Philosophy Purity Made Simple – Travel Size

Many people know that Broke Girl Sandra Leah is on a relentless hunt for the absolute, perfect mascara.  I, on the other hand, had recently been on the lookout for an ideal facial cleanser.  I’d since grown out my teenage years of using Clearasil in the shower since I no longer have acne, and I typically used Target-brand makeup removing towelettes to quickly wipe my face before bed.  After being scolded by many of my beauty-regimented friends, I decided to try a few different facial cleansers to find a brand that I liked and worked well with my combination (both oily and dry) skin.  After a few failures, one friend suggested Philosophy Purity Made Simple, as it is a highly-rated, one-step facial cleanser that works (and cleans!) wonders.

Philosophy Purity Made Simple

Photo courtesy of Philosophy

I succumbed to my friend’s ravings and decided to give Purity Made Simple a shot – until I saw the price.  A 32 ounce bottle (albeit huge) is $50 at Sephora, and I wasn’t willing to pay so much for a cleanser that might not work with my skin or sufficiently deep clean.  I found the perfect solution – I bought a travel size!  I was able to try and test a higher-end facial cleanser at a low price; I purchased the 3 ounce travel size for only $10.

The verdict?  I love Philosophy Purity Made Simple!  It cleans my face and has a milky, smooth consistency.  Not only does it completely remove my makeup but it prevents any random pimples that may pop up here and there.  It doesn’t dry out my skin which happened with previous cleansers especially in semi-arid Denver, and it leaves my face smelling fresh.  Better yet, the travel size has lasted me many WEEKS as I only use a small amount at nighttime before bed.  I am finally running low on and will likely take the plunge and buy a larger size.

If you’re on the lookout for a new facial or makeup product but aren’t willing to pay a higher price, I definitely recommend trying a travel size before committing to the full purchase.  That way you can experiment with what you like and don’t like before spending a lot of moolah on the real thing.

$12.00 Vegetable Soup!

Who else out there is a soup fanatic?  I love it and make it all the time.  I make it from scratch or just eat it from the can. I don’t want to mislead anyone, I am not a super great soup maker.  I can only really make one soup…vegetable soup where you throw random veggies in a pot and hope it tastes good in a few hours.  That’s the kind that I make.  I look forward to attempting actual recipes, but for now, this is what I do!

I think that the most attractive part of this soup is its cost (you will spend around $12.00 for about 10-12 servings) and the calorie content is pretty low.  Don’t ask me for specifics because I can not give that to you.  But, I did sort of rip my idea from The Cabbage Soup Diet when I was feeling like going on a weight loss cleanse; so it cant be high on the calorie scale!  I have amended it slightly but those are its roots!

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 onions (any kind you want; I often buy 1 yellow and one red but do whatever) chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or 5, whatever your heart desires!)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • 1 bunch of kale (I used collard greens in the pictured batch because they were fresh out of kale at my grocery)
  • 1/2 head of green cabbage
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 can of beef consommé
  • 1 49-50 oz can of chicken stock
  • Quite a few pinches of fines herbes

First step, chop up those onions and garlic cloves.  Toss them in a large saucepan with the olive oil.  Sprinkle in a pinch of fines herbes.  This is super important!  It really helps with the flavoring of the soup as we are not adding a ton of salt.  I already had some at home that my mom and I packaged one Christmas.  See!  There I am (with blonde hair and really good looking) at our herbal packaging plant aka. the dining table.

Anyway, you are going to be sauteing this on medium heat for about 15 minutes.  The goal is to get it golden brown and caramelized.  I usually hike the heat up to medium-high after about 10 minutes.  See what works for your stove to get to the caramelly goodness.  I am going to stress this again.  Please be patient with this step.  It is crucial to making the soup flavorful!  I don’t add salt because it truly doesn’t need it if this step is done correctly.  Add some black pepper if you desire, though not necessary.

Meanwhile, you will have chopped up some carrots.  Add these to the onion and garlic mixture to soften up for about 5-8 minutes

After that has been nicely softened, add your can of beef consommé.  Don’t add water, just the contents of the can.  Throw in another pinch of fines herbes.  Let this come to a boil and then lower heat to simmer.

While this was heating up, you were super busy chopping up that bunch of celery, weren’t you?  I actually hate celery unless it is cooked in a soup.  So when I do celery in soup, I do a lot of it!  Add this to the consommé mixture and let it come to a boil, then lower to simmer as you did when it was initially added.

