I took the day yesterday to let the weekend’s events settle over me, and I’m still coming down from the incredible high that was Monarch Workshop. There were so many wonderful, inspiring, creative women all in one room — it felt like home. It was home. Finally! I don’t have to travel to New York, San Francisco, or some other distance to find my kindred sisters.
And Katharine Marino of YogaKat Fitness, who is probably the most loving, calm person I have ever met. She taught us to love our bodies, shake out negativity, and be present. She had us all pick out little wisdom cards and think about how we can apply them to our lives. Mine said “do what’s simple,” which is kind of perfect because I overanalyze and overcomplicate everything.
There was Nutritionist Debra Wolf who played us hilarious clips from Portlandia and showed us how to love our bodies from the inside out with healthy eating (and also: we consume far too much sugar).
And crafter and textile guru Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom who left me with my greatest takeaway: own your path.
Because my initial jot-down of this quote really doesn’t do justice to how much it resonated within me, I had to fancy it up a bit. I’ve designed it into two different printables/computer wallpapers:
I am so grateful to Jessica of The Confetti Bar and Latanya of Sprinkles & Booze for introducing me to this crowd of incredible creators. I’ve never felt so understood and accepted. I will be seeing a lot more of them that’s for sure! I’ve already begun to take what I’ve learned and work on myself and my future as a kick-ass entrepreneur.
I have been hoping for something like Monarch Workshop to come to Connecticut for a long time. I live in a small state, sandwiched between big artistic hubs like Boston and New York, which constantly host cool creative networking/inspiration boot camp type events. Finally, we have one too. And until tomorrow at 3pm EST, you can grab Early Bird tickets for just $150. Regular ticket price is $225, so that’s a pretty sweet deal!
Monarch is a two-day event (March 21 & 22) for women entrepreneurs, dreamers, creators, movers, and shakers. Whether you’re an already-established kickass small business owner or a creative lady looking for inspiration and kindred spirits, you’ll be right at home at Monarch.
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!