10 Minutes with Petite Entrepreneur Carolina Alvo (Q&A)
Posted 3 weeks ago by Amanda Raye
Psst, ladies. Did you know that half the population of women in the U.S. qualify as “petite” at 5’4” or under? Are you in disbelief? Is that because you’re thinking to yourself that if that were true, why do so many stores stock only “regular sizes” with petite departments being the afterthought, if there is one at all?
Petite entrepreneur and game-changer Carolina Alvo caught herself wondering the same thing, after time and time again spent purchasing items that weren’t made to fit her and having to trudge them to the tailor and pay for alterations. All 4’9” of her, along with hundreds of thousands of her fellow petites knew that petite is powerful, and that it was time to take some action.
So she founded her eponymous clothing line, Carolina Alvo, and started a “Petite is Powerful” movement. Her first move? The Kathleen Dress, a fit-and-flare beauty that’s perfect for day and night, is specifically designed to fit a petite frame perfectly.
Made in New York with the highest-quality fabrics and available in two lengths, the Kathleen Dress is going to revolutionize the petite retail world and bring awareness to this often neglected group of women, all of whom deserve to look and feel as beautiful as the other 50%.
Since we were so interested in Carolina’s mission, we decided we wanted to know more. If you interested in the “Petite is Powerful” movement, or what it’s like to work in fashion, read on.
*If you’re interested in a work-friendly clothing line that’s perfect for your petite frame, then support Carolina on Kickstarter!
Q&A with Carolina Alvo
All of your clothes are made in NYC! What made you want to do that? Was it hard to find a manufacturing company in the city?
The thought of going outside of New York, let alone overseas was too scary for a first-timer. It is my first time manufacturing anything so it was important for me to feel like I had as much control over the process as possible.
I worked with a production company in the Garment District to help develop the line and he has relationships with various factories in New York, so it was through him that we were able to find a factory that was right for us.
As a petite, clothes shopping has been difficult for most of your life. But has being petite affected you at work? At school?
When I was in school I was endlessly teased for my height. Most of the time it was harmless, but when you’re a young teenager you just want to be like everyone else, so it definitely becomes one more thing to be self-conscious about.
By the time I was in the workplace I wasn’t teased, but I was surrounded by mostly men and somehow I only ever had male bosses that were at least a foot taller than me. So being much smaller just exacerbated my feelings of insecurity early on in my career.
Your background isn’t originally in fashion. What/who gave you the confidence to enter this intense industry?
I just knew the opportunity was so big (half the female population is petite) and I knew no one was doing a good job solving it. Plus it was a very personal pain point, so I was passionate about getting it right – all together that gave me the confidence to look past the fact that I have no experience in fashion and just try to figure out how to solve this big problem!
What advice would you give to the girl who’s interested in a career in fashion?
Educate yourself on the industry, surround yourself with good mentors/advisors and go for it! If it’s your passion, you won’t regret it!
Also fantastic: Carolina Alvo will be donating 1% of all of their profits to Girl Rising, a global action campaign that helps young girls get into and stay in school.
Who else would you like us to interview for Broke & Chic’s newly launched career section? Let us know in the comments below!
Jillian Michaels Approved Fitness Gear? Okay!
Posted 3 weeks ago by Amanda Raye
Department stores all across the globe have been teaming up with big time celebrities for years, so it’s never a big surprise when a collaboration happens. But how many fitness collaborations have happened over the years? The answer is very few.
I’m not going to lie, I have a huge crush on Lauren Conrad’s style, so when she partnered with Kohl’s, you better believe I bought a few things from her line.
And the Sofia Vergara collab with Kmart? Guilty! So I got extremely excited last week when I received an email that Jillian teamed up with Kmart as well, but for fitness gear.
My first intro to hardcore fitness was in high school; I played field hockey, lacrosse, and I did a season of indoor track. That was about nine years ago when fitness gear consisted of ugly running sneakers, really boring shorts that didn’t fit right, and an old t-shirt. Can you say blah?
Today I’m so inspired to workout. Not only because I want to get fit, but workout gear these days is so gosh darn cute and stylish! And this new collection from Jillian that’s available at Kmart is no different.
Just see for yourself!
