The Ladybug Answers London’s Call Again: 1st Stop, Pop Up Vintage Fair at Old Spitalfields Market

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 05My trip to London is now a regular date on my agenda. London has always been one of my top destinations, but now I have a lot more reasons to go there every chance I can. Aside from my very well known long love affair with the city, I’ve been blessed with beloved friends Daisy, Salina and Maxine who live there and I really need to see them as often as possible. We always have great times together and we always complain of how little time that we have every time we meet. Plus many things have happened in their lives lately, AND – let me tell you – they know the best vintage shops and coolest places in town!The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 02

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 01After a quick tour at Alfies Vintage Market (one of the most famous antiques markets in town) where I had the chance to see Daisy’s new space (we’ll talk about that again soon) and a quick stop at Deborah Woolf Vintage (beautiful shop where I found a beautiful African dress and a lovely charming owner), and after a beautiful flower headpiece for 2.5 pounds from the one and only in Old Spitalfield- Daisy and I finally got ready for the Meeting. We decided to head to Old Spitalfields Market where our lovely Maxine was all busy with one of the dates for the Pop Up Vintage Fairs, which I consider my favorite fair in London… and I must not be the only one because for the second year in a row they’ve won the The Vintage Guide to London’s Best Vintage Fair Award.

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 03The Vintage stallers join here with the market’s regular staller for a multi colored and sparkling party where you can find handcraft, vintage, antiques in a beautiful frame of lovely shops and restaurants (like Collectif…. that was up for a sample sale that day!).The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 09

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 07The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 10We had a great lunch and some cupcakes and we spent a lot of time chatting with the sellers and enjoying the market with my adorable friends.

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 08When the market closed, Daisy and I moved to Dalston, at the Dalston Street Feast, a beautiful night market where we enjoyed the best food from all over the world, beer, laughter and gin! We finished the night at a lovely bar full of vintage and antiques surprises in Dalston called Farr’s School of Dancing- WOW!

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 04For the day I wore a vintage red dress from Humana Vintage, studded boots from Strategia, messenger bag from Max&Co and my beautiful flower garland from poppydaisy.comThe Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 06

The Ladybug’s A Bronze Star: Tips for a Perfectly Tanned Summer

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I know, magazines and the internet are full of tanning tips right now, but now it’s my turn to buzz about it because: a) I’ve just realized that I’ve never posted about it, and b) I have a couple of products to show you that work for real. How do I know? Well, because they’ve just been Ladybug tested and are TLC approved!

I can’t believe this is my first post on the subject, especially after the beautiful deep tanning I got last summer (which honestly stayed with me through the bulk of the winter).  So this year after sharing the gold and silver highlights about my holiday in Corsica, I’ve decided to share my not-so serendipitous bronze gift with you! A gift that continues to please me because after a month I am still tanned, healthy and ready for my next sun kiss sessions!

I am Sicilian, so you can imagine how important a tan is for us. We strive for the best golden tan every summer! And in my long tanning experience I tried almost every single brand and product: oils, creams, gels, sprays, milks… everything! My skin may seem dark, but it is quite fair-er and it burns quite easily this is why I ALWAYS use a quite high protection (especially for my face) and use different products for different parts of my body and different moments of my tanning process.

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After long research and testing I came up with two primary brands for my summer routine: Collistar and Lancaster.  I start summer with a spf 30 velvety body milk from Lancaster: I use it for the first week, at least. It prevents burns, but leaves my skin soft and hydrated. It is water resistant, but I apply it after bathing.  When I feel more comfortable (especially on my legs, arms and back) I start using Collistar’s Supertanning Magic Oil-Gel, with a lower protection (spf 10) but a wonderful texture: it makes the deep tanning process quicker and leaves you with a golden soft skin. Even if it is a bit dark, it doesn’t stain your beloved bikini (I “tested” that too… when it spilled on my white swimsuit, but didn’t leave any trace!).

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As for my face I always use a high protection, specifically: Collistar Face Tanner spf 30 anti-age.  I use this no matter the tanning stage I’m in (at the beginning or after weeks of tanning) because I want my face to be protected and without those annoying dark marks. This is a product that I have used for years and I am very pleased with the effect. Even if it may take a bit longer for my face to tan, who cares, when you have protected and glowing skin throughout the summer (and winter of course!)?

