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We chose the name The Fashion Cookbook because we believe style is made up of many intricate ingredients - such as lifestyle, values, and career - and accented by unique flavors like a pinch of sass, a teaspoon of whimsy, and a dash of glamour.

How To Style a Bar Cart

March 30, 2015

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Image via Pinterest

You’ve probably seen images of the bar cart online- or if you have a stylish friend, probably in their apartment. The bar cart is an essential piece for someone who entertains in their home often. It’s a fun way to organize your alcohol and glasses to make it easier for entertaining, as well as it serves as a fun styling feature for home decor. Once I created a Word Document for my future apartment planning, it wasn’t long after that I began scaling other blogs for bar cart styling tips. Its kinda crazy how many hours I spend on interior design websites and plan out what I will eventually buy to decorate my home with… When I tend to “window shop” and add items to my cart, it ends up totally just around $1,000 and sometimes over… and that doesn’t include the price for the actual alcohol to go in the bar cart. Yikes! It most likely has to do with the high quantity of Kate Spade and Lulu and Georgia items I pick out. Regardless if I had a big-girl-job, or not, that amount isn’t realistic. There is definitely a way to style a bar cart that is way cute and affordable, without relying on designer names.

 Version One: $987.30

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Overall, I have a very eclectic personal sense of style, but when it comes to home decor I’m drawn to minimalism and hints of girliness (that primarily being pops of gold and pink- my favorite color combo). If you look on Instagram and on other blogs, you’ll mainly find items like these and the cost will be quite steep. Fret not! For, I myself cannot afford to spend that much, and went on a search for similar pieces (also very cute) that followed the same aesthetic, but did not cost an arm and a leg. Because let’s be real… who can really spend that and not feel guilty?

Version Two: $226.77

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For this second version, I shopped mostly at Target, Walmart, Christmas Tree Shop, and Etsy.com. The only hesitancy I have with shopping a these kind of stores (disregarding Etsy), is that they do not have as good a quality. I suggest checking out your local Goodwill store before going anywhere else. Not only will you save a lot of money, but you will also be more sustainable. Besides, then at the end of the day you will have a bar cart that is unique to you.

 p.s Don’t forget to add fresh flowers to your bar cart to liven up the space!

LOVE,

Blog Signature Hannah

An Afternoon at Crompton Collective + Advice for Doing What You Love

March 28, 2015

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Spending

the afternoon at Worcester’s newest local gem, Crompton Collective, is like visiting Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. At every corner there are unique and fun pieces you won’t find anywhere else and the sprawling space, which hosts the antique shop and vintage boutique, seems to go on forever. Any fashion lover, home decor diva, or as Amy Chase might say “lover of old things,” who steps into Crompton will be mesmerized by the charm and character of this renovated mill building and the beautiful treasures it houses. But perhaps even more interesting and compelling is the woman behind it all. She is the Willy Wonka of Crompton, the mastermind who coordinates the efforts of 85 vendors, a farmer’s market, and a host of events held in Crompton’s breathtaking “white room.” Amy’s creativity, Worcester pride, and fun personality ultimately define Crompton’s spirit. On my latest visit to Crompton, I had the opportunity to sit down with Amy and learn a little about Crompton’s history and how Amy created a business out of something she loved.

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Crompton Collective has only been around for the past two years but within that short time has had a major impact on the Worcester community. As a Worcester native, Amy has sought to propel the community forward by supporting local businesses and creating an experience at Crompton that draws in visitors from all around. What is so refreshing about Amy is her boldness and commitment to her passions. Before she opened up Crompton she ran a mobile vintage shop, Haberdash Vintage, with just a trailer and a mini yellow school bus.  She also co founded another fashion venture called Swapaholics. All of her ventures center around a common theme – doing something she genuinely enjoyed. Her passion and ability to recognize a market need led her to quickly take action and to refine and pivot along the way – no business plans, no fancy terminology. In fact, Amy admits to showing up to an investor meeting with purple hair and seriously ripped jeans and absolutely no clue about pitch decks and the like. But her enthusiasm, passion, and action oriented approach spoke volumes and compelled investors to want to take part.

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Sitting down with Amy and hearing about her story is truly inspiring, – her love of helping others succeed at doing the things they love rings loud and clear – and I believe this is the secondary key to her success. In the process of accomplishing her own dreams Amy has helped to build countless others up – ultimately leading her to realize a dream well beyond what she’d ever envisioned. For someone with such vision and fearlessness it is hard to believe that there was once a time where Amy wanted to open a small boutique just big enough to house her vintage pieces and her three beloved dogs. However, her ability to push herself beyond her comfort zone and imagine bigger and better things has allowed her to change her life and the lives of so many others. Since starting Crompton just a few years ago Amy has helped vendors grow their businesses to the point of opening their own stores and has encouraged others to utilize the beautiful spaces in the renovated mill where Crompton resides.

