5th Annual Hartford Trashion Fashion Show: Sunday, April 19

Trashion Fashion Show model feature

Trashion Fashion Show Hartford 2015 poster

It’s that time of year again! Now in its 5th year, the Hartford Trashion Fashion Show will be taking over Hartford City Hall next Sunday, April 19th to celebrate Earth Day, the arrival of Spring, and educate onlookers about sustainability.

Trashion Fashion Show model

It’s always a great time, with gorgeous upcycled runway fashion. I’m happy to be vending for my fourth year!

Poor + Pretty Booth

I will have plenty of my 100% natural sugar & salt scrubs, bath salts, lip & body balms, face masks, and more available during and after the show inside City Hall, but don’t miss the Earth Day Eco Market happening outside!


Remembering Vivi, the Greatest Aunt



It’s never easy to let someone go, no matter how long you’ve had them. On Monday, my family said goodbye to my Great Aunt Vivi, and I’ve been battling with my grief and bouts of deep sadness ever since. At 1:00 this morning, I cried on the phone with my Aunt Kathy, who put it best: “She wasn’t just an aunt. She was another grandmother to you.” And she’s right. This feels like losing my Nana all over again. Vivi has been the matriarch of our family since Nana’s passing in 1998, but she was a mother and grandmother to us long before then. One blog post couldn’t possibly convey my love for her, but I’d like to at least try. So today, I’m raising a glass, sharing a few memories, and toasting to a life well and fully lived.

Erickson sisters

You may remember this photo from my Nana Tribute a few years ago. Nana (my paternal grandmother) is on the left, looking at her older sisters Ginny (middle) and Vivi (right). Vivi was the eldest of her sisters, and the last of her generation.

Joe + Viv

Viv was quick-witted and always said exactly what was on her mind. She and her husband Joe (who passed away in 2007) were the most hilarious couple I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. One of my favorite Joe and Viv-isms is a story Joe would tell about how Vivi farted loudly in bed one night and Joe said, “I don’t know how I’m going to explain to the cleaners how I got shit on the outside of my pants!” Ha!!! :)

Though they had no children, Joe and Viv loved all of their 17 nieces and nephews, 32 great nieces and nephews, and 23 great great nieces and nephews (wow!) as their own.

South of the Border

They had a special spot in their heart for my Dad — the youngest of his siblings — and later, Suzi and I. Above, Vivi is flanked by Suzi (right) and I (left) at South of the Border in South Carolina on our way to Disney World in 1992 or 1993. Joe and Viv didn’t like to fly, so they drove us down to Florida and back. They loved recounting the story of how Suzi and I thoroughly trashed the backseat of Joe’s Cadillac so that when we got home he traded it in for a new one.

McDonalds at Viv + Joe's

I loved visiting Viv and Joe’s house. They had a few toys and office supplies to keep me busy, but I mostly liked shining up the chandelier in their dining room (what a weird kid!) or putting on all of Vivi’s necklaces and clip-on earrings (she never pierced her ears) or pretending to sell them to Viv and Joe. Going to Viv & Joe’s almost always meant having McDonald’s, which was a treat for us as kids. I used to stay home “sick” from school sometimes so I could watch movies with my Nana, and Viv and Joe would always come by around lunch time with McDonald’s. It’s no wonder I played hooky so often! I was totally spoiled.

Christmas 1997

And speaking of being spoiled, Vivi would take me shopping every year for pretty dresses for Easter and Christmas, and sometimes back-to-school clothes. The dress above (I think this is Christmas 1997) is almost certainly a Vivi-purchased dress. Nana is leaning over to inspect a present on the left and my stepbrother Zach is admiring my skirt (or trying to make his way to the Hot Wheels). When Viv took me shopping, Joe would drive us to the mall and as we went off to Lord & Taylor (Viv’s favorite store), he would plop down in the chairs in the middle of the mall and take a nap. We’d wake him up when it was time to leave or grab lunch.

