You know my style by now — I love clothes, accessories, and shoes that are both classic and quirky, funky and functional items that come from smaller boutique businesses. I’ve been keeping an eye out for the kinds of fly items any afrobella would love to get in a heart-shaped box for Valentine’s Day. Here you go!

I love wearing something that absolutely nobody else owns. And Melissa Laine Scotton’s School Shoes are exactly what I’m talking about. Vans = classic, and her amazing handpainting skills = quirky, unique, and super fresh. I discovered her through Fly (duh! Fly is my go-to blog for the coolest fashion and design trends!). Melissa is a designer and illustrator who has done some amazing snowboard gear for the likes of Roxy and Grenade Gloves. Now she’s getting her MFA in Graphic Design, and selling School Shoes to pay her way through. I love the mermaid and the peacock pairs the most. So cool! They go for around $120 each, $135 for a custom job on your Vans of choice. And please allow me to directly address my husband on this point — purple customized Vans = perfect present, plzthxluvyabye.

Missbruno’s My So Called Scarf collection is like straight-up art for your neck. The U-Carmen is fierce — bright orange stretch cotton with snakeskin on the ends. (I hope that’s fakeskin. Is it, missbruno?) Sketches in Dakar is a dramatic Indian cotton neck bracelet, and it takes a fly, flamboyant bella to pull that look off. If you’ve got the flair for it, go on and work it. They range from $220 to $40.

While trying to twist my hair up into an updo last week, I snapped an octopus clip in half. In half! And those clips are supposed to be made to capture curls, too. My hair is strong and wild and it needs a capable yet distinctive accessory to hold it together. That’s why I’m so psyched about Tomoka’s Twists — such a simple, beautiful accessory for afrobellas everywhere! Being an all natural bella herself, the designer knows that our texture requires a strong accessory, but one that still feels comfortable to wear. The copper wire used in Tomoka’s Twists is pliable enough that it can be used to form a high afro puff (which was Tomoka’s original intent), and ladies with thick locks can use the twists to pull them back into a neatly regal ponytail or updo. I’ve been rocking the Ivory Tower to work this week, and so many people asked me about it! There’s something about a tall, swept back afro puff that’s elegantly adorned that definitely attracts positive attention. If you’ve got something to say, Tomoka’s Twists also features an alphabet line, featuring phrases like “good hair” and “natty girl.” Prices range from $12 for just a twist, to $20 for a complete set with earrings to match.

Speaking of earrings, I love the hoops sold by Goddess Zuri! The philosophy behind the teeshirt and accessory line is Declare Your Natural Beauty. So you know I’m all about it! Goddess Zuri has some cool tees, some are bold statements, some are funny and a little naughty. They go well with their awesome earrings, which are made with beads from India, West Africa, and Thailand, among other places. A fabulous natural ‘do + bold, big earrings = instant fashion do, and effortless look-at-me-I’m-so-fly style. Love it.

You know who else has look-at-me-I’m-so-fly style? Santogold. Santi White has been a part of the black rock scene for more than a minute, but she’s starting to get a lot of more mainstream attention now. I just saw a feature on her in the latest issue of Bust, and she was recently named an artist to watch in Rolling Stone.

I love The Creator, but I think it’s very MIA + Bjork’s Army of Me. I’m sure Santi’s sick of hearing that, but it’s true. Shove It is my favorite song of hers — hear it on her official MySpace. It’s fabulously dubby and trippy, and the lyrics are heavy. Her song Find a Way is my JAM. Hope you dig it like I do, but be forewarned — this is a quirky, different, futuristic groove. Can’t beat that bass.

psst… for a free Santogold/Spank Rock download, hit up the ever-funky Undercover Black Man. Hope you like what you hear!

Happy Thursday! Look out weekend, here I come!

