Sprucing Up Our Bedroom with a Bench

Sauder Cottage Road Bench via @poorandpretty

Bedroom with Sauder Cottage Road Bench via @poorandpretty

Stan and I have been talking about designing our bedroom for over a year now, and I’m getting antsy. If it were up to me (and if this wasn’t a crazy idea), we would have been flooring and painting in the middle of winter. But because I realized this was a crazy idea, I contented myself with doing a little pre-spring cleaning and re-arranging. I didn’t do this with shelves or boxes. I did it with a bench.

Bedroom Before Sauder Cottage Road Bench via @poorandpretty

You see, Stan and I still kind of live like college students. Our furniture is mis-matched hand-me-downs, and none of the rooms look curated or put together. What kills me the most is our laundry situation. We keep dirty laundry in baskets on the floor of our bedroom. When we’re really lazy, we keep the clean laundry in baskets on the floor too, and jokingly call it “the floordrobe.” It just looks so bad!

Sauder Cottage Road Bench via @poorandpretty

So when Sauder (rhymes with “chowder”) asked me to participate in their Put Together Design Challenge, I leapt at the chance. Finally! A real piece of furniture that I could style like a real adult! We don’t have an entryway, so our new Cottage Road Bench went straight to the bedroom. It was super easy to assemble — no crazy undecipherable Ikea-esque instructions. Now, dirty laundry goes in one basket, tucked away neatly under the bench. And I’ve instituted a new rule for clean laundry: it must be put away within two days of washing it.

Bedroom with Sauder Cottage Road Bench clothing detail via @poorandpretty

The bench also acts as a space for me to lay out my outfits for the next day, which keeps me organized and eliminates that frenzied morning I-have-nothing-to-wear feeling.

Bedroom with Cottage Road Bench reed diffuser detail via @poorandpretty

Plus, I put a pretty reed diffuser (which will soon need refilling) on it to keep the room smelling fresh and lovely. The scent is Bella Sucre by Voluspa — I love their fragrances!

Sauder Cottage Road Bench as photography backdrop via @poorandpretty

Because our front bedroom gets really great sunlight, I’ve also begun using the bench as a photography backdrop. 

Sauder Cottage Road Bench as photography backdrop closeup  via @poorandpretty

You might remember this photo from my recent For the Makers catch-up post.

Putting on shoes on my Sauder Cottage Road Bench via @poorandpretty

And of course, I sit on the bench too! Especially when I’m getting dressed or slipping on my shoes.

Sami sitting on Cottage Road Bench via @poorandpretty

It’s not a total room (re)design, but it’ll hold me over for now. At least our bedroom finally looks “put together!” :) Check out even more room inspiration in Sauder’s Put Together Lookbook.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sauder. The opinions and text are all mine. You can read more about my sponsorship and affiliate link policies here. 

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Friday Faves: 8 Pretty Rain-Inspired Things

rain inspired things via @poorandpretty feature

We’ve been pretty lucky this week in terms of weather: sunny skies, mid-60s and 70 degree days. But today, it’s raining. April showers bring May flowers, right? Here are a few pretty rain-inspired things I’m loving right now:

rain inspired things via @poorandpretty

1. Rainbow Raindrops and Clouds Paper Garland by 1 Pixie Place, via Etsy. // 2. Summer Rain iPhone Case via Brika. // 3. Solar Rainbow Maker via Shoptiques. So pretty! Check out the video demo here. // 4.  Rainy Day Pen Holder via Shoptiques. // 5. Handmade Espresso Cup Set by RossLab, via Etsy. // 6. Flair-Weather Friend Necklace via ModCloth. // 7. Rainy Day Wooden Mobile via Brika. // 8. Dancing in the Rain Dress via Ruche.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for Poor & Pretty when a purchase is made. You can read more about my affiliate link policies here.

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DIY Mineral Foundation & Tinted Moisturizer

DIY Mineral Foundation + Tinted Moisturizer via @poorandpretty feat

DIY Mineral Foundation + Tinted Moisturizer via @poorandpretty

In the 5 years Poor & Pretty has been around, I’ve shared a lot of DIY hair & beauty tutorials, but I’ve shied away from makeup. Homemade makeup seemed more than a little daunting and I never used to wear much of it anyway. Lately, I’ve been wearing more makeup which naturally meant I had to learn to make my own. Enter Bramble Berry’s Mineral Makeup Foundation Kit.

Bramble Berry Mineral Makeup Kit

It’s got everything you need to make three jars of natural mineral foundation (about 4oz total), plus have leftovers for experimenting with eye shadows, bronzers, and blushes. It also comes with an instruction booklet (much needed for newbies like me!) and a super soft kabuki brush. And it’s only $40! I bet you spend more than that on your favorite store bought foundation, right? I used to!

