The 5 Easiest Ways to Upgrade Your Apartment This Fall

Posted 3 months ago by

There’s nothing more satisfying than walking into a well decorated home or apartment. It’s even more satisfying when that home or apartment is your own. Don’t think you can afford it? You can! Well designed homes aren’t just for fancy people on Pinterest.

Whether you own or rent, there’s a wide variety of different things you can do to accessorize your pad. Below are five easy ways you can adorn your abode without going broke or making your landlord mad.

1. Create a Statement Wall

The simple method of painting one wall a bold color will make it stand out and bring life to a dull white room; you can then make the most of what you already possess by decorating it with your existing prints, a TV, or mirror.

The other benefit from this method is you save time and money by only having to paint one small area. And don’t feel a statement wall has to include paint — removable wallpaper would look great too!

statement wall1

2. Add Effective Lighting

A great way to make an instant impression is by installing new wall lights or lamps to create a particular atmosphere, or to brighten up or highlight particular areas or features in your apartment. For example, you can accentuate artwork or certain furniture by having them back lit or directly under spotlights.

ikea lighting

Spotlight Lamp: $15.00

3. Untreated Wood

Untreated wood is starting to get extremely trendy in the land of decor! Whether you add a chair, bed frame, or dresser with an un-finished look, you will give your home a design boost.

You can easily source untreated wooden furniture from a reliable retailer like Trade Furniture or Ikea. And as an added benefit, the durability means you can enjoy these items for decades.

untreated wood ikea

Photo via Refinery29

4. Add a Tapestry

If you’re not allowed to paint, add a large tapestry to a wall instead. It’ll instantly upgrade your room!


Atlas Tapestry: $49.00

5. Add Mirrors

Mirrors are a pretty way to add oomph to a bland wall. You can do a collage with a bunch of small mirrors, or you can add one large mirror. Mirrors also help rooms appear larger!

Courtney, the blogger behind A Diamond in the Stuff has a great mirror collage below:

mirror collage2

By choosing any one of these straightforward methods, you’ll quickly begin to feel the same satisfaction that so many others get from accessorizing and personalizing their apartment — turning it from a standard flat to your home.


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Handmade Hair Care — It Can Be Done!

Posted 4 months ago by

I’m not a huge fan of DIY projects. Yes, it would be cool if I could make my own wallpaper or sew a yoga bag, but it ain’t gonna happen! I just don’t have the time.

But what about beauty products?

As a kid, my parents had a small business where they made soap, lip balms, perfumes, and lotions. Our home always smelled like roses and peppermint, and all of their products had minimal ingredients. But since they made it all in bulk, it was a ton of work. But what if I were to make a few products for my use only?

Let’s start with hair. Hair is extremely fragile and we’re constantly putting it through the wringer with chemical treatments and heated styling tools. Instead of giving up the highlights and blowouts, consider changing your cleansing regime. While chemical laden products cleanse the hair, they also strip away the shine and natural bounce.

Below are four DIY hair cocktails using my favorite essential oil — tea tree!

tea tree oil recipes

1. Gentle Cleansing Shampoo

Tea tree oil is a great ingredient for your DIY hair products because it absorbs oil and it leaves hair looking glossy — not dry.

What You Need: 

Mix It: Pour all ingredients into a flip cap bottle and shake well to blend. Store bottle in the shower for up to 2 months.

Apply It: Tilt the bottle over your head until a quarter sized amount appears and work into a rich lather. Rinse thoroughly and repeat if necessary.


2. Creamy Tea Tree Oil Shampoo

This shampoo is great for the girl who often has frizzy hair.

What You Need:

  • Empty Shampoo bottle
  • 15 drops Apothecary Extracts Tea Tree  Oil
  • 5 drops essential rose oil
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • ½ tsp. almond oil (for dry hair)
  • 3 vitamin E oil capsules
  • 1/3 cup liquid castile soap

Mix It: Combine all ingredients in a shampoo bottle or a foaming pump dispenser and shake well. Store in the bathroom for up to 1 month.

Apply It: Shake bottle well before squeezing about 1-1 ½ teaspoons per shampoo onto your hand. Massage gently into scalp and hair and leave on for 2 minutes then rinse. Repeat if necessary.

shampoo hair1

3. Replenishing Hair Mask

If your dry hair needs a little pick-me-up, this mask will be your best friend.

What You Need: 

  • 8-10 drops of Apothecary Extracts Tea Tree Oil
  • 1 medium avocado, pitted and chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil

Mix It: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix with your fingers or a blender to smooth.

Apply It: Scoop mask up and rub into hair from root to tip, then twist hair on top of your head. Leave it on 15 to 45 minutes then rinse thoroughly.

diy hair mask

4. Homemade Detangler

After my shower, I have to apply detangler to my hair before putting a comb or brush through it. Otherwise it’ll hurt! Unfortunately, many detanglers out there weight my hair down, but the one below won’t.

