Year End Recap: Favorite Posts from 2014

Considering Broke & Beautiful has been around for over seven years, it’s kind of odd that there aren’t more of these year-end, wrap-up type posts. I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me, but this year I feel like I tried extra hard to come up with some really fun collaborations, review my truly favorite products, and with the introduction of food and music, write about things I really felt were valuable for people who were trying to do their best within their means.

Top 5 Product Reviews of 2014

Building up my collection of reviews was important to me this year because, these days, I don’t really buy anything without checking reviews first. And when I want to buy something and there’s no review – conundrum. Especially if it’s a big ticket item that I expect to last me several years! I need to be sure I’m making a smart investment, and reviews are like little tiny insurance policies for your purchase decisions.

#1: SOREL Tivoli II Boots

Review: SOREL Tivoli II Boots

Anyone who thought SOREL boots were too utilitarian to be appealing to the fashionable set – eat your words! This was hands-down my most viewed and searched-for review this year. These have seen me through every type of weather since I got them just a few months ago! I can’t imagine winter without them.

#2: Bombsheller Custom Printed Leggings

Bombsheller Deer Damask Leggings Review

Wow – I could not be more grateful for the introduction to Bombsheller, a Seattle-based brand. They are not only ethically sound, but they make some of the most durable, high-quality leggings I’ve ever worn! Beautiful, eye-catching, and my absolute favorite leggings to work out in. I got a pair designed by someone else, but next time, I’m creating my own design (anyone can)!

This was an extra fun review because I got to work with my big sister, Cleary O’Farrell – one of Seattle’s top photographers!

#3 Target’s Xhilaration Jeggings

Target's Xhilaration Jeggings: A Glowing Review

Coming across these extremely affordable leggings on a Target clearance rack changed the way I layer. They’re definitely not jeggings, what they are is really great basic leggingsThe texture is unlike any other pair I have.

#4 American Giant Heavyweight Baseball Jacket

American Giant romanced me hard this year by introducing me to their line of basic hoodies and jackets. I now have a collection of three American Giant pieces, and it all started with this perfect baseball jacket in a gorgeous red color. I’ve never worn a better made basic jacket in my life!

#5 Tuft & Needle Mattress

Tuft & Needle Reviwe: Mattress Texture

A mattress might seem like a weird thing to review on this website, but I don’t know many people who look at the average price of a fancy mattress and gleefully hand over their debit card. My friend Zoë found herself in need of a new bed and took the opportunity to find an ethically sound, independent company called Tuft & Needle with prices that were way more than fair.

5 Favorite Brand New Brands

My favorite posts to write are the posts that happen moments after I’ve stumbled upon a new, budget-friendly, affordable brand that makes beautiful, smart products. They’re unicorns! So rare and so majestic, when I get to share one, I try to do it justice so as to truly convey my excitement.

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A lot of the new brands from 2014 scored very highly in the ethical category, which always makes me feel even more comfortable about spending (a reasonable and fair amount of) money.

#1 ThredUp

Selling Clothes on ThredUp

I can’t believe there was a time when ThredUp wasn’t in my life.

This is, hands-down, the best secondhand store for fashion on the internet. I have purchased from them so many times, and sold my clothes to Thredup, twice. I’d say that ThredUp has managed to take over just about half of my closet. I wouldn’t have it any other way! (Sign up here [you get $10 credit right away], you won’t regret it!) 

In 2015, I plan to continue using the crap out of ThredUp – but, I would love to see them add a men’s department! That’s my only complaint.

#2 Naja Lingerie

Affordable Lingerie Line to Love: Naja

Naja Lingerie makes some of the most beautiful lingerie I’ve ever seen – and it’s actually affordable! Not only that, but it’s ethical, too! I love their serious take on pattern and design, but their cheeky, naughty side has me swooning over them just as much.

#3 Banded Headbands

Banded - Banded2Gether Headbands - Benefits Uganda

Life with extremely curly hair leaves you with some pretty complication relationships with hair products. Banded headbands are lined with a surprise luxury material that makes them stay put – even though a one hour bootcamp gym class! (I did it several times.) Not only that, but for each headband they sell, they send a three meals to children in need in Uganda! Crazy charitable, and also a high quality product… all for a price that will blow you away.

#4 Ruff Hewn Grey

Ruff Hewn GREY by Bon Ton

This under-the-radar line is actually a native brand of the popular shopping website, Bon-Ton. I was drawn to the extremely wearable 90s-ness of this collection, namely the wide range of coats that the collection offered. Along with outerwear, Ruff Hewn GREY also offered great denim options, and some knits and sweaters that I still fantasize about…

#5 Oak73


This New York-based brand was extremely exciting to discover. They use all kinds of sustainable tactics like using remnant fabrics and keeping manufacturing in America, plus they don’t have a brick & mortar store which eliminates the need for excessive packaging, electricity and pollution.

They also have some of the most captivating prints on the fashion block. All that goodness aside, go to Oak73 if you want clothes that fit like a glove. The tailoring here is out of bounds, and the solid construction of each piece reflects the craftsmanship behind it.

Here’s to a great 2015! Happy New Year! xo