Stan came home last Thursday with the surprising news that it had snowed in Israel. I had very little sympathy because of bone-chilling cold we had the entire time he was gone, but I’m so glad he’s back! We have done nothing but cuddle and watch House of Cards all weekend.
It’s March, but I can still get away with sweater dresses for another few weeks, right? This one reminds me of Scandinavian Fair Isle sweaters and my tights mirror the deep blue in the Swedish flag (did you know I’m part Swedish? And Danish, Irish, Italian, and possibly some small part Native American).
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!
I haven’t done in outfit post in over a month, but I’m so happy with how these photos came out! Stan and I were able to capture that elusive “magic hour” yesterday. The sun beaming through the trees makes my new red hair look like it’s on fire. I love it!
I can’t believe I haven’t shown off this sweater before — it’s one of my favorites. It’s cozy and soft and I love the shape. I call it my “Renaissance cardigan” because the way the sleeves fall remind me of that era. Plus, the tag says “Guinevere” (which I think may be an Anthropologie line.) I bought it a few years ago at Teenage Wasteland, a consignment shop in Simsbury, CT.
Oh, and my hair! I think I’ve finally found the color it was always meant to be. Last week, Suzi helped me dye it using Henna Color Lab’s Wine Red Henna Hair Dye. I’ve wanted to try out henna for a few years because there are so many horrific chemicals in regular hair dye and I really love my hair when it’s red. Last year I tried out Manic Panic, which is less chemical-ly, but it faded really quickly. So I took the plunge, did lots of research, and went with Henna Color Lab. I am SO HAPPY! I’ll go into more detail in a few weeks. I want to keep track of how the color holds up.
I’m also glad I get to break these babies out. I bought them at the tail end of boot season earlier this year, so they hardly got any use. They’re very comfortable, and I really like the button detail.
2. Eden Scarf via FashionABLE. I love FashionABLE’s scarves and their mission to create sustainable businesses in Africa. For that, this fall accessory is a win-win.
3. Skinny Skinny Jeans via Madewell. I just bought a pair of these from Uptown Consignment — brand new! — for $18. They are the most comfortable jeans I have ever owned. They will be well worn this season.
4. Madden Girl Elsiee boots via Zappos. I love cognac-colored boots. If I didn’t just buy a pair earlier this year, these would be all mine.
5. Chai Tea via Simpson & Vail. As soon as it starts falling below 60 degrees in the morning, I make my own chai tea lattes before work with Simpson & Vale’s chai tea mix, soy milk, and a little bit of agave nectar. (I’ve also made an iced version.)