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 “A bird does not not sing a song because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

- Maya Angelou

This Maya Angelou quote so perfectly sums up the spirit of Crompton and the secret behind Amy’s success at doing what she loves. Antiques and vintage clothing are the songs she sings and in an effort to spread this song Amy started Crompton. She often had more questions than she had answers to but she never allowed this fear of the unknown to stop her from pursuing her dreams.

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For more information
on Crompton you can check them out on their website, Crompton Collective, or on social media, which the Crompton team is super active on! And if you are looking to explore all of the beautiful pieces at Crompton, Hannah and I would love for you to join us for the Update Your Look event we will be hosting with Crompton and a group of amazing fashion and beauty vendors this Sunday. For more information check out our facebook event page, Update Your Look With the Fashion Cookbook. Come hang out with us, we will be on site to help you with all of your styling needs so come escape the snow and get ready for spring with some unique accessories, vintage finds, and much more.

Love,
Blog Signature Patricia

Power Suits and the Power of Negotiation

March 25, 2015

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Current status:

feeling like a boss.
So I dedicate this post to all of my aspiring lady bosses.

DSC_0823A few years ago, Linda Babcock conducted a study for her book, Women Don’t Ask.

She found a 7.6% difference in salaries between men and women with MBA degrees (pretty depressing stats for a current female MBA candidate).

The reason? Well sexism aside, she also found another staggering statistic –
ONLY 7% of women, compared to 57% of men, had attempted to negotiate their salaries.
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Now,

I don’t know about you but the last time I stepped into my boss’s office for “the talk” AKA the I need more money talk, I thought I was going to have a panic attack. And judging from these statistics I am not alone.

I’d like to think that I am pretty comfortable in social situations, with public speaking, and with discussing other issues with my boss – however when it comes to pay it seems like my brain just decides to go into reset mode. I was reflecting upon this experience when I found a great article on Forbes about the power of negotiation – a set of skills so many of us women never learn.

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The Power of Negotiation

If we’re going to close this wage gap we need to start by becoming expert negotiators. So put your big girl pants on and let’s do it.

1. To start, we are our own worst enemy. Before we do anything we need to raise our expectations – know your worth and educate yourself. You need to know what the going rate is in the job market for the skills you have to offer and the position you’re looking to fill. I’m going to use a cliche here (#sorrynotsorry) – knowledge is power.

2. Have you ever noticed how badass of a negotiator you are when you’re negotiating on behalf of someone else? Like when it has to do with your child’s wellbeing, defending your team, or standing up for your best friend? I know I turn into a lady version of Al Capone…lol That’s because this doesn’t seem selfish (to you or the party you’re negotiating with). So you need to apply the same logic to negotiating on your own behalf. Frame your negotiations based on how you are going to help the other party – think you need these resources to help them. This isn’t about you it’s about the welfare of the organization.

3. Keep your options open. You wouldn’t settle on the perfect pair of shoes without shopping around would you? Similarly, you should shop around for a job too. The more options you have the more empowered you feel to ask for the things you need to be happy at a particular job. And just like a Birkin bag, the more in demand you are the more valuable you become.

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Lastly, be confident. You are a boss. Dress like a boss. Think like a boss. And. Own. It. Do your homework and prepare to defend yourself and what you can bring to the table. Believe in yourselves as much as I believe in you.

Ingredients:
Dress Shirt: H&M
Wide Leg Pants: H&M
White Pumps: Rampage (Similar Style)
A Healthy Dose of Confidence
Your Newly Minted Negotiation Skills

If you’d like to read the article: click here.
 
I would love to hear your negotiation experiences & tips so please share in the comments below.
By the way, Hannah and I are taking requests for future posts so please let us know
what you’d like to see next in the comments below.

Love,

Blog Signature Patricia

LA Photo Diary & Recap

March 24, 2015

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We flew into LAX and were picked up by my dear friend Jamie along with her new baby girl, Amelia. From there we drove to Santa Monica and went to True Food Kitchen. There we ate delicious bison burgers with sweet potato and quinoa. After, we walked the Santa Monica Pier and then sat in the sand talking and catching up. Jamie then drove us to Erin’s friend Rachelle’s house.

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The next day Erin and I woke up and went to Hollywood. We went to a place called, “The Waffle,” where they had $6 double sized mimosas. After a yummy breakfast and a little morning buzz we walked around and saw the Hollywood Walk of Fame. After several hours of walking around seeing the sights until our feet hurt, we stopped for margaritas, which happened to serve mega-sized drinks and then proceeded to get a little day buzzed.

