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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.

Avoiding Burn Out

May 28, 2015

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As

I type, there is a sweet little poodle toy mix laying on my lap,
trying to decide whether or not to fall asleep.

 He is the newest addition to The Fashion Cookbook family (photos to come). This little guy, my affectionately called “little old man” Chalky (brownie points if you get the Boardwalk Empire reference, which although not the original intention (he was named by a four year old) is still a pretty cool namesake. Mr. Chalky has been keeping me quite busy with getting his health records updated, house training, and lots and lots of snuggles.Having him around has done wonders for my sanity, with his sweet puppy dog eyes and the mandatory daily walk. Although he is an older dog and a rescue he is gentle, affectionate, and loads of fun. I encourage you to adopt a dog in need if you’re looking for a furry four legged companion. They will surprise you!

Besides the new man in my life things have been a bit challenging as of late. Namely, a broken computer, graduation, and the start of a new job. All of these things have prompted me to take a brief hiatus, as I am sure you’ve noticed. I have to admit that getting back into the groove of things after stepping away for a while is not easy. Perhaps we’ve become conditioned to think about hiatuses in terms of epic band breakups and consequent reunions. So we set ourselves up to think that we need to come back with a bang in order to justify our hiatus. But the truth is, life is about balance and stuff happens. You won’t always be able to juggle everything perfectly and you may feel guilty or like a failure when things slip through the cracks but life is about prioritizing and sometimes that means letting somethings go in order to take care of yourself, your loved ones, or the challenges that life will inevitably throw your way.

Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll you that I am the queen of “can’t say no.” My ambition and drive are both a blessing and curse, pushing me in my personal and professional growth but also leading to inevitable burn out. So as I dive back into blogging, working full time, and family (dog included) responsibilities I am approaching things a bit differently. My hope is that these tips will help you to have a productive but enjoyable summer and help you to avoid burn out.

1. Take a Break
Bathroom breaks, walk the dog breaks, chat with your cubicle neighbor breaks, take some breaks.
Not only will your mental sanity improve but so will your productivity.

2. Establish a Routine of Weekly TLC
and stick to it!
For me, taking a few hours to blow out my hair, do my nails, and spend some quality time with
Hulu, Netflix, or HBO is all I need to get rejuvenated for the week ahead.

3. Manage Your Time
(don’t let your time manage you)
Whenever possible plan ahead and give yourself a time frame within which to accomplish tasks
so that you don’t get sucked into being a perfectionist and end up in an endless loop.

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Ingredients:

Love,

Blog Signature Patricia

Memorial Day Weekend

May 27, 2015

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Hannah’s Outfit Ingredients

Shirt- Urban Outfitters

Jeans-American Eagle (different color)

Bag- Tory Burch

Shoes- Steve Madden wedge and Tory Burch flats

Watch- Michael Kors

Alex & Ani Bracelets

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Sarah’s Outfit Ingredients

Romper – Forever 21

Shoes – Tory Burch

Bag – Tory Burch

Gold knot bracelet – Kate Spade

Watch – Michael Kors

Pearls – Nahoku

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“My style has always been whatever is comfortable, i’ve been trying to find a way to make comfortable and classy go together”- Sarah

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First off, I sincerely apologize for the total lapse in blogging. This past month both Patricia and I finished our last month of college, graduated, and began new jobs (well – technically I’ve been working full-time at my old job until I start at Tommy Hilfiger next week). To say we have been busy is somewhat of an understatement. This Memorial Day weekend, I finally had the opportunity to regroup and spend time with family and friends. One of my dearest friends, who was my sophomore year roommate at Clark, came to visit Maine for the weekend. We spent this past Sunday night in downtown Portland and then the next day we went to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

Sarah and I met during our freshmen year originally out of the need to find a roommate. Who would have thought that I would find one of my best friends from that situation. I met many of my close friends at Clark, but Sarah will always hold a special spot in my heart. I’ve never met someone so driven and successful, and yet so willing to help others. I was so inspired living with her and watching how she pursued her dreams, not to mention I was able to borrow clothes from her closet whenever I wanted. The best thing about living with her was that I had a friend who I could tell my most true thoughts to and that no matter what she would accept me. I was able to confide in her my spiritual questions and together we would discuss our perspectives without trying to persuade each other to take on our individual truths.

Another thing that Sarah and I always connected on was our excitement to play dress up and experiment with personal style. Being able to share clothes with one another, we often inspired each other. In some ways I like to think that I helped challenge her to push her personal boundaries with clothes and try more daring looks. From her I definitely learned the beauty of timeless classics. This past Memorial Day weekend we both put together a fun summery look to welcome the start of an exciting season. We each have a favorite pair of Tory Burch flats and wanted to show how to style a pair of flats and cross-body bag differently. I went for a pale pink and cream palette, while she went for a pop of color to the classic Memorial Day white. In a couple of the photos I wanted to show how you could just as easily dress up the outfit with a pair of neutral wedges.

LOVE,

Blog Signature Hannah

Nick’s Bedroom Tour

April 20, 2015

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Greetings, from the land of work and tiredness. This has been one of the most hectic months of my life. I’ve been working, doing an internship, graduating college and preparing for what comes next. Most of this gets done in my room. I’m going to let you into my world a little by showing off my space. I’ve only been here for about a year, so some of the walls are a little sparse, but I recently got a bunch of painting supplies and I’m hoping to make some pieces to add some color.

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As a matter of fact, this is a piece I made a couple of years ago. It’s a mouth, from the inside. I hate my teeth, so in a weird way, my art highlights teeth. The yellow used to be brighter but like an amature, I kept it in the sun. I’m starting to get attached to the new faded look. Fades are big in menswear, and now I see them everywhere.

