Less Than Challenge

Living life with less than…


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Makeup in Less Than a Minute

If you’re a regular visitor to the Less Than Challenge, you may have noticed that I haven’t been posting with my usual frequency this week. I have been working long hours in preparation for a highly anticipated, 12-day vacation I’m starting on Friday, so I’ve been crunched for time. But a simple summer change to my morning makeup routine is making it much easier for me to get out of the house every day, and I figured this was definitely worth sharing.

BB Cream & Baby Lips

BB Cream and Baby Lips…
simple as can be.

From what I’ve seen and heard, BB creams are the hot trend in makeup right now (though CC and DD creams are right on their heels, I guess). I’m already sort of a minimalist when it comes to makeup, especially during the summertime, so I was very intrigued by the prospect of a product that would provide coverage, moisture, and SPF protection all in one. I read bunches of reviews (like this one from The Budget Babe) and I talked it over with a friend who has much more cosmetic expertise than I do, and in the end, I decided to buy Rimmel’s 9-in-1 BB Cream in Medium.

Let me just say, I’ve been thrilled with it! I’ve been wearing it everyday and absolutely loving the simplicity it brings to my morning rituals. No more separate applications of moisturizer, concealer, foundation, etc. I now get it all in a single step. On the weekends, it’s the perfect amount of makeup for the light, casual look I’m going for.  And on work days, I’ve been dabbing a little powder over top, adding a quick bit of mascara and lip gloss, and…voila!  My face is ready for the day in less than a minute (maybe two if I’m being extra careful about the mascara).

Weekend Face: Nothing but BB Cream (and Baby Lips)

Weekend Face: Nothing but BB Cream (and Baby Lips)

If you’re interested in trying out this trend, but you want to check out some serious reviews first, I’d recommend looking here, here, or here.  I have been very happy with the Rimmel, which I picked up at Target for less than $7. Based on my limited knowledge, I’d say it’s a great option for a drugstore brand.  I liked that there were light, medium, and dark varieties and it’s got an SPF of 25. But there are certainly plenty of options on the market, so do your research and take your pick.  Whatever your preference, I’d love to hear some of your time-saving makeup tricks, too.

On an unrelated note…I’ll be sharing the highlights of an awesome day of garage sale-ing soon, so stay tuned!  Trust me, if you like awesome deals and huge “less than” successes, you won’t want to miss this one.

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Summer Salad Ingredients for Less Than $15

I had lunch last week with a couple of co-workers at the new Druthers Brewing Company in Saratoga, and coincidentally every one of us ordered some variation of their spinach salad. Check it out on their lunch menu and I think you’ll see why there was such an attraction.

I absolutely loved mine, and I was inspired to pick up some similar ingredients to make my own variation at home. Now that I’ve revisited the menu, I see there were some things I forgot about, and I also seem to have confused a few items with the Bruegger’s Blue Apple Salad I had last week as well.  Oops.

Strawberry Summer SaladIn any case, I decided on the following salad ingredients and got them all for less than $15:

  • Baby spinach – $2.99
  • Strawberries – $2.99
  • Crumbled goat cheese – $3.00
  • Chopped pecans – $2.49 (much cheaper than candied walnuts)
  • Light champagne vinaigrette – $2.79 (a mix up, but oh well)

Grand Total – $14.26

That gave me enough to make at least 4 or 5 salads, as opposed to spending $8 for one at a restaurant. So in terms of less than living, I call that a win.

Now that I’ve revisited the Druther’s menu, however, I realize that my homemade salad would be more authentic, and probably a lot better, with crispy onions and a white balsamic dressing. Maybe next time I’ll even splurge on the candied walnuts.

So tell me…would you try this salad, or do you have a favorite summer salad recipe of your own? I’m on a salad binge right now, so please share!


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TKEES Knock-Offs from Forever 21

After developing a total obsession with TKEES last month, but not having the will to spend $50 on flip-flops, I was thrilled to discover super cheap knock-offs at Forever 21 thanks to Knock Me Off!

Forever 21 vs. TKEES

Apparently I missed the boat on getting a pair in black, but $6.80 seems like the right price for trendy knock-offs in crazy colors anyway. I particularly love Forever 21’s teal option (a choice the real TKEES don’t yet offer), so of course I had to order a pair. They arrived on my doorstep last night, and I am quite pleased with this new addition to my shoe collection!

20130716-191033.jpg20130716-191046.jpgThe soles are significantly more cushioned and comfortable than I expected, and the reviews online were spot-on in suggesting a sandal one size bigger than my actual shoe size. I normally wear a 7 but I went with an 8 in these they seem to fit just right.

Until I take the plunge and buy those authentic black TKEES I’m still longing for, I won’t be able to compare the knock-off to the real deal, but for now I’m quite pleased with new, designer-inspired flip flops for less than $7!