Once this has been simmering for a few minutes, go ahead and add that chicken stock.  Also add 50 oz of water (just fill the stock can back up and dump it in).  Bring this to a boil.  Ah, why not…throw in another pinch of fines herbes.  While this is cooking away, you are chopping up those collard greens (or kale if you had the desired ingredient) and cabbage.  I really recommend that you really chop away at those collard greens.  If the chunks are too big, they are pretty difficult to eat!   As you can see from my photo, I didn’t do a stellar job at following my own rule.

 

Add these greens to the soup pot with care.  You will add it in small handfuls while pushing it down with a spoon.  Do this until all are in the pot.  Bring back to a boil and then simmer.  You can eat this soup the same day that you make it, but I would recommend letting it simmer complete for at least 40 minutes.   Of course, as with most soups, it is much better the day after.

If you live alone like I do, this is a great soup to eat off of for 3-4 days.  Storing the whole pot in the fridge makes it easiest to grab it and throw it on the stove for quick reheating (I don’t recommend microwaving in general).

Enjoy (how can you not for $12.00?)!!

Shred those Holiday pounds away.

How many of us are guilty every year of making that dreaded “I’m going to get in shape this year” resolution?  I’m raising my hand. Every year it seems like “I’ll get to it tomorrow” gets incorporated into my vocabulary more and more. We have used every excuse possible.  From the expensive gym membership, pricey groceries, no time, too busy, not wanting to workout alone, to simply “I just don’t feel like it”, the excuses seem to get in the way of the goal.  A new year is approaching us, and fast! 2012 is the year for all of us to make our resolution and prove that it can be done.

Some fantastic ways to get in shape and still maintain a fun and money saving lifestyle are to utilize a few of the thousands of “at home” workout dvd’s.  I’ve tried a good handful and two that really worked and kicked my butt are Zumba fitness and Jillian Michaels’ 30 day Shred. There is no need to drop big bucks on the gym membership, especially after the holidays when we all feel exceptionally broke!

Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred is the more intense of the two workouts. There are three levels which each have three circuits. These workouts incorporate strength training along with cardio training.  I am in decent shape with room for improvement, and the level 1 workout had me sweating and sore the very next day.  The twenty minute workout is deceiving.  Don’t let the “20 minutes” get you excited for a short and easy workout, you’ll be sweating and yelling at the tv within 5 minutes! 30 day shred incorporates strength training along with cardio training.

Photo courtesy of herryalbleakness.blogspot.com

Zumba Fitnss is perfect for those of you who are looking for a more entertaining and upbeat workout. Zumba is a collaboration of different types of Latin dances such as salsa, tango, hip hop and merengue.  These exercises will get your heart pumping while dancing to slow and fast beats that work both your resistance training and cardio at once.  I enjoy Zumba for the pure fact that it’s so much fun you hardly feel like you’re exercising while doing it!  Just like 30 Day shred, there are different levels and dvd’s depending on what you want to focus your workout on.  For us instant gratification people, Zumba also has a twenty minute workout.  Again, just because this is the shorter of workouts time wise, it’s definitely not lacking intense exercise that will have you sweating in 5 minutes!

Photo courtesy of fitnessforless

Did I mention the amazing prices of both of these?  You can score the entire Zumba Fitness Total Body Transformation DVD set for $50.00 off of Amazon! Jillian Michaels’ 4 DVD set including the 30 day shred along with 3 of her other amazing workouts can be found for only $30.00 on Amazon!
Make this year your year to get in shape and show that New Years resolution who’s boss.

Poor Mans Cranberry Holiday Dessert!

Thanksgiving has passed us but I wanted to share this recipe with you!  It can definitely be remade for the December Holidays or just randomly when you feel like whipping something up that has a seasonal taste.

My family originally employed me to make a delicious, difficult, expensive Cranberry Upside Down Cake from Eating Well.  I was super excited to take this on and to be perfectly honest, it didn’t seem that difficult.  Just a little more time-consuming than I was hoping for.  But, that wasn’t going to stop me!  I was reading over the recipe the day of (not advised) Thanksgiving and realized I didn’t have half of the ingredients.  Whole Wheat pastry flour?  Light brown sugar instead of the regular brown that I always have?  I know, I could have improvised with the sugar but definitely not the whole wheat pastry flour.  I was not about to go to the store on Turkey Day either.

