Local Love: Rachel DeCavage of Cinder + Salt

Local Love Cinder-Salt feature via @poorandpretty

Welcome to the second Local Love post, where I interview my favorite Connecticut creators. Missed out on the first one? Go back and read my interview with Brittany Morgan, the sassy hand lettering latté and confetti addict behind Glitter & Bold.

Every entrepreneur has a fellow entrepreneur (or a few) they aspire to be — someone who’s a little further along the path, who you look to for advice during those (frequent) moments of self-doubt. While I admire all of my fellow boss babes, Cinder + Salt‘s Rachel DeCavage is kind of my Fairy Bossmother. (She’s going to hate that.) Rachel and I met at a craft fair in 2011 and became fast friends, working together on lots of collaborations along the way.

Local Love Cinder + Salt

Rachel is confident and fearless when it comes to her business, Cinder + Salt (previously sugarplumUSA), her line of low-impact clothing, accessories, and housewares. You might’ve seen me wearing her Dreamcatcher Tank or remember my post about her #LikeABoss Collection. Her hand-drawn designs are uniquely hers, and each t-shirt, sweater, and necktie is screen printed by hand in her East Hartford studio. Cinder + Salt is inspired by the residue of a weekend well spent; the scent of campfire on your clothes and the taste of salt water on your skin.

{ Octopus Tank }

Sami: When did you start making?
Rachel: I’ve always been someone who makes things… I get it from my grandma, I suppose, who taught my sisters and I how to hook rugs when we were like 3 years old. I was using a thread and needle before I knew how to write. Spending my life working with fibers, in many different formats, and growing up alongside my dad’s commercial printing business seems to have very neatly defined my career path.

cinder and salt booth
{ Cinder + Salt booth }

Sami: What’s your favorite thing about being a creative entrepreneur?
Rachel: The only person I have to answer to is myself. And I’m not talking about, “yay I only have to work 3 hours today because I’m my own boss!’ Any entrepreneur can tell you that answering to yourself is the most challenging, but rewarding thing ever. Did sales suck this month, you lose a big account? What are you gonna do about it? Close up shop and go work at a grocery store? Or are you gonna take a hard look at your business, figure out what works, what doesn’t, and move forward? It’s invigorating and empowering to constantly have to push yourself further and further out of your comfort zone.

cinder and salt toasting in tanks
{ Crab Tank and Seagull Tank }

Sami: What feeds your creative energy?
Rachel: Vodka.

Sami: How do you combat creative block?
Rachel: Vodka.

All jokes aside, I have literally never had creative block. I have too many ideas and not enough time in the day to bring them to life. My creativity stems mostly from nature, wildlife and the environment around me. If I’m working on a custom project and can’t get jazzed about it, I take it as a sign and just walk away from it. If you’re not immediately engaged with a project, it’s not the right fit for you.

integrity sexy tees cinder and salt
{ Integrity Tee and Sexy White Tee }

Sami: What’s your mantra?
Rachel: A quote from The Lorax that guides me every day, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better, it’s not.”

{ Thunderbird Boatneck Pullover }

Sami: What do you do to relax?
Rachel: ???!!! On the rare day off, I drink coffee on the porch and watch my cat hunt bugs. Then I schedule meetings, think about launching my next collection, get stressed because I don’t know how to relax and end up taking a 3 hour nap. Naps are usually followed by an alcoholic beverage, guilt over not being productive and then spending 3 hours in my studio being blissful because I’m happiest when I’m working on things.

girls kids tees cinder and salt

{ Girls Feather Tee and Girls Orca Tee }

Sami: What’s your one piece of advice for creative entrepreneurs?
Rachel: “You only live once.” For a long time I felt like that was a call to live life to its fullest, be adventurous, speak your mind! (Omg remember when “YOLO” wasn’t a thing? That’s when I used to say this all the time to myself.) But now I feel like it’s more of a responsibility; you have one life to make an impact — what is your cause, your purpose? How are you gonna make it happen?

{ Eat Local Long Sleeve Tee and Canoe + Oars Slouchy Pullover }

Sami: What’s your favorite CT restaurant?
Rachel: I’m a big fan of 116 Crown in New Haven. I love how their drink menu is arranged; I usually order from the ‘subtle and aromatic’ section.

Sami: What book is on your nightstand?
Rachel: Small Giants by Bo Burlingham – an easy read about businesses who put purpose before profit and have a huge impact. I refer back to it frequently.

Sami: If you could invite 3 people (alive or dead) over for a picnic, who would you invite?
Rachel: Jack Johnson. Steve Zissou. My lover, Adam.

{ Whaleshark Organic Cotton Tee }

Sami: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?
Rachel: I’ve always wanted to go to Alaska in the winter to sleep on a frozen lake and watch the Northern Lights. Why? Because nature is amazing. I’d also love to go to the Seychelles Islands and swim with whale sharks – mostly because that’s in their migration route during January, the only month when I can afford time off.

Shop Cinder + Salt online or in person. Rachel is constantly on the move, booking shows throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts — check out her upcoming events. Need custom apparel? She does that too. She even hosts DIY screen printing workshops!


