3 Inexpensive Staycation Ideas for New Yorkers

Posted 6 months ago by

If you’re like me, this year you’ve decided to pass on the tropical cruises, island adventures, and summer getaways to stay in the city and maybe get some extra work done. Now that summer is upon us and all your “Instabuddies” and Facebook pals are bombarding your social media with virtual “wish you were here’s,” the dull ache of regret is slowly creeping up on you and you’re craving a vacation. Am I right?

A couple of weeks ago I almost broke and began looking for flights to Antigua to visit my family and enjoy the tropics. My search quickly came to an end when I saw how expensive the airfare was this time of year!

I decided to find creative ways to relax and enjoy my summer in the city without breaking the bank. Besides, I’ve got so much work to do and, well, Antigua will be there next year.

Below are three staycation ideas if you’re stuck at home for the summer:

1. Visit a Russian Bath House

New York City is filled with traditional Russian bath houses in which you can experience relaxation and rejuvenation. Now, Russian Banyas aren’t for everyone. They’re very self-serve and though very similar to a spa, don’t expect any doting customer service besides clean towels and robes.

Basically, the art of banya involves going between different temperature saunas (hot and cold) and detoxing by opening and closing the pores. There’s usually a Russian sauna, a steam room, an aroma therapy room, a cold room, a pool, a Jacuzzi, a restaurant, and lounge area.

And for about $40, you can spend as much time as you want enjoying the amenities. For a little extra, you can renew your skin with a full body scrub or relieve tension with a massage.

My boyfriend and I recently took a trip to Spa 88, located in the Financial District. We absolutely loved it! My favorite was the eucalyptus steam room which helped relax my tight muscles. We did a circuit of saunas for an hour or so before breaking for a beer and fries in the lounge area. We then headed back out for another round and ended up in the Jacuzzi. We left feeling super refreshed and ready to take on another week of work!

Tip: Make it a girl’s day! Since banyas typically attract burly male patrons, many offer women only hours, which can make for a more comfortable experience and an awesome opportunity for a ladies’ outing!

*For a full list of New York’s Russian baths, click here.


2. Go to an Outdoor Movie

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to see outdoor movies in NYC parks. It’s so romantic and since there’s usually something playing every night, you’ll never be stumped for outing ideas! Just pack a picnic basket, bring a blanket, and you’re all set. It’s so much fun and it won’t break the bank since it’s totally free!

*Click this link for a list of all the dates and movies playing in NYC parks this summer.


3. Go on a Day Cruise

You can still get that “out on the waters” vibe without ever leaving the city by going on a day cruise along the Hudson or East River. They’re extremely fun and will run you from $20-80 a person.

At the start of Spring I tried out a brunch cruise aboard World Yacht Cruises’ Princess ship, and I must say it was oh so fabulous! The music was awesome, and the food was delicious. The cruise lasted about two and a half hours and featured a dance floor, a bar, a deck and an all you can eat breakfast and lunch buffet. It’s an awesome weekend activity that gives you that “getaway” feeling right in your own back yard.

Tip: Ask if your cruise line offers themed cruises. I’ve heard of beer cruises, wine tasting cruises, dinner cruises, and club cruises, which can make for a fun date night or night out with the girls.

*Click here to check out World Yacht Cruises.


So don’t let the fact that you’re in town this season discourage you from having an epic summer! There are tons of things to do that’ll make this a summer to remember without post vacation guilt syndrome.

How is your summer going so far? Let us know in the comments below!


Sparklelouder with Hpnotiq and Win a Trip to NYC for NYE

Posted 1 year ago by


Happy Friday! Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving? Once Black Friday hits, holiday shopping will be in full swing. After a hectic yet fun holiday season, it’s best to ring in the New Year at a great party with great people. Wouldn’t you just love to spend it watching the ball drop in Times Square?

From now until December 8, 2013, Hpnotiq challenges you to “Sparkle Louder” for a chance to win a trip for you and three girlfriends to New York City for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the ball drop in Times Square!

Entering is super easy. Simply upload a pic showing how you plan to Sparkle Louder on New Year’s Eve — whether it’s a glam outfit, you with your girlfriends or a selfie. Then use Hpnotiq’s “SparkleLouder” app to make your photo shine!


