Woodbury Wandering: Carla Nichols Boutique

Carla Nichols Boutique in Woodbury

I’ve passed by Carla Nichols Boutique many times since they opened their pink doors last October, and every time I think, “Oh! I need to go in there!” Finally, the day before Suzi’s birthday, I did! {And I picked up a few awesome birthday/housewarming presents ~ right, Suzi?}

Carla Nichols Boutique table

It was even lovelier than I had imagined. A beautiful round table with a bouquet of fresh roses welcomed me in, and offered a great selection of skinny jeans. And where would skinny jeans be without the face that inspired their comeback? Large photos of Audrey Hepburn hang just above shelves that hold clutch purses and vanities draped with jewelry and handmade hair accessories.

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Indie Spotlight + Giveaway: Joy Atkisson of Purely You Minerals

Joy Atkisson Purely You Minerals - Poor & Pretty

You might remember seeing Purely You Minerals’ lip gloss as one of my Friday Faves last week. Like you, I struggle with finding the perfect lip gloss and — even more of a hassle — the perfect foundation! So I’m happy to introduce to you Joy Atkisson, founder of Purely You Minerals.

Purely You Minerals 2 - Poor & Pretty

Purely You Minerals is a new line of mineral makeup that is not only good for you, it’s good for others, too. Purely You products do not contain talc, powdered starches, clays, bismuth oxychloride, or parabens, and are gluten free and never tested on animals. 10% of profits go directly to Bring Love In, a non-profit organization founded by Joy’s friends. Says Joy, “It is a beautiful thing that we can make a life changing difference in the world just by putting on our makeup. Purely You Minerals brings out the inner beauty in us all.” Today, she chats with us about skincare, running a small business, and of course, makeup! Don’t miss the giveaway, too! Details at the end of the post.

Purely You Minerals - Poor & Pretty

Poor & Pretty: Like many of us women, you struggled with skin problems and cakey makeup. What made you switch to mineral makeup?
Joy Atkisson: For years, I had been caught up in the nasty cycle of wearing makeup, breaking out, having to wear more makeup to cover it up, breaking out more. I tried every crazy “cure” you can think of… including egg on my face! True story. In 2007, mineral makeup started gaining popularity, so I decided to give it a try. It took a little while to get used to the messy powder and to learn what the heck a Kabuki brush is, but my skin started clearing up.

Purely You Minerals foundation 1 - Poor & Pretty

P&P: What makes mineral makeup so different?
JA: Quality mineral makeup allows your skin to breath and doesn’t clog your pores. It also appeals to my inner hippy because it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, so it’s about as natural as you can get. What I truly love about it is that I don’t have to hide behind cake makeup. I can apply mineral makeup as fancy or as natural as I want and I still feel like ME! I love that!

P&P: So instead of continuing to buy mineral makeup, you decided to make it yourself. Why?
JA: Haha! I get this question a lot. The truth is…. I was broke! My husband and I had been married for a year, we had just had a baby, and I wanted to stay home with her. There was no extra room in our budget for expensive makeup. Most companies at that time were very expensive. I looked at the back of one of one of my jars and saw that there were only a few ingredients and I thought to myself, “I wonder if I could make this?” I seriously underestimated how hard it was going to be, but I love research so it really became a hobby. I would work on it during my daughter’s naps or late at night. Necessity is truly the mother of invention.

Purely You Minerals eyeshadows - Poor & Pretty

P&P: How is Purely You Minerals different from other brands?
JA: That is a key question! Purely You Minerals is made in small batches to insure quality control. I have tried to stay away from some of the most common allergens (gluten intolerance runs in my husband’s family, so I am very mindful of that especially). I also don’t use any fillers such as cornstarch (which can clog pores, and don’t even get me started about GMOs!) or Bismuth Oxychloride (it doesn’t photograph well, it’s shiny, and makes many people breakout). Another HUGE factor is price! Because I do the formulating, manufacturing and packaging myself, I can keep my expenses down, which in turn lets me keep my prices at an affordable level. Perhaps most importantly, I have a face; I am not a big company with fancy machines. I am a stay at home mom with a home office/lab. And, I wear my own products!

P&P: What propelled you to start selling your products?
JA: My husband! He and I have never really fit the 9 to 5 mold, but we weren’t sure how to survive without a “normal” job. However, my formula rivaled and out-performed some of the leading mineral makeup lines and my husband saw how it was helping my skin. He said, “You really need to start your own makeup line!” It has been five years (and 2 more babies) since then, but we are finally making it happen.