And when you are perfectly tanned and you don’t want to let it go after a few showers when you are back in town, then you MUST use this wonderful Tan Prolonger and Maximizer from Lancaster: you can use it every day after showering because it also hydrates your dry skin and exalts your natural tan activating the long-lasting effect.

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So if you haven’t chosen your tanning products for the upcoming holidays at the beach, take into consideration my beauty tips! Ah… and for my hair, as U2 used to sing, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” But I will let you know when I finally do! So for now I will rock harder with an even shorter rocker cut for when I go back home… the moment that I really consider to be the end of summer!

The Ladybug’s Completely Effortless Holiday Outfits #2

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This is the second effortless outfit that I wore during my holiday in Corsica, in particular during a night trip to Bonifacio, one of the most amazing places that I’ve ever visited.

I took a boat trip there during the day and I decided to go back for a night to visit this beautiful town and have a perfect Corsican dinner at A Cantina Doria.

I wore a red and white Mango striped sweater and Topshop black harem pants.

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As you can see, I didn’t even bring a bag with me: I only had my Marc by Marc Jacobs straw bag for the beach and my Vivienne Westwood navy canvas bag (which was Nike goodie bag for the last We Own the Night in Milan).

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Again, I added my favorite Birkenstock Ibiza, my first buy once I landed in Bastia (I arrived early in the morning so I had to wait until the other shops opened!).  By the way… don’t pay attention to my white creamy feet: they got sunburned during the day and I had to put loads of calendula cream on them!!

I am also wearing again my coral lipstick is from Marc by Marc Jacobs make-up.

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The Ladybug’s Completely Effortless Holiday Outfit #1

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Even while on holiday I have a few rules: no heels (well, almost), no watch, as little of phone as possible and absolutely comfortable outfits.

I need to feel free, to not care about what I wear or do and this last holiday in Corsica represented it perfectly: we walked around in flip-flops, no make-up during the entire day and we also absolutely went for effortless outfits during the night.

I decided to show you two of them.

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The first one I wore during a night out in Porto Vecchio (where I had an Amazing Corsican dinner at A Cantina di l’Orriu). I wore my Acne Studio green jumper (sweater for my American readers) because the nights were still a little chilly and a beautiful multi-colored vintage long skirt (probably from the late ’60s early ’70s) that I bought in a small but lovely shop in Milan in the Motoquartiere (Live in Vintage).

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I added a brown pouch from The Beauty Shop (yes, this is how effortless I am on holiday) and the most controverted shoes of this summer, a pair of Birkenstock (the model is Ibiza) that I bought when landed in Bastia at their shop.  This is my second pair of Birkenstocks and, hate it or love it, they are the BEST shoes for walking a lot (they’ve saved my life more than once!).

The beautiful coral lipstick is Marc by Marc Jacobs make-up.

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The Ladybug Leaves Her Heels to Visit Her Indivisible Land of Oz Again: Love, Corsica

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Last summer, while I needed to decide quickly with my friends where to go on holiday for the mid-August festive days, we decided to try Corsica- because none of us had ever visited. As you may remember we fell in love with it very quickly and we promised to return this year. Well, that promise was kept a couple of weeks ago.

This time we decided to go south-east and to visit the area of Porto Vecchio: I can’t describe the perfection of this wonderful week spent there. Where should I start? Maybe from the most amazing beaches and sea that I’ve seen there: every day was such a great experience and when we thought we couldn’t find a better beach the day after was even more amazing than the day before. I should also mention that the weather was amazing, the beaches were almost desert, the prices were great as we were in low-season and snorkeling was on the daily list. We switched the nightlife for a good run after a whole day at the sea and a handmade dinner, sometimes for a tasty Corsican dinner.

I tried to make a recap of the beautiful beaches that I visited by taking a picture in each of them!

