Christmas Wishlist

Christmas Wishlist 2014_feat

I know I said I was excited about winter and snow, but I was sick all weekend and still trying to shake this cold/sinus infection thing. Luckily, I just made homemade vapor rub, which has definitely helped. I am excited about the Christmas/gifting part of winter. I love giving and receiving gifts pretty much equally. While I can’t tell you what I’m giving, I can tell you a few things I hope to receive!

Christmas Wishlist 2014

1. Giant Gem Speaker via I’d really like some portable speakers, and this just looks fun!

2. Sprinkles iPhone 6 Case via Pencil Shavings Studio. I don’t have an iPhone 6 yet, but I’ll be treating myself to one after the holidays, so I need a pretty case for it. :)

3. DCR-250 Super Macro Snap-On Lens via Raynox. Because I can’t justifying buying — or having someone else buy me — a real macro lens. This receives really good reviews and should do the trick for closeup photos of my products.

4. Cause for Celebration Heel via ModCloth. I want some sensible winter footwear that isn’t boots. These are so cute! (And would go really well with this outfit.)

5. Holly Golightly Dress in Plum via Fleet Collection. I have been wanting a dress from Fleet Collection for a while now – there are so many adorable choices, all made in Los Angeles.

6. Haven’t Seen You In Ears Coat via ModCloth. You might remember this coat from this post. I want it so much, I’ve blogged about it twice!

Don’t forget – today is the last day to enter to win my Blogversary Giveaway! If you haven’t entered yet, you should! Do it here.

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.


Fighting Colds Naturally with Mint & Rosemary + a DIY Vapor Rub Tutorial

DIY Mint + Rosemary Vapor Rub feature

Well friends, there’s no way around it. Cold season is here. But I’m going to help you power through it with my friends Mint and Rosemary. Both of these herbs and their essential oils are good friends to have around when coughing and congestion set in.

Cold Season Benefits of Peppermint: The menthol in peppermint things mucus, breaks up phlegm, and relieves coughing, which is why it’s common to see peppermint or menthol as an ingredient in cold and flu remedies. Peppermint also acts as an astringent and kills bacteria.

Cold Season Benefits of Rosemary: Like peppermint, rosemary essential oil is invigorating and breathing it in will relieve respiratory problems by opening up your sinuses. Rosemary boosts your immune system and is an antiseptic.

Mint and Rosemary Salt Scrubs_600

Mint and Rosemary Herbal Cold Remedies:

Herbal Steam: Put a tablespoon each of fresh mint leaves and rosemary sprigs into a large bowl. Bring two quarts of water to a boil, then pour over your herbs and let steep for about five minutes. Cover your head and the bowl with a towel, close your eyes, and lean into the bowl slowly inhaling the steam through your nose. Continue to inhale and exhale the steam for 5-10 minutes. If you don’t have fresh herbs handy, you can also do this with a few drops each of peppermint and rosemary essential oils. Asthmatics should use caution when doing herbal steams as it may upset asthma.

Mint and Rosemary Bathing Salts top2_600

Mint + Rosemary Bath: Add a few drops of mint and rosemary essential oils to your bath water, or pick up my all-natural Mint + Rosemary Bathing Salts. Just add 1-2 tablespoons of bathing salts to your bath water to open sinuses, detoxify, and soothe achy muscles. Not a bath person? Try my Mint + Rosemary Salt Scrub in the shower instead.

Mint Tea: Pick up some peppermint tea and drink it during cold season, breathing in the vapors as you do. Add local honey to it to soothe a sore throat.

Homemade Mint + Rosemary Vapor Rub Recipe via @poorandpretty

Homemade Mint + Rosemary Vapor Rub:

I kept this recipe very simple because not everyone has things like cocoa butter or beeswax in their home! Coconut oil absorbs into the skin quickly and doesn’t leave it oily or sticky. Stan doesn’t like using lotions unless he really needs to because he hates the greasy feeling that many of them leave, so I took all of this into consideration when I made him this vapor rub. :)

You will need:

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • ½ tsp peppermint essential oil
  • ½ tsp rosemary essential oil
  • an 8oz jar

DIY Mint + Rosemary Vapor Rub - ingredients via @poorandpretty

1. Microwave coconut oil to melt.

2. Add in essential oils and blend with hand or stand mixer.

3. Freeze in bowl for 15-20 minutes.

4. Blend with hand or stand mixer for about 6 minutes, scraping down the sides a few times to get any solidified coconut oil.

