Life Lately: florapothecarie, Los Angeles, Glorious Pink Hair, and a Red Panda

Life Lately feat

I thought it was about time I come out of hiding and say hello. Life lately has been a wild ride, and I wanted to share a little bit about what I’ve been up to these past few months!

florapothecarie lineup

In January, I re-branded my product line and launched florapothecarie! (flor-uh-poth-uh-cary) Still 100% natural, but now with even more organic ingredients and beautiful new labels. I could write a whole separate post on my decision to rebrand (I may still!), but for now I will say this: it’s always a tough decision, but I did it for a few reasons: I want to be self-employed someday soon, and I wasn’t charging nearly enough for my products in order to pay myself, so I knew I needed to raise my prices. I also felt the name “Poor & Pretty” did my high-quality, handcrafted products a disservice, so I knew I needed a new name. I wanted to bring color back into my branding (I love color!), so I knew the aesthetic needed to change. I wanted to get away from Etsy. Anyway, it’s done and launched and beautiful and I’m so happy! You can shop the full lineup on my new website right here!

deodorant cream_1000

OH! As part of my re-brand, I launched a product I’ve been working on for months: a natural cream deodorant (or deodorant paste). BIG thanks to my team of testers for trying it out and giving me such great feedback. They were totally in love with it, and I think you will be too. Buy it here.

Sami February 2016 Getty Villa LA

Last month, my wonderful incredible loving uncle flew me out to visit him and my aunt in Los Angeles. He thought I could use a little sunshine and warm weather, and he was so so right. The week I visited, it was sunny and 80-90 degrees every day (and I skipped out on a few New England snow storms). We visited the Getty Villa (above) and the Griffith Observatory, saw the Oscar-nominated short films, had dinner and a movie in the swankiest movie theatre I’ve ever been in, and relaxed on the beach.

Zuma Beach Malibu

Knowing me as well as he does, one day my uncle dropped me off at Zuma Beach (in Malibu, right off the Pacific Coast Highway), and left me alone while he went on a three-hour bike ride. The sun, the sand, the sea all called to me. I’ve always felt drawn to Southern California, and every time I visit, I feel like I’m home. I don’t know what this means quite yet, but I’m keeping my mind and heart open to the possibilities of my future.

Sami-Boudoir-cropped

I’m also totally in love with my pink ombré hair, which I can’t believe I never told you about! Of course, it was done by my super-talented bestie, Mish Jolie. IN OCTOBER. So yeah, I thought you should know about it. The photo above is from a boudoir shoot I did shortly after getting my hair done. Photographed by the lovely Cassandra Madeline, styled by Sammy Vigorito, hair & makeup by Rachel Toussaint. Truthfully, I’ve been struggling with feeling sexy and confident in my body for a long, long time. The boudoir shoot was my Christmas gift to myself, and worth every penny.

Red Panda - Beardsley Zoo

Also: I’m seeing someone new. His name is Rochan, and he is a red panda. Ha! Kidding. Sort of. I am seeing someone new. It’s very new, and very exciting, and that’s all I will say about it for now. Except that he took me to see this ADORABLE red panda at the Beardsley Zoo last weekend, and I almost lost my mind. He gets me.

xoxoxoxo!

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Poor & Pretty Travels: 12 Things I Loved in New Orleans

12 Things I loved in New Orleans feature via @poorandpretty

12 Things I loved in New Orleans via @poorandpretty

I am on a crazy traveling/networking kick, you guys. I got home from New Orleans on Sunday night and pretty much collapsed into bed. This weekend is Monarch Workshop. And the weekend after that I am staying at home as much as possible, ha! Here are a few things I fell in love with in NOLA:

Sami with Emily and Kathleen - Being Boss NOLA via @poorandpretty

1. Being Boss. I’ve been obsessively listening to the Being Boss podcast since June, and drinking in every bit of advice imparted by hosts Emily Thompson (above left) and Kathleen Shannon (above right). Their mantra “Do the Work; Be Boss” is something I say to myself on an almost-daily basis. I get so caught up in research, self doubt, and trying to feel “ready” with my work that I become paralyzed and afraid to actually do anything. So when Emily and Kathleen decided they were going to New Orleans and inviting 75 bosses along, I didn’t overthink. I bought my ticket, and went, and shared my ideas with other badass creative boss ladies, and totally conquered. I gained so much confidence and self-awareness, and of course amazing connections! When I came home, I got to work finishing my natural beauty eBook and launched it on Tuesday. You can buy it here

Sami and Jem Being Boss NOLA via @poorandpretty

2. My roommate. I was a little nervous about sharing an AirBnB with someone I didn’t know, but when I discovered Jessica (alias Jem) regularly attends Renaissance Faires, I knew we’d get along just fine. And we did! Jem is a super talented comic book artist currently working on a weekly comic called Cap and Sable, a spacey pirate tale. We explored the city together, gave each other confidence, shared book recommendations, and geeked out about Harry Potter a lot. ANd her hair! It makes me want to put pink back in mine…

