Redefining fashion from being on trend to being your best self and helping you transform the ingredients in your day to day life - from work, lifestyle, health, and personal style - into ‘recipes’ for living a naturally fashionable life.

Sustainable Fashion with Miakoda

August 18, 2017

Miakoda

I’ve been on something of a happiness journey. Through the years I’ve battled depression and anxiety, while also being so appreciative of life’s beautiful moments. To say that it’s been a confusing mix of emotions is an understatement, but the older I get I’m realizing that you have to take the good with the bad. Also, for my own sanity, I’ve had to dig deep and address what makes me most happy and choose to focus on that. The simple truth is that I’m happiest when I focus on love and accepting myself flaws in all.

As part of my self-love journey, I’ve worked hard to appreciate myself in my more natural state. This has consisted of accepting my beauty without wearing makeup, acknowledging that I am more than my career success, and so on and so forth. It’s been revitalizing to know that I am enough just as I am.

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As an extension to my inner journey, I have also been making more conscious consumer choices that support my values. For instance, I am considering how heavily my actions impact other people and the environment when it comes to food and clothing choices. For instance, the fashion industry does so much damage by polluting the environment with toxic chemicals and poor farming practices. Not to mention too the industry has a horrible impact on people as a whole –  whether it be the clothing made via sweatshops, making farmers harvest fibers grown with pesticides, polluting water sources and land surrounding other humans homes and communities, etc.

Today I’d like to introduce you to an eco-friendly clothing line that I recently stumbled upon that’s main mission is to educate people on why ethical clothing is so important and crucial to support. Miakoda is a modern sportswear line for the woman who wants to be cozy and still feel feminine and chic. Miakoda is made in NYC with all sustainable materials. Created by Sisters Julia Ahrens and Laura Ahrens in 2013, the brands’ focus is to create beautiful clothing that does not harm the environment, people, or animals. A big win-win for the planet, I’ll say!

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In addition to the wonderful way the clothing is produced, I’m most drawn to how the pieces physically feel and look on. For instance, I recently wore this slip dress with a simple lace bralette and felt a sort of effortless beauty in it. By being so natural one can’t help but feel at ease. Plus it feels good to know that the clothing you are wearing is not negatively impacting the environment or other people. We all too often forget the impact our choices have on other people and unfortunately forget about how devasting the simple choice of what we wear has on the rest of the world.

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One big takeaway for me recently has been how much small steps can truly add up. You may feel that choosing to purchase that dress at one store versus another doesn’t really have an impact, but it does. It’s so similar to how choosing to practice that 5-minute mindfulness activity can help better your entire day.

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Photography by Logan Ronan



Thank you Miakoda for collaborating on this post 

LOVE,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

Practicing Non-Attachment in Daily Life

August 8, 2017

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When we visit a garden we don’t put pressure on the flowers we buy to live forever. Instead, we often pick out annuals knowing that they will not last longer than the summer. We do not force any further expectations on these beautiful creations other than to purely enjoy our time with them while we have them. So, why then do we so often go through life clinging and grasping, hoping that by holding onto things that we will find more comfort and happiness? When ultimately it is the very thought of losing these things that cause us the most pain?

A zen proverb comes to mind: “If you can be like the trees, which allow the birds to perch and fly away without either inviting them to stay or desiring them never to depart, you will be near to the way.” icecoffeehannahflowers

In my last blog post, I discussed the concept of non-attachment following two very traumatic car accidents which forced me to change my perspective and see life from a different angle. Today I want to unpack what are some ways to practice non-attachment in daily life.

Non-attachment means to able to exist in the world while not grasping on to anything in a sense of dependency or needing anything to make us feel “whole.”

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Here are some common examples of core attachments:

  • Thinking that a person’s image of you is more important than the person themself.
  • The idea that you need a physical possession to be happy or at peace, and that without it, you won’t find it.
  • Desiring a result or outcome, such as the idea that getting a promotion will solve all of your problems and bring you lasting happiness.

The truth is these attachments although they serve some purpose, will undoubtedly always cause you inner strife and pain. Do you see the pattern? To truly let go and live with non-attachment means to let go of ideas. It’s all mental, not physical.

You can be in that relationship while letting the other person be free, wanting only for them to be free and at peace. To be able to show them love without feeling that your worth is tied to them loving you back.

