Shopping Small & Independent This Black Friday

I generally dislike Black Friday since it’s so overhyped by every retailer out there. I also think it’s tragically ironic that the holiday where you’re supposed to be thankful for what you have is directly followed by the most consumer-focused day of the year.

But if you are going to get your holiday shopping done on Black Friday this year, I definitely suggest opting to shop from small and local business instead of big retailers. COVID has wreaked havoc amongst small businesses so your patronage is more important than ever.

I’ve listed a few of my favorite small and local businesses to shop from this year:

Clothing + Lingerie

Strange Ray Vintage: a boutique ran by Rachel Valentine that features highly curated top shelf vintage. It’s the perfect place to find vintage tees, 70’s dresses, and tons of leather.

Pretty Attitude: an online boutique ran by Christine and Maria, it carries brands you already know (like YRU, Matisse, and Daydreamer LA) as well as its own private label. Its Black Label is perfect for girls who celebrate Halloween all year round, and its White Label is full of 70s rock n roll vibes.

Hallow Collective: a brand featuring music-inspired graphic tees as well as a premium label. They love working with other independent designers, artists, photographers, and bloggers (like me!).

Backbite: a female-owned brand that features ethically made slow fashion as well as some great vintage finds. Everything they make is totally badass and I’m a huge fan.

Solstice Intimates: handmade lingerie made by Nat Maddon and friends. They carry sizes XS-3X and have all the amazing velvet pieces you could ever dream of.

Rebel Soul Collective: a Latina-owned and operated graphic tee brand that is ethically manufactured and screen printed right in Los Angeles. They donate to various organizations including the ACLU, Color Of Change, Planned Parenthood, and Reclaim The Block.


Maiden Voyage Jewelry: independent jewelry designer Megan Rugani creates beautiful works of art through her hand-engraved fine jewelry. Her use of gold and fine stones turn biker-inspired pieces into future heirlooms.

The Great Frog: a family owned brand established in 1972, it has a long history of providing a rock n’ roll alternative to mainstream jewelry. They’ve done collabs with iconic musicians such as Motorhead, Iron Maiden, and Slayer and also recently branched out into fine gold jewelry.


Strawberry Hedgehog: owned and operated by Tracy Perkins, the brand features vegan eco-conscious soaps. The boutique location in Phoenix, AZ also features other 50 small makers and artists alongside the brand.

Rituel De Fille: founded by three sisters, the brand features cosmetics that are free of parabens, phthalates, synthetic dyes or synthetic fragrances. They are Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free and are perfect for anyone looking for cosmetics with some edge. The recently did a collaboration with Chelsea Wolfe.

Witch Baby Soap: founded by Chelsea Selby in 2013, this brand is a fun and spooky take on vegan and cruelty-free bath products. You’ll find everything from black coffin bath bombs to astrology soaps to crystal-infused body butters.

Home Decor + Art

Real Fun, Wow!: freelance illustrator Daren Thomas Magee creates beautiful art inspired by nature and the supernatural. A lot of his work definitely gives me midcentury desert vibes.

Pueblo: two adorable queer-owned and inclusive plant shops located in Phoenix, AZ and Venice, CA. They have a bunch of beautiful plants and their staff is always there to answer all your plant parent-related questions. They only work with reputable growers who ensure fair labor practices and always occupy historic buildings to reduce their environmental footprint. I refuse to buy live plants from anywhere else.

Gold Bug Gallery: a family-owned gallery and shop located in Pasadena, CA, they also have some inventory available online. They value community and aim to nurture artists. It’s the perfect destination for unique finds for your home.

Desert Collective Co.: the best source for dried palm leaves, flora, and cacti that I’ve found online. All dried goods are hand selected and harvested only after they have naturally started to naturally wither and brown, so no plants are harmed. Their packaging is also biodegradable.

White Hot Fire Mirrors: super rad hand-etched mirrors. They all have a rock n’ roll biker feel and some even features bands like Motorhead, Black Sabbath, and Thin Lizzy.

Still can’t decide? Check out Wolf & Badger. The store was founded by two brothers in 2010 looking to disrupt typical high street shopping. The store has physical retail shops as well as a large online boutique. It features independent designers and brands, ethical sourcing, and slow fashion. It has tons of vegan leather and fur options as well.

I’ve picked some of my favorite items from their online boutique:

Room Tour: Office Nook

Thanks to Arizona’s insane COVID-19 numbers, my temporary work-from-home situation has become a little more permanent. I was previously using a dining chair and petite vanity desk as an office space, but that setup sucked after working for 12-14 hours a day.

The first thing I needed was a proper adult-sized desk. I absolutely fell in love with this marble-topped Fullerton Modular Desk. I really wish I could have marble throughout my house, but I can’t afford that so I guess a desk will have to do.

Next, I needed an office chair. Due to space and budget limitations, I couldn’t really get away with getting one of those giant ergonomic office chairs like I had at my office. Instead, I opted for this Flannigan Task Chair which was comfortable and had enough back support for me.

Lastly, I needed some cute decor items. I opted for luxe desk accessories like a faux leather round mousepad, a Franklin Double Old-Fashioned Glass that I use as a pen holder, and a Ring Petrified Ring Coaster for my morning coffee.

I’m eventually going to convert my entire guest room into a home office/lounge with a 70s desert vibe. To give my office nook more of that feel, I hung up some green velvet curtains and snagged a Classic Aerium and Oasis in the Desert from Pistils Nursery. I also hung up my Bite It Scorpion Mirror from White Hot Fire Mirrors. If you’re ever looking for a hand-etched mirror to give your room more of a 70s biker edge, this is your place.

Room Tour: The Balcony

When you live in an apartment or condo without a yard, your balcony becomes a super important outdoor space. While I normally like to invest in higher quality furniture, I knew that my patio was going to take a beating in the Arizona heat. I opted for cheaper outdoor furnishings and desert-friendly plants to make my outdoor space as low-maintenance as possible.

I was really feeling a tiger print outdoor rug for some reason. Maybe it gives the space a more tropical vacation vibe? I got my outdoor bench from Target. I got my side table and palm leaf outdoor pillows from Wayfair. I really love how soft the outdoor pillows are instead of being that scratchy Sunbrella material.

Instead of a coffee table, I have a woven pouf. When I’m by myself, it acts as a nice foot rest. When I have guests over, it acts as more of a coffee table by putting a tray with some acrylic glasses on it. I also found a black rattan chair at Target for some extra seating.

All of my outdoor plants are desert-friendly and were bought from a local shop called Pueblo. I highly recommend a visit if you’re ever in Phoenix. These plants are all super easy to take care of and I’ve had them for years.

In the summer, it’s usually way too hot to sit outside in the daytime. My twinkle lights and lanterns help softly light up the balcony when I’m sitting outside at night.