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Ailysa says:
February 7, 2008, 12:04 pm
I love the Ivory tower and goddess Zuri earrings! I know what I'm buying next pay day!
Shones says:
February 7, 2008, 12:27 pm
Love the scarves... and I look forward to my fro being long enough for Tomoka's Twists. :)
Jacquie says:
February 7, 2008, 12:38 pm
Tomoka & Zuri's sites were definitely "worth a click" !! Tomoka's twists would do my hair some JUSTICE, especially today while I'm wearing a wild child twist out. :) I will be placing an order for two twists next week. my hair thanks you bella!!
Mrs. Mckinzie says:
February 7, 2008, 1:26 pm
I have been looking for some real hair accessories Thank You! Bella.
Toneahh says:
February 7, 2008, 1:53 pm
I am feeling the ivory tower too. Are the Tomoka’s Twists ease to use?
Witty says:
February 7, 2008, 7:18 pm
really cool post today =)
mellowyel says:
February 7, 2008, 7:41 pm
you know, if i could, i'd buy everything in this post :D can't wait for santi's album. great stuff.
Undercover Black Man says:
February 7, 2008, 9:48 pm
Hey bella. Thanks for the linkage! BTW, "Creator" is available as a free MP3 download from Follow this link.
Paulicia says:
February 7, 2008, 10:14 pm
I owe my online shopping fetish to you, bella
emmy kay says:
February 8, 2008, 12:31 am
Bleeps, clicks, scream!! So much raw expresion. Terrific, But Is anyone doing REAL music anymore? So heartbreaking....
Bebroma says:
February 8, 2008, 2:28 am
I LOVE Tomoka's Twists!! I can't wait until my hair grows out long enough to wear them. I especially love the "Good Hair" one, so sassy. What an incredible idea, and no longer do you have to fear the rubber band that pops across the room or your hair getting all snagged and tangled on other kinds of hair stuff. I might have to order one for a friend or two until I get a few more inches myself.
sherrye samuels says:
February 8, 2008, 12:12 pm
You need to check out my website I am a jewelry designer from New York City who is starting her jewelry business online in hopes of branching out further. I hope to get more exposure through the web. I love your blog spot and have been reading it through the sisterlock community. Keep up the good work. Please email me on how to start a jewelry blog. Peace and Blessings. Sherrye
berrybrowne says:
February 8, 2008, 12:24 pm
hi afrobella - love the post, will totally check out the tees and jewelry. i came across this link on thebudgetfashionista and thought it might be an idea for afrobella of the week:
alleykat21 says:
February 8, 2008, 12:34 pm
i wish there where pictures on how the tomoka's twist...i don't quit understand how it works...and i would love to buy them. can u pls put up some pics on how u used them on ur hair...thanks oh i hope u've been able to get another
afrobella says:
February 8, 2008, 12:34 pm
Hey Berrybrowne! Do you mean this lady here? -- Interviewed her a year ago. She is FABULOUS! Love her!
afrobella says:
February 8, 2008, 12:37 pm
@ Alleykat -- I do have a new camera!! Will take pics and post them, promise. It's just a length of copper wire, wrapped in plastic, with beads on either end. I've been wrapping it all the way around my head, then pulling the fro up and out of it to make a puff. Then twist the two ends as you see fit. I made a little heart at the back of my head with them one day, and the other I left them sticking up kind of like a Chinese hair stick effect (or as my husband called them, "antennas.") But very chic antennas nonetheless, LOL
afrobella says:
February 8, 2008, 12:38 pm
Oh and in case you're wondering, there's no post today because I had to come into work early. I've got an exciting interview shortly! Will write more later.
Sequoia6 says:
February 8, 2008, 4:35 pm
I love Santi. Went to college with her back when she was rocking lovely locs. You should interview her! I love Creator and yes you are correct very M.I.A. and Bjork. I fell in love with it when I heard it on Grey's Anatomy (one of my favorite shows... less so without sessy Dr. Burk). I went to download it actually and was looking under M.I.A. until I found the real creator. (love puns)
nappygungun says:
February 9, 2008, 3:40 am
OOOOOO, that chick is awesome. I mean her sound totally rocks! And I love those shoes.
LeAnne says:
February 9, 2008, 11:13 am
I wrote on those shoes as well; She's a genius. hairsmystory
Illy says:
February 9, 2008, 7:13 pm
Wow, I'm loving those Tomoka’s tired of wearing these black goody ponytail holders, lol. The shoes are great as many cool things, so little funds...LOL
browngirl says:
February 10, 2008, 2:37 am
love tomoka's twists, and i think my curls will love them too love missbruno, and i think my neck would love a number of those scarves and love santi, your bjork reference is spot on afrobella fabulous post...
CarmenNC says:
February 11, 2008, 10:35 pm
Thank you ladies for the love! Sales have sky rocketed since the review. I'm sorry for not including more information on how to use Tomoka's Twists. All you do is wrap the TT around your head (for a headband) or wrap it a few times for a ponytail. Then you twist the ends however you please to hold it in place. Here a few links to ladies wearing them different ways. The last link is of me with loose hair and a few locks. One lady proves that you don't have to have long hair to wear them. Another lady with waste length locks proves that she can do an updo in no time with Tomoka's Twists and still look good. Thank you all! Thank you so much afrobella
Tamara C. says:
February 15, 2008, 11:53 pm
I recently placed an order with miss bruno. I ordered the U Carmen and the Marie Genevieve. They looked so chic I had to get them both. Though the Marie Genevieve is rather pricey for a scarf ($110) I still had to have it. I can't wait until they get here. I live in Los Angeles and work in Santa Monica so everyone is so designer brand aware. I am so happy to get my hands on something not so mainstream. And I love the vibrance of the U Carmen. Next I'll have my eye on the Jacmelian!
herpeslove says:
February 22, 2008, 3:11 am
I love those shoes. I have ever seen shoes in similar style at my friends Angela's blog.
sconner says:
April 21, 2010, 1:59 am
I agree that those tomoka’s twists are a good idea..but let’s keep it real. She buys an electrical wire from home depot for pennies. Its the one with the single copper wire inside. My brother is an electrician and he showed me how she strips the ends and adds different jewelry on the ends. Even with the addition of the pieces on the end it still costs her less than a dollar to make each one. yet she charges upwards of $30 for some of those things. Wow..Talk about a profit… Since my brother showed me, I make my own for my hair now for far less than she charges.


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