You can sit in that car, and enjoy riding it, without the idea that you need the car to be happy. If you lost the car tomorrow, it would not be the end of the world. It may have an impact, but it will not stop you ultimately. 

And you can plan projects, create things, and work towards goals without your sense of self-worth coming from your work.

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No, the true source of peace and happiness exists outside of all this, beyond the reach of these many attachments, within the mind. And the only person that can discover this for you is yourself- or so I’m learning.

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Non-Attachment Meditation Exercise:

  1. Begin by making a list a of all the things you’ve attached yourself to. Be sure to take note of any underlying similarities.
  2. Ask yourself: What do I hope to accomplish or get from grasping on to these ideas (or fantasies)?
  3. Next, contemplate deeply on the principle of impermanence. Remind yourself of the fact that nothing lasts forever. Instead of letting this massive sense of fear swell up within you, meditate on how everything lives on in a different form. 
  4. Realize that nothing exists in the way you believe it does. Think that flower exists in and of itself, independent of its environment and everything that comes in contact with it? Think again. You are just as “special” as anything and anyone else. By realizing this you will begin to see your wholeness undefined by anything you could possibly attach to.
  5. Meditate on past attachments and whether they resulted in long-term peace and happiness or not. Take time to unpack past relationships, jobs, etc. in the form of journaling. See how many times it was perhaps your expectations of how these things were supposed to go, that in the end left you so unhappy when they did not come to fruition.

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Remember where there is growth, there will be pain. Reflecting on this level may unmask some very heavy and uncomfortable personal truths, but I promise that in the end you will move forward stronger and begin to feel so much more inner peace and happiness.

With love + light,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

The Hard Is What Makes It Great

July 16, 2017

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About a month and a half ago I took these photos with my dear friend Erin in Florida during a long weekend. I had originally thought that this post would revolve around the weekend’s experiences of staying in a luxury hotel in Orlando, and unpack the power of being spontaneous. However, more and more I’m pulled to share that the true story is so much deeper, and has been developing for a well over a year, if not was always adding up to this moment.

About a year ago this time I was fraught with anxiety over the uncertainty of what comes next after grad school, questioning where was I meant to be, where I was to live, and wondering what was I going to pursue next in my career path. I remember randomly (or not so randomly) stumbling across the concept of “Non-attachment” in a blog post I was reading online and sensed it was an important way of thinking, but then had no idea how to apply it, or even truly understand how important it really is.

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It finally came together for me last weekend when-when my friend Erin and I reunited again in Burlington, Vermont. It was then that I faced death twice. To even type the words that I almost died instantly puts things into perspective. I hesitated even to write this post, but I think a part of one’s healing is sharing the messages you learn in dire times with others so that as many people as possible can grow, and we all can learn unique life lessons, and heal together in some way.

Within just a couple hours of being together, my friend had a seizure behind the wheel and completely lost control of the car. It was a miracle that no one got hurt and my friend was able to receive immediate medical attention. I’m a very spiritual person and although I was very shaken up from the experience, I was amazed that I was put in Erin’s path to protect her from a potentially very life-threatening outcome, and that I too was saved from harm.

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That Sunday when Erin was released from the hospital, her mom and I convinced her she would be safer at home with family and friends near, so we drove from Vermont back to her parents home outside of Boston. It wasn’t until we were feet from the exit on the highway we were supposed to take, that another car lost control and hit us at high speeds that caused the car we were in to hit the guardrail and go flipping 6-8 times in the air and crash into a tree at full force. We were able to free ourselves from the totaled vehicle and soon after emergency help came to the scene to assist us. The three of us received cuts, bruises, and minor head injuries,  but crawled out of that car alive.

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Looking at all the factors of the crash, we almost certainly should not be alive. This past week I’ve tried my best to return to my routine, but things such as driving over a bump while on the way to work, or hearing an ambulance in the distance, I’m instantly reminded of what happened. It feels so heavy. Thankfully, I’ve had the support of family and coworkers to get me through this. I’m left reflective of how fleeting life is and how instead of holding onto the trauma of the crash, I’m consciously choosing to let it go. This does not mean I’m indifferent to what happened, but rather that I accept that I’ve been given a life that could end at any moment and that I chose to see the beauty instead of focus on the fear.