This New Year’s I plan on hosting a cocktail party. I’ll invite a few of my close friends and we’ll ring in 2014 listening to good music with a fancy Hpnotiq drink in hand. I’m itching to try the one below:


  • 2 oz. Hpnotiq
  • 2 oz. Premium Raspberry Vodka
  • Splash of Club Soda
  • Grenadine Sinker


Even if you don’t win the grand prize to NYC, every entry gives you weekly chances to win one of 20 Effy Rings (four each week)!

Sparkle Louder Bottle Image

If you share your photos on social media, be sure to use the hashtag: #SparkleLouder.

*This post was presented by Hpnotiq.


SparkleLouder with Hpnotiq for a Chance to Win a Trip to NYC!

Posted 1 year ago by


Happy Monday broke fashionistas! We wanted to share an exciting contest Hpnotiq is running. From now until December 8, 2013, Hpnotiq challenges you to “Sparkle Louder” for a chance to win a trip for you and three girlfriends to New York City to see the ball drop in Times Square!

To enter, simply upload a pic showing how you plan to Sparkle Louder on New Year’s Eve — whether it’s a glam outfit, you with your girlfriends or a selfie. Then use Hpnotiq’s “SparkleLouder” app to make your photo shine!

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The app is super easy to use: go to their website, upload a photo from your desktop, Facebook or Instagram, and add some sparkle! I picked this photo of myself and my roommate Madison.

No matter what I end up doing on New Year’s, I know it’ll include great drinks, great friends and a great outfit — you just have to wear sparkles on New Year’s Eve! A glittery LBD, gold shoes, red lips and fancy earrings are my go to every year. If I won, a coat and ear muffs would of course be added to the mix.


What would you wear for New Year’s Eve if you were to win the “SparkleLouder” Grand Prize?

Even if you don’t win the grand prize to NYC, every entry gives you weekly chances to win one of 20 Effy Rings (four each week)!

Sparkle Louder Bottle Image

If you share your photos on social media, be sure to use the hashtag: #SparkleLouder.

*This post was presented by Hpnotiq.


Street Style in Manhattan’s Union Square (it was 90 degrees!)

Posted 2 years ago by

New York City is hot in the summer, but yesterday was beyond hot…it was miserable. Most people dont’ give a hoot about their clothes on extremely hot days, but believe it or not, we found fashionistas killing it in Manhattan’s Union Square.

See for yourself:


  • Shirt: $6 at a thrift store in Brooklyn
  • Shorts: $4 at a thrift store


  • Dress: $35 via Macy’s (similar)


  • Dress: $25 via Macy’s (similar)








  • Dress: $13 via h&m
  • Shoes: $40 via Journeys
  • Bag: $60 via Macy’s


  • Skirt: $18 via h&m
  • Shirt: $20 via Urban Outfitters
  • Watch: $30 via Karmaloop
  • Bag: $5 Thrifted


  • Romper: $20 Boom Babies
  • Shirt: Borrowed from a friend
  • Sandals: $15 via Payless



  • Dress: $5 Thrifted
  • Boots: $40 via Urban Outfitters



  • Dress: $22 via Forever 21
  • Shoes: $40 via Francesca’s
  • Bag: $35 via Francesa’s


  • Crop Top: $8 via Forever 21
  • Sandals: $20 via Traffic Shoes




  • Crop Top: $8 via Forever 21


  • Shirt: $2 via Salvation Army
  • Shorts: $15 via Forever 21
  • Shoes: $109 Clark’s


  • Sandals: $17 via Payless (similar)

We noticed a lot of dark blue, crop tops, mint and hi-low skirts. What’s your favorite look from this broke fashion session? Let us know in the comments below!


How To Survive Your First Trip To New York City

Posted 2 years ago by

New York City is a beautiful place filled with wonder, excitement and opportunity — the list goes on and on. Before moving here I used to look at New York as big, overwhelming and scary. It’s still big, but it is no longer overwhelming or scary, mainly because I know the do’s and don’ts.

As a tourist, I used to think NYC was Times Square…wrong! Here’s a guide on how to survive your first trip to the Big Apple!

1. Avoid Times Square

Everyone has to see it once, but don’t go believing this burnt toast-smelling, loud, obnoxious, expensive, dirty and hectic place is what all Manhattan is like. Go see a Broadway show, take a few pictures in front of all the big lights and then get out of there!

I used to live in the center of Herald Square not too long ago and what I hated the most about it was how expensive all the bad tasting food was and the amount of tourists.

Sorry guys! But Times Square is filled with tourists. If someone is rude or obnoxious they’re probably from a small town in New Hampshire and they’re staying at the Holiday Inn on 31st and Broadway.

