Upcoming Holiday Events

Craft Fair Events feature image

I’ve now got an event going on every Saturday until Christmas! I hope to see your face at one of them! But if you can’t say hello and shop in-person, you can grab all of my products in my Etsy shop.

Park City Pop-Up blog

Saturday, November 15: 11am – 3pm: Park City Pop-Up! 
B:Hive Bridgeport
285 Fairfield Ave
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Get details & directions here.

Canton Holiday Craft Fair FB Event

Saturday, November 22: 10am – 4pm: Canton Holiday Craft Fair
Canton High School Gymnasium
76 Simonds Ave
Canton, CT 06019
Raffle proceeds and vendor fees benefit the Canton Dollars for Scholars Fund.
Get details & directions here.

Celebrate Shelton_blog

Celebrate Shelton Downtown Handmade Market
Conti Building
415 Howe Ave
Shelton, CT 06484

Dates:
Black Friday, November 28: 6pm – 9pm
Small Business Saturday, November 29: 10am – 5pm
Saturday, December 6: 10am – 3pm
Saturday, December 13: 10am – 3pm
Saturday, December 20: 10am – 3pm
Get details & directions here.

NoRa First Thursday blog

Thursday, December 4: 6pm – 10pm: NoRA’s First Thursday
NoRA Cupcake Company
700 Main St
Middletown, CT 06457
Get details & directions here.

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Recipe: Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream via @poorandpretty feature

As I was preparing to write this post, I realized the only photo you’ve ever seen of my “little” brother Chris is this one from when he was about 4. So here’s a more recent one – from his graduation from the Pre-Pharmacy program at UConn earlier this year!

Chris Graduation

Not so “little” anymore, right?!

Anyway, Chris loves Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, but his birthday (October 26) tends to be a little on the chilly side. So I made him Mint Chocolate Cupcakes to celebrate his 23rd.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream recipe via @poorandpretty

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream Frosting – makes 12 regular cupcakes or about 60 minis.

For the cupcakes, I used the same recipe I did for my Chocolate Dirt Cupcakes because it’s perfect and the cupcakes come out so most!

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (I used dark chocolate melting wafers)
  • ¾ cup black tea or coffee, hot
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ tbs vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

And the frosting is my standard buttercream with peppermint essential oil and green food coloring mixed in:

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp peppermint essential oil – make sure it’s food grade! Most peppermint essential oil should be, but definitely check. If you don’t have peppermint EO handy, you can use a flavoring or extract, but you may need to use more
  • 6 drops green food coloring (I used neon green)

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream 3 via @poorandpretty

Cupcake Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line your cupcake tin with paper or silicone cupcake liners.

2. Add the cocoa powder and chopped chocolate into a medium bowl and pour the hot coffee or tea over it. Whisk together until the chocolate has melted and your mixture is smooth. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Dirt Cupcakes - finely chopped bittersweet chocolate - poorandpretty

(Here’s a reference photo for how small the chocolate should be chopped.)

3. In another medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

4. Once your chocolate mixture has cooled, mix in the eggs, oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract.

5. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture in two parts, scraping down the sides of the bowl and whisking until smooth each time.

6. Fill each cupcake liner about ¾ of the way, then bake for 16-20 minutes. While they’re cooking, make your pudding.

7. Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack or in their tin for about an hour.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream via @poorandpretty

Frosting Directions:

1. Cream butter with the paddle attachment on your stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) in a medium bowl, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times to get any devious clumps of butter.

2. Pour in one cup of confectioner’s sugar and mix well — again, scraping the sides of the bowl for clumps. Then, repeat with the other cup of confectioner’s sugar.

3. Mix in your vanilla extract, peppermint essential oil, and green food coloring.

4. Mix in your milk, one tablespoon at a time.

5. Add more confectioner’s sugar if necessary.

6. Frost your cupcakes and enjoy!

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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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