5. Once it’s nice and whipped, decant it into an 8 oz jar.

DIY Mint + Rosemary Vapor Rub via @poorandpretty

6. Spread a little bit onto your chest and breathe deeply. It’s best to use this overnight for maximum impact.

What other natural cold-fighting remedies do you swear by? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!


Blogiversary Flashback: 2009 & 2010

P&P Blogiversary 2009-2010 Highlights_feat

P&P Blogiversary 2009-2010 Highlights

It is unbelievable how much I’ve written in the last five years! Over 630 posts! So I thought it’d be fun to take a look back at a few of my favorite posts or events from a particular year each week until the end of the month. Here’s 2009 & 2010:

1. Lip Service: DIY Lip Balm. The very first post on Poor & Pretty, on December 2nd, 2009, was my tutorial on making lip balm. It’s still a pretty darn good recipe, too! But I will say I’m glad my photography skills have improved. ;)

2. Poor, Pretty, & Peonies. Mish and I visited Peonies, a consignment boutique co-owned by my former boss, Pam Williams. Pam gave us free reign of the shop so we put together a fun video on how to score great deals and create fun outfits from consignment shops. Sadly, Peonies is now closed, but our blog post was later picked up by!

3. DIY: Cucumber & Almond Exfoliating/Cooling Mask. Apparently, I was on a vlogging kick in 2010. Stan helped me film a tutorial of Scarlett and I making a cooling and exfoliating mask made with cucumber and almond. My videography and mask-making skills have also improved, but mostly I like to watch this because Scarlett is so stinkin’ cute in it.

4. Friday Faves: Michigan Editigan {Read: Michigan Edish-igan}. In July of 2010, Stan and I visited our friends Ben and Marcus in Michigan! It was so much fun seeing them and staying up way too late playing Risk in funny hats.

5. Guest Post: Stan’s All-Natural Strawberry Lemonade. Stan has written a few guest posts for me, and this is my favorite. We haven’t made our own lemonade in a long time… I think it’s time we start again because this was delicious.

6. 60B Photography Photo Shoot. I was so thankful to win Jillian Farrell’s free photo shoot in November 2010 because she’s a truly gifted photographer. We did a few photo shoots together, but the first one she did of Stan and I is my favorite. She captured some truly sweet and playful moments.

7. Now Open: The Cupcake Soap Shoppe by Poor & Pretty. With a little photography help from Jill, and lots of support from friends and family, I opened up my Etsy shop one year after starting the Poor & Pretty blog. What a rush!

Psst: Don’t forget to enter to win one of the 6 awesome Connecticut-made goodies from my Blogiversary Giveaway Bash if you haven’t already!


Poor & Pretty’s 5th Blogiversary Giveaway Bash!

P&P Blogiversary Giveaway Bash-feature

(Photo by Jillian Farrell)

Five years ago, my friend Mish and I began Poor & Pretty as a way to share our frugal DIYs, beauty tips, thrifted outfits, and favorite places to shop, eat, and play in our great/tiny state of Connecticut. I took the reigns solo a few months in and have continued to pour my heart and soul into this blog. Other than my relationship with Stan, it’s the longest commitment I’ve ever had! This blog pushes me to be creative and live passionately every day. It led me to meeting some of the most inspiring people I know call friends, and empowered me to make the leap into entrepreneurship. And I could not have done it without all of you amazing readers!

To thank all of you for sticking with me these last five years (and hopefully many more!), I’ve got some fantastic goodies for you. I’ve partnered with a few of my favorite Connecticut-based small businesses and lady entrepreneurs to bring you the biggest giveaway bash I’ve ever hosted. These businesses embody everything Poor & Pretty readers hold dear: creativity, a sense of place, a reverence for quality handcrafted goods, and a zest for life. Let’s meet the makers:

Blogiversary Giveaway - cinder and salt

Remember Rachel DeCavage of sugarplumUSA? She’s transitioned most of her designs over to her new company, Cinder + Salt. Her focus remains on creating eco-friendly, sustainable clothing and accessories for men and women. The new brand 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. Through Rachel’s hand drawn designs, she always aims to capture her appreciation for nature, whole living and authenticity.

