5 Beauty Benefits of Lavender

Lavender beauty benefits feature

Five years ago, I was just starting to read ingredient labels and ask questions about all of those unpronounceable things in my cosmetics. Today, I’m making products with only natural (and pronounceable!) ingredients in them in hopes of ridding bathroom shelves around the world of nasty chemicals. I thought I’d share some of the amazing natural ingredients I use in my products, and a few reasons why I use them. Let’s start with lavender, the most gentle and useful essential oil.

5 beauty benefits of lavender via @poorandpretty

1. Beauty sleep. Lavender is best known for its ability to relieve stress and induce sleep and relaxation. If you’re suffering from insomnia or find yourself restless, place a lavender sachet into or near your pillow, or take a bath before bed with my Lavender Bathing Salts.

2. Fights acne. Because of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, lavender essential oil fights bacteria that causes acne infections and reduces swelling and redness. It also works great as an astringent because it helps normalize oil production. For spot treatment, you can apply lavender essential oil can be directly to acne blemishes with a cotton swab.

3. Renews skin. As an antioxidant, lavender essential oil aids in the skin cell renewal process, making it a champion at firming skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also protects against and relieves sun damage. Another great reason to use my Lavender Sugar Scrub — which can also be used as a facial scrub.

4. Heals burns, wounds, scars, and chapped lips. Aside from fighting acne, Lavender’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory attributes make it beneficial for relieving pain and healing burns, wounds, scars, and chapped lips.

5. Promotes a healthy scalp. Lavender improves blood circulation, treats dandruff, and reduces hair loss, making it a great addition to a hair rinse or conditioner. And, it kills lice! It’s especially effective when paired with tea tree oil.

Need more lavender in your life? I use lavender essential oil and flower powder in my Lavender Bathing Salts and Lavender Sugar Scrubs. Check out my Etsy shop for even more handmade, 100% natural goodness.

Warning: Do not use lavender essential oil if you are pregnant or nursing.

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Outfit: Red & Renaissance

Red and Renaissance outfit feature

Red and Renaissance outfit - magic hour - via @poorandpretty

I haven’t done in outfit post in over a month, but I’m so happy with how these photos came out! Stan and I were able to capture that elusive “magic hour” yesterday. The sun beaming through the trees makes my new red hair look like it’s on fire. I love it!

Red and Renaissance outfit via @poorandpretty

I can’t believe I haven’t shown off this sweater before — it’s one of my favorites. It’s cozy and soft and I love the shape. I call it my “Renaissance cardigan” because the way the sleeves fall remind me of that era. Plus, the tag says “Guinevere” (which I think may be an Anthropologie line.) I bought it a few years ago at Teenage Wasteland, a consignment shop in Simsbury, CT.

Red and Renaissance outfit 2 via @poorandpretty

Oh, and my hair! I think I’ve finally found the color it was always meant to be. Last week, Suzi helped me dye it using Henna Color Lab’s Wine Red Henna Hair Dye. I’ve wanted to try out henna for a few years because there are so many horrific chemicals in regular hair dye and I really love my hair when it’s red. Last year I tried out Manic Panic, which is less chemical-ly, but it faded really quickly. So I took the plunge, did lots of research, and went with Henna Color Lab. I am SO HAPPY! I’ll go into more detail in a few weeks. I want to keep track of how the color holds up.

Miz Mooz button boots via @poorandpretty

I’m also glad I get to break these babies out. I bought them at the tail end of boot season earlier this year, so they hardly got any use. They’re very comfortable, and I really like the button detail.

Red and Renaissance outfit closeup via @poorandpretty

Outfit Details: Renaissance Cardigan: Guinevere, Teenage Wasteland, $20 (similar). Green cami: Old Navy, $4. Book Shop Stop Jeans: Angry Rabbit, ModCloth, $55 (similar, similar). Button Wedge Boots: Miz Mooz, DSW, $120 (similar, similar).

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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Happy Halloween!

Renaissance Elf_feature

Happy Halloween, ghouls and boils! What are you dressing up as this year? I had most of my Halloween excitement last weekend when I dressed up for the Renaissance Faire as an elf:

Renaissance Elf

Though I’d love to wear this outfit again to work today, the corset is a bit… well, binding. So I’m just wearing the elf ears with a normal outfit. Think anyone will notice?

elf ears

(Oh! And check out my newly henna’d hair! More on that later.)

Tonight, Stan and I are going to stay in and watch some classic Halloween movies or catch up on The Walking Dead and hand out candy. Which reminds me: I have to pick up some candy! Tomorrow night, my friend Jessica and I are seeing The Rocky Horror Show at Trinity-on-Main in New Britain, and I’ll be dressed up for that, too.

Whatever your plans for tonight and this weekend: Stay safe and have fun! And if you need any last-minute costume ideas, treats, or Halloween decor, check out my Halloween DIY Roundup.

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31 Last-Minute Halloween DIYs: Costumes, Treats, & Decor

halloween-2014-feature

One of my favorite Poor & Pretty traditions (dating back to 2011!) is putting together a Halloween DIY roundup post every year. This is the biggest one yet, with 31 last-minute easy handmade costumes, cocktails, cookies, and more!

