Toasting to Freedom and Sisterhood with Middle Sister Wines

Celebrating-Independence-Day-feature-via-@poorandpretty

Toasting-Independence-Day-with-Cupcakes-and-Middle-Sister-Wines

I love celebrating 4th of July every year, but this year I’m especially proud to be an American. In the past few weeks, our country has made incredible strides — most notably, securing the right to marry for our gay and lesbian friends. So on Saturday, my sister Suzi and I toasted to family, freedom, good weather, and great wine.

Vintage Wine Estates Middle Sister

When I was asked to taste test a bottle of Middle Sister Wines, I had to laugh at how perfectly the wines and their quirky little characters captured being a middle sister. Says Middle Sister Wines: “Did you know that birth order is commonly believed to have a profound and lasting effect on psychological development? WE DID!!! And that is why we have dedicated a wine to the sister in the middle – the one who always seems to have a personality of her own, and steals the show.” Yes, I can admit to being a bit of a troublemaker/show stealer. But, hey, I had to work hard to stand out!

Celebrating-Independence---toasting-with-Middle-Sister-Wines

Suzi and I have always been close, but we didn’t always get along. As the older sister, she seemed to have a lot more fun (and cooler things) than I did. I would trail after her, invite myself along on her adventures, try to outshine her, and occasionally steal her things. I’m loud (in volume, personality, and wardrobe), mischievous, energetic, attention-seeking, creative, and maybe more than a little whacky. Classic signs of being a middle sister.

Middle-Sister-Wines-and-Berry-Blue-Velvet-Cupcakes---4th-of-July-via-@poorandpretty

Neither of us are lushes, but we’ll have a glass or two of white wine occasionally. We especially love wine with our cupcakes.

Berry-Blue-Velvet-Cupcakes-4th-of-July-via-@poorandpretty

I made my patriotic Berry Blue Velvet Jell-O Cupcakes again this year. They always come out a little more turquoise than blue, but they taste delicious so who cares?! 

Middle-Sister-Wines-Sweet-and-Sassy-Moscato-4th-of-July-via-@poorandpretty

I love girly, super sweet wines, so I paired my cupcakes with the Sweet & Sassy Moscato, which has notes of white peaches, citrus and honeysuckle.

Celebrating-Independence---Middle-Sister-Wines-Drama-Queen-Pinot-Grigio-via-@poorandpretty

Suzi’s more of a Drama Queen Pinot Grigio girl, which had hints of apple and pear.

Middle Sister Wines characters

Celebrating-Independence---Sparklers-and-Middle-Sister-Wines-via-@poorandpretty

As is tradition, we spent Independence Day at our Dad’s house for his annual backyard fireworks extravaganza. We lit a few sparklers, ate a few cupcakes, and reminisced over our favorite sisterhood memories (me stealing her favorite blanket and getting away with it… Suzi helping me break out of the house when I was grounded…). We’re not as close with our youngest sister, but I’m so glad we have each other.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Vintanthromodern Vintage Summer Lookbook

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I have begun to whole-heartedly embrace vintage, which I attribute to New Haven’s Vintanthromodern Vintage. You’ve already seen my incredibly adorable vintage balloon skirt and vintage-inspired Anthropologie patchwork dress. So when Vintanthromodern founder Melissa Gonzales asked me to be in her Summer Lookbook photo shoot, I was pretty excited. 

Vintanthromodern-Vintage-Girls-of-Summer-Canoe

I was especially happy because I got to spend the day with a group of really awesome boss babes and fellow Monarchs! From left to right: Betsy of Whisk + Brush, Maya of MOJALVO, Becca of Whisk + Brush, and yours truly!

Vintanthromodern-Vintage-Girls-of-Summer

We were a pretty fierce group of females, modeling Vintanthromodern Vintage’s latest rompers, swimsuits, and dresses.

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My favorite outfit was this stripy fruity romper that perfectly matched the glass fruit statement necklace I’m also wearing.

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Though I think everyone else had more fun watching me smolder at the camera in my red, white, and blue swimsuit, wrapped up in the American flag. (Also: look at how miniature I am standing next to the rest of the ladies! Ha!)

Vintanthromodern-Vintage-Summer-Lookbook-Strawberries-Swimsuit

I was surprised at how many really cute bathing suits Melissa brought from the shop ~ all different sizes, too! She’s constantly adding more to the shop, so be sure to pop in often at 938 State Street, New Haven, CT 06511.

Check out the full Vintanthromodern Vintage Summer Lookbook here

Hair: Brittany George, Upstyle
Makeup: Jessica Kennedy, Upstyle
Photography: Cassandra Madeline
Styling: Samantha Vigorito
Models: Becca and Betsy of Whisk & Brush, John of Oh Cassius! (not pictured), Maya of MOJALVO, and Sami of Poor & Pretty.