Blogiversary Giveaway - cinder and salt gift card

Cinder + Salt is giving away a $20 gift card to their shop, so you can use it on any of Rachel’s hand-drawn designs — whether it’s on a tee, a comfy slouchy pullover, an overnight bag, skinny tie, or even ornaments! Check out her shop here. Details on how to win the $20 gift card is at the end of this post.

5th Blogiversary Giveaway - the confetti bar

The Confetti Bar’s Jessica Serra Huizenga is on a mission to “spread happiness & confetti all around.” She’s doing a great job of it, too, with over 40 unique handcrafted confetti mixes, including biodegradable and plantable options. She does customization for weddings, birthdays, or other fun events, and has worked with kate spade new york and West Elm. She’s one of my favorite inspiring Instagrammers.

Blogiversary Giveaway confetti bar - cup of confetti

Jessica has been sweet enough to donate one cup of confetti to the Poor & Pretty Blogiversary Giveaway Bash, so go look at all of her pretty mixes! I’m especially fond of Reindeer Food (made with real oats!) and Unicorn Dandruff (pictured above). Details on how to win is at the end of this post.

Blogiversary Giveaway - Hartford Prints

Meet the Gale sisters! From left to right: Rory (younger sister), Callie (middle sister), and Addy (older sister), founders of Hartford Prints!, a boutique letterpress shop right in the hart of Connecticut. From stunning wedding invitations to offbeat greeting cards, Addy’s printing prowess, Callie’s killer style, and Rory’s graphic genius work together to make effortlessly beautiful designs. They just celebrated one year in their retail space on Pratt Street, and if you’re in the area and haven’t popped in, you should definitely visit the bright turquoise shop.

Blogiversary Giveaway Hartford Prints - punny holiday greeting cards

They’re giving away a 6 pack of their punny holiday greeting cards – 2 each of the above designs. A few of my friends can expect to see these from Stan and I this year. ;) Details on how to win the greeting card pack is at the end of this post.

Blogiversary Giveaway - kate stephen jewelry

Like her unique, handcrafted jewelry, Kate Stephen is a total gem. She creates beautiful, sculptural adornments with natural and upcycled materials. Some of her favorite materials are copper, brass, handpicked seashells, sea glass, stones and vintage beads. She made me the lovely copper necklace and wire-wrapped quartz ring I wore in my Something Wicked outfit post. As a fully self-employed entrepreneur, Kate works tirelessly to inspire and foster community within the Connecticut maker community, which is why she co-founded State of Makers. Details on how to win is at the end of this post.

Blogiversary Giveaway Kate Stephen Jewelry - half moon brass necklace

Kate has contributed one of her half moon brass necklaces as a giveaway item. It features a sculpted and hammered brass half moon on a brass chain. Kate would like you to know that copper and brass naturally oxidize over time and develop a patina. Some people love that look and some prefer to keep it shiny. Here are some suggestions for how to shine up your copper or brass jewelry using common household supplies like lemon juice or ketchup.

Blogiversary Giveaway NoRA Cupcake Co

Who bakes the best cupcakes (and sometimes s’mores) in Connecticut? Carrie Carella, founder of NoRA Cupcake Company, nestled North of Rapallo Avenue in downtown Middletown. With over 100 flavors, I can’t say I’ve tried them all, but believe me I’m working on it! So far, I’m all about the Bananas Foster, Irish Car Bomb, and Raspberry Lemonade.

Blogiversary Giveaway NoRA Cupcake Co - cupcake 6 pack

Carrie is giving one lucky Poor & Pretty reader a coupon good for any 6 cupcakes from her bakery. You can bring ‘em to your next holiday party (they’re big enough to share), or you can keep them all to yourself while muttering “my precious” under your breath. We won’t judge you either way. ;) And if you’re nearby this Thursday, stop in for NoRA’s First Thursday to stroll, shop, eat and drink in the local vibe! I’ll be there with my Apothecary products. Details on how to win the NoRA Cupcake Company 6-pack coupon is at the end of this post.

