5 Ways to Relax at Home

5 Ways to Relax at Home feat

5 Ways to Relax at Home via @poorandpretty

I’ve been a little more frenzied than usual lately, maybe because Stan isn’t around to balance me out. (He comes back from his two-week trip to Israel on Thursday!!) I’m a fairly high-energy person, and I tend to juggle a lot of projects at once. One thing I have difficulty with is relaxing. Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep because I can’t shut my brain off. If you have this problem too, you’ve likely tried solving it by a weekend spa getaway or a massage, which do work, but they get a little pricey. Here are a few things that work for me, things you can do at home without spending any money.

Disconnect Your Tech

1. Disconnect your tech. I’m putting this first because it’s the hardest one to do! We are constantly connected — checking our email, responding to texts, tweeting, Instagramming, Facebooking… and hey, I’m as guilty as anyone. But turning off everything — phone, TV, computer — for a few hours is just so peaceful. (That’s why I secretly love when we lose power for a little while.)

Meditate

2. Meditate or do Yoga. This one’s a bit more obvious, but it’s worth including. If you live with others, give them a head’s up that you need some quiet time. Go to your bedroom or any room that is secluded and has a door that can be closed — it can even be the bathroom. Close (and maybe lock) the door and lay out a yoga mat or towel. Light a few candles and turn off the lights, maybe put on some relaxing instrumental music or Enya. Go ahead and laugh, but her stuff is great for relaxing. Sit for a few minutes and just breathe, focusing on the rhythm of your breath going in and out of your body. If you want to do some slow, easy yoga stretches, go for it. But remember: your goal here is to relax, not to work out, so don’t push yourself. If you’d rather just meditate, I find that placing a candle in front of me and concentrating on the flame helps my brain stay present and focused. Try not to let it wander off into the realm of tasks and to-dos.

Read a book

3. Read a real book. Call me crazy, but I read actual paper books. I do not read books on my iPad, and I don’t own a Kindle (and never will). I love the feeling of immersing myself totally in a story and a big part of that for me is the literal turning of pages. Oh, and I’m a highlighter and margin-scribbler. When I read, I don’t want to feel like I’m using another tech product. It’s my anti-tech time. Plus, the white/blue light emitted by tablets and computer screens trick your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, thereby keeping it active (and making it hard to fall asleep). The soft yellow glow of a nightstand lamp or book light won’t do that.

Take a Bath

4. Take a bath. I’m all about baths. I can’t wait until Stan and I have a nice deep soaking tub in our bathroom (it’s on our wish list). When I need to relax, I fill our tub up with warm water, toss in my Lavender Bathing Salts, prop my head up on a folded up towel and just soak until the water gets cold.

Go for a walk

5. Go for a walk. I guess you technically need to leave your home for this one, but even if you just go for a walk around your neighborhood, it costs you nothing and it’s good to get outside and breathe some fresh air. If your to-do list keeps growing or you’re really stressed about a specific problem, it helps to walk away from it for a while and get a fresh perspective.

What are some ways you relieve stress when you’re feeling overwhelmed?

All photos are courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo. Every month, they email an assortment of beautiful high-quality photos they’ve taken themselves so that bloggers and other creatives have killer photos to use online. Isn’t that awesome? :)

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Be Inspired & Empowered at Monarch Workshop

Monarch-feat

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I have been hoping for something like Monarch Workshop to come to Connecticut for a long time. I live in a small state, sandwiched between big artistic hubs like Boston and New York, which constantly host cool creative networking/inspiration boot camp type events. Finally, we have one too. And until tomorrow at 3pm EST, you can grab Early Bird tickets for just $150. Regular ticket price is $225, so that’s a pretty sweet deal!

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Monarch is a two-day event (March 21 & 22) for women entrepreneurs, dreamers, creators, movers, and shakers. Whether you’re an already-established kickass small business owner or a creative lady looking for inspiration and kindred spirits, you’ll be right at home at Monarch.

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There will be crafting and DIY-ing with Latanya Barrett of Sprinkles & Booze and Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom

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Yummy treats from Whisk + Brush and confetti from The Confetti Bar

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Yoga lessons, branding and marketing tips, photography sessions, and so so much more. Get the lowdown here, and stalk the speakers here.

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I have serious love for founders Jessica Huizenga and Madeline Rhodes for putting together such an incredible event. Is March really two months away?!

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It’s all going down March 21st & 22nd at B:Hive Bridgeport, the coolest co-working space in the state.