Day One: at Saint Cyprien beach (wearing a vintage Mexican embroidered shirt, Zara sweatpants, Marc by Marc Jacobs straw bag, Roxy flip-flops)

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Day Two: at Santa Ghjulia beach (wearing Topshop Hawaiian shirt, Freddy sweatpants, Roxy flip-flops, Tom Ford sunglasses)

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Day Three: amazing boat tour of Bonifacio and the wonderful natural reserve of the Lavezzi Island (wearing Topshop red dress)

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Day Four: at Palombaggia beach (wearing Kor a Kor shirt, Zara trousers, Roxy flip-flops, Marc by Marc Jacobs straw bag, Tom Ford sunglasses)

The Ladybug Chronicles - Corsica II 06 Day Five: at Rondinara beach (wearing Zara tee and trousers, Roxy flip-flops, Marc by Marc Jacobs straw bag, Tom Ford sunglasses)

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Day Six: at Cala Rossa beach (wearing Zara tee, Topshop trousers, Tom Ford sunglasses)

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Day Seven: at Pinarello beach (wearing Topshop dress and Tom Ford sunglasses again)

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Here’s a tip: if you want to visit the Island and you are a vintage lover: in Porto Vecchio every Sunday morning there are lovely car boot sales and small vintage markets all around the town: ask the locals for more information (and great fun)!

Do you understand now why I love this island so much? Plus, it feels like home and I love speaking French all day… I’m already in need of a swift return! Corsica rules!

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The Ladybug Shares Her “Just-For-Me” ’70s Outfit Shoot

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Don’t ask me why, but I found it hard to release these pictures to the public: they were “mine” and I loved them so much… maybe it was the dress, the hat or just the lovely atmosphere of the day. Some time ago KNAGUI and I walked past this street art and decided to stop for a couple of pictures, even though it was quite windy!

I’m also particularly in love with all the things that I coordinated to put this outfit together: in part because they came from some lovely trips and partly because I just love them for being really good pieces!

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First the dress: it’s a wonderful long silky vintage dress in amazing condition from the late ’70s- I consider it one of my favorite pieces ever. I got in London last year when my friends took me to Retromania, a vintage charity shop that I fell in love with for their wonderful pieces at generally affordable prices.  I love the material, the colors, the shape… everything about this dress makes me feel good!

The hat is a vintage find from Humana Vintage in Milan: it is a bit small, but I liked it so much for the color and the feathers that I decided to buy it anyway (the price was very tempting too!).

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The shoes are Jeffrey Campbell (purchased in Naples some years ago) and the lovely Chanel necklace is a find from a quaint vintage shop in Florence, Boutique Nadine, that I discovered during a beautiful walk along the Arno river, a few years ago.

[Photo Credit: KNAGUI]

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The Ladybug is Deep in Sensuous Løve: A Five-Sense Experience with Løv Organic

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One of my best habits started last winter was dedicating a little hour of what is pure lush for myself: a cup of tea and a cupcake in a bakery. One of the places I enjoy this treat most is the Vintage Bakery in Milan. This is the place where I tasted, for the first time, Løv Organic teas and infusions.

Needless to say, I became immediately addicted. Then, one day, I decided to get more informed about this oasis where I found my weekly dose fantastic tea- which led to big discoveries! First of all: I learned that although the name is Scandinavian, Løv Organic is absolutely French. Løv in Scandinavian means leaf and the label is inspired by this area of the world dominated by nature- where modernity and respect for the environment always go together. Also, Løv Organic gleans from the Nordic culture the penchant for a minimalist design, easily re-usable tins which encourages consumers to adopt an eco-friendly attitude (for example by selling re-fillers for tins and by avoiding plastic in their packaging). Moreover, the tea bags are unbleached and free of staples or glue and made of organic fibers like corn. They allow the tea leaves to unfurl and release all of their aromas naturally. The little bird representing the label is the symbol of nature needing protection and the only form of “fashion” is the use of bright colors for their tins (which, of course, I’ve started collecting as they perfectly fit my kitchen!!).

But the most important of all that is: Løv Organic products are 100% organic!