So, I improvised in a better way.  I already had the cranberries, regular brown sugar, butter, granulated sugar and other baking basics.  I saw that I had a good amount of pears and a lemon in the fruit basket so, Voila! I decided to make a Pear and Cranberry Crumble.  It is super easy and I basically made it up as I went along!

Ingredients:

Crumble Topping-

  • 2 cups of quick/instant oats
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 (1/2 stick) butter

Filling-

  • 5-7 pears chopped (doesn’t have to be beautiful; see photo); I used Yellow Bartlett Pears but any will do!  The cheaper, the better!
  • 1 Lemon
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar (you can do more if you would like as it is on the tart side; move up to 1 cup or so if you like it sweeter.  The beauty is it really is up to you!)
  • 12 oz (or smaller) package of fresh cranberries.  (You can do frozen, but not canned)
  • 1 teaspoon of corn starch

Preparation-

  • 9×9 square glass dish, buttered (this is what I used; this recipe can be stretched, shrunk, etc.  Use whatever pan you have!)
  • Cutting board
  • Good, sharp knife; preferably not serrated but what the hell, just use what you have!
  • A Big bowl
  • Oven at 350 degrees

First things first, preheat your oven and butter that pan, baby.

Dump the cranberries in the big bowl and rinse them out.  Drain water, leaving berries in bowl.

Cut the lemon in half and squeeze all of the juices from entire lemon into bowl of cranberries.

Cut up the pears as haphazardly as your heart desires. Cubes, trapezoids, and diamond shapes are all acceptable.

Mix the pears in with the cranberry-lemon mixture.  At this time, also mix in the corn starch and granulated sugar.  It is best if you just use your paws.  Even for us economically challenged, the corn starch is necessary.  Hopefully you have some; if not, go borrow some or buy some at the store like for 2 dollars.  It helps thicken the juices of the crumble as it bakes.  Otherwise, you will have a super runny dessert!

Pile the mixture into your greased up baking pan and put to the side for now.

Now, it is time for the crumble topping!  By far the easiest part of this easy recipe but unfortunately, the messiest.  In a bowl, combine your oats, brown sugar, and butter.  Use those hands to kneed and squish it all together into one sugary, buttery, delicious confectionery mass.

Crumble the topping over the fruit in the dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.  It takes some time for the pears and berries to really soften up.  When you check on it, make sure that the juices are bubbling.  The crumble crust will be a nice golden brown as well.

Ta-da! Done!  It isn’t the most gorgeous of baked goods once dished up; just call it an avant-garde, deconstructed pie!  It’s great with a side of vanilla bean ice cream.  The sweet, creaminess has a great juxtaposition with the tart berries.

As long as you don’t go organic, you will easily stay under $20.00 with this recipe and that is if you have to buy everything from the start.  Most of us have instant oatmeal, sugars, and butter in our homes.  It’s the cranberry ($2.00 a bag at Trader Joe’s) and the pears that you will likely have to go out of your way to buy.

Happy Holidays and good luck with the seasonal recipe hunting! Share some of your ideas with me 🙂

An Ode to Piperlime

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving and was able to spend time with family and friends and stuff their bellies full!  As much as I love shopping, I stayed away from Black Friday this year.  To be honest, I’m not a big fan of the huge crowds and early-morning madness unless there is something I absolutely NEED to buy.  Additionally, I will be traveling this Christmas so I prefer Cyber Monday, which allows me to ship gifts directly to my parents’ house and not worry about the hassle of gift-packing.

Cyber Monday is truly a virtual Black Friday and most stores offer free shipping combined with other great deals.  While I’m perusing the internet for gift deals, I usually can’t help but order some clothes for myself from my absolute favorite online clothing store – Gap-owned Piperlime.

Here are just a few reasons why I love Piperlime:

  1. Free shipping – all day, every day
  2. Free returns – they provide a packing slip for easy mail returns
  3. Their amazing, ever-changing inventory of apparel – ranging from inexpensive, cute items to high end clothing from brands such as House of Harlow, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, and more
  4. Cross promotions, offers and coupons with Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, and Athleta
  5. The ability to use your Old Navy/Gap/Banana Republic card on all purchases – yeah baby!