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What are you waiting for?! Spots are limited so grab your Early Bird Tickets now! And I’ll see you there. (I may even contribute some goodies to the swag bags!) ♥

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New Year, New Skirt + Scenes from our NYE Party

NYE Outfit - Ruche Sequin Skirt feat

Hosting our friends’ New Year’s Eve party this year (last year) was so fun! Of course, the day-after clean up is less fun, but totally worth it. I went for the glitzy silver and gold theme, starting with my new skirt:

NYE Outfit - Ruche Sequin Skirt via @poorandpretty

I picked up this Glimmer of Light Sequin Pencil Skirt from Ruche on sale for just $25! Score! I love how it fits and it was perfect for New Year’s Eve. I paired it with a simple black shirt, bedazzled black flats, and a DIY silver star crown.

NYE Outfit - nails via @poorandpretty

I painted my nails to match, of course, using Essie’s Licorice (black) and the ultra-glam Studio nail 54 polish by 100% Pure.

NYE cupcakes via @poorandpretty

I made coconut vanilla cupcakes using this recipe topped with champagne buttercream frosting.

NYE cupcake closeup via @poorandpretty

… And I sprinkled them with edible gold stars. So cute!

NYE champagne jello shots via @poorandpretty

I also served up champagne Jell-O shots from my NYE Cocktails Roundup post. They were delicious!

NYE gold wrapped numbers via @poorandpretty

As for decor, I made those gold fringe numbers from my NYE Party Essentials post. They actually took way longer than I expected, but that’s probably because I was wrapping them one gold tinsel strand at a time.

NYE gold wrapped numbers hanging via @poorandpretty

They did look really fun hanging though!

NYE confetti on Dave

And of course, I tossed up some confetti from The Confetti Bar at midnight, which our friend Dave promptly rolled around in. P.S. Have you seen The Confetti Bar’s DIY confetti soap, inspired by my Crafternoon?

NYE confetti candle holders via @poorandpretty

Speaking of confetti… remember those conversation heart candle holders I made for Valentine’s Day last year? I updated them with confetti and glittery votives for the occasion!

I hope your evening was as fun as ours! Happy 2015! ♥

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Blogiversary Flashback: Favorite Posts of 2014

P&P Blogiversary 2014 Highlights

2014 was a really exciting year for Poor & Pretty, and for me personally. It was certainly the year of DIYs! I shared more crafty tutorials and recipes than ever before. Let’s take a look back:

P&P Blogiversary 2014 Highlights

1. Valentine DIY: Conversation Heart Candle Holder. This super-simple DIY decor is still one of my favorites. This tutorial uses conversation hearts for Valentine’s Day, but I’ve used shamrock sprinkles for St. Patrick’s Day, mini pinecones and pine needles for Christmas, and confetti for New Year’s.

2. DIY Avocado Hair & Face Mask. This was one of your (and my!) favorites, and it’s no secret why: this mask is very easy and cheap to make and makes your skin and hair feel like you’ve just dropped a few hundred bucks at a spa or salon. But you didn’t!

3. My Cross Country Solo Road Trip. One June 21st, I embarked on a 14-day cross-country road trip by myself, and it was the most incredible experience of my life. I had been going through one of those “quarter-life” crises and needed to get away and think about a lot of things: my future, my career, my relationships with Stan, friends, and family, and a few other deeply personal things that had been haunting me. It was scary and empowering to do it alone, and I came back more confident, happy, and sure. Plus, I had seen the Rocky Mountains, Arches National Park, the Golden Gate Bridge (kind of), the Grand Canyon, and Walter White’s house! Read all about my trip starting here.

4. 25 Homemade Ice Cream Recipes for National Ice Cream Day. After recovering from my road trip, I got right back into the DIY spirit by whipping up some homemade ice cream. I guess you like ice cream too because this was my most-viewed post of 2014. :)

5. Homemade No-Cook Play Dough. Before this post, I hadn’t made play-dough since I was about 9. Suzi and I used to make this all the time with our Nana, so this tutorial is very dear to me.