If you are staying in the Times Square area, make sure you don’t get ripped off on your food. Instead of spending all your cash at Ruby Tuesday’s or Planet Hollywood, head to one of these wonderful Midtown Manhattan restaurants for a more authentic experience that won’t break the bank.

For pizza, head to Vezzo on 31st and Lex. For brunch, head on over to Penelope’s on 30th and Lex, and for that Seinfeld-era lunch joint, head on over to Johny’s Luncheonette on 25th and 6th. For great coffee, take a trip to Stumptown in the Ace Hotel on 29th and Broadway. Happy dining!

2. Pass On The Right

We don’t drive here. Walking is our main form of transportation and so there are rules. Just like in a vehicle, always keep to the right. Similarly you can’t just stop out of nowhere in the middle of the sidewalk — taking up space and holding up traffic. If you want to pause and rest for a minuet, just move off to the side.

3. Don’t Wear Flip-Flops

There is a time and place for flip-flops: the beach in the middle of summer. Your $2 Old Navy flip flops are not meant for the streets of New York.

For one, you’ll be doing a lot of walking and flip flops aren’t very good for your feet. Instead, you should wear a pair of something more comfortable, especially if you aren’t used to walking everywhere (hint: Converse and oxfords are a much better option). Secondly, it’s one of the most unfashionable things you can do in a city, sorry!

4. Visit Brooklyn

Brooklyn is a New York City borough that’s often overlooked by tourists. After all, it’s home to great thrift and vintage shops as well as a full frontal view of the Manhattan skyline…which is gorgeous!

Spend an afternoon thrifting in Williamsburg, shop in all the cute boutiques in Park Slope, eat at the famous Grimaldi’s Pizza in DUMBO, and sip a classic chocolate egg cream at the Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain in Carroll Gardens. Just like Manhattan, Brooklyn is filled with numerous neighborhoods, each with its own identity.

5. Visit During The Week

Visting a museum or going shopping in Manhattan on the weekend is just as bad as going to Ikea on a Saturday…don’t do it! Also, many NY museums have “pay what you want” days during the week. The MoMA is usually $25/person, however it’s free between 4-8pm on Friday’s. Do your research.

Now onto the shopping: Soho is a prime destination for tourist and residents alike. With affordable stores such as Necessary Clothing, Uniqlo and Forever 21, how can it not be?

But going into any store in Soho on a Saturday is just suicide. You’ll be standing in line for a full hour just to try on a shirt, and the crowd on Broadway will be ridiculous.

Instead, go shopping on a Monday or Tuesday in the late morning or early afternoon. The crowds won’t be so large and you’ll get better service. To avoid the annoying Broadway cattle walk, walk down Crosby St instead. It’s the street parallel to Broadway, which is much calmer and also the home of the famed Saturdays Surf.

6. Learn How To Hail A Cab

Stand on the side of the street, look straight ahead and put your right hand up when cabs begin to approach. If a black cab stops, DON’T GET IN! Stick to the classic yellow NYC cabs only. I hailed a cab and made the mistake of getting into a black one, while going from 31st st to Union Square. The driver charged me $20, when a yellow cab would have only charged $4.50. If a black cab does stop, just wave him forward and keep looking.

Cab drivers also don’t know exact addresses — you have to give them cross streets. After hailing a cab, get in, shut the door, then tell them your destination. Lastly, don’t forget to tip your driver 15%.

If you want to avoid all this confusion, and don’t mind spending a little more, download the Uber app onto your phone. It’s a wonderful car service.

7. Take Advantage Of Your Smart Phone

Before arriving in NY, make sure you know how to use Google Maps. Also, download Yelp for finding restaurants fast, Scout Mob for discovering great food discounts and City Transit to navigate through the Subway system with ease.

This is just a start. New York is an amazing place, and you’ll have fun and fall in love with it if you just follow my simple tips! Have you been to New York City before? If so, what are your favorite parts about it? Let us know in the comments below!


Out and About: How to Take Control of Your Finances, featuring LearnVest & Marie Claire

Posted 3 years ago by

Just recently, Melissa Murphy of Office Style and I had the opportunity to attend “Women in Business,” the Marie Claire event showcasing Joanna Coles, Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire and Alexa Von Tobel, Founder and CEO of LearnVest, in honor of Ruth Fertel, the founder of Ruth’s Chris Steak House. It was so great spending the evening celebrating the achievements of female leaders.