Purely You Minerals Berry Red lip gloss - Poor & Pretty

P&P: Wow, three kids! How do you balance being a mom with running a home-based business?
JA: I have no idea! Haha! Most of the time, my sink is full of dishes and I’m tripping over shoes and toys. I try to work mostly during naps and at night, but some weeks are busier then others. Family will always be my priority, but I am doing what I love so I am blessed! I am definitely not superwoman; I have help. My husband is a fantastic father and super supportive. My best friend, Melody Spencer is my Marketing Manager and Social Media Coordinator. My brother, David Arnold also owns his own business called Code Luna. He does computer nerd stuff, so he built my website.

Purely You Minerals foundation 2 - Poor & Pretty

P&P: Okay, let’s talk tips. Finding the right shade of foundation is hard! Can you help?
JA: Absolutely! Order my free samples! The best thing you can do is try and identify your undertone (warm, cool, neutral). I have cool undertones, but I get quite red in the face so I prefer to counteract that by using neutral colored foundation. If you still have a hard time getting the shade just right, I can formulate something just for you.

P&P: What are a few essential skincare tips we should always observe?
JA: Get good sleep. Drink lots of water. EXFOLIATE! I swear by One Minute Wonder gel exfoliator by Max International. Good skincare is essential to good makeup application.

Purely You Minerals blushing lip gloss - Poor & Pretty

P&P: The Purely You Minerals lineup currently includes foundation, bronzer, blush, eyeshadow, and lip gloss. Any new products on the horizon?
JA: We will be launching our all-natural pressed eyeshadows and blushes in the very near future. It will be a build-your-own pallet sort of thing where you can purchase refills and not have to purchase a new pallet each time. Also in the works is pressed foundation, nail polish, and all-natural mascara!

Want to try out Purely You Minerals for yourself? Joy is giving away one of her products to a lucky Poor & Pretty reader. Just “like” Purely You Minerals on Facebook, pick out your single favorite Purely You product from their online shop {choose from foundation, silk veil, blush, loose eyeshadow or lip gloss} and tell us what it is in the comments below. Hurry, though! The contest ends Sunday, February 10th at 10:00 pm EST.


Indie Crafter Spotlight: Alexcia Patterson of Make & Mingle

Make & Mingle Wesport CT - Poor & Pretty

Alexcia Patterson is the creative force of nature behind Make & Mingle, a retail store and studio in Westport, CT. It’s a vibrantly decorated space where you can get crafty with friends and peruse the abundance of unique trinkets and handmade gifts from bracelets & earbuds to totes & wallets, and more. When I dropped off my products for the first time, I marveled at the beautiful space and chatted about all sorts of things with Alexcia. We were like kindred spirits! I’m so happy to share her story with you today.

Make & Mingle retail & studio 2 Poor & Pretty

Poor & Pretty: First, tell us a little about yourself, Alexcia. Where does your creativity stem from?
Alexcia Patterson: I grew up around art as my father is a Pre-Columbian art dealer. It was just all around us. I also traveled a lot and lived in different countries like Mexico, Australia, France, England, and Switzerland.

Make & Mingle crafting supplies

P&P: Wow, that’s a lot of traveling! That must have been very inspiring.
AP: Yes, absolutely. I was always inspired by different prints and patterns from different cultures. Having studied art history, I found I could go through the famous paintings and find beautiful prints throughout — everything from the blanket in the background of a Vermeer painting, the designs in Moroccan weavings, to the gorgeous colors of Picasso’s early period.

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P&P: How did you find the courage to open such a crafty shop in a not-so-great economy?
AP: I noticed that DIY was going through a sort of renaissance. People were becoming more interested in the whole concept of making things and being creative without the old, stodgy feel that had formerly been associated with crafts.

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P&P: Hence, your crafty classes! You offer a range, for all ages at Make & Mingle – from sewing pillows to decorating headbands. What are your most popular classes?
AP: I would probably say that my “Learn to Sew” class is the most popular. I’ve heard so many moms and kids say they have a machine (still in the box) in the basement. They all want to learn how to sew but have just never found the right inspiration and/or fun place to learn. The next available dates are Thursday, February 14 or Tuesday, February 26, 4pm-6pm. Check out all of our February 2013 classes here and our drop-in classes here.