Local Love: Brittany Morgan of Glitter & Bold

Local Love - Glitter & Bold feat via @poorandpretty

Say hello to Local Love! A reincarnation of my Etsy Spotlight and Indie Spotlight interview series, Local Love highlights creative entrepreneurs living in Connecticut (and maybe beyond!). Over the course of my blog and business, my little state has seemingly gone through a renaissance period — artists, makers, and DIYers are popping up all over the place. We’re banding together to make Connecticut a little more creative, and I’m so happy to be part of it. So twice a month, I will interview a local boss babe (or dude) to share their start-up story, inspirations, and tips for other creative entrepreneurs.

Local Love - Glitter & Bold via @poorandpretty
{ Photo: Victoria Gloria Photography }

We’re kicking off Local Love with Brittany Morgan of Glitter & Bold! Brittany’s hand painted mugs, pillows, and tea towels are beautiful, fun, hilariously sassy, and right up my alley. She recently launched a line of iPhone cases through Casetify and downloadable prints in her Etsy shop. I met Brittany earlier this year at Vintanthromodern, but we really got to know each other during (and after) Monarch Workshop. She whipped my chicken scratch handwriting into shape during her Modern Brush Hand Lettering class. Before starting Glitter & Bold, Brittany was an English teacher, and taught for almost a year at a university in the Dominican Republic. Yeah, she’s pretty darn awesome.

Live Bright Be Bold and Sparkle hand painted mug by @glitterandbold{ Live Bright Be Bold and Sparkle mug }

Sami: What got you started in hand lettering?
Brittany: Weirdly enough, copying other designs/fonts got me really interested in actually sitting down and making my own designs. Once I realized I was actually GOOD all on my own, I dove head first in all things hand lettered. Books, blogs, videos, trial and error, and lots and lots of Instagram ogling.

Continue reading…


I’m Writing an eBook! {Reader Survey}



… And I need your help! I have three topics in mind: Making Your Own Natural Beauty Products, Branding Your Indie/Handmade Business, or Getting Your Handmade Products into Retail & Online Stores. Which are you most interested in? I’ve created a super-quick survey that I would love for you to take. It’ll only take about 5 minutes.

>>> Take the survey here. <<<

Please be honest in your answers, and only take the survey once. Thank you so much for helping me out!

Photo Credit: Death to the Stock Photo.


Friday Faves: Being Boss Podcast + Free Wallpaper

Being Boss - Creative Quote feature via @poorandpretty

If you’re looking for some entrepreneurial inspiration/advice to kick your butt into gear and get shit done, listen to Being Boss. It’s a weekly podcast by Emily Thompson, Founder of Indie Shopography, and Kathleen Shannon, Co-Founder of Braid Creative. They are hilarious and sassy and give practical advice to creative entrepreneurs who know they want to start their own business, but aren’t sure how. Or already have their own business but are struggling with time management, designing a website, or being a parent. I have been listening obsessively. I am even saving up to join them in NOLA.

Being Boss - Creative Quote square via @poorandpretty

The above quote comes from Episode 6 – Staying Motivated and Happy. I’m trying to make this a mantra. When I notice my mind wandering or I just feel bored or listless, I try to do something creative to get my juices flowing again. Even if it’s just listening to a song I love or jotting down a few ideas for my next blog post. We’ve got to nourish our creativity.

Being Boss - Creative Quote - hand-lettered by @poorandpretty

I love this quote so much, I even hand-lettered it. Brittany of Glitter & Bold would be so proud!

Being Boss - Creative Quote Desktop Wallpaper via @poorandpretty

And I made it into a wallpaper. I told you I was obsessed, didn’t I? Download the wallpaper here. Photo Credit: Sebestian Muller, Unsplash.

What are you doing to nourish your creativity?


The Condo Project: 12 Minimalist White Desks to Buy or DIY for Under $250

minimalist desks via @poorandpretty

It’s been a bit quiet here on the blog lately. Stan and I are waist-deep in our remodeling project! We’ve torn down walls, put up new ones, expanded closets, created storage space where there previously was none…  Needless to say, it’s crazy town in our condo right now. But I am exploring desk options for when we finish my new office. I’d like to keep it under $250 and possibly even make it. Here’s what I’m looking at:

1. Altra Parsons Desk via Amazon, $68.

2. White Caché Desk via The Container Store, $189. I love the pop of color in the drawer!

3. Shoal Creek Computer Desk by Sauder via Amazon, $102.

4. Josephine Desk via Cost Plus World Market, $200.

5. Prepac White Floating Desk via Amazon, $151.

6. DIY IKEA Hack Floating Desk via Apartment Therapy, $30-$40 estimated cost.

7. Convenience Concepts Designs-2-Go Trestle Desk via Amazon, $101.

8. Threshold™ Windham Desk via Target, $162.

9. Hamilton X Slat Office Desk via Target, $124. 

10. Retro White & Grey Writing Desk via Overstock.com, $223.

11. Klimpen / Nipen Desk Combo by IKEA, $190. 

12. DIY Parson Tower Desk by Ana White, $20-$50 estimated cost.

Bonus standing desk option: Public White 42″ High Dining Table via CB2, $400. Okay, I know this is a bit outside the $250 limit, BUT I had to include it because I think it’s a really neat option for a standing desk or craft area. Or I suppose it can be used as a dining table as intended. ;)

Got any desk suggestions?

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