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Five Fun Bikinis for Less Than $40

With summer well underway, I’ve been wanting to share a few of my favorite swimsuits of the season. After an extensive online search and much deliberation, I give you my top five bikinis of the moment, all available for less than $40.

Less Than Challenge Bikinis
1. H&M Green Patterned Bikini Top and Bottoms ($30.90 for both pieces)
2. Kohl’s Derek Lam Midkini (originally $44.00 per piece; now $30.80 for both pieces)
3. Target Xhiliration Multicolor Print Top and Bottoms (on sale in stores only; $28.00 for both pieces)
4. Aerie Fringed Print Bandeau Top and Bottoms (both pieces on sale now; $34.98 for both pieces)
5. Forever 21 Multi-Wear Bandeau Bikini ($26.60 for both pieces)

I’m very intrigued by the Kohl’s midkini, the fringe on the Aerie suit is super fun, and I think the multi-wear top from Forever 21 could be great. Plus I’m liking all of the patterns, so I think I could be happy with any one of these suits. I have my heart set on getting one before my summer vacation at the start of August, so please weigh in on your favorite looks and help me decide!


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Less Than Look: Independence Day

20130704-115445.jpgHappy Fourth of July, people!! Today is one of my favorite days of the year, what with the sunshine, the hot dogs, and the happiness that are pretty much inherent to the holiday. And the fireworks. I looooove me some fireworks.

I also get a lot of joy out of working red, white, blue, stars, and/or stripes into my Independence Day look, and this year is no exception.

20130704-120138.jpg

I got this tank for less than $3 last summer at Target (thank you, 70% off rack), and I’ve been looking forward to wearing it on July 4th ever since. I did a little hunting and found something similar here in case your closet is short one patriotic racerback tank at this point.

The shorts are one of the two new pairs I was just telling you about, which means you should have no trouble finding them now at Target. (Is it obvious by now that I’m obsessed with Target?!) Whether you’re into the obvious Americana look today or not, a little denim seems entirely appropriate, don’t you think?

Whatever you’re doing to celebrate the Fourth, have fun and enjoy it to the fullest!


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Less Than Look: Super Shorts

I am super excited to share how I got two new pairs of shorts at Target last weekend for less than $25!

By combining a BOGO 50% off deal, a printable Target.com coupon, and 10% off through Cartwheel, I saved $14.90 and walked out with these great additions to my summer wardrobe for a grand total of just $23.08 before tax:

Super Shorts

Mossimo Women’s 3.5″ Denim Shorts | Merona Women’s Chino Shorts in Pink Print

Unfortunately for you, my readers, the BOGO 50% off sale was a two-day thing to start the summer, but you’re in luck when it comes to the coupon and the Cartwheel discount!

Click here to get $3 off any $15 women’s shorts purchase (and maybe print off a few more useful coupons while you’re at it). Then, go sign up for Cartwheel! I had heard about this “new spin on savings” from a couple of friends recently, and now I’m totally hooked. Coupons are all good when it comes to food, toiletries, and household goods, but when I can use them to save on clothes, and I don’t even have to clip anything, well…what a thrill!

Through July 6, you can use Cartwheel to take 10% off Mossimo and Merona women’s shorts, among many other things, so check it out and see how much you can save.

As a bonus, I also picked up two new graphic tees from the 70% off rack at a whopping three dollars each. I almost never wear graphic tees anymore, but between the price and the fun, floral prints, how could I resist? Two shirts, two shorts, less than $30. That’s what I am all about.


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LTC’s Favorite Things: Summer Jams

Summer is officially upon us! The sun is shining, the air is warm, and there’s nothing like some hot summer music to make life even more enjoyable right now. In no particular order, here are ten songs keeping my summer high going strong…

Icona Pop – “I Love It” f/ Charli XCX  Because, well, I love it.

Florida Georgia Line – “Cruise”  A little cliche, but SUCH a summer song.

Daft Punk – “Get Lucky”  Makes me feel a little hipster…and I like it.

Paramore – “Still Into You”  For all the longtime loves out there.

Goo Goo Dolls – “Slow It Down”  My favorite song off the new CD (hope they play it at the concert tomorrow!)

Ariana Grande – “The Way” f/ Mac Miller  Already getting a little overplayed, but for good reason.

Avril Lavigne – “Here’s to Never Growing Up”  Reminds me I’m still young and this is the time to enjoy it.

Mariah Carey – “#Beautiful” f/ Miguel  Hate that there’s a hashtag in the title of this song, but I won’t let that ruin it.

Selena Gomez – “Come & Get It”  The commercials for “Mistresses” have me completely hooked on this one.

Miley Cyrus – “We Can’t Stop”  If you want to get completely weirded out, watch the video.  Otherwise, just listen and love.

Is your favorite summer jam of the moment on this list, or have I missed something awesome?  I definitely need more than 10 songs on my summer playlist, so give me your recommendations!

P.S. If you don’t have Spotify and none of these songs would play for you, just get it!  If you like music, you will probably like Spotify…trust me.

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