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Following our day in Hollywood, Erin and I met up with my friend Sarah (a fellow blogger) and went to The Line Hotel for happy hour with the attendees of Create+Cultivate. It was absolutely wonderful to meet so many talented and hardworking women! After drinks at the hotel we went back to Sarah’s apartment to order in pad thai and played with her cat. We then took an Uber to The Mint, a well-known music venue, and watched several bands perform.

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After hiking the Hollywood Hills, Erin and I went to Venice Beach and soaked up some (much needed) sun. After we explored the Venice Canals during sunset, and it was absolutely unreal how beautiful it all was. That night we met back up with Jamie and little Amelia for dinner at a French/Vietnamese fusion place called, “Le Cellier.”

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Of course the last place we went for brunch was Bottega Louie in downtown LA. I couldn’t not pick up macaroons to take home for me to share with Patricia.

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On of my other favorite moments from the trip was during the mentor session at Create+Cultivate. I sat next to Devon Rachel, one of my favorite fashion bloggers and was able to ask her my most pressing questions. I asked her how she was able to afford to move to LA right after college. I mostly wanted to know if her parents helped pay her way, much how most bloggers are lucky enough to not feel burdened by financial responsibility and hardship. She said she was blessed to have her Grandmother help pay for college, but that she had saved all four years of school working retail jobs to pay for her apartment and new chapter in her life.

Hearing her words brought tears to my eyes and I was instantly connected to my ten-year-old self who wept watching Hilary Duff’s Metamorphosis Tour on The Disney Channel. No, she wasn’t an amazing singer who wrote awe inspiring songs. My father had walked in to our living room and saw me sobbing and asked why I was so upset. I told him how badly I wanted to perform and be like her, but that I knew I wouldn’t ever be given the same chance as she had. Even at such a young age I knew in every fiber of my being that I wanted to have an influence and that I would not be given the same opportunity as someone born into a larger city or into a more affluent family.

“In a 2011 TED Talk in San Francisco, author and speaker Mel Robbins talked about how the chances that you are about 1 in 400 trillion. (Yes, that’s four hundred followed by twelve zeros.) This takes into account the chance of your parents meeting out of all the people on the planet, the chance of them reproducing, the chance of you being born at the exact moment that you were, and every other wildly improbable factor that goes into each individual person.  The whole point of her crazy calculation was that we should take the sheer improbability of our own existence as a kick in the butt to get out of the bed in the morning.” –Sophia Amoruso in #GIRLBOSS

In the airplane on our way home, I read this line from Sophia Amoruso’s book #GIRLBOSS and immediately tears welled in my eyes. I had thought that the most powerful moment of my trip had been the conference itself, but in reality it was the moment reading this that I realized I am truly capable of achieving everything I want out of life and that my dreams will come true so long as I keep going…Hell even as I was wiping tears from my eyes I was smiling thinking I’m flying home from my second fashion blogger conference in LA that I was invited to and in the same week I accepted a position with Tommy Hilfiger for a merchandising internship in NYC for the summer. I’m walking on the very path I have always dreamed I would… Worried that I would attract the attention of the women sitting next to me, I quickly blew my nose, wiped my eyes, and began to journal all that I was reflecting on and more importantly jotted down all that I knew I would need to remind myself of when the going gets tough.

In high school I realized that although I was passionate about acting and singing, it was not something I could fight tooth and nail for and still love at the end of the day had I not be able to afford a place to call my own or food to go in my stomach. People ask me all the time why I love fashion and I have to admit its not because of the clothes or bags. For me its about being allowed the gift to express oneself and more than anything else in the world I’m drawn to beauty and helping people to feel beauty. I can’t help but laugh aloud as I type this because I’m striving to enter an industry that is based entirely on people buying things to to help them feel beautiful, when all I want to do is help people to feel loved and valued for just being themselves (flaws in all- both physical imperfections and character traits)… Something I got out of Create+Cultivate was not how to monetize this blog and become “blog famous” (although that was a session), but more so to push myself to continue forward in bringing something to an industry void of depth and empowerment. God created me with an unwavering itch for beauty and performance so I’m going to use that passion to lift those up around me. If I have to scratch and scratch until I’m blistered and exhausted, I know it will all be worth it. So if you read up to this far, hopefully you do not think I’m the biggest sap, but you too understand what it is like to dream and to not be able to sit and breathe comfortably until you are at complete ease with being yourself, and only you. If you think this way, or simply are curious as to what this would look like please, please, please continue to follow along with The Fashion Cookbook. I can’t offer you greatness now or anything groundbreaking, but what I can offer you as a reader is something genuine and raw. A place where we value someone’s worth not based on the clothing that they wear… I’m excited to see where this humble little blog will go, but in the meantime I’m just happy to be able to go along for the ride. LA was an absolute blast and I know I will return someday soon.. and not for a weekend… but to live there.

WITH ALL MY LOVE,

Blog Signature Hannah

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