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As if this wasn’t enough to fall in love with them, Løv Organic offers the most varied and ample choice of blends: from every kind of tea (black, white, green, red) to rooibos to infusions, it is almost impossible not to find your perfect blend. Of course I found more than one and I keep making great finds!

I was also introduced to rooibos thanks to their delicious Rooibos Vanille when I was looking for something to drink at night different than the usual infusions as I found some teas were too strong for me and messed with my beauty sleep. Rooibos is a plant that only grows in South Africa and it has a sweet, fruity flavor. It is considered to be the national drink of South Africa. It is perfect for night time because it is caffeine free and also rich in antioxidants; it also has anti-spasmodic and relaxing qualities. In my rooibos research I started with Løv Organic, I also discovered the green rooibos- which is more rich in antioxidants because it is not fermented.

I tried Vanilla Rooibos first and I fell in love with it because of the marvelous perfume of bourbon vanilla, making it perfect for a late sweet treat. Only recently I tried the new blend Almond Rooibos, a combination of rooibos and deliciously flavored almond. It is caffeine-free and the taste of almond is so intense that reminds me of the perfume of almonds of my native island (Sicily). This is also one of my favorite night drinks.

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Lately, I am pretty much into two new blends. While at the Løv Organic event in Milan, during the Milano Food Week, I tested the amazing Lovely Night: a delicious blend rich in ingredients known for their relaxing properties. It has traditional linden, chamomile and verbena associated with soothing plants from South Africa like honey-bush and rooibos, plus cinnamon and licorice mixed with the delicate aroma of pear. If you suffer with a bit of sleep troubles, I really recommend it.  It not only it helps you fall asleep and do so as a stone, but it is also a sweet treat after dinner, and better on the hips than a cake!

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The second blend I’m pretty much into is the Blueberry Coconut white tea: white tea is the one that undergoes the least amount of treatment which makes it very rich in antioxidants, polyphenols and vitamins. This one is a precious White Downy tea, with a velvety flavor of coconut, blueberry and cornflowers. It is sweet, exotic and sexy at the same time: yes, Løv Organic has some of the sexiest blends that I have ever tested (and you know how many teas I have tried!).

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If you are in Milan you can easily find Løv Organic in town, but now they have a dedicated shop at number 3 on via Victor Hugo. If not, you can easily buy their blends online at


The Ladybug’s Roman Holiday pt.2: The New Headquarters of Vintage in Rome

The Ladybug Chronicles - Rome ii 07If my first day in Rome was all about the expo and the monuments, my Sunday was mostly about vintage hunting! So, I decided to ask my vintage expert friends in Rome to tell me which was the best area in town to find some interesting stuff; strange thing they all answered “Rione Monti!”

The Ladybug Chronicles - Rome ii 03I didn’t know this area of Rome, so I decided that it would be great to kill two birds with one stone time: go for vintage shopping and become acquainted with a new area of Rome. The primary suggestion of Rione Monti was its very famous urban market, Mercato Monti, so that’s where I started my visit.

The Ladybug Chronicles - Rome ii 06The Ladybug Chronicles - Rome ii 02It is a small, yet interesting indoor market- essentially based on vintage and handmades… quite hipster I would say, which made it very interesting to me, even if I didn’t find anything to buy (strange, I know… I guess the problem was going before lunch time and I was super hungry!). Still, I had a lovely time talking to the sellers and getting to know them and their beautiful work.

The Ladybug Chronicles - Rome ii 01After lunch I enjoyed myself in this lovely area.  I walked a lot and found a couple interesting shops around via del Boschetto all worth of a mention- like King Size, Pulp and Gocce di Memoria. Such a shame I had to run to catch my train… but at least I saved my credit card for the weekend (even if… I got a pair of Ash ankle boots on Saturday).

The Ladybug Chronicles - Rome ii 04Again, I decided to be comfortable in my Zara sweatpants, Max&Co linen shirt, Nike trainers and Furla British flag canvas bag. I added one of the adored pieces from my turban collection created the beautiful and talented girls of Sine Modus, who make me feel stylish even with dirty hair and a casual sporty look with this handmade beauty designed from a recycled vintage piece. Check them out on their Facebook page, you’ll love them!

