The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Recipe: Caprese Pasta Salad with Chicken

Fresh and easy Caprese pasta salad recipe

Summer is all about quick and easy salads using fresh ingredients you have on hand. Here, I simply took the ingredients from one of my all-time Italian favorites - the classic Caprese salad - and turned it into a meal by adding whole wheat pasta and some grilled chicken breast.

  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • A clove of garlic
  • Lots of fresh basil leaves
  • Half-pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Whole wheat pasta. I used chiocciole but any shape will do.
  • 1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Part-skim mozzarella cheese

The 10 Best Sources for Designer-Inspired Shoes

In the world of footwear, top designers set the trends that get copied and reinterpreted for the masses at all price points. From funky flatforms that echo Prada to classic pumps that follow Manolo Blahnik's clean lines, these 10 brands and boutiques always dish up the latest runway-inspired looks at prices we can afford.

THEBUDGETBABE.COM: The 10 Best Sources for Designer Shoe Knock-Offs

1. Steve Madden: When you're buying designer-inspired shoes, quality tends to suffer, but Steve Madden (usually) maintains a good balance between style and substance.

2. Nine West: This old standby offers the latest trends with a twist, so you're not buying exact dupes (which can look tacky). And if you're willing to pay a little more, their Boutique 9 line has even more high-style looks for less.

3. Aldo: This shoe giant churns out designer-inspired styles by the boatload. Quality can be hit-or-miss but you'll always be on-trend.

4. Ivanka Trump: So many of this brand's styles look plucked from Ivanka's own closet (which I assume is filled with Jimmy Choos and Louboutins). Her shoes aren't the cheapest but I'm told they're comfortable and you can often find them on sale at Marshalls, TJ Maxx and sites like

5. Zara: Much like their clothes, Zara's shoes always imitate the latest "it" designers' fashions. Quality and sizing is so-so.

6. Topshop: This UK high street brand takes inspiration from the hottest up and comers, so you can get those cutting-edge shoe looks for less.

7. Chinese Laundry: I'm always pleased with the quality of my Chinese Laundry shoes, many of which are genuine leather and of course, designer-inspired.

8. Sole Society: A relative new-comer, Sole Society curates a small yet perfectly on-trend assortment of shoes for every occasion. Find them at Nordstrom, their parent company, too.

9. You won't fool anyone with's cheap knockoffs but they're hard to beat for affordable foot-candy thrills.

10. Take a style quiz and pay a monthly fee of $39.95 to get your shoe fix from this rapidly growing fashion store. Competitors include and

Who would you include on your list?

Guest Blogger: BunnieXOXO from BSugarCoated's 'Spotty Octopus' Mani

Spotty Octopus mani by BSugarCoated

This week, guest blogger BunnieXOXO from bsugarcoated drew inspiration for her "Spotty Octopus" manicure from the Louis Vuitton display windows designed by Yayoi Kusama, which wowed visitors at the NYC flagship store last summer (see pics here).

The colors used are ORLY Luxe Coat in Red Hot, Mint Chip and Pretty In Pink, courtesy of Orly Nails. Keep reading for the step-by-step tutorial, then head on over to bsugarcoated for more details on the nail polishes used. —BB

Win Cool Stuff: Charming Charlie Swag Bag

Win a Charming Charlie swag bag!

I've teamed up with the fantastic accessories boutique Charming Charlie to give one lucky Budget Babe reader the chance to win an amazing swag bag filled with outfit-making summer accessories! Your prize package will include items similar to the ones you see shown above, which are all inspired by Charming Charlie's Pinterest color of the month: Zesty orange. Think tangerine, coral and citrus hues that look great with a summer tan and pop against the season's whites and neutrals.

Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

60 Second Beauty: Natural Essentials Nourishing Shampoo, Conditioner and Dry Oil

Natural Essentials review

There's a new hair care line on the scene called Natural Essentials that incorporates ingredients used by traditional cultures around the world for modern-day, naturally beautiful hair. From beauty secrets used by Geishas to superfruit hydration solutions from Central America, Natural Essentials aims to harness the power of so-called unconventional ingredients to target all your hair needs.

Of course, this is nothing new - it seems like every other day, our fave beauty brands are touting the benefits of some new "super" fruit, flower or what have you found in nature, whether it's coconut oil or olives or açaí berries. The list goes on and on. But with summer here, I'm always on the look out for products that will tame my tresses in the most pleasant way possible, so I was eager to test out Natural Essentials Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner as well as their Strengthening Dry Oil and Healing Dry Oil. Whats more, the pricepoints are totally budget-friendly for what sound like premium products. So, here's how it went: