5 Ways to Relax at Home

5 Ways to Relax at Home feat

5 Ways to Relax at Home via @poorandpretty

I’ve been a little more frenzied than usual lately, maybe because Stan isn’t around to balance me out. (He comes back from his two-week trip to Israel on Thursday!!) I’m a fairly high-energy person, and I tend to juggle a lot of projects at once. One thing I have difficulty with is relaxing. Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep because I can’t shut my brain off. If you have this problem too, you’ve likely tried solving it by a weekend spa getaway or a massage, which do work, but they get a little pricey. Here are a few things that work for me, things you can do at home without spending any money.

Disconnect Your Tech

1. Disconnect your tech. I’m putting this first because it’s the hardest one to do! We are constantly connected — checking our email, responding to texts, tweeting, Instagramming, Facebooking… and hey, I’m as guilty as anyone. But turning off everything — phone, TV, computer — for a few hours is just so peaceful. (That’s why I secretly love when we lose power for a little while.)


2. Meditate or do Yoga. This one’s a bit more obvious, but it’s worth including. If you live with others, give them a head’s up that you need some quiet time. Go to your bedroom or any room that is secluded and has a door that can be closed — it can even be the bathroom. Close (and maybe lock) the door and lay out a yoga mat or towel. Light a few candles and turn off the lights, maybe put on some relaxing instrumental music or Enya. Go ahead and laugh, but her stuff is great for relaxing. Sit for a few minutes and just breathe, focusing on the rhythm of your breath going in and out of your body. If you want to do some slow, easy yoga stretches, go for it. But remember: your goal here is to relax, not to work out, so don’t push yourself. If you’d rather just meditate, I find that placing a candle in front of me and concentrating on the flame helps my brain stay present and focused. Try not to let it wander off into the realm of tasks and to-dos.

Read a book

3. Read a real book. Call me crazy, but I read actual paper books. I do not read books on my iPad, and I don’t own a Kindle (and never will). I love the feeling of immersing myself totally in a story and a big part of that for me is the literal turning of pages. Oh, and I’m a highlighter and margin-scribbler. When I read, I don’t want to feel like I’m using another tech product. It’s my anti-tech time. Plus, the white/blue light emitted by tablets and computer screens trick your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, thereby keeping it active (and making it hard to fall asleep). The soft yellow glow of a nightstand lamp or book light won’t do that.

Take a Bath

4. Take a bath. I’m all about baths. I can’t wait until Stan and I have a nice deep soaking tub in our bathroom (it’s on our wish list). When I need to relax, I fill our tub up with warm water, toss in my Lavender Bathing Salts, prop my head up on a folded up towel and just soak until the water gets cold.

Go for a walk

5. Go for a walk. I guess you technically need to leave your home for this one, but even if you just go for a walk around your neighborhood, it costs you nothing and it’s good to get outside and breathe some fresh air. If your to-do list keeps growing or you’re really stressed about a specific problem, it helps to walk away from it for a while and get a fresh perspective.

What are some ways you relieve stress when you’re feeling overwhelmed?

All photos are courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo. Every month, they email an assortment of beautiful high-quality photos they’ve taken themselves so that bloggers and other creatives have killer photos to use online. Isn’t that awesome? :)


Maker Takes: Honey Nectar & Makena

Since I was on a road trip for a good chunk of last month, I missed a lot of crafting time (totally worth it though!) So this is a double-whammy Maker Takes for both June and July’s kits. Let’s start with June / Honey Nectar:

Honey Nectar collection via For the Makers

I was so excited about the Honey Nectar collection! I love the sun kissed palette of gold, copper, and peachy pinks. It came with pretty iridescent lamé fabric and vinyl covered fabric for the adorable Foxtail Twist Scarf, chain and embroidery floss for the Marmalade Bracelet (which I haven’t yet made), a gold plated base and peach and pink rhinestones for the Linden Ring, and my personal favorite: organic coconut oil, beeswax, honey, beet root powder, and a gold tin for the Wild Pollen Lip Balm. Love!