What You Need: 

  • 10 drops Apothecary Extracts Tea Tree Oil
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Clean spray bottle
  • 1 cup distilled water

Mix It: Add all ingredients to the clean spray bottle and shake well to blend.

Apply It: After shampooing, spritz enough detangling spray to coat hair and then comb through.

Tip: Add rose, lemon or peppermint essential oil for added fragrance.

comb through wet hair

Many essential oils on the market today are diluted to cut costs, so there’s only a handful of tea tree oils out there that are 100% pure. I really like the tea tree oil from Apothecary Extracts.  It’s only $25!

Tea tree oil isn’t just useful when it comes to hair care. Since it’s a natural disinfectant, it can be used in homemade skincare, first aid, and cleaning products. A free e-book containing an array of tea tree oil recipes comes with every order from Apothecary Extracts.

Have you ever made your own beauty products? Let us know in the comments below!

*Powered by BrandBacker. 


DIY: How to Make Your Own Lip Scrub

Posted 1 year ago by

Harsh winds and frigid temperatures leave your pout dry and in need of some real TLC. Luckily, lip scrubs are the perfect way to nourish your lips while leaving them kissable.

With many lip scrubs containing harmful chemicals, why not make your own with all natural ingredients?

Read on for a simple, effective, and all-natural recipe from Indie Lee that will revive and provide nourishment for your lips!



  • 1 Tbsp raw cane sugar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 drop peppermint oil or crushed mint


1. Combine sugar and honey in a small bowl.

2. Mix in peppermint oil or crushed mint for a refreshing scent.

3. Use to buff and polish your lips with a delicious minty taste — perfect for date night!


Plus, this makes a thoughtful and inexpensive gift!


DIY: 8 Unexpected Things to Do with Duct Tape

Posted 2 years ago by

Low on funds, but feel your home and closet need a makeover? Duct tape might just be your saving grace, because Scotch now sells it in fancy patterns and colors! Adiós dull metallic grey.

Below are eight things we bet you didn’t know you could do with duct tape:

1. Make a Coffee Sleeve

Who knew? Just follow this easy tutorial here.


2. Decorate Boring Candles

Bored with your white candles that are on top of your mantle or dresser? Just add duct tape in the color or pattern of your choice for a brand new look!


3. Revamp Old Ballet Flats

Transform your ballet flats by using a fun color or pattern of duct tape. If you’re extra girly, add a fashion forward bow for a fun style statement.


Instructions for Ballet Flats:

1. Choose the colors and/or patterns you’d like to transform and decorate your ballet flats.

2. Cut a 6” long piece of Scotch Pattern duct tape and place the tip on an edge of a desk or craft station.

3. Place tape strip lengthwise on the side of the flat, trimming edges and pressing firm to ensure the tape adheres.

4. Repeat step 3 once or twice more to cover entire flat.

5. Repeat steps 1-4 for other flat in pair.

6. Slip on ballet flats and smile at your new style!

Instructions for Bow:

1. Choose the colors and/or patterns you’d like to create your stylish bow.

2. Cut two strips of Scotch duct tape that are the same size. Any size will do – you choose.

3. Place the strips on top of each other, sticky sides together. Round the edges if you’d like by trimming off the corners.

4. Repeat step 3 then place the two resulting pieces of tape together.

5. Cut a smaller, narrow strip of tape for the center of the bow.

6. Pinch the center of each side of the tape to meet in the middle and then wrap your small strip of tape around to secure it.

7. Optional: Continue your stylish makeover by adding a bow to each ballet flat.

4. Make a Wallet

Didn’t you always want a duct tape wallet as a kid? I did!


Instructions for Wallet:

1. Choose the colors and/or patterns you’d like to use to craft and decorate your wallet.

2. Cut two 7” long pieces of Scotch Pattern duct tape and separately place adhesive-side up on your flat work surface.

3. Slightly overlap the second piece of tape over the first.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have four strips overlapping.

5. Turn the sheet sideways so the strips run vertically across your flat work surface.

6. Cut a strip to lay across the adhesive-side up strips. Start at the top and repeat, working your way down.

7. Being sure to overlap the edges, continue laying step 6 strips adhesive-side down until all of the step 4 strips are covered. Trim off the edges.

8. Fold the wallet in half so the shorter sides line up evenly.

9. Keeping the wallet in the folded position, trim any excess and tape the other side.

10. Optional: Continue your stylish makeover by adding a bow to your new wallet.

5. Decorate an Old Vase

Have one too many clear vases under your sink? Adding fancy duct tape to one of them will make everyone do a double take at your dining room table!


6. Make Office Containers

Does your work desk lack a pen/pencil holder? Take a can that’s sitting in your recycle bin or an old jar and cover it with some duct tape! Be even more fancy by adding fun designs to your boring brown clip board.