The event started off with Joanna Coles, telling us a funny story about a salon mishap and eventually it was turned over to Alexa von Tobel, who stole the show!

While looking for ways to better manage her own finances, Alexa saw a need for reliable financial guidance for women. And so, she launched LearnVest in 2008. Today, the personal finance and lifestyle website has helped over one million women gain control of their finances!

What an accomplishment on Alexa’s part! If you’re a lady who’s found herself not truly understanding her finances, LearnVest is for you. Don’t hesitate to check it out. Remember, Broke & Chic is here to teach you how to be fashionable and fabulous on a budget; LearnVest teaches you how to take control of that budget!

On an entrepreneurial note, if you have a dream, turn it into a reality. Women have more of a voice than they give themselves credit for. If you have an idea, don’t hesitate to act on it. Who knows…you could even be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey!

Melissa (left)

  • Dress: $30 NY & Co.
  • Nude Pumps: $69 Nine West

Amanda-Raye (right)

What we learned:

Here’s a few things Melissa and I learned at this event that blew our minds. Needless to say, we both were eager to head home and organize our finances!

1. Only 40 years ago, women weren’t allowed to have a credit card in their own name.

2. Take control of your finances. Get organized and consolidate accounts. Treat your money like your social life!

3. Think about your life based on what you take home, not your salary. You might make 60,000/yr  but in reality, you only make 42,000/yr after taxes. Treat the later as your salary.

4. Your rent should only be 30%of your monthly income.

5. 20% of your income should go to essentials. Utilities, food, gas….

6. Your credit score is the only grade that matters when you’re out of school.

7.  According to Alexa Von Tobel, everyone should have an emergency fund of nine months of living expenses.

8. Should you buy or rent? It depends. If you don’t think you can live in a home for at least 16 years…don’t buy it.

9. All women should have their own bank accounts. Don’t let a man ever control your finances. Don’t rely on someone else to support you forever. Always have your own income. You never know. The only person you can really depend on to be there for you, is yourself!

10. Want a raise? Set up a meeting with your employer a month in advance to talk about your career. Be prepared to negotiate. According to Alexa, women have a hard time with this. Go for it ladies!

11. Don’t be to aggresive in your negotiation. Educate yourself on what others in your position all over the country are making.

12. 25% of the USA consists of single moms!

13. We make 6-10 money decisions everyday!

Helpful Articles from LearnVest

9 Ways to Raise Your Credit Score Immediately 

9 Secret Ways Stores Seduce Us Into Buying

4 Things To Do if You Don’t Get the Job

Is Your Spending Normal? 

Alexa von Tobel and I after the event.

Here’s a question for you. Why do men negotiate their salary tooth and nail and women don’t? Let us know you personal thoughts in the comments below.


Broke & Chic Hits Up Amsterdam

Posted 3 years ago by

Broke & Chic had the wonderful opportunity to attend The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam this past April. It was filled with amazing speakers including Alexis Ohanian of Reddit, Mark Randall of Adobe, Chad Hurley of Youtube and Brian Wong of Kiip. If given the opportunity, I highly recommend attending one of TNW’s conferences — especially if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or self proclaimed techie!

It was personally my first time in The Netherlands and I couldn’t have been more impressed with the city, people, fashion and canals! Below are a few things I learned and observed during my stay:

  • they love to keep the windows open.
  • Tulips are everywhere!
  • The air is so fresh.
  • They hate it when people talk on the phone on the tram.
  • The food tastes amazing!
  • They are very nice to tourists. The complete opposite of us New Yorkers!
  • This isn’t a walking city, you either ride your bike or take the tram.
  • Ladies ride their bikes with ease in heels.
  • Business men will ride their bikes to work in a fancy suit.
  • All the men seem to have slicked back medium length hair.
  • I’ve seen a lot of high top sneakers.
  • They love their mint tea!
Above: Peppermint tea became a part of my morning routine!

Amsterdam Street Style

The fashion of this city was not what I was expecting. New York city is very diverse when it comes to fashion. On one corner you’ll can see a thirty-something woman in an all black Prada suit and mile high Louboutin heels, and a twenty-something rockin’ skin tight high-waisted black jeans, a white v-neck, hot pink hair and studded Lita’s.

In Amsterdam, on the other hand, I found everyone stuck with neutral colors. If they played with color, it was usually red or orange (for Queensday.) One thing I admired about Amsterdam was the people, everyone was friendly, and they all seemed happy and carefree — just like their fashion sense!

