I know I just did an outfit post last week, but I had to show you this tassel tank top! It’s the Anepalco Embroidered Top from Ruche, and it might be my favorite top ever. I’d been eyeing it for a while and I finally bought it (and the long pink cardigan) for myself before deciding to curb my spending habits in an effort to pay off my student loans by the end of 2016. It will be tough, but I can do it!
Speaking of student loans and education… 2015 marks my 10-year anniversary of my high school graduation, which floored me. When I was 18, I thought I’d be a famous actress, married, with a kid or two by now. When I first realized it had been 10 years, I started to feel a lot of pressure. I’ve been invited to a private Facebook group where all of my classmates have been posting old and new photos of who they were and who they’ve become. Many of them are married and have children. I started thinking, why aren’t I married? Why don’t I have kids? Oh god… they’ll be asking me that at my reunion! I have done nothing with my life!!!
Whoa. Then I remembered: I don’t define success by having a husband or kids. I’m pretty darn happy with who I am, and what I’ve accomplished. I have a small business, this blog, and an amazing boyfriend who I do not feel I need to marry just because everyone else is doing it. We’ll know when we’re ready, but for now, life is good. And seriously, thank goodness I don’t have kids because then I wouldn’t be able to pay off my student loans in two years. Isn’t it crazy how your perspective changes as you age? ;)
I am feeling pretty pumped about 2015. I haven’t declared any “official” resolutions, but I want to focus on two things: networking and my relationship with Stan.
As far as networking goes, I can’t wait for Monarch Workshop in March! The women behind it are such an inspiring group of female entrepreneurs. I’m so looking forward to chatting with them and soaking up their collective knowledge.
The tricky part is balancing more networking and social events with, well, less networking and social events. I do a lot of things. My full-time job, this blog, and the Poor & Pretty Apothecary take up most of my time. Often, they eat up too much of my time and I forget to take a night off to do something special with Stan. This year, I will make that happen!
Stan certainly helps me with all of my crazy extra-curricular activities. How awesome is he for stomping around in the snow with me to take these photos?
And speaking of awesome: check out my new coat! Eeek! I received this from my Dad for Christmas. You miiiiight have noticed that I’d been wanting itfor a while. It’s the Haven’t Seen You In Ears Coat from ModCloth, which is 70% off right now! I’m so in love with it. I’m really picky about coats and this has everything I wanted: peacoat style, pockets, cute color, hood. The adorable ears were a happy, happy bonus. Another bonus? I got these pants for only $6 from Avenle. Win!
Alright, I’m sure you’ve had enough of me being a ham for a day. I hope your new year is off to a great start!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 thehart 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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. ♥
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.
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. ;)
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!
Black Friday deals seem to arrive earlier and earlier each year. I’ve been getting specials emails for a week already! Here are a few going on right now from my favorite shops:
Poor & Pretty Apothecary: I’ve got two pretty sweet deals going on in the Etsy shop. The Spa Night Gift Set is 2 4oz scrubs or one scrub and a whipped body butter for $18 — that’s up to $8 off the retail price. If you want to pamper your recipient (or yourself) even more, grab the 8oz duo Spa Month Gift Set for $32, a savings of up to $10. These are the lowest prices of the season, folks!