Bap Bap! So you can sway while you’re making your tuna salad, karaoke to yourself in the mirror, or generally just role play to your personal Rick Ross, in your pajamas and behind your boarded up windows on this rainy weekend. SURVIVAL, Y’ALL! Enjoy!

Estelle feat Rick Ross – Break My Heart

A few of our patrons.

Patrons At The Hester Street Flea

TB: We run what we like to call, BUI’s BONANZA: Designer Vintage Clothing Sale on Saturdays at the Hester Street Flea Market, located on Essex Street & Hester Street in the Lower East Side. We carry all kinds of good stuff, designer men’s & women’ sclothing,  accessories, sunglasses, bags, and shoes. We will be there this Saturday, so before you bunker in for Hurrican Irene stop by and do a little comfort shopping or visit us and get your picture taken. Below are some of our patrons who took a moment to strike a pose.

A few of our patrons.

From left to right

Vintage 50′s Party Dress, BCBG Blush Romper, Vintage 80′s Floral Mini-Dress


Vintage 80′s Polka Dot Dress, Light Cotton Plaid Shirt, Vintage 60′s Gunne Sax skirt.

Come get your photograph taken.