Chicken and Waffles at Desire Oyster Bar NOLA via @poorandpretty

3. The food. Some of the food highlights from my trip were roasted chicken with jambalaya risotto at Bourbon House, chicken & waffles at Desire, pulled pork Po Boy somewhere on Bourbon Street… NOLA is another city of amazing food, pretty much everywhere you go. I don’t eat seafood, but there were plenty of delicious alternatives for me. I would have loved to do lunch or dinner at Brennan’s, but we didn’t make reservations and you definitely need them there!

4. The beignets. You can’t go to New Orleans without eating beignets! When Suzi and I went to NOLA in 2008, we waited in a pretty long line at Café Beignet for ours (expect to do so if you’re heading there too). Luckily, the genius organizers behind the #BeingBossNOLA trip grabbed a bunch for us one morning so we didn’t have to wait in line! They are amazingly fluffy and doughy and sugary.

Gelato from Sucre NOLA via @poorandpretty

5. The gelato. Walking around the French Quarter trying to decide what to eat, Jem and I stumbled upon Sucré, a sweet boutique on Conti Street. They had 14 different French Macarons, artisan chocolate bars, handmade marshmallows, personal cakes named after musicals, and gelato! Though we were tempted to have gelato for lunch, we hurried out, ate somewhere nearby, and went back for dessert. It made me want to start a bakery so bad!

6. The crêpes. Connected to the apartment building we were staying in was a little coffee shop called Merchant. They had amazing crêpes, which Jem and I ate every morning.

Frenchmen Art Market New Orleans via @poorandpretty

7. The Frenchmen Art Market. If you’re into supporting handmade artisans like I am, you’ll want to check out the art market on Frenchmen Street. It’s bit of a hike, but still totally walkable! Because it only runs in the evenings, there are string lights hovering above the artists’ tents. It felt so magical! The goods ranged from big painted canvas artwork to handmade 80s and 90s memorabilia to jewelry made of fish bones.

Dollz and Dames NOLA dress via @poorandpretty

8. The dresses. While we’re on the subject of shopping, let’s talk about Dollz & Dames! It’s a small boutique on Decatur Street, filled with rockabilly dresses, shoes, skirts, tops, vintage lingerie… I spent a lot of money here, and I’m certain if Suzi were with me again, she would have too. I bought this entire ensemble there!

Tarot Card Reader Jackson Square NOLA via @poorandpretty

9. The Tarot Reading. One of my missions this visit was to seek out the tarot card reader Kathleen spoke about during an episode of Being Boss. We knew she had blue dreadlocks, a hat, and was in Jackson Square (as are most of the readers). We found her on Saturday, and she was wonderful. I’m keeping the reading to myself, but I will say it was powerful and I am very glad I found her!

Lord Chaz Ghost Tour NOLA via @poorandpretty

10. The Ghost Tour. I was really excited about doing a ghost tour with my fellow bosses because that’s one thing Suzi and I didn’t get a chance to do on our first visit to NOLA. The tour was booked through Lord Chaz Ghost Tours, who were incredible. We were split into three smaller groups, so we didn’t have Lord Chaz himself, but the guy we had (I forgot his name!) was fantastic. We learned all about the voodoo, vampire, and ghost legends that haunt the city. That big shadow behind our tour guide? We dubbed him Spooky Jesus. 

Halloween in NOLA via @poorandpretty

11. Halloween. NOLA lives for well, pretty much every holiday (and some they even make up), but this is doubly true for Halloween. Houses, shops, and restaurants in the French Quarter were covered in creepy clowns, skeletons, animatronic witches and vampires. We walked past the above clown-filled porch on our way to Frenchmen Market Friday night. I would have hated living next to those folks!

Gemini Bermuda Triangle with Fearless Fresh Stephanie Stiavetti and Erica Midkiff NOLA via @poorandpretty

12. The Gemini Bermuda Triangle. While at a the Being Boss Bourbon House dinner Friday night, I wound up sitting across from and next to two fellow Geminis. Now, I don’t let astrological signs and horoscopes run my life by any means, but I totally buy into the fact that people of the same sun sign have similar personality traits. Turns out Fearless Fresh chef Stephanie Stiavetti (above left) and content coach Erica Midkiff (above right — I was so excited to meet her!) are also Geminis, and also can’t drink coffee because it makes them insanely jittery, and can’t help speaking loudly and excitedly, and always have a million different entrepreneurial ideas and creative paths they want to follow. So we called ourselves the Gemini Bermuda Triangle because non-Geminis could get totally swallowed up in the middle of our energetic, creative madness.