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Modern Brush Hand Lettering with Glitter & Bold

love feature - Modern Brush Lettering with Glitter and Bold via @poorandpretty

Modern Brush Lettering with Glitter and Bold

Wednesday evening, I headed down to New Haven for one of Glitter & Bold‘s hand lettering workshops at The Haven Collective

love - Modern Brush Lettering with Glitter and Bold via @poorandpretty

I like my handwriting, but there’s nothing decorative or fancy about it. One of my coworkers asked me to write on a chalkboard for her a few weeks ago, and I had to sadly decline and explain that a) I’m definitely creative but not artistic and b) I simply can’t write on chalkboards without causing internal bleeding for those within earshot of the squeaking. Long story short (too late), I want to learn to write pretty.

Tools - Modern Brush Lettering with Glitter and Bold

Brittany of Glitter & Bold — who makes lovely hand-painted mugs, pillows, towels and things — supplied myself and the two other students with notebooks and two brush pens each (one black and one hot pink.)

Modern Brush Lettering with Glitter and Bold at The Haven Collective

With the brush pens (which mimic paint brushes), you get a nice diversity of thickness with your lines. Brittany taught us to pull lightly on the tip of the pen on upward motions and press the side of the pen on downward motions.

practice - Modern Brush Lettering with Glitter and Bold via @poorandpretty

It takes little bit of getting used to, so we filled entire sheets of paper practicing just one letter.

love closeup - Modern Brush Lettering with Glitter and Bold via @poorandpretty

Practice does make perfect, and I think I’m getting better! I can’t wait for her hand lettering basics class next Wednesday. It’s sold out, but I’m sure she’ll host more.

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Snail Mail Game Show

Uncustomary Art - Snail Mail Game Show - Round 3 Feature via @poorandpretty

Balloon-Bouquet-Uncustomary

One of the fun ladies I met at Monarch Workshop this past March is Mary England of Uncustomary Art. She bounced into the room with tons of energy, sparkle, and color, and I liked her immediately. Her mission in life is to “make the world a brighter place on my own terms, full of fun for everyone.” And one of the ways she’s doing this is through her Snail Mail Game Show.

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The Snail Mail Game Show consists of quirky artsy challenges that arrive by mail and must be submitted back to Mary by mail within a certain period of time. I entered a bit late, so I just barely made it to Round 3: The Evolution of Man Challenge.

Uncustomary Art - Snail Mail Game Show - Round 3 Materials via @poorandpretty

Mary sent out a printed copy of the Evolution of Man chart and asked for players to create the next stage of man. Mary’s instructions read “Your submission can be done with a ball point pen, glitter glue, or you can scan in your image and mess around in your Paint program!” I’m not great at drawing (physically or digitally) so I called upon my rusty collaging skills and started cutting up old issues of BUST Magazine

Uncustomary Art - Snail Mail Game Show - Round 3 Evolution of Woman via @poorandpretty

When I was finished, I arrived at a pretty hilarious Evolution of Woman, featuring a monkey head key decoration, a bunny mask, an overlarge hat and dress, and a pajama-clad Wonder Woman. It’s pretty bad, but I love it. It’s no world-class art installation, but it was fun to cut up magazines and make ridiculous art. Anyway, I’m fairly certain Mary will get a kick out of it.

Want to participate in Round 4? Sign up here!

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Friday Faves: Summer Reading

Summer Reading feature via @poorandpretty

What are you reading this summer? Here are a few things I’ve read & loved, am currently reading, or is on my to-read list:

Summer Reading via @poorandpretty

1. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Currently reading and totally obsessed. I’ve actually begun waking up earlier so I can read this in the morning before I go to work. Also: shirking off household chores and other things I should be doing in order to read. It’s like a grown-up Twilight meets Charmed. I’ll likely finish the entire All Souls Trilogy this summer.

2. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. If I decide not to finish the All Souls Trilogy this summer — or if I finish them and am looking for something else — I’ll move on to Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins, which my Dad really liked and lent to me. Don’t you love sharing books with family members?

3. Game of Thrones, Book 1: A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. I’m not even sure I can handle this one, but my friend Anton gave it to me as a birthday present. It’s just so daunting! I’m current with the show, so I definitely don’t want to read past it, but something tells me this book would take me a while…

4. Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos. I picked this one up years ago at a consignment shop, but I never read it until this winter. It’s a quick but lovely and heart-warming read told from the perspectives of a spirited 31-year-old woman and a 1o-year-old girl with a distant father and bipolar mother. It sounds like it would be depressing, but I promise it isn’t. I love Marisa de los Santos’ writing style – informal, as if you’re a friend she’s telling a (sometimes) long-winded story to. It’s very much how I tell stories. This is a great summer beach read!

5. Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos. This is the follow-up to Love Walked In. It’s a little heavier (emotionally, but also physically because I mistakenly bought the large print edition, ha!) than the first and I liked Love Walked In better, but it’s worth a read if you want to know what happens to main characters Cornelia and Claire after Love Walked In

I’d love to hear what you’re reading and your recommendations for my next books, in the comments!

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