I’m crushin’ on this collaboration for two reasons. One, Jillian is extremely motivating — she has changed so many peoples lives over the years for the better. And two, her collection is affordable. Take that Lululemon!
What do you think of the Impact by Jillian Michaels collection?
4 Outfits You Totally Need to Wear This Weekend
Posted 4 weeks ago by Amanda Raye
Where has the summer gone? It seems like just yesterday we were all still bundled up in our favorite winter coats. Although the heat has been extra brutal these past few days, the weekend forecast is looking beyond perfect. Blue skies, cool nights, no rain, and bearable day temps.
Take advantage of this upcoming August weekend by hanging out with friends and going to fun events or places in your town/city. Go vintage shopping, try a new restaurant, or even indulge in a brunch filled with Southern comfort food.
If this seems like your kind of weekend, check out these outfits styled by Marlen, the voice behind Messages on a Napkin. She knows what’s what in the fashion department!
1. Ramen Soup Shop
It’s odd, but drinking hot things on hot days can cool the body down. It’s a weird fact, but we’re just going to go with it. We vote for ramen!
2. Vintage Pop-up Shop
Pop-up shops are getting extremely trendy in even the smallest of towns. So keep an eye out for pop-up shops in your area.
3. Southern Brunch
Brunch is a weekend must! And how can you say no to fried chicken and waffles?
4. Drive-in Theater
These retro venus still exist, so look up the closest one to you and bring a few friends.
The outfits above are even fall friendly! Just add a pair of tights and you’re set. Which look was your favorite?
Life Lessons from Young Playwright Brandon Monokian (Q&A)
Posted 4 weeks ago by Amanda Raye
Brandon Monokian is a writer, actor, director, entrepreneur, and overall, an outrageous human being. He’s hilarious, talented, and extremely hard-working, and at the ripe age of 27, he’s accomplished more than many do in a lifetime.
He recently closed the fourth production of his darkly comedic play, Grimm Women; a gritty, modern adaptation of the Brother’s Grimm Fairy tales that starred reality TV celeb Briella Calafiore. Even though Monokian is still considered up-and-coming, he’s worked with the likes of How Stella Got Her Groove Back’s Suzzanne Douglas and Harry Potter star Christian Coulson.
We sat down for an interview with Brandon at his beach house on the Jersey Shore to discuss all things theater, wine, and NYC:
Let’s start easy. What are your plans for the remainder of 2014?
Next up, a new play I wrote, Peter Pan is Dead. We’re bringing it to the Philly Fringe Festival, and artist Sara Sciabbarrasi and I are going to release it as a comic book.
I also have a few acting gigs sprinkled in there, writing some film and stage scripts, and will be continuing to expand my Cork & Wood product line.
*Peter Pan is Dead will play September 6 – 21 at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. For tickets to the show and to purchase the comic book, visit his website.
That seems like a lot! What does a normal day look like for you?
There’s never really a “normal” for me. I’m working on so many different types of projects, that the structure of my day (and location of my work) changes constantly.
My only daily rituals are that I start my day with a cup of black coffee while reading the news, go for a long walk at some point, and end the day with a glass of red wine.
What advice would you give to someone who’s interested in a career in drama?
Have other interests besides drama. Pay attention in your classes that don’t have to do with theatre. Nobody wants to work with an idiot actor who can only talk about how much they love Frozen and Judy Garland YouTube videos.
Don’t be a douche. There are a billion and a half other people who can do what you do, and do it better, so be nice. Not fake nice, just be a genuinely nice person, because otherwise you are going to have a lot more problems in life than just succeeding in your career. You poop too, so don’t act like you don’t.
Believe in yourself more than anyone else believes in you. If you don’t think you have something special to contribute to the world of the arts, then why the hell would anyone else? Don’t be a cocky ass about it, just trust in what you have to deliver.
And finally, never sing Wicked, Rent, or “Memory” from CATS at an audition. Unless you’re Jennifer Hudson. Then sing whatever the fuck you want.
What challenges have you faced since moving to NYC?
I spend more on Juice Generation than I do on rent. It’s an addiction. They even have a smoothie you can drink straight out of a coconut. Because nothing says “this is the douchiest thing I’ve done all week” quite like walking down Broadway drinking out of a coconut. I love it.
What do you wish you could tell your 18-year-old self?