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 The art above my bed was a print that my dad passed on to me. I keep it central because home is where the heart is, and I’ve got one of those. It also helps bring the room’s focus to the bed. It’s a bedroom after all, and I try to keep the desk from being the main focus of the room. I built that desk last summer with some pieces from ikea and cheap particle board. I cut it out to fit the door and and the heater, so it’s a tailored fit. It’s where I get down to the brass tax.

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Check out the mass here. It’s a mess, but I can get away with it because it’s in a leather valet. The lighter case was my moms from when she was my age. I don’t smoke, but I like to have it around. The sunglasses are Ralph Lauren Purple Label that I grabbed at TJ-Maxx for $45. They’re foldable, but are smaller than traditional Persols. The rest of this just is stuff I use too much to ever find a place to store. They’re my essentials, all in one place.

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 Those  jeans give me life. I wore them for 3 years without a wash after picking them up at Gap for $17. I caved, like a nomadic settler, and washed them this past winter. The fades were all I’d dared to hope for and more. Note the unique wear pattern. It’s is hard to get such bleeding perfection without the denim being high quality. They’re made with a midweight selvedge that was originally much darker. Wearing them in was a stylistic investment at the time. Now I have around 5 pairs of raw selvedge denim all at different points at their wear cycles that I rotate through. You’ll also notice that I had to crudely repair the blown out crotch many a time. I still wear them a lot. They’re one of my favorite things.

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This is Rose. She’s my roommate’s dog. She loves the camera.

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The built-in is where I keep all my shoes. I recognize that it should be a bookcase, but come on…priorities. I do use the bottom drawers as a dresser though, so at least it’s purpose is universal.

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I built that closet extension when I realized I had nowhere for my outerwear. I’ve always hung my pants, so I’ve always struggled to house my wardrobe. Pants rule, limited space drools.

That’s all there is to show. Now you know what my life looks like.

Be well!

-Nick


If you missed our earlier post, Nick is our in-house menswear guru. He has worked on The Fashion Cookbook this past school year, helping to streamline our operations as well as aid us with big picture planning as we continue to grow into a larger business. He also has a (fantastic) taste for design and style. From time to time he will bring his insightful perspective on menswear to the blog. Check out more about him here.

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(photo via Worcester Magazine)

31 Bits: Fashion for Good

April 16, 2015

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Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my role in fashion, not solely as an “influencer” in this media landscape, but also my role as a consumer. What am I really supporting by shopping at the stores that I do? Many fashion retailers, if not mostly all, rely on cheap labor overseas and often the condition of the factories they work in are very unsafe. Since 2005, there have been 1,865 people killed in preventable factory fires and building collapses in the Bangladesh garment industry. That is so high a number and it is only one country within the entire textile and garment industry.

I used to think that I was removed from the problem, and that I could justify shopping at stores like Forever 21 and other fast-fashion retailers because I was a student and made too little money to justify spending a decent amount of it on good quality clothing. The truth is I could have supported better corporate social responsibility companies from the beginning. The root of the issue I found was that all along I needed to change my shopping habits to accommodate my decision to support fair wages/better labor practices. Instead of buying a new set of clothes for each new season at those lower-end stores, I would need to buy one item of better quality once in a while. I’m not saying you should never shop at certain stores, but instead be mindful if that piece is really worth it, and if not, try to thrift it instead if you cannot afford the expensive version. Something I had to train myself to do was to avoid instant gratification with my wardrobe and work on slowly putting it together, piece by piece. That way I could save for that staple piece that was made in better working conditions.

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Sometime last year Patricia told me about a very special company she did research on for a project in her social entrepreneurship course. That company was called, “31 Bits” and it is a jewelry company that empowers both the creator of the jewelry and the consumer. All of the beads are made out of pieces of paper, such as from unused posters, advertisements, and text books. The paper is rolled tightly into stripes and coated with a water-based varnish that hardens the beads to provide a protective coating. Not only are the products handmade from recycled material, but the goal of the company is to use fashion and design to help women rise above poverty. The makers of the jewelry are women from Uganda, who are able to make a solid income enabling them to provide for their family. Not only are they able to earn an income, but the company cares for them holistically through counseling programs, health education, finance training, and business mentorships.

I loved the company so much, that I started following their Instagram and kept up with their newest collections. Sometime during the holidays I saw that they were hiring Campus Representatives and so I applied and was hired in early February. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed spreading their message and building brand awareness on campus. I had never found a fashion retailer I could support 110% until I stumbled across 31 Bits. I think something unique to them is that their mission comes from such a pure place. Within such a consumeristic industry it is not easy to be informed to make all the best buying decisions. One thing though to keep in mind is that it is essential to have intention behind what you do and what you buy. This idea of intentionality behind your actions should not solely be confined to fashion choices, but to what you care about in your daily life.

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The “31” comes from Proverbs 31, where it describes a diligent woman providing and caring for her family.  The “bits” comes from what the beads are made out of…bits of paper!

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Ingredients

Maxi dress- Loft

Bag- Loft

Necklace- 31 Bits

Bracelets- 31 Bits


Are you are a reader in the Worcester area or a Clark University student and are interested in purchasing pieces from 31 Bits? Please reach out to me over email (hannah@thefashioncookbook.com)!! I would love to help you accessorize a new bracelet or necklace, and would even give free styling advice! They would make a perfect gift for Mother’s Day coming up.

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LOVE,

Blog Signature Hannah

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