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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Stamiversary Trip to Florida, Part Two: Universal

Despite what you might think after my first post-Florida update, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is actually just a tiny piece of the Universal experience. It was certainly our favorite part of the trip, but we had lots of fun in the rest of the two parks, too. Here are a few highlights:

Universal IOA - Seuss Landing - poor and pretty

Seuss Landing is so colorful and fun! The rides are definitely geared more toward young kids, but we loved The Cat in The Hat ride and The High In The Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride. But we’re kind of big kids.

Universal IOA - Seuss Landing - Once-ler's house - poor and pretty

I can’t watch The Lorax without crying, but I was able to contain myself at the Once-ler’s house.

Universal IOA - Lost Continent - Poseidon - poor and pretty

Also in Islands of Adventure — sandwiched between Seuss Landing and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — is The Lost Continent, which I think is supposed to be inspired by Atlantis. There aren’t any rides here, but there are a few interactive shows. We did Poseidon’s Fury which starts as a “museum tour” and then, surprise! You’re in the middle of an epic battle between Poseidon and Lord Darkenon (who I’d never heard of before). It’s kind of hokey, but still amusing. The special effects were certainly neat.

Universal - Stanosaur - poor and pretty

One of Stan’s favorite activities was creating his own dinosaur in Jurassic Park. Is it weird that he looks even more like Harry Potter as a dinosaur?

Universal IOA - Toon Lagoon - poor and pretty

This was in Toon Lagoon :)

Universal - Patrick Spongebob - poor and pretty

Speaking of cartoons, we met a friendly starfish named Patrick over at Universal Studios!

Universal - Shark attack! - poor and pretty

But Stan was also eaten by a shark :(

Universal HHN - Dale's Winnebago RV Walking Dead - poor and pretty

But after napping briefly at Dale’s Winnebago… (Fans of The Walking Dead will recognize this)

Universal - Wall climbing - poor and pretty

…He was back on his feet, even climbing up walls!

Universal HHN - Entrance - poor and pretty

Halloween night, we went to Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights. After reading about how crazy the lines have been in the past years, we decided to wait outside the park for an hour and a half. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t that impressed. We were first in line into the event and we still had to wait 45 minutes to get into the first haunted house. Then we waited another 40 or so minutes to get into another haunted house. The haunted houses were cool and had great design, but at the end of the day, they were still just haunted houses. Luckily, we didn’t pay a whole lot for the tickets, but I wouldn’t do it again. The only thing that made it worth it was…

Universal HHN - Rocky Horror Tribute - poor and pretty

The Rocky Horror Picture Show tribute! The show was really crowded, too, but still lots of fun.

And those are the highlights from Universal! Next week, I’ll share our Disney highlights. :)

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Stamiversary Trip to Florida, Part One: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Stan and I had an incredible time in Florida last week for our five-year anniversary (or “Stamiversary,” as we like to call it). The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was even better than I’d imagined! Of course, we did quite a bit more than exploring this part of Universal Studios, but as it was our main reason for going, I have a lot of pictures from it! Here are a few of our favorites:

Wizarding World HP - Hogsmeade sign2 - poor and pretty

I love this sign at the entrance to Hogsmeade: Please respect the spell limits. :)

Wizarding World HP - Inside 3 Broomsticks - poor and pretty

The first item on our agenda was to eat lunch at The Three Broomsticks. Yum!

Wizarding World HP - lunch at 3 Broomsticks - poor and pretty

Then, we immediately headed for Hogwarts:

Wizarding World HP - Hogwarts - poor and pretty

I think the guy in this photo was just so overwhelmed with how amazing Hogwarts is. I totally get it, guy.

Wizarding World HP - greenhouse - poor and pretty

The line to get into the main attraction — Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey — weaves in and out of Hogwarts, showing you different parts of the grounds and castle. This section is meant to evoke the greenhouses.

Wizarding World HP - Gryphon Gargoyle Statue - poor and pretty

This is of course the gryphon/gargoyle statue that guards the entrance to the headmaster’s office. I don’t want to show you too much, in case you go for yourself one day! We were lucky that the lines were pretty much nonexistent, but even if the line had been long, there are plenty of things to look at while waiting ~ even talking portraits!