7. Update your iPad Case

This one’s so simple. Simply add a strip (or two) of your favorite pattern to your case. This also works with iPhone and laptop cases.


8. Cover an Old Cosmetic Case

Don’t throw it away, just cover it up!


Find this fancy new duct tape at your local office supply store! Which one of these are you dying to try? Let us know in the comments below.


Recreate Lime Crime’s Off-Beat Lipstick Colors For Less

Posted 2 years ago by

I’m loving the off-beat lipstick color trend and am hoping it takes over. Doe Deere of Lime Crime Cosmetics really got it right!

Buying the real thing is clearly better, but if you don’t live near a Space.NK to try it on, don’t like ordering on-line, or just don’t have an extra $20 laying around — This is my tutorial.

The Wonderful World of Lime Crime Cosmetics

Lady Gaga is wearing D’lilac, Ke$ha is wearing No She Didn’t, and I’m wearing Cosmopop — all by Lime Crime.

Below is a sample of some off-beat lipstick colors from the Bloomingdale’s in Soho. The first row is Lime Crime and the second row is MAC. I absolutely love the blue!

What You’ll Need

  • Eyelid Primer (preferably e.l.f. since it’s only $1)
  • An eyeshadow color of your choice (I used a blue and a lime green from an e.l.f. eyeshadow palette)


  1. Apply eyelid primer to lips like you would a lip gloss
  2. Wait about 30 seconds for it to dry
  3. Choose a vibrant eyeshadow color
  4. Apply eyeshadow to lips as you would your eyes. Applying about 3 layers does the trick.

You just created your own off-beat lipstick color!


Let us know in the comments if you gave this tutorial a try!


DIY: Get Sexy Beach Waves for Less

Posted 2 years ago by

Who doesn’t love their hair after a day at the beach? Don’t waste your money on the expensive “beach wave” products. Do it the Broke & Chic way!

What You Need:

  • Small empty spray bottle (3 oz)
  • Sea salt
  • Warm water


1. Fill the spray bottle with warm water.
2. Add about 2 tablespoons of sea salt.
3. Let sit for about 5 minuets. (or until the salt has dissolved)
4. Shake it up.

How To Use:

Shampoo and condition before bed and towel dry as usual. Evenly distribute salt water spray into hair. If you have curly/wavy hair, use a smoothing balm or leave-in conditioner before the spray (to prevent frizz).

Once evenly distributed, brush through hair and put it in a braid. In the morning you’ll have beautiful hair that’s full of texture and volume.

*If your hair isn’t fully dry when you wake up, use your blow dryer with hight heat and low air.

Do you have any beauty tips to share with Broke & Chic readers? Email for a possible feature!


Budget Decor: Katie’s Eclectic Bedroom

Posted 3 years ago by

Last week, Broke & Chic meet up with one of New York’s most stylish residents: Katie is a 25 year-old budget friendly fashionista living and working in Manhattan. She loves good design, organization and diy projects.

I’d rather make something myself than pay for it. I hate going into Urban Outfitters and West Elm and seeing things that are $250 dollars that I could easily make myself.

Katie has lived in this Washington Heights apartment for about 2.5 years. Her room reminded me of those cute boutiques in the East Village with artfully displayed vintage jewelry, accessories and even furniture. Each corner has it’s own personal touch. Nothing has been left unstyled. She even spent an afternoon putting up shelves to display her shoes instead of just throwing them into a corner or closet!

Learn how to make your own clothes line photo display here.


B&C: Where did you get all these vintage treasures?

K: Every time I go on vacation I always try and purchase a vintage scarf. The rest are either from my grandma or the small vintage store where I’m from.

B&C: What’s your favorite part of your bedroom?

K: I love the chalkboard wall. Chalkboard paint is really cheap and you can have endless fun with it.

B&C: What are your favorite accessories?

K: Head accessories such as hats, headbands, and flowers. They’re my new fashion obsession!

B&C: What DIY project are you most proud of?

K: The shoe shelf!

What’s your favorite part of Katie’s bedroom? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!


Budget Decor: Allie’s DIY Wonderland

Posted 3 years ago by

Meet Allie, a high school sophomore living in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. She moved here over a year ago with her mom from a small southern town.

Moving to New York was a big change for me. Not only did I have to say “good bye” to lifelong friends, but I had to learn an entirely different lifestyle. New York has really helped me figure out who I am. I think it’s giving me a head start on my future!

Allie is in a positon where she can’t paint, and as a teenage girl, her room means everything to her! Broke & Chic got an inside look as to how she made it all her own.

I really had to use my brain to make it all my own. I love spending my weekends doing d.i.y projects to make my room more represent me. I’ve gotten quite a lot of my inspiration from Pinterest and my stylish older sister. I love being true to myself, so after we moved we had a popular artist, Eliza B. Askin, draw a picture of our old house so I could always remember my southern roots.