Costumes: Most of these will be so easy to pull off with things you already have in your closet, or a quick trip to your favorite thrift shop.

rosie-the-riveter-costume

1. Rosie the Riveter via What I Wore.

marla-singer-and-tyler-durden-costumes

2. Marla Singer and Tyler Durden (from Fight Club) via Uproxx.

wednesday addams costume

3. Wednesday Addams (The Addams Family) via designlovefest. (She also has a Twiggy costume DIY!)

jesse and walt costume

4. Walt & Jesse (Breaking Bad) via Reddit. Kudos to these guys for doing season one Walt and Jesse. You don’t see them very often! But please don’t dress your children as Walt & Jesse. That is all kinds of messed up. “Coolest parents ever”? Ah, no.

Morton Salt Girl costume

5. Morton Salt girl via Keiko Lynn.

bonnie and clyde costume

6. Bonnie & Clyde (a classic!) via Hellcat Vintage.

fox-makeup

7. Fox via The Wonder Forest. What does the fox say? You’ll have to tell us!

Drinks & Cocktails:

candy corn jello shots

8. Candy Corn Jell-O Shots via A Beautiful Mess.

homemade pumpkin juice via @poorandpretty

9. Pumpkin Juice via Poor & Pretty. {Add rum for an adult cocktail!}

bloody candy apple milkshake

10. Bloody Candy Apple Milkshake via Kailley’s Kitchen.

blackberry margarita

11. Blackberry Margarita via A Fabulous Fete.

pumpkin pie margarita

12. Pumpkin Pie Margarita via Red UK.

mrs bates cocktail

13. Mrs. Bates cocktail via designlovefest.

Tricks & Treats and Tricky Treats!

monster-drink-stirrers

14. Monster Cocktail Stirrers via A Beautiful Mess. Stick these in all those devilish drinks you’ll be mixing up!

vampire red velvet cake

15. Vampire Attack Red Velvet Cake via Butter Hearts Sugar. This is possibly the coolest cake I have ever seen. If you leave out the “bite marks,” this could also be a Dexter cake!

monster eye cake

16. Monster Eye Cake via The Cake Blog.

Pumpkin-Pie-Cupcake-Poor-and-Pretty

17. Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes via Poor & Pretty.

ghost meringues

18. Meringue Ghosts via Butter Flour Eggs.

chocolate monster bowls

19. Chocolate Monster Bowls via A Beautiful Mess.

surprise Halloween cookies

20. Trick-Or-Treat Cookies via Not Martha.

jack-o-lantern-cookies

21. Jack-O-Lantern Cookies via Say Yes.

Dusty Bones Sugar Cookies

22. Dusty Bones Sugar Cookies via Sprinkle Bakes.

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23. Sneaky Ghost Cookies via Make Me Cake.

ghost lollipops

24. Ghost Lollipop Bouquet via A Beautiful Mess.

caramel corn

25. Sweet & Salty Caramel Corn via Handmade Charlotte.

Decor:

pineapple-jack-o-lantern

26. Pineapple Jack-O-Lantern via A Subtle Revelry. Pumpkins are so 2013, guys.

horror movie quote tray

27. Horror Flick Quote Trays via designlovefest.

halloween-skull-bookends

28. Dollar Store Skull Bookends via Curbly.

head vase

29. Head Vase via A Fabulous Fete.

squash-letters

30. Butternut Squash Name Cards via Oh Happy Day!

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31. DIY Halloween Backdrop via Free People.

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Recipe: Copycat Harry Potter Pumpkin Juice

homemade pumpkin juice via @poorandpretty 550

homemade pumpkin juice via @poorandpretty

This time last year, Stan and I were gearing up for our five-year-anniversary trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Since they’ve opened up the second part, I’m so wishing we could go back this year, but I’ll settle for making copycat drinks instead. (It’s much less expensive!) I made pumpkin juice for the first time a few weeks ago when Stan and I visited our friends Dave, Jessica, and their kiddies to watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. You know me — I love themed parties! I read a lot of recipes, and finally settled on an adaptation of this one from Bryton Taylor. It tastes pretty darn close to what they’re serving up in the Wizarding World. Even though it sounds like it would be gross, it’s actually really, really good. I was surprised how much I liked it. It would be a perfect kid-safe drink to serve at Halloween parties! Or spike it with a little bit of rum for adults. ;)

Pumpkin Juice, adapted from Bryton Taylor. Serves 8-10 people.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 29 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 6 cups apple juice
  • 1 9.6 oz can pear nectar (about 1 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup sugar

pumpkin puree via @poorandpretty

1. In a blender, blend water with canned pumpkin for a minute or so.

straining pumpkin via @poorandpretty

2. Sift this mixture through a fine mesh strainer, then pour the resulting liquid into a large saucepan or pot. Set the pumpkin puree aside.

pumpkin juice simmering via @poorandpretty

3. Add apple juice, pear nectar, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, and sugar to the pot and let simmer for about 30 minutes.

4. Optional: Add 1/3 cup of the strained pumpkin puree and let simmer another 10 minutes or so. I like adding the extra pumpkin puree back in because it gives the juice a little more of a gritty, cider texture, but you should do what tastes best to you!

pumpkin juice via @poorandpretty

That’s really it! You can serve it hot or iced. (I prefer it hot.)

P.S. Can anyone guess whose wand that is? I’ll give you a hint: it belongs to my favorite Harry Potter character.

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