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Poor & Pretty Travels: 10 Things I Loved in Portland

10 Things I Loved in Portland_feat

10 Things I Loved in Portland

Last weekend was incredible! I won a ticket to the blog/creative conference The Hello Sessions, so my friend Brittany and I headed to Portland, Oregon for a long weekend. Here are a few things I fell in love with, in no particular order:

The Hello Sessions Portland Oregon via @poorandpretty

1. The creative community. Portland is a haven for creatives, but they don’t just keep it to themselves. I felt an incredible sense of community during The Hello Sessions conference on Friday, but also throughout the city. People were very friendly, and businesses seemed to be very collaborative. For example, Salt & Straw’s ice creams are handmade with candies, chocolates, and other ingredients made by other Portland businesses. You can buy bags of Stumptown Coffee practically everywhere (even in our hotel).

International Rose Test Garden Portland Oregon via @poorandpretty

2. The roses. Thursday evening brought unseasonably beautiful weather to Portland, so Brittany and I took advantage of it by visiting the International Rose Test Garden. It felt like walking into Alice in Wonderland, sans the murderous Queen of Hearts. The garden is home to about 600 unique rose varieties in over 8,000 plants, and is the reason Portland is nicknamed the City of Roses. 

Olympia Provisions Portland Oregon via @poorandpretty

3. The food. We had some incredible food in Portland, so if you’re a foodie, definitely add this destination to your bucket list. We had delicious baguette sandwiches at Addy’s Sandwich Bar and sampled savory charcuterie and cheese at Olympia Provisions (formerly Olympic Provisions), which I also brought home for Stan. 

Salt and Straw Ice Cream Portland Oregon via @poorandpretty

4. The ice cream. Salt & Straw = best ice cream ever. Really. They’ve been voted among the best ice cream places in the US several times over. They’ve got all kinds of crazy flavors that you’d never think would be good (like Arbequina Olive Oil, made with local olive oil) but are. Enthralled with their Halloween flavors, I had a combo of A Potion of Malicious Delight (Pop Rocks + some kind of fruity jam + all kinds of other amazing weird ingredients) and Chocolate Gooey Brownie (made with Portland’s own Holy Kakow Chocolates). Brittany went for a scoop of Arbequina Olive Oil combined with Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper (yes, that’s all one flavor).

Voodoo Doughnut Portland Oregon via @poorandpretty

5. The doughnuts. I’m not really a doughnut fan, but I would eat Voodoo Doughnut daily if I lived in Portland. Though now that Whisk + Brush are opening up a doughnut truck, I may become a convert.

Lan Su Chinese Garden Portland Oregon via @poorandpretty

6. China. Visiting Lan Su Chinese Garden felt like visiting the Chinese countryside (or what I imagine it would be like). It’s a soothing atmosphere that takes up a full city block (40,000 square feet) in Chinatown, and makes you forget you’re actually in Portland. Brittany and I toured the garden, dined on delicious Chinese appetizers, and partook in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. Of course I brought home some tea!

Powell's Books Portland Oregon via @poorandpretty

7. The books. I used to work for Borders (and I’m a total bookworm), so bookstores hold a special place in my heart. Naturally, I fell in love with Powell’s City of Books, and Brittany and I wandered amongst the stacks for a good hour or so. I left with J.K. Rowling’s Very Good Lives, her 2008 Harvard commencement address.

Saint Cupcake Portland Oregon via @poorandpretty

8. The cupcakes. I make it a point to try cupcakes everywhere I travel. Happily, we stumbled upon the aptly-named Saint Cupcake (the cupcakes are heavenly) during our Saturday city walk. I had a mini Red Velvet, a mini Salty Captain (chocolate cake with caramel buttercream, a drizzle of caramel sauce, and sprinkling of sea salt), and a full-sized Confetti (vanilla cake topped by vanilla frosting, both mixed with edible confetti). They were all incredible, but the Salty Captain was my favorite.

Portland Saturday Market via @poorandpretty

9. The Saturday (and Sunday) Market. The Portland Saturday Market runs Saturdays and Sundays March through December, and has over 250 local vendors. We found a lot of great souvenirs here!

10. No sales tax! Brittany and I kept forgetting there’s no sales tax in Oregon, and whenever we remembered, we were so giddy! No more odd dollar amounts or pennies to deal with. It was pretty great.

After seeing the shopping bags I was lugging around with me, one of the employees at Saint Cupcake remarked on how we’ve hit all the great Portland spots! The only thing we didn’t cross off our list was eating at Pok Pok because the line was over TWO HOURS long. Crazy. But, Brittany discovered there’s one in New York, so we’ll just have to try it a little closer to home.

Where have your travels taken you lately? Where are you itching to go next? I’m headed to New Orleans this weekend!