For the Makers Honey Nectar collection - Linden Ring

I made the ring first, which was pretty easy. I substituted super glue for the E6000 glue as I usually do because the E6000 glue has these warnings all over it that it is known to cause cancer. Yikes! I’ve been wearing chunky cocktail rings more lately, so I’m happy to add another to my collection.

For the Makers Honey Nectar collection - Wild Pollen Lip Balm

I’m a pro at making lip balm, so I had no trouble with this one, and I love how it came out. It leaves your lips with a pale pink shimmer, which I love. I will say, it’s very difficult to mix in the honey. I found this out while I was making my own soy-based Coco Balms, which is why I sweetened those with Stevia extract rather than honey. Plus, I wanted my Coco Balms to be purely vegan, and many vegans do not eat honey.

For the Makers Honey Nectar collection - Botched Foxtail Twist Scarf

Because I was watching Saved by the Bell while working on the Foxtail Twist Scarf, I totally botched cutting and sewing the fabric. I did the complete opposite of what you’re supposed to do and ending up making a flag or banner of some kind. But the head scarf is SO CUTE that I’m going to buy the solo kit so I can do it right. I’d better turn off the TV the second time around.

Makena collection via For the Makers

The Makena Collection is inspired by richly colored African prints and tropical paradises. I was most excited about making the Zozo Eye Pillow.

For the Makers Makena collection - Zozo Eye Pillow

I chose not to use the pom pom trim because it’s so fun, I’d rather save it for something else! The pillow took me quite a while because I forced myself to do it on the sewing machine. The only part I sewed by hand is the left seam, to close up the pillow. After it was filled, I didn’t trust myself not to mess it up on the sewing machine, which would have probably resulted in lavender, chamomile, and rice stuck in the machine.

For the Makers Makena collection - Dory Pinch Pot

The Dory Pinch Pot was very easy — all I had to do was paint! (So easy, I did this while watching SBTB and didn’t mess up ;) It’s great for storing rings, little charms, buttons, or other tiny things we tend to lose if we don’t put them somewhere safe.

For the Makers Makena collection - Sapeurs Bangle

I haven’t made the West Cape Hoops or Sapeurs Bangle yet because I can’t wear normal earrings (I’ve got orbitals, remember?) and I kind of like the bright blue bangle by itself. Maybe I’ll use the fabric for a headband.

What have you been making 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. (Collection images ©For the Makers.)


Be Loving & Social: Do things together

be loving - poor & pretty

Even though Valentine’s Day was last Thursday, Stan and I had more fun together over this past weekend. Keeping in line with my resolution to Be Loving & Social, he and I have made a few of our own relationship resolutions. Our lives get so busy and hectic that it’s often necessary to put things into a schedule so we don’t forget to spend meaningful time together. Here are a few ideas from our list:

be loving- cook together - poor & pretty

Cook together.  Neither Stan nor I have a real culinary talent. We have a few go-to kitchen favorites that we tend to cycle through: Chocolate-chocolate pancakes {mostly a Saturday morning breakfast}, some form of stir fry, tacos & guacamole, and various chicken dishes. Usually, these meals are thrown together quickly by one of us, and when we finally eat, we’re a bit frazzled. This year, however, we’ve started cooking together a lot more, which makes the process more enjoyable and — dare I say, fun! Yesterday, we made an incredibly delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup {above} — recipe coming soon!

be loving- read together - poor & pretty

Read together. Stan and I both love reading, but in different ways. I’m more likely to curl up in bed with a book, whereas he likes to read articles online. I’d been trying to find some middle ground, because I really like discussing the books I’m reading with him, but you can’t force someone to sit down and read if they don’t want to. A few months before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 {movie} came out, I grabbed my copy of the book and said, “Stan, I’m going to read this to you, because you have to experience the book before seeing the movies.” And I did. It was wonderful! I’ve always liked reading out loud and Stan loved listening to my accents. We enjoyed it so much that we even read The Hunger Games trilogy this way. Over the weekend, Stan and I went back to our roots and started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I wonder if we can finish the entire series this year?