If a giant ass handle of vodka costs $12, do not take 11 shots of it. In addition to $12, it will cost you your dignity and your ability to ever drink vodka again.
What’s your favorite restaurant in New York?
Automatic Slims in the West Village has the best asparagus in the world. I know that’s a weird thing to be the best at, but they are. They have a pretty sick happy hour, too.
I’m also a huge sucker for Le Pain Quotidien. If I ever murdered someone and was put on death row, I’d definitely request their hummus for my last meal.
Who should we interview next for Broke & Chic’s new career section? Let us know in the comments below!
Update Your Space with These Totally Awesome Pillows
Posted 1 month ago by Amanda Raye
Don’t think pillows can make your day? Think again. Fashion is a great way to cheer up, but decor and interior design can be even more powerful — both have the ability to brighten your day, and bring you down. But even budget decor havens such as Ikea can break the bank.
So, if your abode has been making you feel blah lately, don’t fret. All you need to add is a pillow! Below are six fun pillows under $45 that have the power to put a smile on your face every morning and night.
1. Hippie Kitty Pillow
This pillow from Zara Terez will not only make you smile, it’ll make you laugh too! How can you not? It’s a borderline psychedelic pillow with a kitten on it. Aww!
This company doesn’t just stop at cute cats either. You can get a pillow with pizza, unicorns and even emojis on it!
2. Happy Goat Pillow
This Etsy seller has an array of photographs that have been transferred onto pillows. Out of the array of photos, this happy goat image really stuck out.
Don’t you just want to close your eyes and smile like the goat?
3. Leonardo Dicaprio Pillow
Thought you could only wake up next to Leo in your dreams? Nope, this is real girl.
4. Beyonce Pillow
Yes, you did wake up like that…
5. Colorful Pillow
Color makes everyone happy! Right? If brights make you smile, you should consider a pillow from either Crystal Walen or Bianca Green. Both designers know a thing or two about color.
6. Inspirational Pillow
Everyone needs a good vibe or two in the a.m. and right before bed. How about “Get it Girl” or “Work Hard, Stay Humble” for an extra push?
Which pillow was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
7 Beauty Essentials Worth the Splurge
Posted 1 month ago by Amanda Raye
We’re all about affordable beauty products and skincare — we just love a bargain! But there are definitely some top-notch beauty products out there that can’t be beat.
Most high-end products last longer than their cheaper counterparts, the ingredients are often of a higher quality, and you can usually notice a difference immediately. But what products are worth the splurge, and which ones are better left for Target?
Below are seven beauty essentials that are just way better with the higher price tag.
1. Face Moisturizer
A good face moisturizer is a must! We recommend a basic light lotion with SPF for daily wear, and a specialized moisturizer for the evening.
By applying at night, you’re giving the product a chance to work without interference from other products while you sleep.
2. Blow Dryer
If you blow-dry your hair on a daily basis, you should definitely look into buying a quality dryer. They’ll cut your dry time in half, which will prevent heat damage in the long run. Our favorites include T3, Solano, Twin Turbo, Eva NYC and Drybar.
3. Texture Spray
The dry texture spray from Oribe cannot be beat. We’ve searched high and low for a cheaper alternative, but we’ve sadly come back empty-handed every time. If you want sexy piece-y hair that’ll make you look like an A-list star, this is the stuff for you.
Foundation primer is a must if you want your makeup to last all day. If you can’t afford high-end foundation and powder, at least invest in a good primer. It’ll totally make up for it!
The primers from Laura Mercier are unbelievable and definitely worth the splurge.
If you go through perfumes and body sprays like no other, then you should consider investing in a high-quality fragrance. We’re totally obsessed with Bond no.9 for both the quality and the quirky packaging — a little goes a long way and the scent will stay with you for eight hours or more.
The price tag is steep, but if you use it daily, a bottle will easily last you two years or more.
6. Lather-free Shampoo
If you have dry, frizzy, curly or damaged hair, the lather in your shampoo could be causing your locks some harm. Instead, consider using the cleansing conditioner from Wen. Cheaper knock-offs do exist, but they don’t work as well. We’ve tried almost all of them!
Note: Give yourself a full month to get used to this product. It’s way different than what you’re used to, and you most likely won’t like it at first. You’ll start to notice the difference in your hair texture during week two.