 How can you not love this adorable and stylish couple?!

The hidden wedge high top was very prevalent all over the city!

There are those high tops again! Oh, and a pop of orange for Queensday!

Want to Dutch-ify your outfit? Rock a pair of high tops!

What are your thoughts on Dutch fashion? Let us know in the comments below!


Trend Alert: Are Flare Jeans Coming Back?

Posted 3 years ago by

Victoria Beckham was recently spotted wearing dark wash bootcut jeans. Believe it or not, she rocked them!

Flare and bootcut jeans have been taking a vacation in our bottom drawer for about five years now — that’s a long time! Since then, skinny jeans have really stepped up to the plate, becoming our our go-to pair. Not only do skinnies flatter most figures, they actually highlight the awesome shoes we wear, while flares have always hidden our rockin’ heels and adorable flats.

So is it okay for them to come back? I think this resurge is all on us! Are we going to follow in Victoria Beckham and Katie Holmes’s footsteps? Or are we going to keep that pair of flares under our beds for a few more seasons?

Does age have anything to do with it?

Flare and bootcut jeans have never permanently left the closets of Katie Holmes (33), Jennifer Aniston (43) or Victoria (37). In the fashion world, this suggests that the 30+ crowd can rock them, while the 15-30 crowd can’t. That said, Disney star Vanessa Hudgens hasn’t really stopped wearing flare jeans either.

What do you Like More?

Katie in flare jeans or skinny jeans?

Vanessa in flare jeans or skinny jeans?

A guy friend of mine, who recently turned 21, told his mom she was wearing “out dated” jeans. An e-mail session began:

They are not waaay flared, just medium.   I just bought them from Banana Republic and love the way they fit.  Am I wearing OUTDATED jeans?

My response? No! It can take years to find that perfect pair that fits you in all the right places. If you love how your jeans fit, wear them!


In NY, the fashion capital of the world, I’ve made an effort to pay more attention to what people were wearing these past few days. So far, I haven’t noticed anyone wearing jeans other than the skinny variety…except for tourists. But the thing is, they didn’t just wear a cute outfit that happened to include flares. It was awful. Picture flare jeans, running sneakers, an “I ♥ NY” t-shirt and an LL Bean backpack.

To flare or not to flare is a messy question, and really doesn’t have one solid answer; it just has rules. If you never really gave up your flare/bootcut jeans, then it’s time. Stop at your local Forever 21 or Old Navy and snag a pair of affordable skinnies. If you’ve been wearing skinnies, then don’t be afraid to play around with other types of jeans: bootcut, flares, boyfriend, wide leg, high waisted. Just have fun and mix it up like Katie and Vanessa! Keep in mind that fashion is always repeating itself.


1. Stick to the dark wash variety.

2. Wear bootcut jeans — avoid the flare’s for a little while longer.

3. Always wear some sort of heel with them. Flats and sneakers will give you a 1999 look.

4. Try and wear a dressier top. If you’re in a t-shirt mood just accessorize with a statement necklace and a blazer.

What do you think? 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!


Broke Fashion #37

Posted 3 years ago by

♥ Broke Fashion is a series by B&C that shows off stylish people on a budget!


Beacon’s Closet

Posted 3 years ago by

Beacon’s Closet  is a locally-owned buy/sell/trade company in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Being one of the city’s best buy/sell/trade stores, you won’t be disappointed. It’s filled with both modern AND vintage clothing, making it extra special.

Beacon’s Closet will be absolute heaven for all you broke fashionista’s, so go check it out if you’re people-watching in Union Square, roaming in Williamsburg or window shopping in Park Slope.

Come here for quality, uniqueness, and of course cheapness! They also have an “award-worthy” men’s section. Don’t forget to buy on-line if you aren’t making a NYC trip anytime soon!


Manhattan Store

10 w 13th street

new york, ny 10011

m-f 11am-8pm
s+s 11am-8pm

*Click here for the Brooklyn locations!


Amsterdam Boutique

Posted 3 years ago by

Amsterdam Boutique pretty much has the same stuff as Necessary Clothing, just shorter lines. Everything here is on the cheap side, so don’t expect your items to last you forever.

Come here if you’re looking for trendy clothing that everyone will compliment you on when you’re back from your NYC vacation! I typically go here for their blazers.

Address: 454 Broadway (Soho)