Vivi + Stan

I apologize for the grainy quality of this photo — my photography skills have improved a lot since this was taken in 2009! Vivi never commented on my boyfriends much, until I brought Stan home. She loved Stan. She would always make sure he sat next to her, and she’d hold his hand the whole time they were together, and she’d tell him over and over again: “I never thought anybody was good enough for Sami, except you.” ♥ She’d totally hit on him, too! But, then again, after Joe passed away, Vivi would vocally fantasize about being with a certain local Catholic priest too, so her love knew no boundaries. The below sound clip is proof:

My Dad, cousin Steven, and I are discussing the guest list for Vivi’s 90th birthday party, and he’s on the list! (By the way, one of her favorite movies was The Thorn Birds…)

The same day we recorded the above, Vivi questioned our motives for visiting her, the proceeded to gush about me, then my Dad:

The “big fat Italian” she refers to so lovingly would be Joe. Real nice, right? ;)

Vivi had an excellent memory, and was a great storyteller. Over the past few years, I recorded a few snippets like the two above, and I have another one I’d like to share, but it may be disturbing to young audiences. Vivi’s claim to fame is her excerpt in Steward O’Nan’s 2008 book The Circus Fire: A True Story of an American Tragedy, a study of the Hartford circus fire on July 6, 1944. Here’s Vivi’s story:

The file is large, so it may take some time to load, and there’s some distracting background noise later in the file.

Stan and I visited Vivi for the last time this past Saturday. It was hard to say goodbye, but I leaned in close to her “good ear” and told her I loved her. She wasn’t very responsive, but I know she heard me, she knew I loved her, and I always will.

Christmas 2013

“The ones that love us never really leave us.” ~Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (I love this quote from the movie). Vivi will live on in us through her stories, wit, and love.


Maker Takes: Catching up with For The Makers

Maker Takes Bali Hai feature via @poorandpretty

You guys. I haven’t posted a Maker Takes recap since September — yikes!! My For The Makers monthly DIY boxes have been stacking up, and while I’ve cracked a few of them open to make Christmas gifts, I’m sad to say they’ve mostly collected dust. Over the past few weeks, I’ve opened them up and created at least one project from each box. We’ll start with the most recent collection: Bali Hai.

Maker Takes Bali Hai supplies via @poorandpretty

The tropical-inspired Bali Hai collection is full of bright colors and dazzling fake gemstones, so it felt like a warm ray of sunshine — a light at the end of the New England winter tunnel.

For the Makers - Bali Hai

Even though I love the theme, I deviated quite a bit from the Bali Hai tutorials. I chose not to use rhinestones on my Oyster Bay Ring (above left is FTM’s version), and used supplies from the Sugarcane Necklace and Nui Pocket Mirror to make a small string bracelet instead:

Maker Takes Bali Hai via @poorandpretty

I also glitterized my Nui Pocket Mirror instead of gluing giant gemstones to it.

For the Makers Bali Hai - Glitter Pocket Mirror via @poorandpretty

It was pretty simple: lay the open pocket mirror flat on a piece of paper, spread a thin layer of Mod Podge over the lid, sprinkle glitter over it and let it dry. Once dry, shake off the excess glitter, then spread another later of Mod Podge over it to seal it in. Pour the excess glitter back into its container. :)

Maker Takes Bali Hai finished projects via @poorandpretty

The only project I wasn’t thrilled about was the Kora Kona Blush. I used all of the hibiscus and beet root powder and it barely gives me any color. Maybe I mixed it with too much of the white arrowroot powder? I don’t know. It looks pretty dark in the bottle, but it doesn’t function well as a blush. I’ll save it for tinting lip balms or something!

Maker Takes catching up via @poorandpretty

As for my catch-up crafts, I made the Clique Shoe Clips from the High Gloss Collection (you might remember them from my Monarch outfit), a modified version of the Velvetine Headband from the Havisham Collection, the Noma Bracelet and Jensen Necklace (hey, that’s my last name!) from the Leif Collection. I totally deviated from the from The Stargazer Collection‘s Stellar Embroidery, but there weren’t very many ways of making the simple Miró Necklace from the Untitled Collection.

Sauder Cottage Road Bench as photography backdrop closeup  via @poorandpretty

I really love the pastel and neutral hues of the Scandinavian-inspired Leif Collection. I’ve been rocking my Jensen Necklace and Noma Bracelet all spring, willing sunny skies and warmer weather.

Maker Takes Havisham - Velvetine Headband  via @poorandpretty

I used a few fake gems from previous projects to bedazzle my Velvetine Headband. It’s very pretty, but becomes uncomfortable after a few hours of wearing it. I suspect this is because the velvet is only on the outside of the headband, not wrapped around the inside, so the metal is resting right against my head. My handmade yarn-wrapped headbands are much more comfortable.

Maker Takes Love Embroidery via @poorandpretty

I reeeally love how my embroidery came out. I taught myself how to do a heavy chain stitch from this Needle n’ Thread article, and used the hoop and fabric from The Stargazer Collection and leftover thread from the Brit + Co. and Timex watch embroidery kit. Very simple, very pretty. It will hang nicely in our bedroom when we finally get around to painting and finishing it!

What projects have you been working on lately? Need a monthly reminder to craft? Sign up for a For the Makers subscription here.

