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A lot of people really need an outlet. Some folks go fishing or hunting (especially popular in the wilds of PA). I prefer going to Le Flea Market. The flea I go to does not really have the vendors with socks or fake designer purses. No. This one is filled with guys with long beards, plaid shirts, and sweaty helpers hauling crap off trucks. They throw said crapola onto wooden tables and pray that they sell sell sell. Who buys buys buys? Collectors, curiousity seekers, resellers, and artists. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors, much like their material goods that make their hearts go pitter patter. You could be the richest guy in town, or some shlep sleeping in car and some junk in the trunk. You just never know who is shopping, buying etc, and who doesn't love a mystery> Everything has a story, as the people who are wheeling and dealing.

I am very upfront about what I want. I tell the dealers, that most items are too rich for my blood. I am looking for items for a dollar, maybe 2. I am so cheap I squeak. I look for the true steals. A lot of the folks buy cleanouts and don't give a rat's behind what is in the box. That is exactly what I go for. I can tell that that rotund guy chomping on the cigar had probably gone over the pile of jewelry with a magnet. mHe just wants the gold. He does not realize that those pearls though made of glass are worth about $60 online, as they are signed by Gallieries Lafayette. And I grab them for a dollar, gently extracting them from an unimaginable tangled mass of failed Avon junk jewelry and horrendous plastic plastic slap bracelets from 1992.

Every now and then, I nearly faint when I see a strand of real cultured pearls or a diamond ring sitting in the pile of cheap plastic Mardigras beads and dirt. I get these untangled, throw them in with some quasi junk and get it all for, Oh I dunno, 5 bucks? I dance away, stuff everything into my purse and go onto the next table.

Sometimes, I wander over to Joan, the dollar clothing lady, and she lives somewhere on a hill there by the flea. She sells clothes with loads of fancy lables and does. not. care. All the money goes to her church, and she just grabs stuff and dumps in on the table, happily grabbing the dollars the Spanish ladies, crazy middle aged biker chicks, and the Gen Z gals chuck in her general direction. I have found some great items there: my favorite down vest, sweaters for hubby, shirts and dresses for my other kid, and of course, some great items to resell online. I buy for a dollar and sell for 15-20. I would say that is a great little side hustle I have developed.

I have to hustle just like my igar chomping pal. Just like Joan the church lady. Once I have finished going though the rags, the dirt, the tangled messes at each table, I hoist my petard into my hoopdie chariot and off I go to a local dive to drink a cuppa and get my typical Jersey egg sandwich.

But I always always remember to wash my hands, Because You never know where that stuff has been!

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Celebrating 30 years of SHOW BUSINESS! It was great to be a part of a show with such a high caliber of artists and especially the fine art. I enjoyed meeting all new customers and was very engaged with them. Boy, do Chicagoans ask a lot of questions! I was on my feet for14 hours per day and yapped with probably thousands of people. My booth was awesome, and I signed on for next winter 2024. I have known many people in the art world for over 30 years too. We speak a certain patois that needs no explanation. When you know, you know. So... it was great to have that easy familiarity that comes with experience! OMG- can we talk about food? You could just die from all the offerings! Of course, I ate at Lou Malnati's for deep dish pizza, which was not only outstanding but seriously cheapo. I partook in Al's#1 Italian Beef sandwiches too. This consists of a hoagie-like roll covered in poppy seeds with a slathering of beef juices and Giardinera/sport peppers and shaved beef. It is a cross between a Philly cheese steak sans cheese and a French Dip. I gained a couple pounds, but it was worth it!!Thank you Chicago for showing me a good time, feeding me very well, and all of those lovely customers you send my way! Happy Holidays!

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This has been a momentous year for Abra Couture! 2022 marks our 30th year is business! Way back when, in 1992, I was a newly minted college grad living in NYC.

I was a true hustler, dragging my jewelry around to boutiques, Saturday night streetcorners (drunks love to buy jewelry!), and ye olde flea markets. It was a lot of fun, but it was tough too. It made me very tough, tolerant, and gave me a wicked sense of humor.

Chutzpah: (gutteral Hootz-pah)a Yiddish word used in East Coast colloquial English. It basically means you have major Cajones or um, you are very gutsy almost to the point of foolishness. Well, I had Chutzpah in spades. I saw ideas and designs, went into any store I could, saw how things were created. My goal was to take various influences and create something totally new, and very New York.

I did, and 30 years later, I still love when people surprise me with their style, perhaps pushing personal style boundaries, because as we know, when you wear something special, you feel special.

The plain janes become la dee dah ladies. The style mavens in Advanced Style blogs feature my work to inspire others to follow. My pieces migrate to the necks of those famous and... infamous. Occasionally, my lovely doyennes will post a pic of a TV personality, a newscaster, or some hotzie totzie it girl sporting the classic Abra Couture necklace.

I love it!!

Right now, I am working away on redoing our website, making it easier to navigate and seamless from start to finish. I am mastering social media, a bit at a time, to broadcast my events and the previews.

After 30 years, just maybe I'll get it together this year! Or...maybe sometime in the next year?

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