Coming up on Saturday, November 7, I will be co-hosting a magical DIY beauty workshop with Jessica of The Confetti Bar! We’ll be mixing up our own sugar scrubs, body oils/perfumes, and bath teas with The Confetti Bar’s floralfetti. Reserve your spot here!
Mix and match pretty petals, herbs, and mica with pure essential oils to make concoctions that look as beautiful as they smell!
We’ll also chat about what’s in our cosmetics and why it’s important to read labels, plus learn how we can make our own natural beauty products with ingredients we already have in our kitchen.
Students will each take home a sugar scrub, body oil or perfume, bath tea, and a sneak peek at my eBook, The Poor & Pretty Guide to Natural Beauty on a Budget. We hope you’ll join us! Buy your ticket here.
I am on a crazy traveling/networking kick, you guys. I got home from New Orleans on Sunday night and pretty much collapsed into bed. This weekend is Monarch Workshop. And the weekend after that I am staying at home as much as possible, ha! Here are a few things I fell in love with in NOLA:
1. Being Boss. I’ve been obsessively listening to the Being Boss podcast since June, and drinking in every bit of advice imparted by hosts Emily Thompson (above left) and Kathleen Shannon (above right). Their mantra “Do the Work; Be Boss” is something I say to myself on an almost-daily basis. I get so caught up in research, self doubt, and trying to feel “ready” with my work that I become paralyzed and afraid to actually do anything. So when Emily and Kathleen decided they were going to New Orleans and inviting 75 bosses along, I didn’t overthink. I bought my ticket, and went, and shared my ideas with other badass creative boss ladies, and totally conquered. I gained so much confidence and self-awareness, and of course amazing connections! When I came home, I got to work finishing my natural beauty eBook and launched it on Tuesday. You can buy it here!
2. My roommate. I was a little nervous about sharing an AirBnB with someone I didn’t know, but when I discovered Jessica (alias Jem) regularly attends Renaissance Faires, I knew we’d get along just fine. And we did! Jem is a super talented comic book artist currently working on a weekly comic called Cap and Sable, a spacey pirate tale. We explored the city together, gave each other confidence, shared book recommendations, and geeked out about Harry Potter a lot. ANd her hair! It makes me want to put pink back in mine…
3. The food. Some of the food highlights from my trip were roasted chicken with jambalaya risotto at Bourbon House, chicken & waffles at Desire, pulled pork Po Boy somewhere on Bourbon Street… NOLA is another city of amazing food, pretty much everywhere you go. I don’t eat seafood, but there were plenty of delicious alternatives for me. I would have loved to do lunch or dinner at Brennan’s, but we didn’t make reservations and you definitely need them there!
4. The beignets. You can’t go to New Orleans without eating beignets! When Suzi and I went to NOLA in 2008, we waited in a pretty long line at Café Beignet for ours (expect to do so if you’re heading there too). Luckily, the genius organizers behind the #BeingBossNOLA trip grabbed a bunch for us one morning so we didn’t have to wait in line! They are amazingly fluffy and doughy and sugary.
5. The gelato. Walking around the French Quarter trying to decide what to eat, Jem and I stumbled upon Sucré, a sweet boutique on Conti Street. They had 14 different French Macarons, artisan chocolate bars, handmade marshmallows, personal cakes named after musicals, and gelato! Though we were tempted to have gelato for lunch, we hurried out, ate somewhere nearby, and went back for dessert. It made me want to start a bakery so bad!
6. The crêpes. Connected to the apartment building we were staying in was a little coffee shop called Merchant. They had amazing crêpes, which Jem and I ate every morning.
7. The Frenchmen Art Market. If you’re into supporting handmade artisans like I am, you’ll want to check out the art market on Frenchmen Street. It’s bit of a hike, but still totally walkable! Because it only runs in the evenings, there are string lights hovering above the artists’ tents. It felt so magical! The goods ranged from big painted canvas artwork to handmade 80s and 90s memorabilia to jewelry made of fish bones.
8. The dresses. While we’re on the subject of shopping, let’s talk about Dollz & Dames! It’s a small boutique on Decatur Street, filled with rockabilly dresses, shoes, skirts, tops, vintage lingerie… I spent a lot of money here, and I’m certain if Suzi were with me again, she would have too. I bought this entire ensemble there!