Blogiversary Giveaway - Northeast Nutmeg

Northeast Nutmeg is the new kid on the block, having just launched last month. Founders Erin and Allie have a knack for inventing deliciously creative handmade candles that both smell and look incredible. Each candle is made using soy wax from soy grown right here in the USA and feature lots of local Connecticut small business ingredients.

Blogiversary Giveaway northeast nutmeg - soy candle

Erin and Allie are giving away one of their hand-poured candles! All of their scents are wonderful — I just bought a bunch of them and haven’t decided if I’m going to keep them all to myself or give them as gifts. It’s been that kind of holiday shopping season for me! They will also be at NoRA’s First Thursday this week. (I’ll have to control myself.) They’re also hosting a candle-making demonstration at the Haven Collective on December 14th. Want to win the Northeast Nutmeg soy candle? Details below.

OMG How do I win?! I know, it’s a little overwhelming. What do you choose? So many awesome things! Here’s the deal: Scroll through the items in the Rafflecopter box below until you’ve selected the item you’d like to win and enter your email address. Then, leave a comment on this blog post about what you entered to win (and if you’re going to keep it or gift it ;) You can score extra entries by sharing this giveaway with your friends or following any of these wonderful companies on Twitter. Please only enter once, and for one item. We want to spread the joy around by letting lots of people win this holiday season. If we catch you using alter egos or different email addresses, we’ll sadly have to disqualify your entries. :( The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only until 11:59 pm Monday, December 8th. Good luck!!! This contest is closed – thank you for entering! Congrats to the winners!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  • Cinder + Salt Gift Card: Laura M.
  • The Confetti Bar Confetti: Suzi J.
  • Hartford Prints! Holiday Greeting Cards: Jessica B.
  • Half Moon Necklace by Kate Stephen Jewelry: Brittany D.
  • NoRA Cupcake Co. 6-Pack of Cupcakes: Anne M. C.
  • Northeast Nutmeg Candle: Sue V.

If I have not contacted you yet, I will shortly. Thank you again for participating!


Outfit: Dot Dot Bash

Dot Dot Bash feature

Dot Dot Bash outfit 3 via @poorandpretty

Happy Black Friday! I hope your Thanksgiving was full of delicious food and great company. As per tradition, Stan and I spent it at my Dad’s house and I went over earlier to make cranberry sauce and bread. I also contributed apple cup pies. It was a smaller crowd than we usually have — just my Dad, his girlfriend Carolyn, my aunt Kathy and uncle Ray, Stan, and I. My “little brother” Chris came by later for games, pie, and a movie. ♥

Dot Dot Bash outfit via @poorandpretty

Good thing Stan and I took these photos before all the snow! We got a few inches over the last two days, but it’s still at that pretty, not piled-high-and-dirty phase so I like looking out at it. I’ll be wearing this very dotty outfit to the Celebrate Shelton Black Friday Handmade Market tonight.

Dot Dot Bash outfit shoes closeup via @poorandpretty

Oh, and now that the cat’s out of the bag on our new polka dot Weekender watches at Timex, I can tell you my marketing idea! I thought in our advertising we should say, “Dot dot bash: you’re invited to the polka party.” But mostly I got quizzical, concerned looks. So I used it to title this outfit post instead. ;)

Dot Dot Bash outfit accessories closeup via @poorandpretty

Until I can get my hands on one of the new reversible polka dot ones (early next year), I decided to wear my lime green DIY embroidered Timex Weekender Slip-Thru watch.

Also: it has been almost exactly five years since I started Poor & Pretty. CRAZY. Stay tuned for a big announcement on Monday!

Dot Dot Bash outfit 2 via @poorandpretty

Outfit Details: Pink Oversized Sweater: Old Navy, $15 (similar). Pixie Polka Dot Pants: Old Navy, $27 (similar). Oxfords: Le Bunny Bleu, $60 (similar, similar). Polka Dot Infinity Scarf: Old Navy, $5. (similar, similar). Watch: Timex Weekender Slip-Thru, courtesy of Timex and Brit + Co.

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.