Wizarding World HP - Butterbeer & Pumpkin Juice - poor and pretty

We drank all of the Hogwarts-specific drinks at The Three Broomsticks/Hog’s Head, but our two favorites were frozen butterbeer and pumpkin juice. They have a non-frozen/cold version of butterbeer, but I didn’t like it as much. One of the barkeeps told us that they made a hot butterbeer, too, but J.K. Rowling didn’t like the way it tasted, so it never made it to the menu. I hope it does someday!

Wizarding World HP - Hogwarts Express - poor and pretty

On Halloween, I donned my Hogwarts robe and Stan and I hit the parks a bit earlier. Our tickets allowed us to enter the park an hour before general admission, so it was practically empty:

Wizarding World HP - Hogsmeade - poor and pretty

Wizarding World HP - Zonko's & Honeydukes - poor and pretty

While there were many storefronts that were just for show, Zonko’s Joke Shop and Honeydukes were two of the stores you could actually enter. I love how colorful Honeydukes is!

Wizarding World HP - inside Honeydukes - poor and pretty

I was also lucky enough to be chosen for the wand ceremony at Ollivander’s! After two unsuccessful wand pairings, I was matched with a “holly” wand (they aren’t made of real wood) with a unicorn hair core. So exciting!

Wizarding World HP - wand ceremony - poor and pretty

(Sorry for the fuzzy photo; it was dark in there!)

Wizarding World HP - Stami - poor and pretty

Oh, we had so much fun!

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Snapshots & thoughts from Florida

Hello friends! Stan and I are having lots of fun in Florida this week ~ you may have seen some of our vacation photos on Facebook or Instagram. Here’s another one for you from Seuss Landing:

You need a thneed - Seuss Landing Islands of Adventure

Escaping the increasingly cold and wet Connecticut weather has been wonderful, as has stepping away from the computer. It’s allowed me to do some deep thinking about where I’m spending my energy. Since beginning the Poor & Pretty blog in 2009, then expanding it into a small business in 2010, I’ve found myself constantly trying to balance these two passions along with my relationship with Stan, family, work, and for a while, school. And as much as I want Poor & Pretty to succeed, I’ve realized I’m dedicating more time to the blog & business than I often am to Stan and even to myself. Being together this past week has been amazing, and I want more time for just us.

Universal Orlando

So, I’ve decided to start blogging just twice a week for now. This will also allow me more time to focus on creating amazing content for you, rather than trying to scramble to meet my own deadlines. I may still write a third post here and there as an added bonus, but for now ~ beginning next week ~ look for new posts on Tuesdays and Fridays.

We’re headed to Disney today! I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! Speaking of which, did you see the costumes we wore to my friend’s Halloween party?

Halloween 2013 - pinata + birthday boy!

We went as a piñata — inspired by the one in this DIY costume roundup — and a birthday boy. Every time Stan whacked (just kidding! He politely tapped me :) with his piñata stick, I tossed candy in the air. It was so much fun! We took home the Most Original Costume award again!

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Be Loving: Five years of Stami*

Yesterday was my and Stan’s five year anniversary! We spent most of the day napping and reading Harry Potter (more on that later…) before having dinner out, so I don’t have any exciting photos to share. Instead, I thought it would be fun to share the very first photo ever taken of us (flanked by our former Apple co-workers Amanda and Marty):

Our first photo

This was actually taken before we started dating, but only by a week or so. It’s crazy how it simultaneously feels like we’ve been dating forever and also like we’ve just begun our lives together. I love him so ♥

I remember being teased in the beginning by friends and family who said I chose Stan because he looks like Harry Potter. I’m sure it came as no surprise that we went as Harry and Ginny for our very first Halloween in 2008. Stan was a very good sport about it, even if he does look a tad uncomfortable here:

Halloween 2008 - Harry & Ginny

So I think it’s only fitting that for our five-year anniversary, we celebrate here:

Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Photo credit: Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

…At Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We’re going the week of Halloween! Eeeeeee!!! I can hardly contain myself! We’re trying to get through all seven books before the trip. We’re on 3 right now, so it’s not looking so great, but we’re having fun psyching ourselves up for it.

(And yes, I know they’re currently undergoing major renovations, to be finished next Summer. Guess we’ll just have to go again next year! ;)

*In case you’re wondering about Stami: Very shortly after Stan and I started dating, our then-co-worker Jeff coined our collective unit as “Stami” — you know, like Brangelina. We liked it too much to object.

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