Remember in The Nutty Professor when Eddie Murphy, all decked out in his Prof. Klump fatsuit, takes Jada Pinkett to see a cheesy stand-up comic (awesomely played by Dave Chappelle) and for no reason the comedian yells out "women be shoppin!"?  Well, as much as I like to challenge the stereotype that colors all females as crazed spendthrifts who squeal at the sight of really nice towels or killer platforms priced at 75-percent off, I have to admit that in my case it's kind of true. I may not squeal because I'm a feminist, but I am very guilty of letting out a gasp and an "Oh my God this is so awesome I need to have it!" at the sight of even the dumbest things, like a salt-and-pepper shaker shaped like a topless sunbather, then swiping my debit card even if the balance on it is dangerously close to zero. Lucky for me, as your new Urban Scout blogger, I now have an excuse to buy a bunch of stuff I don't need and call it "research."  And lucky for you, I am pretty broke most of the time so it means I have to dig for killer bargains wherever I can find them. And I'm not afraid to disclose any sweet deals I get my greedy little hands on. --- 

Recently I moved into a new apartment that is only 600-square-feet. As a result of its tiny size, I can't use my old dining table anymore. Unless I wanted to invite my mom over for dinner around my coffee table while watching crappy Bravo shows (the way I usually eat), I was going to need something different and preferably not from Ikea because, well, that's too damn easy. Since there's not much room in the apartment, I came to the conclusion that I would need to find something that can be tucked away most of the time or double as something else, like a drink cart or kitchen stand.

I checked out a few of the cool vintage furniture stores around town to find fun retro furniture, like Nest (830 25th St. in Golden Hill) and The Atomic Bazaar (3816 Park Blvd. in Hillcrest), which both specialize in mid-century modern designs that all the kids love these days. Of course everything in those places are octave-raising-amazing. Sadly there were very few things available in my budget, none of them being a dining table. 

Feeling pretty defeated, I checked out a few thrift stores where I've scored in the past, but didn't have any luck there, either. So I turned to the guy that I only turn to when I'm kind of desperate and needing a good hit for cheap. I turned to Craig.

I searched all the key words I thought might produce the goods: retro, vintage, mid-century, Danish, super cute. In my Craigslist research I came across a small South Bay company that does estate sale and liquidation services. They're called Mattson Co. Type their name into Craigslist or eBay and you can see their merchandise. While not every piece is a winner, there's some great stuff priced really well. Just this week I searched their listings and found a cool $200 Victorian-style couch, a cute $35 striped pink, grey and beige lamp and a rusty grocery scale from 1913 for $25. While scrolling down I found exactly what I was looking for.

My new dining table is a square wood gaming table that's about 3-feet square. The center is embossed with cool black leather and the legs fold and click in and out so I can store it and keep my place clutter-free. It cost $30. I picked it up at their warehouse at 3121 Main St. Suite C and D, in Chula Vista. It's tucked away behind a furniture store that's next to a Smart & Final-needless to say, it's kind of hard to find. Once you do, though, you can cruise the back warehouse (where, oddly enough, they keep a huge pile of shredded money), to see everything they've got for sale. It's a rare find but a good one. Now that I've got my table, I'm going to need some chairs. Let the search begin...

Have a cool lead on a great shop? Send it over to Alex Zaragoza at You can also bug her on Twitter.


See all events on Friday, Oct 21