The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Exclusive Preview: Simply Vera for Kohl's

We got to snap some pics of two items from Simply Vera, designer Vera Wang's soon-to-launch affordable clothing line for Kohl's: A black patent purse and a gold chain bracelet w/heart the photos and check 'em out!

Update 9/8/07: Simply Vera is in stores now, and we got prices: the purse is $69 and the bracelet is $175 (sterling silver w/18k gold plating)

Related link: Get Pumped: Vera Wang for Kohl's Print Campaign Pics

Things We Love: Purple Passion for Fall

We typically avoid the color purple. When given the option, we almost always choose pink or red instead. This holds true for everything from Popsicles and bubble gum, to clothing and home decor. Not exactly sure why this is...perhaps one too many sour memories of a big purple PBS dinosaur from our past ::shudder::

Yet in the case of this purple jeweled backpack, we are absolutely in love with the royal color—which also happens to be one of this fall's hottest hues. It's high-glam attitude is punctuated by sparkling rhinestones and metallic gold trim. In short, fabulous.

Plus, it makes carrying the comfortable, though rarely chic, backpack entirely acceptable. Just keep the rest of your look to a minimum—in fact, we'd recommend wearing this purple gem with jeans and ballet flats. It's the perfect bag to carry all your essentials during the day and into the long night.

And, it won't tell you children to play nice.

Jeweled backpack from Victoria's Secret, $68

TBB's World Traveler Reports: Are You Syr-ious?

Cultural and archaeological treasures abound in a land steeped in history. The Budget Babe's International Shopping Advisor Fifi LaMode takes us on a tour of Syria. —TBB

by Fifi LaMode
One of my favorite Middle Eastern destinations is Syria. Forget what you hear on TV (Fifi doesn't do politics) this is a great country. Damascus is the oldest continuously populated city in the world, over 5,000 years old. The Old Town is a maze of little streets which requires a guide to navigate (we tried and almost lost each other in addition to losing our way when we tried to find a rug shop we visited earlier).

Souk al-Hamidiyeh is the most famous souk (bazaar or market) of old Damascus.
The Ummayad Mosque is one of the most sacred places in Islam; it's where Christ is supposed to appear at the end of the world. It also houses the head of John the Baptist (nope, not for public display). Nearby is the tomb of Saladdin, revered by Muslims as a paragon of chivalry. Did you know he was Kurdish? Neither did I. There's also a statue on the spot where Saul of Tarsus was allegedly struck down and saw the light, and became St. Paul.

Houses look derelict from the outside only to reveal lovely courtyards with mosaics, fountains and flowers. The shops in and around the Old Town sell little tables with inlay which you can take apart and carry on a plane (clever!) and damask cloth (Damascus, damask, get it?), a rich brocade in deep colors.

Our favorite purchases were antique Persian prints on a papyrus-y paper (If you buy one, they can put it in a frame on the spot. Do so, as a decent frame here will cost you many times what you paid for the print.) These prints are delicate and lovely and make wonderful gifts, and they pack easily into a carry-on. Other things to buy are colorful glass vases in all shapes and sizes, and silver mirrors. Fragrant herbs and spices, almonds from Jordan, dates, figs, olives, all can be purchased at a fraction of what you'd pay in other Middle Eastern countries.

Smells Like Teen Spirit: A Ban on Perfume in Schools?

Bureaucrats have banned everything from foie gras to trans fats, and now they're putting their nose in another place it doesn't belong:
From The Wall Street Journal: "School districts in Rhode Island, Minnesota and Massachusetts have recently launched public-service campaigns that target fragrances as potential allergens.

The proponents of curbing or banning fragrances in schools—mostly school officials and legislators in different states—argue that excessive use of scents can trigger asthma attacks and cause headaches. Some workplaces and schools have scent bans in Canada, where strong odors have long been viewed as an air-quality issue."

Five scents aimed at the teen crowd, from

These proposed fragrance bans come at a time when perfume makers are marketing more and more scents towards teens.

Gotta say, as much as we loathe the smell of high school guys masking body odor with Axe or teen girls bathing in dizzying dollar-store perfumes, an outright ban seems like an infringement on people's rights.

We don't mean to put our noses up to the potential health risks of fragrances (yeah, we've heard of those phthalates in fragrances that have been shown to lower testosterone levels in males), but we think more research is needed to prove whether perfumes are a nuisance or indeed a real threat to public health.

What do you think: Do bans on scents make sense to you?

Beauty Trends Through the Decades

by The Budget Babe's Beauty Expert
Just yesterday while looking to compare prices for a set of mineral makeup (which I will be reviewing and letting you ladies know about in a couple of weeks!), I stumbled upon a worthwhile beauty piece on –gasp-! While in past visits their site has lacked any kind of journalism, I found myself totally enthralled by a series of small articles on the makeup and hairstyles of decades past.

Though not earth-shattering, these little snippets are a fun history lesson on the ladies that have come before us. I recommend checking out the site both for the history of the past as well as advice, tips and tricks for the present. Oh, and once you’re there you’ll notice they also have a contest to win a $1,000 dollar shopping spree! Very nice!

Check out trends in makeup, hair styles and fashion through the decades. >>

So what do you think, ladies? What decade do you wish you had lived in so you could have sported their beauty practices?