The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Look for Less: Christian Louboutin Bow Pump

We recently discovered a new shoe brand (new to us, anyway) that's playing the Christian Louboutin knock-off game: Gianni Bini. Here, they copy Louboutin's oh-so-covetable patent leather pump right down to it's metallic bow detail. Gianni Bini did not, however, purloin the trademark red sole, so if that's what you're after, you'll need to fork over another $650 to make up the difference. As if.

Left: Christian Louboutin Bow Pump at Barneys New York, $720
Right: Gianni Bini "Celena" Bow Pump at, $69

Savvy Travel: Market Day in Chichicastenango

Oh Maya! The Budget Babe's International Travel Advisor Fifi LaMode continues her journey through Guatemala with a stop in the mystical town of Chichicastenango. —TBB

by Fifi LaMode
Sometimes you get lucky. Most tours arrive in "Chichi", as they call Chichicastenango here, the morning of the market day. But if you arrive the day before, as we did, you will see the throngs of people coming in from the countryside, all dressed up in colorful traditional Mayan clothing, setting up their stalls in anticipation of Market Day (every Thursday and Sunday). We got to Chichi in the afternoon and marveled at the clean mountain air and the colors around us.

Our hotel, the Mayan Inn, had no TV or phone in the room. What it had was loads of character, lovely woodwork, a wood-burning fireplace in each spotlessly clean room, a flower-filled courtyard complete with colorful macaws, and friendly and efficient service. It's also right in the middle of town.

The first thing that hits you about the market in the morning is the panoply of colors - rich, vibrant textiles embroidered and woven by hand. Though the market is thriving, there's only a din, a quiet din, no loud hawking. The only ones whose voices you hear are the tourists who start pouring in around 10:30 and are mostly gone by noon. But to be in Chichi on market day in the morning is special, very special.

4 Dry Cleaning Alternatives

Dry cleaning is bad for the environment and your wallet. Here are four dry cleaning alternatives that will help you spend less while being kinder to Mother Earth at the same time:

  • Hand-wash delicates, including silk and cashmere, with a gentle eco-friendly detergent or soap. Air-dry flat on a collapsible mesh drying rack. We recommend the Container store's Pop-Open Sweater Dryer.

  • Purchase an at-home professional clothes steamer. They get rid of wrinkles and help keep clothes fresher, longer.

  • Use Dryel or Dry Cleaner's Secret (these products let you quickly and easily "dry-clean" in your dryer, without the toxic chemicals). You can get a free sample of Dry Cleaner's Secret here.

  • Take your dry-clean only laundry to an organic dry cleaner. The prices are a tad higher, but the cleaning process is gentler on your clothes, your health and the environment.

Dear Readers: Got a great dry cleaning alternative? Share it in the comments.