B&C: What’s your favorite thing in your room?

Allie: My favorite thing in my room is the a canvas I made!


Look Out for This Year’s Top Beauty Trends

Posted 3 years ago by

1. Reverse-Ombré

Out with the old, in with the new. That’s right, light on top, dark on the bottom. We’ve taken advantage of the ombré, now it needs a vacation. Vamp it up by…reversing it!

Check out Salon Apprentice for an affordable colorist. Or stop into your local salon and ask if they have an apprentice with lower prices!

2. Matte Nails

We effortlessly change our nail polish colors with the season — brights for summer, pastels for spring, darks for fall and winter…but we always finish our manicures with a shiny top coat.

Now it’s time for something different: for 2012 it’s all about a dull flat finish. The matte top coat has been around for years, but it just hasn’t caught on until now. Just paint your nail with your go-to color, but instead of the usual shiny luster, top it with the $2 Matte Top Coat by eyes. lips. face! Have fun!

3. Cher Hair

Long , short, bangs, center part, straight, curly, wavy, blonde, red…it never ends, we’ll always be changing our hair, from its length to its color.

Celebs have been rocking soft waves for quite a few years — not anymore. It all about pin-straight, long hair with a center part and amazing shine. Just like our trendy moms before us it’s time to take out the clothes iron *cough*…I mean flat iron.

Remember: Your hair is very fragile, always protect it with a serum before you put any sort of heat to it. I really like the Organix Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum, only $6 at your local Wal-Mart or Target.

4. Slicked-Back Pixies

Short hair can be worn in so many different ways. Follow Emma Watson’s footsteps by going short and slick…tuxedo style! Try the Catwalk Session Series Wet Look Gel. About $14 at Ricky’s NYC

5. Burgundy Lips

2011 was all about bubble-gum-pink lips, but now it’s time for a change. Red will always be a classic, but dark red adds mystery to your look, and makes your skin tone pop!

Don’t have burgundy lipstick lying around? Put on your favorite red lipstick and then top it with a line of black eyeliner. Once you blend it together you’ll have a perfect dark red pout. Add more black eyeliner for an even deeper shade. Thumbs up if you have black lipstick laying around — It’ll be easier to blend.

Keep all stocked up on beauty products using beauty coupons to save money.


Is Your Hair Thirsty?

Posted 3 years ago by

Hair is no doubt a women’s favorite accessory, so why don’t we take better care of it? If your hair has been feeling dry, brittle and frizzy due to countless hours of blow drying and straightening, it’s time to give your hair a few hours of pampering.

Instead of rushing to the beauty section of Target for a hair mask, or to your favorite salon for a pricy deep conditioning treatment, go into your kitchen instead! Cooking oil can do wonders for your hair!

Olive, canola, vegetable, almond, whatever it may be can just be added to your conditioner to make your hair happy, healthy and moisturized!

Here’s how!


  1. Add 3 tbs of oil to 1/4 cup of conditioner 
  2. Apply mixture to clean wet hair
  3. Clip hair into a bun or twist
  4. Cover hair with a shower cap (Don’t own one? Just wrap hair with saran wrap.)
  5. Wrap covered hair with a towel to keep in warmth
  6. Leave on hair for at least 30 minuets and up to 8 hours
  7. Rinse hair, and style as usual

Do this treatment about twice a month!


DIY: Record Bowl

Posted 3 years ago by

Here’s a fun and cheap project to do with a spare hour! I made mine about two years ago, before I lived in Manhattan — This means I can’t give you a video since I no longer have an oven. But don’t worry! It’s totally simple!

What You Need

  • Cookie Sheet
  • Metal bowl
  • Old Record (usually only $1 at thrift stores)
  • Oven
  • Oven Mits


  1. Set your oven to 200 degrees
  2. Wait till the pre-heat timer goes off
  3. Place metal bowl face down on cookie sheet
  4. Put record on bottom of bowl
  5. Place in oven for 8 minuets
  6. Take out as fast as you can and shape record around bowl (record dries fast)
  7. Let sit for about 15 minuets
  8. Now you have a cool bowl! I use mine to store makeup!

photo credit: casasugar

Need more help? Just click the link below.

DIY: Record Bowl


How To Purchase A Camera Bag For Less

Posted 4 years ago by

When I finally received my first Nikon, I was so excited that I rushed to Target to look for the cutest camera bag. I walked right over to the electronics, and was unfortunately surprised to see that all the camera bags were around $50. I sadly walked away, and noticed the “lunch bag” aisle.

These bags were perfect! They were the same size, padded with compartments and had a strap, just like the $50 ones. I ended up buying the cutest lunch bag for my camera. It’s even temperature controlled!

Check out Target, Walmart, Kmart, or even your local pharmacy!