be loving- relax together - poor & pretty

Relax together. Piggy-backing off of reading together is relaxing together. Stan and I balance a lot of activities between work, friends, family, and home. We’re both the type of people who like to keep busy, but keeping busy can be exhausting. Stan has been our relaxation gatekeeper, making sure we simply stop every now and then. Stop working, stop blogging, stop cleaning, and just relax. Very often, this involves tea and cuddling.

These photos were taken with Instagram. Follow me @poorandpretty :)


DIY lavender & epsom salt bath soak

Hold on to your ripped nylons! I’ve got a nifty way to repurpose them: bath satchels. In desperate need of a relaxing bath, I came up with this easy, soothing, bath soak recipe:

Lavender has long been known for its relaxation properties and epsom salts sooth tired and overworked muscles.

You will need:

  • the toe of ripped nylons {or any nylons you’re getting rid of}
  • ½ cup lavender buds
  • ½ cup epsom salt
  • about 16″ of yarn or string.


  • Pour the lavender buds into the toe of your nylons.
  • Fasten this makeshift lavender satchel to your tub’s water spout using the string. Make sure the satchel covers the spout’s opening to ensure that the water flows through the lavender buds and into your tub.
  • Turn on the water and pour the epsom salts into the bath water.
  • Relax!

Tip: if you want to make this as a gift, I recommend using cheesecloth or muslin pouches. Nobody wants your old nylons! ;)

P.S. If you really like lavender, try out my Lavender Bath Cupcake Soap or a box of Lavender Bath Truffles, made with pure lavender essential oil. Have a lovely weekend~


Tisane: Drinks, Food, Music & Art


One of the biggest challenges of not living in or near a big city like New York, Boston, or Los Angeles, is the lack of nightlife. In New York, you can walk a block or two anywhere and find a thumping dance club or low key jazz bar —there are tons of unique places to chill out or dance the night away. Not so here in Connecticut. But, located in Hartford, Tisane stands out not only as a cool place to hang out at night but also a relaxing tea oasis during the day.

Tisane has been around for 9 years, but I only recently discovered them. Personally, I’m not much of a partier, but when I heard that Tisane had an extensive list of teas, {and why wouldn’t they, with a name like Tisane?} I was in. I can’t say that I’ve tried every different tea {nearly impossible!}, but I love their green, oolong, and white teas. In addition to their fabulous tea infusions, Tisane also carries a variety of brews, cocktails and foods from both the East and the West, lending to the second part of their name, Euro Asian Cafe. They have cheese and chocolate fondue, edamame, sweet n sour tofu, sandwiches like the caprese flatbread or cheese steak, and so much more — truly something for everyone, whether you have a sweet tooth, are craving buffalo wings, or if you want a tasty vegan meal.


Okay, so they have great drinks and food, but what about community? Well, they have gay night {also called “Boys Night”} on Tuesday with DJ John Rzasa, Wednesday is Service Industry Night {“Live in S.I.N.”} with live music by Kenny Mehler, Karaoke on Thursday, and DJ Sobi One on Saturday nights. They also act as an exhibition for local artists, like my longtime friend {and Mish’s boyfriend} Pawel, who is also the person responsible for my Tisane love. An incredibly gifted artist, Pawel exhibited several of his paintings a few years ago at Tisane, shown above.

So, if you want a place to relax and hang out with friends in the morning or late afternoon, forget Starbucks, check out Tisane. Want to do karaoke or experience a DJ or some live music? Check out Tisane! You don’t have an excuse not to go! :)

Read more about Tisane, and view their hours of operation, on their website or like them on Facebook.