Local Love: Becca & Betsy of Whisk + Brush {and their Kickstarter Campaign!}

Local Love Whisk and Brush feature

Local Love Whisk and Brush

The first thing I ate devoured from Whisk + Brush was a pumpkin cinnamon roll at a B:Hive Holiday Pop-Up Shop last year, and it was the best cinnamon roll I’ve ever had. And I’m not a big pumpkin fan either. I went back for a second only minutes later and they were sold out. They were that good. Major props to baker babes Becca & Betsy. I’m excited to have them on the blog today not only because they make amazing food and share recipes on their blog, but also because they’ve got a Kickstarter underway for a doughnut truck. And tomorrow’s your last day to back it!

whisk and brush throwing doughnuts

Sami: Tell us all about the Doughnut Food Trailer!
Becca & Betsy: We’re renovating a 1975 camper into the Whisk + Brush food trailer so we can bring a delicious menu to the streets of Bridgeport, CT and beyond! Enter Dixie, our Doughnut Diva. She’s strong, cute, and totally thrilled to soon be pumping out an extensive slew of doughnuts, both sweet and savory. Our goal is to hit $12,000. If you’d like to help, pledge here!

{ recipe: alleluia jalapeño pretzel }

Sami: How did Whisk + Brush come about?
Becca: It was fate. We started out as coworkers in the financial industry. One day, I had an idea for a food blog and shared it with Betsy. Within 2 months it was up and running and I was offered a catering gig (I never planned on venturing into catering). I kept bringing Betsy on to help with events. We had this effortless, fun flow of working together. Without much talk regarding roles and duties, we both naturally settled into our positions and from there it hasn’t stopped. And since undergoing the newest venture of a Doughnut Food Trailer, our working bond has become even stronger and more fantastic.

{ recipe: mango caprese salad }

Sami: How did you acquire your culinary skills?

B&B: We both learned from our mothers. Although our backgrounds and childhoods differ in so many ways, our mothers are very similar. Strong, independent woman who know how love with fierce, yet gentle love. We both grew up helping in the kitchen and eating dinners as a family.

Sami: When you’re not whipping up your own amazing food, where do you eat?
B&B: We love supporting the locals. Our faves are Harborview Market, Walrus + Carpenter, Source Coffeehouse, Au Vucchella, Leisha’s Bakeria, Timothy’s Ice Cream… the list goes on. 

{ recipe: buttermilk cinnamon rolls }

Sami: What’s your catch phrase?
B&B: “Whose idea was this?!” We tend to shout this at each other in the midst of catering, frying up doughnuts, rushing around the kitchen. It usually gets said when we’re both hustling, under a time crunch, and trying to multi-task like crazy. It always makes us laugh because we know the only persons to blame for our craziness is US!

{ recipe: pea + plum falafels }

Sami: What feeds (pun intended) your creative energy?
Becca: For me, I’m most creative when my plate is full (no pun intended). I try to stay busy with focused, challenging work because it keeps me firing on all cylinders. The key is finding a way to stay organized with the creativity. There have been so many times that Betsy and I have been in the thick of a catering job or working at the farmers market, and I have a million ideas come to me, but we forget to write them down. 

{ recipe: chicken tortilla soup }

Sami: How do you combat creative block?
Becca: My creative blocks occur when I’m in a slump. Whether that’s due to exhaustion or maybe a lighter schedule or those oh-so awful funks when you question your choices, I hit walls when I’m flirting with laziness. I find that putting time aside to cook something for myself without any kind of agenda, project, or documentation in mind ends up rejuvenating my soul.

{ recipe: it’s a new day smoothie }

What do you love most about being entrepreneurs?
B&B: Doing it together. Betsy always says, “Being an entrepreneur is like jumping off a cliff and building a plane on the way down.” If we didn’t have each other, we’d be flat on our faces, but together… we’re starting to see the plane (or the doughnut truck) take shape. And that’s really exciting.

{ recipe: spicy chicken + doughnut }

If you could give your fellow entrepreneurs one piece of advice, what would it be?
B&B: Say yes to EVERYTHING. We headed into this venture thinking about what our ideal situation/work/clients would look like… and things were slow. We were being picky and weren’t taking chances and challenging ourselves, thus our growth was minimal. While taking a course through Women’s Business Development Center, Becca was told “Say yes to everything. And keep saying yes for longer than you think you have to.” The reality is, when you’re starting off, no one knows who you are or what you’re capable of. And while you may know what your time and talent is worth, others don’t yet. So, say yes to everything. We have taken on some really awesome work and we’ve also had many crap jobs that paid us pennies and left us questioning our decision, but so many rippling effects and opportunities have come from taking those risks. We’re wiser, better, and more confident because of those experiences. And while we still say yes to most of what comes our way, we are better equipped for handling every facet of the job. 