6. Recipe: Apple Gruyere Cup Pies. These delicious mini pies are inspired by Pushing Daisies, which lasted only two short seasons before being cancelled. Such a great show! (I have a huge crush on Lee Pace.) Scarlett must have remembered these because she gave me a mini pie silicone pan for Christmas! ♥

7.  Poor & Pretty Apothecary launch. In October, I re-opened my Etsy shop with a whole new lineup: 100% natural bath & body scrubs, salts, and balms. I’m taking a stand against big cosmetic companies who fill their beauty products with harmful chemicals and irritating fillers to make an easy profit. My handcrafted goodies are entirely natural — no synthetic fragrances or colorants, no preservatives, nothing you wouldn’t find in nature. Grab yours here.

8. Holiday Crafternoon. In early December, I celebrated my five-year blogiversary with local artisans and businesses, then invited over some of my most creative girlfriends for an afternoon of crafting (a crafternoon)! We made some really cool handmade gifts.

2014 was a blast. I did some great things with my blog and business, went on an amazing road trip, witnessed a few close friends marry their soulmates, made some new friends, and generally kicked butt. I can’t wait to see what I will make of 2015! Happy, happy new year, lovelies!

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Blogiversary Flashback: 2012 & 2013

P&P Blogiversary 2012 Highlights feat

To celebrate Poor & Pretty’s blogiversary, I’m taking a look back at my favorite posts of the last five years. I’ve already shared posts from 2009, 2010, and 2011. Here are my favorite Poor & Pretty moments of 2012 and 2013:

P&P Blogiversary 2012 Highlights

1. Sweet Scrabble Surprise. Sometimes, the best moments are the little, unexpected ones. After playing Scrabble during a power outage, Stan left me a cute message on our Scrabble board before going to work. I love him. ♥

2. Poor & Pretty on Better Connecticut. I appeared on Better Connecticut twice in 2012! First, just before Valentine’s Day, to introduce my cupcake soaps to the community, and then again before Christmas. Sadly, I can’t find the videos online anymore.

3. DIY Curtain Holdback. After moving into a new apartment in May, I shared a simple renter-safe way to hold back your curtains without damaging your walls.

4. 1920s Murder Mystery Birthday Party. I had so much fun at my “immortal” murder mystery birthday party, I decided to do it again! This time, the theme was 1920s/speakeasy. I wore a fantastic dress that I found on Etsy. Check out all of my photos and tips for hosting your own murder mystery party (plus a video of Suzi and I singing “All That Jazz” from Chicagohere.

5. DIY Confetti Manicure. My confetti obsession goes way back. How fun is this confetti manicure? I may have to do this again for the holidays…

6. DIY Lavender & Epsom Salt Bath Soak. Here’s a great way to upcycle an old pair of stockings and have a relaxing bath!

7. BUST Craftacular at Maker Faire. Because of you and my successfully funded Kickstarter campaign, I was able to vend at the BUST Craftacular within the World Maker Faire in Queens!!! It was such an amazing experience. I couldn’t have done it without your support, and Stan (who came with me!), my new friend/co-worker Dave (who helped me screen print a bunch of tote bags and t-shirt), and my friends & family who helped me prepare for the event.

8. DIY Salt Dough Ornaments. In December, Suzi, Scarlett, and I made a few salt dough ornaments to hang up on our trees and give as gifts to Scarlett’s teachers. I still have them hanging on my tree!

P&P Blogiversary Highlights 2013

1. DIY Confetti Wall. This was another brilliant apartment hack. I couldn’t paint the walls, so I stuck colorful dots all over instead!

2. Jensen Oscar Night. Never missing a chance to get dressed up, I put on my senior prom dress and joined my beautifully- and weirdly-dressed family members in an Oscar Night party hosted by my cousin Rick.

3. DIY Vanilla Coconut Sugar Scrub. This remains one of my most popular-ever DIY beauty posts, and it’s no secret why: this scrub smells amazing and works wonderfully too! You should also try out my Oat & Cornmeal Exfoliating Facial Scrub and Mask.

4. My Mexican Adventure. In June, my Dad took Suzi, Scarlett, and I to Akumal on the Mayan Riveria. We had lots of fun but also lots of mosquitos. Word to the wise: Go to Mexico any time other than summer!

5. DIY Nautical Striped Nails. This is an easy DIY manicure I did for the 4th of July.

6. Lavender French Macarons. Successfully making French Macarons was kind of a big deal to me. Though I haven’t made them again since them. (They’re a real pain.)

7. Stamiversary Trip to Florida. In celebration of our five-year dating anniversary (Stamiversary), Stan and I spent a week in Florida, mostly for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It was magical!

8. Cuckoo for Coconut Cupcakes. All I can say about these is that they are incredible. If you love coconut, you should make these.

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