Full disclosure: This post is not sponsored by For the Makers, but if you sign up for a subscription using the link above, I will receive a small discount off of my next box. (Second image is from For the Makers.)


Timex Weekender Dip Dye DIY

Timex Weekender Dip Dye DIY via @poorandpretty

Timex Weekender Dip Dye DIY - five straps2

Every once and while this magical thing happens where my work life coincides with my blog life. For those of you who don’t know, I have a full-time gig as an art director at Timex, which is why you see me wearing a lot of Timex watches in my outfit photos. A few weeks ago, I had this wild idea: let’s take some of our white nylon Weekender slip-thru straps and dip dye them in Easter egg dye because Easter is coming and I love pastels and DIYs! And my boss said go for it, and so I have. And you can too!

Timex Weekender Dip Dye DIY - materials and results

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Timex Weekender with white nylon strap and multicolored dial — get it here. This is my favorite watch from our Weekender line because of the colorful dial!
  • PAAS Egg Dye Kit
  • vinegar & water — see the instructions in the egg dye kit for details, but I found this worked best with vinegar
  • Glass jars or plastic cups
  • Paper towels (for drying & cleaning up messes)

Here’s what you do:

Can’t see the video above? Watch it here.

Timex Weekender Dip Dye DIY - five strap bottoms

Experiment dipping different lengths for different times.

Timex Weekender Dip Dye DIY - three straps

I used the yellow, green, and pink color tabs to achieve the above results. I was shooting for an ombre effect with the pink one, but when I double-dipped it, it just gave me a weird hot pink patch, so I dipped it in the green after I took this photo, and it turned purple. The yellow one gave me a great ombre though!

Timex Weekender Dip Dye DIY - yellow watch flat

To achieve an ombre effect, only dip an inch or two of the strap into the dye for about a minute, then take it out and lay it flat on paper towels. Watch the dye spread up the strap in a beautiful gradient!

Timex Weekender Dip Dye DIY - yellow watch

Pretty, pretty!

Timex Weekender Dip Dye DIY - 1 watch 3 straps

The Weekender line is awesome because you can easily switch up the slip-thru straps, creating different looks to go with different outfits. (You will not be surprised to hear that I have 10+ straps for my Weekender.)

Timex Weekender Dip Dye DIY - 5 watches fan

A few notes & precautions: Let your strap dry overnight before putting the case back on and wearing it. The color will not rub off on you (or your clothing) when it’s dry, but if it gets wet, the color will drip off. So keep your newly-dyed straps dry, peeps!


Outfit: Mint Sequins & Gold Dots at Monarch Workshop

View More: http://victoriagloria.pass.us/spring2015monarch

View More: http://victoriagloria.pass.us/spring2015monarch

A few weeks ago, I ordered the most glorious pair of leggings ever from Shoptiques. They are mint and covered in SEQUINS. I discovered them during my hunt for pretty Lucite Green things. I knew the first time I wore them had to be super special…

View More: http://victoriagloria.pass.us/spring2015monarch

So I wore them to Monarch! I got tons of compliments on them (there were plenty of sequin-loving ladies in the room), and even felt up a few times. Ha!

View More: http://victoriagloria.pass.us/spring2015monarch

We were also asked to bring either a fun tchotchke or something special that we carry with us to talk about during our icebreaker introductions. I wore my Auntie Kathy’s ring because it has such a great story to go along with it (I’ve told it before, here). Kathy is like a mother to me, and this ring reminds me that I’m just as loved, beautiful, powerful, and sassy as she is.

View More: http://victoriagloria.pass.us/spring2015monarch

Oh, and these amazing photos? They were taken by Victoria of Victoria Gloria Photography, who had me cracking up the whole time. Above is my signature crinkle crooked grin.

View More: http://victoriagloria.pass.us/spring2015monarch

I love this shot. It reminds me of Amélie, possibly my all-time favorite movie character.

View More: http://victoriagloria.pass.us/spring2015monarch

The leggings are slightly too big for me, but that’s not going to stop me from parading around in them with pride. And oh! How awesome are those bow shoe clips?! I made them! More on those next week!

Outfit details: Pink Cardigan: New York & Co., gift from my Mom (similar, similar). Twinkle of an Eye top: ModCloth, $33 (similar). Mint Sequin Leggings: May & July, Shoptiques, $37. Beige Patent Wedges: Chinese Laundry Marcie Patent Wedge Pump via DSW, $40 (similar, similar). Bow Shoe Clips: Made with For The MakersOpal ring: gift from my Auntie Kathy.

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