Sami with and without makeup via @poorandpretty

Here’s a little before & after for you. The photo on the left is of my face freshly cleansed and moisturized. On the right, I’m wearing my tinted moisturizer and mineral foundation, as well as blush, eyeshadow, and lip gloss that are not homemade. (But don’t worry, I’ll be tackling those too in the next few months!) As you can see, the mineral foundation doesn’t change the color of my skin, but rather evens out my skintone and offers light coverage. It isn’t caky or flaky.

Making more mineral foundation via @poorandpretty

I will tell you: it takes a lot of patience and trial and error to find the right mix of micas, oxides, and clays that make up your perfect match. I finally found mine on the 10th batch! But it was totally worth the few hours I put into it because now I have a go-to mineral foundation that I can make at home and not have to worry about whether or not it’s got hidden toxins in it.

Making mineral foundation via @poorandpretty

The instruction booklet has basic recipes to give you a starting point, but it really is all about throwing things together, trying it on, and seeing if it works.

A few tips:

  • Have makeup remover wipes handy!
  • Keep your routine consistent for each trial. Because my skin runs on the drier side (especially after this winter), I applied moisturizer before every application, otherwise I knew the mineral makeup would be way too dry and flaky.
  • If you’re working near a porcelain sink (or maybe rinsing tools off in one), keep a bathroom cleaning spray handy. Micas and oxides tend to run wild and will stain if you don’t clean them up properly. I use Method’s Tub + Tile Cleaner.

Bramble Berry Mineral Makeup Guide

The back of the instruction book has a section to record your recipes, so be sure to take good notes while you’re mixing up batches. If a batch is too light, dark, or doesn’t offer enough coverage, write it down!

DIY Mineral Foundation via @poorandpretty

My Perfect Combination Mineral Foundation (that’s fun to say!) was this:

  • 1 tsp Sericite Mica
  • ¼ tsp Titanium Dioxide
  • ¼ tsp Kaolin
  • ¼ tsp Tapioca Flour
  • ½ mini scoop Yellow Mica – not included in the kit, but can also be purchased from Bramble Berry here.
  • ½ mini scoop Brown Oxide
  • 2 ½ mini scoops Honeyed Beige Mica

Making tinted moisturizer via @poorandpretty

I also had some of Bramble Berry’s Aloe Lotion Base on-hand, so I decided to give making a tinted moisturizer a try. The result looks very dark, but actually offers very little coverage. I wouldn’t use it on its own, but it does make a nice foundation for layering on the mineral makeup.

Tinted Moisturizer:

  • 1 4 oz jar
  • 4 oz Aloe Lotion Base
  • ¼ tsp Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil – a beautiful and uplifting sweet, citrusy scent that also treats acne!
  • 5 mini scoops Honeyed Beige Mica
  • 1 mini scoop Brown Oxide
  • 1 mini scoop Yellow Mica

DIY Tinted Moisturizer via @poorandpretty feat

Mixing the micas and oxides into the lotion was a little challenging, but I found it worked best if I mixed them into the Litsea Cubeba essential oil first, then into the lotion. Combine these with an immersion blender if you have one, or by hand if you don’t.

Homemade Mineral Foundation + Tinted Moisturizer via @poorandpretty

If you are interested in making your own mineral foundations, eyeshadows, and blushes, I highly recommend picking up Bramble Berry’s Mineral Makeup Foundation Kit. It’s perfect for beginners and has very clear, easy-to-follow instructions. I will definitely be using this kit in the near future to make blushes and eye shadows, so stay tuned!

Disclosure: I was provided many of the supplies shown in this post by Bramble Berry, because I totally love them and they love me too! This doesn’t change how I feel about the mineral makeup kit, which is awesome. This post also contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for Poor & Pretty when a purchase is made. You can read more about my affiliate link policies here.

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5th Annual Hartford Trashion Fashion Show: Sunday, April 19

Trashion Fashion Show model feature

Trashion Fashion Show Hartford 2015 poster

It’s that time of year again! Now in its 5th year, the Hartford Trashion Fashion Show will be taking over Hartford City Hall next Sunday, April 19th to celebrate Earth Day, the arrival of Spring, and educate onlookers about sustainability.

Trashion Fashion Show model

It’s always a great time, with gorgeous upcycled runway fashion. I’m happy to be vending for my fourth year!

Poor + Pretty Booth

I will have plenty of my 100% natural sugar & salt scrubs, bath salts, lip & body balms, face masks, and more available during and after the show inside City Hall, but don’t miss the Earth Day Eco Market happening outside!

