The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Beauty Review: Zoya Nail Lacquer

Zoya "Ali" is the perfect neon pink! My piano is collecting dust but I'm so proud of myself for giving up that nasty nail-biting habit (find out how I did that here.) Needs just one coat. $6

Good things come to those who Tweet: Recently, beauty brand Zoya (@zoya_NailPolish) released a code for 3 free bottles of nail polish to all their followers on Twitter and yours truly took advantage of the deal. If you follow me on Twitter (@budgetbabe), you might have seen me retweet the code, which I also blogged about here. I have to admit, I had never heard of Zoya until the Twitter frenzy for that free polish happened, but I'm glad I discovered this brand. Zoya polish glides on smooth and the colors stay bright. Plus, Zoya's long-lasting formulas are free of some of the harsher chemicals often found in polish such as formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and camphor. It's too bad you can only buy Zoya at select salons but of course, you can shop for them online, too.

I expected Zoya "Juicy" to be a darker, bluer shade of purple based on the product shot, but I'm still happy with this yummy grape hue. I'm wearing two coats since it's semi-translucent. $6

I know summer's almost over but I was craving bright nail polish, and it doesn't get much brighter than Zoya's "Pippa" yellow! The product description says it's neon but it's more of a vibrant pastel (ie., mixed with a touch of white). Needs two coats. $6

Ask BB: Back-to-School Looks on a Budget

I was wondering if you can do like a few back to school looks on a budget? Any outfits that are cute for the fall because I'm starting college in like 2 weeks and I want to know what to wear on the first day of school. Everyone wants to look cute when they start college with a good first impression. Please help! —Anonymous

On just about any college campus, you'll discover the uber-cool, ultra creative fashion crowd (watch these style mavens and take notes) to the just-rolled-out-of-bed in my VS PINK sweats crew—and everything in between. So your best bet is to start out with some simple yet stylish basics, then add in the occasional new piece as your style evolves and you figure out what works best with your routine and your unique personality.

Get a kick-start with these three mix-and-match outfit ideas, all featuring items well under $100 (click any set for details on all items shown):

Urban Expressions at ShopStyle

[1] Simple yet cool basics create a foolproof foundation for back-to-school style.

Charlotte Russe at ShopStyle

[2] Put your stamp on this basic party look with fun makeup and accessories. Swap the heels for boots and you're ready for class.

Arden B at ShopStyle

[3] Look cute and comfy while you pay down those tuition bills in a versatile plaid shirt-dress and ballet flats.

And here's a FALL FASHION 2009 Checklist for the College Bound:

  • Dark-wash bootcut jeans

  • Dark-wash skinny jeans (distressed, if you care for the latest trends)

  • Long sleeve flyaway cardigans in black, gray (buy best you can afford for warmth, longevity)

  • Black leggings

  • Long plaid shirt/ Plaid shirt-dress

  • Oversized scoop-neck pocket tees in gray, black, white (rayon cotton blends won't wrinkle)

  • Low-heel knee-high leather boots

  • Mid-heel ankle boots

  • A couple soft, warm scarves

  • One great coat, preferably wool-blend trench coat in red, gray, black, etc.

  • One sexy bomber, preferably (p)leather

  • One pair "fierce" heels

  • One pair "cool" kicks

  • One pair leather ballet flats

  • Boyfriend watch (don't want to be late for class!)

  • Tiny purse with strap (for partying)

  • Oversized handbag or tote for notebooks, pens, lipgloss, keys, phone, wallet, lap top

  • Comfy jersey drawstring pants and tee for lounging, sleeping

    Readers: What did I miss?

Win Cool Stuff: Labor Day Essentials Giveaway from Avon

And the winners are…

  • #28 Alexandra, "I've definitely been loving statement jewelry and mixing soft, feminine clothes with metal studded/chain accessories this summer. Fun!"

  • #12 Christina, "I gotta say, I've really embraced the 'borrowed from the boys' look, living in my Hanes and comfy jeans. This is a huge change for me, I usually live in dresses and skirts."

  • #62 Puja, "By far, i have been, and still am, obsessed with boyfriend blazers. their versatility and ability to completely transform (in the best way possible) a dress or a casual outfit into something more sophisticated is unbelievable."

  • #72 l i s a, "I love gladiator sandals!"

  • #87 jasmine, "Gotta love pairing summer dresses with boots. Its so chic!"

Congrats to our winners and thanks to everyone who entered!

Win Cool Stuff: Labor Day Essentials Giveaway from Avon

Please note: This contest is now closed.

Don't give up on summer just yet! We've teamed up with Avon to offer FIVE (5) lucky readers the chance to win a gorgeous Avon Fold Over Hobo, stuffed with all of the stylish essentials that they'll need for a Labor Day getaway - a Bright Bangle Watch, versatile Dip Dye Scarves, a Bold Cluster Ring and Clear Bangle Bracelet!

Here are the deets for the giveaway:

The prize: Five (5) Labor Day Essentials goodie bags containing one (1) each Avon Fold Over Hobo ($29.99), Bright Bangle Watch ($19.99), Dip Dye Scarf ($24.99), Bold Cluster Ring ($7.99), and Clear Bangle Bracelet ($14.99) (actual prize may vary from sample images shown above). Value: $98

How to enter: Visit the Avon website, then tell us your favorite summer trend from 2009 in the comments below.

Good luck!!!

Be sure to use a valid email address and include info(at) in your address book so we can contact you if you're the winner. Email addresses will not be shared and will only be used to notify you if you're the winner for this giveaway. Comments must be posted by 12 noon ET on Monday August 31 to be eligible to win. Five lucky winners will be chosen at random, and will be announced on Tuesday September 1. Giveaway is open to residents living in the continental United States only.