{ recipe: whiskey face punch }

Sami: What do you do to relax? 
Becca: Wine. Sweat pants. Couch.
Betsy: See above. This is why we’re good friends.

Sami: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?
Becca: Thailand. The culture and country have always fascinated me and I have such little know-how when it come to the cuisine… although, I definitely know how to eat it.
Betsy: Australia. Only because I’m obsessed with kangaroos.

{ recipe: chunky monkey quesadilla }

Sami: If you could invite 3 people (alive or dead) over for a picnic, who would you invite?
Becca: My Grandma, Kris Delmhorst (my favorite musician) and John Steinbeck (my favorite author). I figure, my grandma can help me cook while Kris serenades us and Steinbeck provides conversation.
Betsy: My Grandma, Joe Vilane (the dance choreographer), Celia Cruz (my favorite salsa performer).

Betsy — please put me on your picnic invite list so I can finally learn how to dance. ;) Check out Becca & Betsy’s delicious recipes on the Whisk + Brush blog, and support their Kickstarter campaign to help them bring their Doughnut Food Trailer dream to life! Tomorrow’s the last day to pledge.


What to Bring to a Blog Conference

what to bring to a blog conference feat via poorandpretty

what to bring to a blog conference via poorandpretty

I’m gearing up for The Hello Sessions in Portland this Friday — I can’t wait! It’s the first blog conference I’m attending in-person, so I’m pretty excited/nervous. I have a feeling I will be spending a good portion of tomorrow night packing, but here are some of the essentials (besides underwear) I’m bringing:

1. The perfect notebook. I love notebooks! I have so many unique ones, all filled with teenage angst and creative ideas. But this? This is the perfect notebook for creative conferences. It’s pretty, spiral bound (so you can slip a pen into it), and has a pocket (for all those business cards you’ll be collecting)! And, like everything ban.do makes, it has a sweet surprise in the way of a colorful yellow spread that reads: “Your face is like sunshine.” Get it: Ban.do Rough Draft Spiral Notebook.

2. My favorite pens. I’m pretty particular about my pens — I like colorful, smooth, ballpoint pens, preferably with a rubber grip — and these are my favorites. The hot pink is my go-to, of course! Get ‘em: Paper Make InkJoy Retractable Ballpoint Pens, 24 Pack of Assorted Colors.

3. Backup juice. I plan on doing a lot of Instagramming and Tweeting during my trip to Portland, so I know I’ll need an extra charge for my phone. This tiny power bank is about the size of a lipstick and holds an estimated 1.2 additional charges for the iPhone. It’s got just about 3,000 reviews on Amazon, and a 4.5 star rating. Oh, and it’s pink! ;) Get it: RavPower Portable Charger 3200mAh Power Bank.

4. LOTS of business cards. I ordered more business cards just for this! My goal is to run out again. :)

5. A bag to fit it all in. With all this stuff, you’re gonna need a bag to carry it all! I’ve been eyeing the Camp Director Tote for a while now — it’s pretty roomy, and will even hold a 15″ laptop. Get it: Camp Director Tote via ModCloth.

6. A cute dress. Why not wear a floral dress to the Rose City? I so wish this cute number was available in my size! Get it: Luck Be A Lady Dress via ModCloth.

7. Layers! Ever have that problem where you show up to an event in a sleeveless dress, only to discover it’s FRIGID inside? I definitely have! So now I pack layers, and J.Crew’s Jackie Cardi is one of my faves. Get it: Jackie Cardigan Sweater via J.Crew.

8. Cute-but-also-comfy shoes. The only thing worse than be freezing all day because you forgot to pack layers, is getting blisters from those shoes you bought just for the event that ended up murdering your feet. So go with something pretty, but also comfortable. Get it: In a Classic of Its Own Heel via ModCloth.