Probably about 1/3 of my wardrobe is courtesy of Piperlime.  Not only do they have perfect wardrobe staples, but also an awesome selection of holiday wares.

I recently purchased this belted sweater dress and lace tights, perfect for holiday parties to be paired with chic black booties and fun accessories.  This provides ultimate comfiness and the versatility to dress up or down.

Tinley Road Belted Sweater Dress

Tinley Road Belted Sweater Dress, $69

Baroque Lace Tight

Hue Baroque Lace Tight, $18

DV by Dolce Vita Banya Booties

DV by Dolce Vita Banya Booties, $119

Here are a few other fun holiday outfit ideas to take advantage of on Cyber Monday when deals will be abundant and the prices will likely drop even lower!

Tulle Lace DressBCBG Jodie

Michael Kors Sequined TopTulle Faux Fur Leopard Jacket

Ark & Co. Pleated Midi DressHive & Honey Rope BraceletSteve Madden PammyFree People Wide Stripe Pullover Sweater

Kate Spade Little GiaHudson Mid Rise Super Skinny Coated Jeans

Tulle Lace Dress, $69
BCBGeneration Jodie, $89

Michael Kors Ikat Leopard Sequin Top, $79.50
Tulle Faux Fur Jacket, $89
Ark & Co. Pleated Midi Dress, $59
Hive & Honey Rope Wrap Bracelet, $34

Steve Madden Pammy Pumps, $100
Free People Wide Stripe Pullover Sweater, $108
Kate Spade Little Gia, $75
Hudson Jeans Mid Rise Super Skinny Coated Jeans, $198

Ride away with this amazing bargain on boots.

I’ve been shopping all my life, and I feel like I still have nothing to wear! If you’re anything like me, I’m constantly trying to keep up with the latest trends that seemingly change over night, especially when it comes to shoes.  One of the hottest trends this fall/winter has been the “riding boot.”  You can catch all of the exclusive celebrities wearing these “fashion casual” boots everywhere.  But unlike most celebrities, we don’t have limitless wallets.  Some of the top brands such as Michael Kors or Frye can run anywhere from $250 up and past $500 per pair!

Photo courtesy of endless.com

Those numbers don’t fit into most of our wallets who are on a frugal budget.  After being on the hunt for the perfect boot, I stumbled upon Urbanog.com, which now has become my online shopping BFF.  Urbanog.com has every style of shoe imaginable with prices that cannot be beat.  I was a bit skeptical about buying the boots from an online website with such low prices and not being able to see the boots until they arrived at my doorstep.  I have been very pleasantly surprised!

The quality of the material (leatherette) is great. The zipper, which I was most worried about, is sturdy and the boot itself is one of the most comfortable pair of boots I own.  Without a doubt, these have been the best $40.00 (free shipping!) that I have spent on a pair of boots.

Sign up for the mailing list and receive $5 promo code, a promo code will be emailed to you shortly after you sign up.  I recommend Urbanog.com to anyone! Your wallet, style and feet will thank you.

Cheap Workouts at Home? There’s an App for that.

First things first, this is the cheapest thing I have ever used from Nike…because it is free!  A slight set-back being that it is an iPhone app.  No iPhone, no free workout app.  Apple always seems to be winning.

Living in Los Angeles, the gym memberships are sky high.  The fitness clubs can be up to $150.00 a month while the boutique yoga and pilates studios are even higher!  We always have excuses for not being able to work out and expense is definitely a legitimate one.  Another issue that I often struggle with is my hermititus.  I often get into funky moods where I don’t want to leave my house; the thought of driving all the way to the gym seems so difficult and out of reach.  Thankfully, we can download the Nike Training Club app for free AND you do the workouts in the comfort of your own livingroom.

I understand that there is some skepticism with at home workouts.  It is easy to cheat, the moves can be difficult to learn on your own, and boredom sets in.  Honestly, how many times can you do that Suzanne Sommers Thigh Master toning video before you just go eat some cheetos and sit on the couch?  Fortunately, the Nike Training Club is super dynamic and easy to follow along!