9. The Tarot Reading. One of my missions this visit was to seek out the tarot card reader Kathleen spoke about during an episode of Being Boss. We knew she had blue dreadlocks, a hat, and was in Jackson Square (as are most of the readers). We found her on Saturday, and she was wonderful. I’m keeping the reading to myself, but I will say it was powerful and I am very glad I found her!
10. The Ghost Tour. I was really excited about doing a ghost tour with my fellow bosses because that’s one thing Suzi and I didn’t get a chance to do on our first visit to NOLA. The tour was booked through Lord Chaz Ghost Tours, who were incredible. We were split into three smaller groups, so we didn’t have Lord Chaz himself, but the guy we had (I forgot his name!) was fantastic. We learned all about the voodoo, vampire, and ghost legends that haunt the city. That big shadow behind our tour guide? We dubbed him Spooky Jesus.
11. Halloween. NOLA lives for well, pretty much every holiday (and some they even make up), but this is doubly true for Halloween. Houses, shops, and restaurants in the French Quarter were covered in creepy clowns, skeletons, animatronic witches and vampires. We walked past the above clown-filled porch on our way to Frenchmen Market Friday night. I would have hated living next to those folks!
12. The Gemini Bermuda Triangle. While at a the Being Boss Bourbon House dinner Friday night, I wound up sitting across from and next to two fellow Geminis. Now, I don’t let astrological signs and horoscopes run my life by any means, but I totally buy into the fact that people of the same sun sign have similar personality traits. Turns out Fearless Fresh chef Stephanie Stiavetti (above left) and content coach Erica Midkiff (above right — I was so excited to meet her!) are also Geminis, and also can’t drink coffee because it makes them insanely jittery, and can’t help speaking loudly and excitedly, and always have a million different entrepreneurial ideas and creative paths they want to follow. So we called ourselves the Gemini Bermuda Triangle because non-Geminis could get totally swallowed up in the middle of our energetic, creative madness.
Last weekend was incredible! I won a ticket to the blog/creative conference The Hello Sessions, so my friend Brittany and I headed to Portland, Oregon for a long weekend. Here are a few things I fell in love with, in no particular order:
1. The creative community. Portland is a haven for creatives, but they don’t just keep it to themselves. I felt an incredible sense of community during The Hello Sessions conference on Friday, but also throughout the city. People were very friendly, and businesses seemed to be very collaborative. For example, Salt & Straw’s ice creams are handmade with candies, chocolates, and other ingredients made by other Portland businesses. You can buy bags of Stumptown Coffee practically everywhere (even in our hotel).
2. The roses. Thursday evening brought unseasonably beautiful weather to Portland, so Brittany and I took advantage of it by visiting the International Rose Test Garden. It felt like walking into Alice in Wonderland, sans the murderous Queen of Hearts. The garden is home to about 600 unique rose varieties in over 8,000 plants, and is the reason Portland is nicknamed the City of Roses.
3. The food. We had some incredible food in Portland, so if you’re a foodie, definitely add this destination to your bucket list. We had delicious baguette sandwiches at Addy’s Sandwich Bar and sampled savory charcuterie and cheese at Olympia Provisions (formerly Olympic Provisions), which I also brought home for Stan.
4. The ice cream.Salt & Straw = best ice cream ever. Really. They’ve been voted among the best ice cream places in the US several times over. They’ve got all kinds of crazy flavors that you’d never think would be good (like Arbequina Olive Oil, made with local olive oil) but are. Enthralled with their Halloween flavors, I had a combo of A Potion of Malicious Delight (Pop Rocks + some kind of fruity jam + all kinds of other amazing weird ingredients) and Chocolate Gooey Brownie (made with Portland’s own Holy Kakow Chocolates). Brittany went for a scoop of Arbequina Olive Oil combined with Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper (yes, that’s all one flavor).