Did I leave anything out? Have you been to any awesome creative/blog conferences lately? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


Beauty Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar + DIY Hair Rinse & Astringent

Beauty Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar apples lead

It’s apple season!!! Stan and I went apple picking last weekend — one of my favorite fall pastimes. :) I’m a big fan of Cortland and Honeycrisp, and I typically use Honeycrisp or Granny Smith in my Apple Cup Pies. As tasty as apples are, did you know they’re also good for your skin and hair? Apple cider vinegar particularly so. Here are a few things it does:

Beauty Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar via @poorandpretty

1. Restores pH. Possibly the best thing about apple cider vinegar is that it balances the pH levels of our skin and hair. Having a balanced pH is vital to beauty because if our skin or hair are too alkaline, they’ll become dry and flaky, and open your body up to germs and bacteria. An acidic pH leads to breakouts and inflammation.

2. Natural Astringent. Along with restoring pH levels, apple cider vinegar removes dirt and excess oil and treats acne when used as an astringent. Dilute with an equal mixture of water and ACV.

3. Nonabrasive exfoliant. The malic acid in apple cider vinegar dissolves dead skin cells without scraping the skin, so it’s gentle enough to use on most skin types as long as it’s diluted. 

4. Prevents Dandruff. Mixed with water, apple cider vinegar makes a great hair rinse. Malic acid gently exfoliates, removes scalp build-up, and balances the scalp’s pH level, contributing to a healthy, dandruff-free scalp.

2. Stimulates Hair Growth. In addition to promoting and maintaining overall scalp health, apple cider vinegar also prevents hair loss and stimulates hair growth.

Ready for the DIY two-in-one apple cider vinegar hair rinse & astringent?


Combine equal parts apple cider vinegar with water and pour this mixture into a spray bottle. That’s it! You can add a few drops of essential oils to try and mask the vinegar smell, if you’d like. I’d suggest lavender or peppermint.

When using it as a hair rinse:

  1. Wash your hair as you normally would, and rinse.
  2. Spritz the apple cider vinegar hair rinse liberally all over your hair and massage into your scalp with your fingers.
  3. Allow the hair rinse to sit for a full minute. (I like to pull my hair up into a hair claw for this.)
  4. Rinse thoroughly, and follow up with conditioner. 

When using it as an astringent:

  1.  Wash your face as you normally would.
  2. Close your eyes and lightly spritz the apple cider vinegar astringent all over your face — be careful around your eyes!
  3. Allow the astringent to dry on your skin, then follow up with your favorite moisturizer. 

 This recipe comes straight from my eBook, which is almost ready for launch! Want to be the first to know when it’s available? Sign up here to be notified when it launches!


Flora {a photo shoot with Mojalvo}



I’ve wanted to do a dreamy flower child photo shoot for a while now. A few weeks ago, local filmmaker/photographer Maya Oren of MOJALVO and I finally did it — bare feet and all. It was magical.


I’m using some of the photos for my upcoming eBook (sign up here to be notified when it launches!), but they’ll also be used for a super-secret project I’m working on.

Continue reading…


Local Love: Jessica Serra Huizenga of The Confetti Bar

Local Love The Confetti Bar feat via @poorandpretty

It’s time for another edition of Local Love, my interview series with Connecticut entrepreneurs! Today, I’m chatting with Jessica Serra Huizenga, the Confetti Queen / Expert Confetti Mixologist behind The Confetti Bar. This might be the most colorful post yet. Ready to party?

Local Love The Confetti Bar tall via @poorandpretty

I first picked up a bag of Jessica’s confetti at Hartford Prints and did a double-take. We have a confetti company in Connecticut?! I was amazed. Then I found out The Confetti Bar was just one person. And she’s made custom confetti mixes for kate spade new york, KEDS, the Girl Scouts, and Twitter. And she was one town away from me. I had to meet her! So of course I Instagram stalked her for a while, then finally emailed her, and had her over for my holiday crafternoon, and hung out with her at Monarch Workshop, and used her studio for hundreds of outfit photos, and brought her homegrown kale, so I’m pretty sure that means we’re friends now. :) AND we have a really awesome event planned for November. Details at the bottom of this post! ;)

{ photo from A Day in the Life of a Confetti Girl series by Victoria Gloria Photography }

Sami: What got you started in confetti-making?
Jessica: I literally woke up one day and told my husband I wanted to start a confetti shop. I used to collect and sort metallic confetti/sequins from the craft store, but when it came to actually using confetti, I found there was a real shortage of really cool, colorful, unique mixes. SO I started making my own, and voila! The Confetti Bar was born :)

Continue reading…