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Remembering Vivi, the Greatest Aunt

Vivi_feature

Vivi

It’s never easy to let someone go, no matter how long you’ve had them. On Monday, my family said goodbye to my Great Aunt Vivi, and I’ve been battling with my grief and bouts of deep sadness ever since. At 1:00 this morning, I cried on the phone with my Aunt Kathy, who put it best: “She wasn’t just an aunt. She was another grandmother to you.” And she’s right. This feels like losing my Nana all over again. Vivi has been the matriarch of our family since Nana’s passing in 1998, but she was a mother and grandmother to us long before then. One blog post couldn’t possibly convey my love for her, but I’d like to at least try. So today, I’m raising a glass, sharing a few memories, and toasting to a life well and fully lived.

Erickson sisters

You may remember this photo from my Nana Tribute a few years ago. Nana (my paternal grandmother) is on the left, looking at her older sisters Ginny (middle) and Vivi (right). Vivi was the eldest of her sisters, and the last of her generation.

Joe + Viv

Viv was quick-witted and always said exactly what was on her mind. She and her husband Joe (who passed away in 2007) were the most hilarious couple I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. One of my favorite Joe and Viv-isms is a story Joe would tell about how Vivi farted loudly in bed one night and Joe said, “I don’t know how I’m going to explain to the cleaners how I got shit on the outside of my pants!” Ha!!! :)

Though they had no children, Joe and Viv loved all of their 17 nieces and nephews, 32 great nieces and nephews, and 23 great great nieces and nephews (wow!) as their own.

South of the Border

They had a special spot in their heart for my Dad — the youngest of his siblings — and later, Suzi and I. Above, Vivi is flanked by Suzi (right) and I (left) at South of the Border in South Carolina on our way to Disney World in 1992 or 1993. Joe and Viv didn’t like to fly, so they drove us down to Florida and back. They loved recounting the story of how Suzi and I thoroughly trashed the backseat of Joe’s Cadillac so that when we got home he traded it in for a new one.

McDonalds at Viv + Joe's

I loved visiting Viv and Joe’s house. They had a few toys and office supplies to keep me busy, but I mostly liked shining up the chandelier in their dining room (what a weird kid!) or putting on all of Vivi’s necklaces and clip-on earrings (she never pierced her ears) or pretending to sell them to Viv and Joe. Going to Viv & Joe’s almost always meant having McDonald’s, which was a treat for us as kids. I used to stay home “sick” from school sometimes so I could watch movies with my Nana, and Viv and Joe would always come by around lunch time with McDonald’s. It’s no wonder I played hooky so often! I was totally spoiled.

Christmas 1997

And speaking of being spoiled, Vivi would take me shopping every year for pretty dresses for Easter and Christmas, and sometimes back-to-school clothes. The dress above (I think this is Christmas 1997) is almost certainly a Vivi-purchased dress. Nana is leaning over to inspect a present on the left and my stepbrother Zach is admiring my skirt (or trying to make his way to the Hot Wheels). When Viv took me shopping, Joe would drive us to the mall and as we went off to Lord & Taylor (Viv’s favorite store), he would plop down in the chairs in the middle of the mall and take a nap. We’d wake him up when it was time to leave or grab lunch.

Vivi + Stan

I apologize for the grainy quality of this photo — my photography skills have improved a lot since this was taken in 2009! Vivi never commented on my boyfriends much, until I brought Stan home. She loved Stan. She would always make sure he sat next to her, and she’d hold his hand the whole time they were together, and she’d tell him over and over again: “I never thought anybody was good enough for Sami, except you.” ♥ She’d totally hit on him, too! But, then again, after Joe passed away, Vivi would vocally fantasize about being with a certain local Catholic priest too, so her love knew no boundaries. The below sound clip is proof:

My Dad, cousin Steven, and I are discussing the guest list for Vivi’s 90th birthday party, and he’s on the list! (By the way, one of her favorite movies was The Thorn Birds…)

The same day we recorded the above, Vivi questioned our motives for visiting her, the proceeded to gush about me, then my Dad:

The “big fat Italian” she refers to so lovingly would be Joe. Real nice, right? ;)

Vivi had an excellent memory, and was a great storyteller. Over the past few years, I recorded a few snippets like the two above, and I have another one I’d like to share, but it may be disturbing to young audiences. Vivi’s claim to fame is her excerpt in Steward O’Nan’s 2008 book The Circus Fire: A True Story of an American Tragedy, a study of the Hartford circus fire on July 6, 1944. Here’s Vivi’s story:

The file is large, so it may take some time to load, and there’s some distracting background noise later in the file.

Stan and I visited Vivi for the last time this past Saturday. It was hard to say goodbye, but I leaned in close to her “good ear” and told her I loved her. She wasn’t very responsive, but I know she heard me, she knew I loved her, and I always will.

Christmas 2013

“The ones that love us never really leave us.” ~Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (I love this quote from the movie). Vivi will live on in us through her stories, wit, and love.

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