There are 4 categories:

  • Get Lean-High interval cardio drills to slim down
  • Get Toned-Light weights and intervals to add definition
  • Get Strong-Increased weights and reps to build strength
  • Get Focused-15 minute workouts to target specific areas (butt buster, arm definer, back definer, etc)

Photo courtesy of Nike

Once you choose a category, you are prompted to choose a skill level (beginner, intermediate, advanced).  I choose intermediate as I am in decent shape.  I made sure to do the “Get Toned” because I didn’t have any weights at my home.  Once I selected this category, I was given a wide array of choice workouts in the cardio section ranging from 30-45 minutes.  There is a photo slideshow with descriptive text for each move so you can learn how to do it before the workout once you have selected one.

Photo courtesy of Nike

A great perk to this app is it logs your minutes spent working out!  It has pre-set goals for perks, new workouts, tips, and other rewards as you hit each minutes logged milestone.  It’s a great way to motivate you to keep going and as you unlock new workouts, the chances of you getting bored with monotony goes down.

Photo courtesy of Nike

I experienced a very challenging, yet not intimidating workout to do at home.  I was definitely a huffing and puffing sweaty mess at the end of it.   I suggest everyone with an iPhone give this a whirl; I really feel like it is worth it!

The Barcelona Chair

Photo courtesy of Knoll

The Barcelona chair is arguably one of the most recognized pieces in the Interior Architecture world, let alone the furniture industry. Designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1929, this symbol of modernism has been on the forefront of design for decades. Originally created for placement inside the Barcelona Pavillion at the Universal Exhibition, it has lived on as a stand-alone icon for nearly 100 years.

At first glance, it strikes one as a product of the Bauhaus movement. Although it was created during the era’s philosophy of practicality, usage and impeccable design for the common man, this piece radiates a different concept; albeit clean and streamlined, it is anything but common. Conspicuous without being terribly loud, the Barcelona chair emits absolute contemporary aristocracy without pretentiousness.

American furniture manufacturer, Knoll has the pleasure of holding the sole rights to this monumental icon. Keeping with Mies van der Rohe’s original fabrication practice, the chrome-plated steel frame and leather upholstered body are still crafted by hand to this day. A statement piece in a class of its own, the Barcelona chair will be forever lusted after across the globe.

At $8,000.00 a pop, where else can we find Bauhaus-Modernist-Mies van der Rohe inspired pieces? Below are some options.  Initially speaking, they still seem expensive but relative to the situation, they are highly discounted.  Remember, they are replicas and “inspirations” of the real thing.  It cannot be promised that the quality will matched.

“Mies van der Rohe inspired – Barcelona Chair Reproduction” $1,029.00

“Exposition Chair” $999.00

“BN Chair by Nuovo” $699.00

Chan Luu Wrap Bracelets… Inspired

One of the latest bracelet trends I’ve been eyeing the past year or so are the handmade, unique Chan Luu wrap bracelets.  They remind me of friendship bracelets we all donned back in the 90s, but with a modern, chic, adult twist. Worn by many celebs, I knew I had to get my hands on one.

Photos courtesy of Chan Luu.

Needless to say, when I saw the price tags on the wrap bracelets (usually ranging from $200 – $300), I knew I needed to find a cheaper alternate… stat. A quick Google search led me to one of my favorite crafty websites, Etsy.  I just about died when I saw the collection of seller JustHipStuff’s “Chan Luu Inspired” wrap bracelets featuring various wrap sizes (1x – 5x), all within a decent price range of $24.99 – $74.99. A black leather, petwter beaded 4x wrap bracelet for $59.99 immediately caught my eye and was purchased. I received my bracelet in the mail a few days later and I couldn’t be happier! The bracelet can be easily worn layered with other bracelets or on it’s own. It’s versatility also goes well with my black- and gray-heavy wardrobe.

My new “Chan Luu inspired” wrap bracelet!

Now if only I had a (real) Micheal Kors watch for my other wrist…

Directly from the Broke Girls

We are the Broke Girls.  We assume there are many others out there just like us.  Regardless of your gender, orientation, color, smell, height, weight, shoe size, job, or favorite color, we all have something in common…betches are broke!  We all have a certain style, flair, and swagger. Whether it be an outlet of food, clothing, crafts, or home accessories, we all have an inner trendster and “budget” doesn’t have to limit it!

We want to create the Broke Girl community where we share our ideas, plans, great finds, and anything else that can help a sister (or brother) out especially when we are feeling broke as a joke.

We are just a few regular ladies hoping to share our ideas and experiences with you.  Stay tuned for exciting updates!