Wednesday Wishlist: Birthday Edition

Wednesday Wishlist Birthday Edition_feature

My 28th birthday is Sunday. 28!! I’m basically 30. I graduated high school 10 years ago. That is insane! I feels like only yesterday that I was in drama club (of course), that Jordan & I went to prom together, that I registered to vote… crazy. A decade! CRAZY. I can’t even. Let’s move on to the best part of birthdays: gifts! Here’s what’s on my wish list:

Wednesday Wishlist Birthday Edition

1. Patron Prestige Skirt in Pink via ModCloth. Flirty & feminine & pink & tulle. Yes, please.

2. Dream Catcher Eco Flowy Tank by Cinder + Salt. I pretty much want all of Rachel’s clothing in my closet, but this dreamy tank especially.

3. Florabunda Large Agenda by ban.do. What girl doesn’t want a giant planner with stickers and inspiring prints inside?

4. Cherry Pop Nail Polish by 100% Pure. I love this color! It’s a deep red with a dash of purple ~ super sophisticated.

5. Beginner’s Cold Process Soap Kit by Bramble Berry. I want this so Stan and I can finally make soap from scratch together! (We’re weird/awesome that way.)

6. Cupcakes from NoRA Cupcake Co. Okay, maybe I don’t need a whole truck, but a few cupcakes from NoRA would be heaven.

Let’s pretend I’m not almost 30, okay? Okay. xo

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.

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Poor & Pretty’s 5th Blogiversary Giveaway Bash!

P&P Blogiversary Giveaway Bash-feature

Jillian-Farrell-blog-photo
(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

Winners:

  • 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!

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Upcoming Holiday Events

Craft Fair Events feature image

I’ve now got an event going on every Saturday until Christmas! I hope to see your face at one of them! But if you can’t say hello and shop in-person, you can grab all of my products in my Etsy shop.

Park City Pop-Up blog

Saturday, November 15: 11am – 3pm: Park City Pop-Up! 
B:Hive Bridgeport
285 Fairfield Ave
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Get details & directions here.

Canton Holiday Craft Fair FB Event

Saturday, November 22: 10am – 4pm: Canton Holiday Craft Fair
Canton High School Gymnasium
76 Simonds Ave
Canton, CT 06019
Raffle proceeds and vendor fees benefit the Canton Dollars for Scholars Fund.
Get details & directions here.

Celebrate Shelton_blog

Celebrate Shelton Downtown Handmade Market
Conti Building
415 Howe Ave
Shelton, CT 06484

Dates:
Black Friday, November 28: 6pm – 9pm
Small Business Saturday, November 29: 10am – 5pm
Saturday, December 6: 10am – 3pm
Saturday, December 13: 10am – 3pm
Saturday, December 20: 10am – 3pm
Get details & directions here.

NoRa First Thursday blog

Thursday, December 4: 6pm – 10pm: NoRA’s First Thursday
NoRA Cupcake Company
700 Main St
Middletown, CT 06457
Get details & directions here.

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Recipe: Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes with Guinness & Bailey’s

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes for St Paddy's Day via poorandpretty

My favorite cupcake from NoRa Cupcake Co. is the Irish Car Bomb Cupcake. Based on the beer cocktail with a highly controversial name, it’s a chocolate Guinness cake with Jameson dark chocolate ganache and Bailey’s cream cheese frosting topped with a malt ball. Seriously amazing. Oh and fun fact: the drink was invented in Norwich, CT! I made my own version of the cupcakes without the Jameson ganache and went with a Bailey’s buttercream frosting instead. I brought them into work yesterday, and they were gobbled down pretty quickly! So if you’re bringing dessert to a St. Paddy’s Day party, these are sure to be a hit!

Chocolate Guinness Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes with Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting — makes 12 regular cupcakes (about 60 minis)

Edit 3/2015: I’ve updated this recipe to be more moist, similar to my Chocolate Dirt Cupcakes recipe.

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (I used dark chocolate melting wafers)
  • ½ cup black tea or coffee, hot
  • ½ cup Guinness Extra Stout
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ tbs vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 ½ tbs Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1 tbs milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 drops green food coloring

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes with Guinness Stout and Bailey's via poorandpretty

Cupcake Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line your cupcake tin with paper or silicone cupcake liners.
  2. Add the cocoa powder and chopped chocolate into a heat-safe mixing bowl and pour the hot coffee or tea over it. Whisk together until the chocolate has melted and your mixture is smooth. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. In another medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  4. Once your chocolate mixture has cooled, mix in the eggs, oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract.
  5. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and Guinness into the chocolate mixture, starting with the dry ingredients. Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl in between additions and mix thoroughly.
  6. Pour batter into cupcake liners until they are  ⅔ full and bake for 8-10 minutes for minis or 16-20 minutes for regular-sized cupcakes. Check with a toothpick to be sure they are cooked all the way through.
  7. Once baked, place on a cooling rack to cool.

Frosting Directions: 

  1. Cream softened butter until smooth, making sure you scrape the sides of the bowl a few times.
  2. Add 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar, mixing it in two parts (start with half a cup, mix it well, then add the other half cup).
  3. Mix in the vanilla extract, milk, Bailey’s and green food coloring.
  4. Add more confectioner’s sugar — ¼ cup at a time — until you’ve reached your desired consistency and taste.
  5. Frost the cupcakes when cooled.

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes Recipe via poorandpretty

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NoRA Cupcake Company, Middletown

I’ve been dying to go to NoRA Cupcake Company ever since Stan went with his co-workers and totally neglected to bring home anything for me. He said they were so good, he couldn’t save me any. Coming from a guy that tends to stay away from sweets, that’s a pretty big compliment.

We finally went a few weekends ago, and I’m happy to report that NoRA definitely lived up to its reputation.

There are over 60 different cupcakes, with a minimum of 8 flavors offered each day. The day Stan and I went {a Saturday}, there were 15 flavors!

A Gluten-Free Dirt Cake for those with gluten allergies, Pink Velvet, Buttah Fingah {I think this one’s from Boston}, Raspberry Lemonade, Banana Split…

Irish Car Bomb {named after the drink}, PB Explosion, Fat Elvis {yes, that is bacon on the top!}, Pistachio and more, including different vegan, gluten-free, and weight watchers special cupcakes every day.

I wanted to go home with more than 6, but my belly would not allow for that. So, we took home a Raspberry Lemonade, Banana Split, Pink Velvet, Irish Car Bomb, Boston Creme, and a PB Explosion. Stan ate the last two {I’m not a huge fan of peanut butter}, and I ate samples of the rest {I had to give some to friends, there was so much cupcake!}.

They were all delicious, but my favorites were the Irish Car Bomb and Raspberry Lemonade, which was the perfect mix of tart and sweet. I was kind of surprised by the Pink Velvet. I thought it would taste a lot like a red velvet cupcake, but I didn’t get that chocolatey hint that’s in a red velvet. I did love the coconut sprinkled on top though.

Next time you’re in Middletown, stop by NoRA Cupcake Company at 700 Main Street, just North of Rapallo Ave {yes, that’s what NoRA stands for!} They have a really cool little sitting area and they’re open until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Happy cupcaking, friends!

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