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Non-attachment refers to the state of mind of being objective and not clinging, and it springs from a deep consideration of the conditions of human existence. So just as you can hold a picked flower in your hand, being well aware that the flower will wilt and die in a matter of days, taking in the smell and beauty of the flower, you can live your entire life savoring every moment knowing that in each moment everything can change and that it ultimately will.

Non-attachment is a state of mind that will help you both in times of joy and sorrow. Life is a mixture of pleasure and pain, of comfort and hardship. We cling to pleasure, hoping that it will never fade, and we are overwhelmed by pain, fearing that it will never end. By practicing non-attachment, we become able to endure difficult moments with a certain sense of ease, knowing that—as a wise saying goes—this too shall pass. In the same way, we can enjoy the beautiful moments of life without being tainted by the fear that they will end—as they undoubtedly will. For me, this means looking at each day as a gift and through the good and the bad at least I’m still breathing.

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All this doesn’t mean that I now live in uncertainty, fearing that everything I rely upon could fall apart at any given moment. Quite the opposite, not being attached to success and failure, or pleasure and pain, brings you back into connection with the only thing that is invariably present, stable, and safe: your center of pure awareness and pure love.

Accepting the impermanence of life means reshaping all of our beliefs about existence—but thanks to this process, the possibility arises for us to love unreservedly, without conditions, and without fear.

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Photography by Suzi Ibanez

This mantra has helped me a lot lately in processing the reality of facing near-death. I hope it can somehow help you too in your respective journey.

I am loved.

I have loved

I am love.

Blog-Signature-Hannah

Eat Local: Evo Kitchen + Bar

July 14, 2017

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As a Maine-native, I’m always on the search for new, healthy local dining experiences. You can imagine my excitement when I stumbled across a farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Portland called, Evo Kitchen + Bar. Located at 433 Fore Street, Evo is an open-style kitchen that serves fresh, locally sourced meals. Today on the blog I’m touring the restaurant and tasting some delicious menu items, as well as interviewing chef Matt Ginn. I hope you enjoy, or as they say, “Bon Appétit!”

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What inspires you most, and how does that translate to your cooking?

Quite simply, the product and the seasonality. I have many strong relationships with local farmers and enjoy working with them and the product they bring in as the seasons change. 

Where do you see yourself/Evo going in the next five years?

Ha – this is a difficult question as the restaurant world is always changing. Hopefully cooking good food with integrity.

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Can you tell us more about your ingredients and where you source your food from?

I work hyper-seasonally, so the product is ever changing. This time of year is great, the product available changes quickly, which allows us to change the menu frequently. As I mentioned earlier I love the farmer’s market and have direct relationships with many producers. 

What does “Maine food. Bold flavors” mean to you?

Taking a Maine-grown product and using it with out manipulating it too much while complementing it with traditions and spices from the Eastern Mediterranean.

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What makes you different than other restaurants in the area? 

I think the way we toe the line between fine dining and casual. People can come in and do the tasting menu and wine pairings for a special occasion, or just have a quick bite with a drink. We strive to make sure there is a consistently good product. Also, our attention to detail is paramount.

What is your favorite dish you serve and why?

Right now it would be our lamb sausage with yogurt and bulgur dumplings. It is unique and really encompasses what we hope to accomplish here. It is summer in Maine so I choose to create a plate that highlights a very traditional Eastern Mediterranean dish in a more contemporary way.

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After starting with the fried cauliflower dish, I moved on to a Maine classic- Lobster served with mussels, garlic, peppers, and white wine. It was exquisite! It was definitely one of those meals that you couldn’t help but lick the plate when it was all done.

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After finishing the main meal, I took the time to enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee while overlooking the city streets. What’s incredible about Evo is that their floor to ceiling windows span nearly 30 feet high. Between the open-kitchen design and all over windows, there is plenty of people watching and entertainment. It makes for the perfect spot for an after shopping lunch or a date night.

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If you know of any great local restaurants please let me know! I’m always looking to collaborate on blog content and want to empower local businesses in the New England area. Leave me a comment below.

DSC_0484Photography by Centered Images

Thank you, Evo Kitchen + Bar for collaborating on this post!

LOVE,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

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