Make & Mingle Birthdays

P&P: Do you host special events like birthday parties?
AP: Yes! Birthday parties are a big part of our business. We make a special effort to pick fun and modern party themes that are all about decorating and embellishing. Everything from our tote bag “Animal Lover” theme to our “Fashion Runway.” The Fashion Runway is my favorite because kids are challenged to create an outfit from a myriad of supplies under an hour and a half. Cupcakes included :)

Truly - Make & Mingle - Poor & Pretty

P&P: Sounds perfect for me! So, you have three few kids… one of whom I met when I stopped by. Have they inherited your creativity?
AP: I have two daughters and a son. Truly  — who you met — is still only 1.5 years old, so we’ll see. She came to the store with me when she was 8 days old, so it’s probably already engrained in her. My son West loves to build with Legos. He has so many now that I made him a few pouches to keep them organized! My oldest daughter, Tessa, is more creative on the computer. She designs websites (including Make & Mingle’s) and has her own business, Pixelton Designs. She also recently created a really cool product called The Techlace, an iPhone case connected to an adjustable & fashionable necklace. I think that we are all creative in our own way, we just have to discover our own outlets.

West - Make & Mingle - Poor & Pretty

P&P: What do you envision as the future of Make & Mingle?
AP: Most of our products are fabric based. However, I would love to delve into other creative outlets like beauty products, yarn, etc. I’m also hoping to grow our online presence to share the crafty goodness. I would really love to get more local artisans/Etsy sellers in the store so that Make & Mingle can become a platform for people to touch and feel products of local Etsyans.

Make & Mingle retail & studio Poor & Pretty

P&P: Speaking of local artisans, what advice do you have for aspiring artists who want to start selling their creations?
AP: Promote yourself! I would say half of it is doing what you love but the other half is really all about getting yourself out there through social media, local events etc.

Stay in the loop with Make & Mingle! Sign up for their newsletter, read the Make & Mingle blog, “like” them on Facebook, Tweet @makeandmingle, and see what inspires Alexcia on Pinterest.


December 16: Bazaar Bizarre Boston

I can’t believe the Bazaar Bizarre Boston — my second out-of-state show — is less than a week away, eep! I’ve got quite a few hectic, mad-dash-product-making days ahead, but I’m very excited. It’s a huge celebration of independent crafters & artists, and a massive shopping event on Sunday, December 16th at the BCA Cyclorama, 539 Tremont Street, Boston, MA.

Photo by Hank Hauptmann, hankhauptmann.com

With just about 100 vendors — ranging from candles, ceramics, clothing, and jewelry to paper goods, pastries, purses, and soap — the geniuses behind the BBB have created a vendor map so that shoppers can easily find their favorite artists. It’s the perfect place to knock out all of your holiday shopping and support small businesses simultaneously! I’m looking forward to checking out Allison ColeGlitterlimes, Witch City Wicks, and hopefully finding a new wallet, too, if I can break away from my booth!


This weekend: Hamden Holiday Craftacular & DIY sugar scrub at Sugarplum

Planning on doing some more holiday shopping this weekend? Why not join me and other amazing local artisans at the Hamden Holiday Craftacular, tomorrow, December 1st? Or take part in some of the fun DIYs and meet-and-greets that make up sugarplum’s 12 Days of Christmas? I will be hosting two DIY Sugar Scrub tutorials this Sunday, December 2nd.

If you couldn’t make it to the Black Friday Handmade Market last weekend, The Hamden Holiday Craftacular will host many of the same amazing artists. Pick up fleeces for your puppy from Grateful Pawz, unique handcrafted stuffed animals from Jemmanimals {like this sweet narwhal!}, sculptural necklaces and earrings from Kate Stephen Jewelry, gorgeous handbound journals and hand printed stationery from Kleiner Eisbär {I love my matryoshka doll print, which I will be gifting to Stan’s Babushka}, eco-friendly clothing and housewares from sugarplum USA, and supercute origami necklaces and earrings from Tiny Dino Laboratory. Stop by The Space on 295 Treadwell Street in Hamden between 10am and 5pm.

Or maybe you’re giving DIY-themed presents. Here’s the perfect opportunity for you to learn how to make your own giftable {or keepable!} sugar scrub! Join me Sunday, December 2nd, at sugarplum USA, 98 Main Street in Southington, for a sugar scrub demonstration. No need to bring your own supplies; we’ll have everything, including snacks! There will be two demonstrations: one at 1pm and another at 3pm. Tickets are $5 if you pre-book online, or $7 at the door.