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Poor & Pretty Travels: Portland & New Orleans

Poor & Pretty Travels - Portland New Orleans feature

I was going to post about something completely different today, but I’m too excited about my upcoming travels! I have to share them with you. :)

Poor & Pretty Travels - Portland New Orleans

Next month, I’m heading to Portland, OR for The Hello Sessions (I won a ticket!) and the week after, I’ll be in New Orleans for the Being Boss meet-up. I can’t wait! I have a few must-see’s/must-do’s on my list, but I’d love for your input too!

I’m even more stoked about Portland because my friend Brittany is joining me, so we’ve got this whole girlfriends’ getaway planned. Here are a few things that are definitely on our list:

  • Grab doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnut
  • Sniff around the International Rose Test Garden (hopefully they’re still in bloom!)
  • Ice cream Salt & Straw
  • Sip tea in Lan Su Chinese Garden
  • Eat at Pok Pok
  • Nerd out at Powell’s City of Books
  • Shop in Union Way

New Orleans 2008 via @poorandpretty

And New Orleans — I have been wanting to go back there ever since Suzi and I went in 2008. The food, the music, the voodoo, the culture! We had such an incredible time. I’m really bummed that our tour guide, Lloyd Sesat, passed away a few years ago. He was so fun, and I was hoping to tour with him again. ♥ Besides attending the Being Boss events, here’s my agenda for NOLA:

  • Beignets at Café du Monde (and buy the beignet mix to make at home)
  • Get a tarot card reading
  • Do a walking tour
  • Take a ride on a streetcar
  • Eat. A lot.

Have you been to Portland or New Orleans? I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments!

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Road Trip Update 6: Tennessee, Virginia, and Home

Road Trip Day 12 - Tennessee state sign

Last week at this time, I was heading to Memphis, listening to the latest music Suzi provided for me (Johnny Cash and Elvis made top of the list, of course).

Road Trip Day 12 - Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

By 6pm, I was humming Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis” and strolling down Beale Street.

Road Trip Day 12 - Elvis Presley note Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

… I didn’t have blue suede shoes though, so I wore my gray Minnetonka Kilty Suede Moccasins instead.

Road Trip Day 12 - King's Palace Cafe live music Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

After doing a little bit of shopping, I was drawn to the live music playing outside of King’s Palace Cafe.

Road Trip Day 12 - King's Palace Cafe dinner Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

So I enjoyed their BBQ Platter — ribs, pulled pork, and “Voodoo potatoes” — while I watched the live performance. By the time I worked my way through all that delicious food, it was getting dark and Beale Street was a little seedy for a solo roadtripper like me, so I headed back to my hotel and watched The Birdcage on TV before falling asleep.

Road Trip Day 13 - Graceland Elvis house Memphis Tennessee

In the morning, I swung by Graceland to pay my respects to Elvis Presley. I got there too early to do a tour, but I couldn’t have done one anyway as it takes 2.5-3 hours. So, I walked around the grounds for a bit, then got back in the car and drove toward Nashville.

Road Trip Day 13 - Loveless Cafe Nashville Tennessee

In Nashville, I got gas and ate at the Loveless Cafe. Well, okay, there was a 2 hour wait, so I got my grits, biscuits, and ham egg and cheese to go and ate in my car (even the seats outside were all taken!) I am not normally a grits fan, but damn. Those grits were good.

Road Trip Day 13 - Hotel Roanoke Virginia

I hit pockets of rain on my way to Virginia, but got to the Hotel Roanoke around 7pm.

Road Trip Day 13 - Hotel Roanoke lobby

It was built in 1882 so it has gorgeous old-world charm. Look at this lobby!

Road Trip Day 13 - Hotel Roanoke secret sitting room

There was even a secret sitting room off my room. I may have enjoyed my room service in here… ;)

Road Trip Day 14 - Connecticut state sign

Friday, I woke up super early, threw on my best red, white, and blue and booked it back to Connecticut. At 4:30pm, Stan was giving me the best hug ever.

Road Trip Day 14 - Independence Day Jell-O Cake

We ended the night watching fireworks under an umbrella at my Dad’s house and enjoying Suzi’s 4th of Jell-O cake! (See what I did there? ;)

Though I would have loved to share my trip with Stan or a few family members or friends, it was really liberating and empowering to do it on my own. It’s still incredible to me that I drove across the country and back on my own. I experienced pure natural beauty (Rocky Mountains, Arches National Park, Grand Canyon) and geeked out over Thelma & LouiseBuffy and Breaking Bad filming locations. I had amazing food and some not-so-great food, too. I listened to some great music and audiobooks (The Fault in Our Stars and okay, some Harry Potters) and an overrated one (sorry, Kerouac). I visited friends and family and it was amazing!!!

See all of my road trip updates here:

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