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The Ladybug’s Retro Beauty Essentials: My Vintage Affair with Borotalco

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It was March when, using the excuse to tell you about the pop-up store at Stazione Centrale in Milan, I introduced my passion for Borotalco here on the blog.

Italians definitely recognize Borotalco as the “it” product that’s accompanied us through our life (as one of their spots used to remind us!), from birth to adulthood. It is most definitely THE vintage label.

Just imagine: Borotalco, born as an antiseptic dusting talc powder, has been used by every Italian mother not only for the daily care of their babies, but also for their daily beauty routine. The classic dark green box can still be found in almost every Italian home! It’s a great testament to their brand, vision and it’s quality, considering the first Borotalco green bottle (with its recharger) was created in 1878 and its first ad didn’t come about until 1929. And still, it wasn’t until the 1990s when Manetti & Roberts, the company behind the success of the product, propelled the vision of the company and created a complete line of body products: liquid soaps, deodorants, soaps and shower gels. They moved the line further forward in 2003, by adding a new smoothing body lotion and solid soap with an amazing vintage packaging and adorable retro style.

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And now I want to share what I’ve found to be the next history making steps in their product line. I picked up some new Borotalco retro products that are already my vintage summer essentials: the alcohol free, Squeeze deodorant and the Acqua di Borotalco. They are perfect for the summer because they give you an immediate fresh and clean sensation with that unique scent.

The Squeeze deodorant is always in my handbag: when the heat becomes an enemy and you need a secure ally, a quick application provides a blossom of freshness that you can easily re-apply everywhere thanks to its easy-to-use applicator. Moreover, Borotalco brought back its vintage package (they were the first to introduce this deodorant format in Italy) with the classic green, red and golden colors.

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Acqua di Borotalco is the other essential product I drop in my bag every day before going to work in the morning. It is the classic Borotalco scented water that leaves your skin delicately perfumed for a long time. It is perfect to use in the morning while getting ready for a long day at work or just after a shower!

If that isn’t enough Borotalco for you, let me take you over the top with the new collectible vintage scented soaps that leave your skin velvety soft and adorably scented!

As I love their old ads and historical images, I thought you might appreciate me sharing a little gallery of their, in my opinion, loveliest vintage ads and images.

For more information

Bambini (1947)

Borotalco_immagine storica

Bambino a gattoni (1934)

Farmacia Storica Alta Ris

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI: Gypsy Gems – An Interview with Davina and the Vagabonds

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 03This past Spring, I was in Italy doing vocal clinics and Masterclasses. You know about some of the events The Ladybug and I attended together while I was there. And, as usual, I was in heaven chillin’ with my girl, especially since that trip started with us attending a concert featuring my homie, Raul Midon at La Salumeria della Musica in Milano. To put a marvelous musical bookend on the trip was a surprise date in my detoured route home.

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 01I stopped in Minneapolis, Minnesota for business and happened to see online that a band I’d been audibly stalking was playing at a spot called Patrick’s Cabaret.  I immediately called the venue to reserve my seat.

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 02Normally, here’s where my post would go into talking about the show and telling you about how amazing this venue (honestly, this place and “its” philosophy of paying and supporting artists is MIND BLOWING) is.  But, I’ve got something better… an interview with the incredible front-woman of Davina and the Vagabonds, Ms. Davina Sowers.

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 07Ciao Davina, this moment has been a long time coming!  I can’t believe it’s been over 2 years sine I first heard of your artistry on NPR and now I’ve finally gotten a chance to experience you live… I must say, you were worth the wait!

GRINKIE GIRL PHOTOGRAPHY-Christie Williams02Tell me about this crew of yours, the Vagabonds, how long have you been working as this “outfit?”
The band, itself, was formed nine years ago. We’ve had many wonderful musicians through those years. The line up of Vagabonds I have now are:
Dan Eikmeier: Trumpet and Vocals
Ben Link: Trombone and Vocals
Connor McRae: Drums and Vocals
Andrew Burns: Upright Bass and Sousaphone

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 08Your sound is quite vintage, not just stylistically, but also sonically.  Why this direction?
It was never a plan. I think it was just my and The Vagabonds love for specific eras. We have what we love in our hearts and it plays out on stage and [through our] recordings.