6. China. Visiting Lan Su Chinese Garden felt like visiting the Chinese countryside (or what I imagine it would be like). It’s a soothing atmosphere that takes up a full city block (40,000 square feet) in Chinatown, and makes you forget you’re actually in Portland. Brittany and I toured the garden, dined on delicious Chinese appetizers, and partook in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. Of course I brought home some tea!
7. The books. I used to work for Borders (and I’m a total bookworm), so bookstores hold a special place in my heart. Naturally, I fell in love with Powell’s City of Books, and Brittany and I wandered amongst the stacks for a good hour or so. I left with J.K. Rowling’s Very Good Lives, her 2008 Harvard commencement address.
8. The cupcakes. I make it a point to try cupcakes everywhere I travel. Happily, we stumbled upon the aptly-named Saint Cupcake (the cupcakes are heavenly) during our Saturday city walk. I had a mini Red Velvet, a mini Salty Captain (chocolate cake with caramel buttercream, a drizzle of caramel sauce, and sprinkling of sea salt), and a full-sized Confetti (vanilla cake topped by vanilla frosting, both mixed with edible confetti). They were all incredible, but the Salty Captain was my favorite.
9. The Saturday (and Sunday) Market. The Portland Saturday Market runs Saturdays and Sundays March through December, and has over 250 local vendors. We found a lot of great souvenirs here!
10. No sales tax! Brittany and I kept forgetting there’s no sales tax in Oregon, and whenever we remembered, we were so giddy! No more odd dollar amounts or pennies to deal with. It was pretty great.
After seeing the shopping bags I was lugging around with me, one of the employees at Saint Cupcake remarked on how we’ve hit all the great Portland spots! The only thing we didn’t cross off our list was eating at Pok Pok because the line was over TWO HOURS long. Crazy. But, Brittany discovered there’s one in New York, so we’ll just have to try it a little closer to home.
Where have your travels taken you lately? Where are you itching to go next? I’m headed to New Orleans this weekend!
The first thing I atedevoured from Whisk + Brush was a pumpkin cinnamon roll at a B:Hive Holiday Pop-Up Shop last year, and it was the best cinnamon roll I’ve ever had. And I’m not a big pumpkin fan either. I went back for a second only minutes later and they were sold out. They were that good. Major props to baker babes Becca & Betsy. I’m excited to have them on the blog today not only because they make amazing food and share recipes on their blog, but also because they’ve got a Kickstarter underway for a doughnut truck. And tomorrow’s your last day to back it!
Sami: Tell us all about the Doughnut Food Trailer! Becca & Betsy: We’re renovating a 1975 camper into the Whisk + Brush food trailer so we can bring a delicious menu to the streets of Bridgeport, CT and beyond! Enter Dixie, our Doughnut Diva. She’s strong, cute, and totally thrilled to soon be pumping out an extensive slew of doughnuts, both sweet and savory. Our goal is to hit $12,000. If you’d like to help, pledge here!
Sami: How did Whisk + Brush come about? Becca: It was fate. We started out as coworkers in the financial industry. One day, I had an idea for a food blog and shared it with Betsy. Within 2 months it was up and running and I was offered a catering gig (I never planned on venturing into catering). I kept bringing Betsy on to help with events. We had this effortless, fun flow of working together. Without much talk regarding roles and duties, we both naturally settled into our positions and from there it hasn’t stopped. And since undergoing the newest venture of a Doughnut Food Trailer, our working bond has become even stronger and more fantastic.
B&B: We both learned from our mothers. Although our backgrounds and childhoods differ in so many ways, our mothers are very similar. Strong, independent woman who know how love with fierce, yet gentle love. We both grew up helping in the kitchen and eating dinners as a family.
Sami: When you’re not whipping up your own amazing food, where do you eat? B&B: We love supporting the locals. Our faves are Harborview Market, Walrus + Carpenter, Source Coffeehouse, Au Vucchella, Leisha’s Bakeria, Timothy’s Ice Cream… the list goes on.
Sami: What’s your catch phrase? B&B: “Whose idea was this?!” We tend to shout this at each other in the midst of catering, frying up doughnuts, rushing around the kitchen. It usually gets said when we’re both hustling, under a time crunch, and trying to multi-task like crazy. It always makes us laugh because we know the only persons to blame for our craziness is US!