Most drugstores don’t have options when it comes to serums, so splurging is pretty much a must. You can find serums ranging from $15-$100+. If you’re new to the world of serums, we recommend checking out the many options from Kiehl’s.
Do you have a favorite beauty splurge? Let us know in the comments below!
*We partnered with Biotherm for this post.
My 5 Beauty Obsessions: Kellee Khalil of Lover.ly
Posted 1 month ago by Amanda Raye
What does the beauty routine of a busy CEO look like?
Meet Kellee Khalil, the founder and CEO of Lover.ly, your one-stop-shop for wedding planning. Kellee started Lover.ly in 2012 and she hasn’t looked back since.
The life of an entrepreneur is extremely hectic and often stressful, but that never stops pink lipstick loving Kellee from taking some time for herself in the a.m.
Kellee shared her top five beauty obsessions below:
1. Mac Lipstick in “Candy Yum-Yum”
I am a pink lipstick connoisseur and Mac’s Candy Yum Yum is my favorite. It’s so Loverly!
2. Fresh Sugar Lip Scrub
Living in NYC can be brutal on the lips. This scrub is perfect for chapped lip rejuvenation.
3. Nars “Orgasm” Blush Stick
This blush stick is so versatile, I wear it everyday, and it matches my signature lip color well!
4. Jouer Essential Matte Foundation
Jouer foundation gets me through my hectic day at the office and lasts through my dinners and events with investors.
5. Essie Nail Polish
A bottle of Essie polish can always be found in my make up bag. They have a great selection of wedding day colors that I like to wear!
If you love Kellee’s taste in makeup, follow her on Twitter!
*Photo courtesy of Leila Brewster Photography.
Get Miranda Kerr’s Casual Summer Look for Less
Posted 1 month ago by Amanda Raye
Miranda Kerr is easily on the top of our list when it comes to celebrity style crushes. Her “off-duty” looks are always sophisticated, yet extremely casual.
She never over does it with her makeup or accessories, and her hair is always healthy and luscious. Miranda also has the tendency to add a bit of glamour to every outfit — from bold lips to striking heels.
Below she’s wearing a simple striped tank and white trousers, but vamped up the outfit by adding leopard print heeled sandals.
If you love her outfit just as much as we do, shop the affordable looks below:
What’s your favorite part about Miranda Kerr’s outfit? Let us know in the comments below!
Long Hair Don’t Care: 12 Ways to Get the Hair of Your Dreams
Posted 2 months ago by Amanda Raye
Do you love having long hair? Want long hair but don’t know how to get your locks to cooperate? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
I’ve been sporting long hair for years! I’ve tried going shorter many times in my life, but I’ve always regretted it. Long hair just makes me happy! But un-healthy long hair? That’s never a good thing.
Below are my 12 tips that’ll get your hair long, healthy, and luscious in no time!
1. Don’t wash it everyday
Washing your hair everyday is the worst thing you can do if you’re trying to grow it out. With washing, comes drying, and that blow-dryer causes serious damage over time. The less you use one, the better. So start getting really close to dry shampoo!
Do you exercise on a regular basis? If so, you’ll want to read our tips on saving your blowout after a sweat session. There’s no need to get your hair wet in the shower after the gym!
2. Let it air dry
Start taking your showers at night, that way your hair has six or more hours to dry naturally. Once you wake up, take a blow dryer, smooth it out, and add some curl with your curling iron, or take a flat-iron to it.
Blow drying your hair when it’s over 80% dry will keep it healthy.
3. Sleep in a low ponytail
I used to sleep with my hair in a high messy bun, but every time I woke up, I had to deal with serious tangles. I now sleep with my hair in a low ponytail. I haven’t woken up with a knot since!
4. Be gentle with your wet hair
Your hair is extremely fragile when it’s wet, so handle with care. After my nightly shower, I pat it dry, spray it with a detangler, and then I brush it gently with a wide-tooth comb.
After the knots are out, I add a styling cream or oil to my ends only. From there, I part my hair and comb into a low ponytail until morning.
5. Avoid elastics and hair ties
Actually, don’t use elastics and hair ties at all. They break your hair, damage it, and can cause dents. Instead, use spring bands. They are life-changing!