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 16But the direction isn’t pure vintage, I’d say you at times mix vintage with more modern themes and musical landscapes. Many times I picked up deep grooves in your presentation and Pocket (which was the song that introduced me to you and was later used on the blog) that night was dressed around a super hip-hop drum approach. Do you often cross-pollinate your music?
I write in many different genres. Many different feels. I have a vast love for all music. I am sucker for a good solid pop/r&B/hip-hop feel, but I’m also a sucker for a swaying swing. A lot  of my music is based upon what I’m listening to that week, that day… etc. I’m a sponge and try to emulate where my ear is that day.

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 13OK, so that gives me a sense of some of some of your musical influences, but what about your influences in fashion and art?
My ultimate influence in everything is “Timelessness.”  I love the touch of a good fabric. I love the sound of good music.
There is a certain freedom in ability to be who you are. I have always been a collector of fashion past. My days as a teenager where spent sorting through my local thrift stores, finding pieces that called my name.  I was the girl people laughed at for wearing vintage bowling shoes and singing old traditional songs in front of my lunch period people. I would never want to change that. It’s just who I am, and who I’ve always been.

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 10You are equally amazing on keys and with your vocals: you’re both gritty and a songbird, but your ability to convey a song is what struck me most.  All night you killed vocally, but there was a song, the Etta James record, that vocally was not as “beautiful” as the rest of the set, but you effin ripped my heart out with your convincing performance.  Can you tell me about what that song means to you and where you go when you sing it… if I’m not prying too much?
I’ve been through heartache, you’ve been through heartache, your neighbor, your mother, your father… They have all been through heartache. They deal with it or not deal with it in many ways. I sing about it. It’s the only way to make a layer of my heartache melt away. I hope my honest, gut wrenching storytelling through music helps those who can not deal or haven’t dealt with those things.
I’m a dark sensitive soul at times due to that. That is my only way to sort through the muck. Sing about it honestly and truthfully.

GRINKIE GIRL PHOTOGRAPHY-Christie Williams04I read that you’re from my home state of Pennsylvania.  Tell me about growing up there and what brought you to Minneapolis and were there any stops along the way?
Altoona, PA…[sigh]…, they were not ready for me. I struggled a lot growing up there. Left when I was 15 and never looked back. I could write a novel about what I’ve seen, done, and experienced. Maybe in another interview with you. All-in-all, Minneapolis is where I landed and ended my gypsy living. I travel and experience through the band now, and I call MPLS my home… for time being.

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 11What’s next for you and the crew?
Our New Album “Sunshine” will release July 15th!  Europe for the next two months, Monterey Jazz Festival in September. Touring. Writing. Spreading the Vagabond word to as many people as we can.

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 12Last thing, the Ladybug would kill me if I didn’t ask these two important TLC questions: 1st, what and where are your favorite vintage or thrift shops?  2nd, what does vintage mean to you?
Vintage means a energy from a  past life. Every vintage dress, hat, piece of jewelry, piece of furniture, book, etc… has a past story and I want to continue to keep that story going. It’s amazing how a lot of these pieces have held on so well. The idea of how they were made so differently than [the way] we make them now. This is just one of the so many reasons why I love my treasures from the past.

lavenir_davina_garrettbornphotography-49-1I have spots in different cities for clothes when I travel. I love this shop called Little Gems and I also cruise the internet. I buy TONS of jewelry and little antique nick-knacks online. I get too nervous buying clothes on the internet… I haven’t had much luck with sizes.

lavenir_davina_garrettbornphotography-22I have tried to quash some of my clothing purchases as of late. I am busting at the seems storage and body wise [she says with candor and a nubile smile]. When I lose some weight in both departments,  I will be packing less just to shop more on my journeys.

Thanks so much for your time and all the best with the next steps you and the band take!

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI - Davina 05To learn more about Davina and the Vagabonds, you can visit their site,, where you can listen, buy and connect.

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[photo credits: Christie Williams, Garrett Born, Davina & KNAGUI]