Sami: What feeds (pun intended) your creative energy? Becca: For me, I’m most creative when my plate is full (no pun intended). I try to stay busy with focused, challenging work because it keeps me firing on all cylinders. The key is finding a way to stay organized with the creativity. There have been so many times that Betsy and I have been in the thick of a catering job or working at the farmers market, and I have a million ideas come to me, but we forget to write them down.
Sami: How do you combat creative block? Becca: My creative blocks occur when I’m in a slump. Whether that’s due to exhaustion or maybe a lighter schedule or those oh-so awful funks when you question your choices, I hit walls when I’m flirting with laziness. I find that putting time aside to cook something for myself without any kind of agenda, project, or documentation in mind ends up rejuvenating my soul.
What do you love most about being entrepreneurs? B&B: Doing it together. Betsy always says, “Being an entrepreneur is like jumping off a cliff and building a plane on the way down.” If we didn’t have each other, we’d be flat on our faces, but together… we’re starting to see the plane (or the doughnut truck) take shape. And that’s really exciting.
If you could give your fellow entrepreneurs one piece of advice, what would it be? B&B: Say yes to EVERYTHING. We headed into this venture thinking about what our ideal situation/work/clients would look like… and things were slow. We were being picky and weren’t taking chances and challenging ourselves, thus our growth was minimal. While taking a course through Women’s Business Development Center, Becca was told “Say yes to everything. And keep saying yes for longer than you think you have to.” The reality is, when you’re starting off, no one knows who you are or what you’re capable of. And while you may know what your time and talent is worth, others don’t yet. So, say yes to everything. We have taken on some really awesome work and we’ve also had many crap jobs that paid us pennies and left us questioning our decision, but so many rippling effects and opportunities have come from taking those risks. We’re wiser, better, and more confident because of those experiences. And while we still say yes to most of what comes our way, we are better equipped for handling every facet of the job.
Sami: What do you do to relax? Becca: Wine. Sweat pants. Couch.
Betsy: See above. This is why we’re good friends.
Sami: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why? Becca: Thailand. The culture and country have always fascinated me and I have such little know-how when it come to the cuisine… although, I definitely know how to eat it.
Betsy: Australia. Only because I’m obsessed with kangaroos.
Sami: If you could invite 3 people (alive or dead) over for a picnic, who would you invite? Becca: My Grandma, Kris Delmhorst (my favorite musician) and John Steinbeck (my favorite author). I figure, my grandma can help me cook while Kris serenades us and Steinbeck provides conversation.
Betsy: My Grandma, Joe Vilane (the dance choreographer), Celia Cruz (my favorite salsa performer).
I’m gearing up for The Hello Sessions in Portland this Friday — I can’t wait! It’s the first blog conference I’m attending in-person, so I’m pretty excited/nervous. I have a feeling I will be spending a good portion of tomorrow night packing, but here are some of the essentials (besides underwear) I’m bringing:
1. The perfect notebook.I love notebooks! I have so many unique ones, all filled with teenage angst and creative ideas. But this? This is the perfect notebook for creative conferences. It’s pretty, spiral bound (so you can slip a pen into it), and has a pocket (for all those business cards you’ll be collecting)! And, like everything ban.do makes, it has a sweet surprise in the way of a colorful yellow spread that reads: “Your face is like sunshine.” Get it: Ban.do Rough Draft Spiral Notebook.
3. Backup juice. I plan on doing a lot of Instagramming and Tweeting during my trip to Portland, so I know I’ll need an extra charge for my phone. This tiny power bank is about the size of a lipstick and holds an estimated 1.2 additional charges for the iPhone. It’s got just about 3,000 reviews on Amazon, and a 4.5 star rating. Oh, and it’s pink! ;) Get it: RavPower Portable Charger 3200mAh Power Bank.
4. LOTS of business cards. I ordered more business cards just for this! My goal is to run out again. :)
7. Layers!Ever have that problem where you show up to an event in a sleeveless dress, only to discover it’s FRIGID inside? I definitely have! So now I pack layers, and J.Crew’s Jackie Cardi is one of my faves. Get it: Jackie Cardigan Sweater via J.Crew.