6. Sleep on satin pillow cases
This isn’t necessary, but it does help. Most bedding is made out of cotton, which can cause frizz and split ends due to the friction that occurs in your sleep. Instead, sleep on a pillow that has a satin pillowcase. This allows your hair to glide easily over the pillow without the damaging friction.
7. Take your vitamins
Healthy skin and hair starts on the inside. Since most of us don’t get the nutrients our bodies need in our food alone, vitamins are essential. Just take a muli-vitamin every morning and night.
If you mean business, you can also take a hair, skin and nails supplement or a prenatal vitamin. But beware, not only will your hair grow faster, but it’ll grow faster everywhere else too. So stock up on razor blades!
*Check with a doctor before adding a vitamin or supplement to your diet.
8. Use the right products
I highly recommend you use a shampoo that’s sulfate-free and a decent conditioner. I really like the shampoo and conditioner from Not Your Mother’s. When it comes to styling products, apply a styling oil or cream. Both Suave and Living Proof have great products that will protect your hair from heat while adding moisture to prevent frizz.
9. Use a deep conditioner once a week
This is extremely important! I also recommend you splurge on a good one. Don’t worry, they last awhile! I really like the deep conditioners from It’s a 10 and One ‘n Only.
10. Invest in a good blow dryer
This has saved my hair! According to Yoni at Y-Gallery Salon in New York City:
An ionic ceramic dryer doesn’t burn the hair, while a low-cost dryer can.
The motor is also more powerful so it’ll dry your hair faster. I really like the ionic dryer from Eva NYC!
11. Consider a smoothing or keratin treatment
Don’t rely on these since they’re expensive and not safe to breath in — but they really help during the growing out stage. When I got the Brazilian Blowout, I didn’t have to touch my flat iron for five months. Five months! By the time it washed out, my newly long hair was healthy and shiny.
Since I’m wary of chemicals like that, I now rely on the Super Silk Treatment by Sam Brocato.
12. Get trims on a regular basis
I usually get a trim at the beginning of every season to get rid of the split ends. When you get to the salon, just ask for a dusting. That’s the magic word.
Really express you’re trying to grow it out and you don’t want anymore that a centimeter or two off. Don’t let them talk you into getting more length than that removed!
How do you maintain healthy hair? Let us know in the comments below!
Shop Our July 2014 Wish List — Everything’s under $45!
Posted 2 months ago by Amanda Raye
Can you believe we’re halfway through July already? Where has the summer gone?! Before you know it, the crisp air of fall will be here. Not that that’s a bad thing. I’m always down for hot apple cider!
Until then, I’m just going to enjoy iced cold cider with a bit of alcohol by the pool. Does that sound better? Thought so!
Below is our July 2014 wish list. Most items are very minimalistic and we totally got inspiration from these bloggers across the pond. So enjoy and shop away!
What’s on your July 2014 wish list? Let us know in the comments below!
5 Awesome Outfits You Need to Wear This Summer
Posted 2 months ago by Amanda Raye
There’s just so much to do in the summer: block parties, lazy days by the pool, rooftop parties, and outdoor brunch — just to name a few. But the list is endless!
If your schedule is a bit crazy due to all the exciting things you have planned this summer, you might be running out of outfit ideas. That’s why we teamed up with Marlen, the vintage loving blogger behind Messages on a Napkin. Below she styled five awesome outfits for any summer event — from movies in the park, to a local carnival.
Movies in the Park
Many towns and cities play newly released movies on a semi-big screen during the summer. If your town didn’t get the memo, grab a few friends and watch a movie at the park while snacking on yummy treats.
Many restaurants open up their rooftops and outdoor seating during the summer. So take advantage of it while it lasts!
No matter how old you are, carnivals are always a great place to go for a good time. Skip the rides and indulge in fried food, or do both!
Food Truck Festival
Food trucks are the latest trend in the restaurant industry and we aren’t complaining. In New York City, we have a grilled cheese truck, a fresh pressed juice truck, and even a food truck serving amazing coffee! What does your town or city have?
Going to a block party this summer? If it’s not on your agenda, it must mean there isn’t one going on. That’s a sign you should organize one with your friends and neighbors!
What are your exciting summer plans? Let us know in the comments below!
*A version of this post originally appeared on Marlen’s blog, Messages on a Napkin.