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How to Transition to Fall with Ayurveda

September 6, 2017

This post was written by Victoria Cyzewski, our wellness contributor.IMG_3001

It’s beginning to feel like Autumn! An aesthetically beautiful time of year that is the beginning of a transition period for both the natural world and our human internal world. The leaves begin to change, the air gets dry, cold winds begin their dance, we trade in our flip flops for boots and our flower crowns for hats, picnics in the park turn into movie nights at home. For some, the change in season can be jarring and uncomfortable. I know for me, the warmer part of the year brings so much freedom to me! And when the season begins to change to Fall, I can feel trapped and isolated. So this year as the leaves and our mental states are transitioning with the cycle of the seasons, how do we achieve a balance of the body, mind, and earth, and make way for beautiful change to take place? Today, we’re going to answer that question with the beautiful practice of Ayurveda.

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What Is Ayurveda? Ayurveda is the ultimate balancing technique between your entire physical and spiritual being and your natural surroundings. Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest holistic medicinal techniques from India. The belief system that Ayurveda is based on, is that everything in the Universe, living or otherwise, is connected. And Ayurvedic techniques are those that attempt to balance all elements of the universe (space, air, earth, fire, water) in your human experience, so you can feel connected, in-tune, harmonious, nourished, and peaceful with your body, mind, spirit, and surroundings no matter the circumstances.

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Why Use Ayurveda? Why do we do anything in this life? Why do we give him our number, go to that yoga class, turn down that invitation, drink a glass of wine? We do it to feel good.  Ayurveda is a practice that targets and engages your physical and emotional well-being, in a personal and comfortable way. Ayurvedic practice is your invitation to listen to your body, tune into your changing mother-planet, nourish your soul and your hungry mind, and balance out the nudging flaws in your day-to-day life that you have full control over!

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What Does Ayurveda Mean To Autumn? We know that Ayurveda splits the entire universe into the five elements of:

Space, Air, Fire, Earth, and Water

And within the human body, they combine to comprise three major energies that control the functionality of your body. We call these three energies, Doshas:

-Vata dosha (space and air)

 

-Pitta dosha (fire and water)

 

-Kapha dosha (water and earth)

Every human contains all three doshas in their individual energetic makeup. However, not everyone has the same balance of each dosha within them. Some might have Kapha is the slightly more dominant energy present within them. In others, it could be Pitta. Each human is different and perfect. Every season possesses a dominant dosha, just as your body does. This is why balancing your body with the seasons creates a greater sense of happiness and harmony in the human experience.

Vata dosha rules in the Fall. The air and winds are dry and cold, and there is an energy of access movement. With this much Vata energy and the potential for it to be out of balance within the body, you could be prone to dry skin, insomnia, anxiety, depression and other physical and emotional disorders. So how do we honor the season and find balance?

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Beginners Guide to an Ayurvedic Autumn:

Food- In Ayurvedic technique, you counter the over-abundance of an element with the opposite element. So as it is cold and dry, now is the time to give in to your cravings for hot soups, root vegetables, slow-cooked meals, spices, and sauteed vegetables! Warm liquids like ginger tea and hot water with lemon will keep you well hydrated and relaxed.

Body- Fire up some of your Pitta energy by taking a power yoga class, or just bumping up your exercise routine. Then balance out your active energies by making sure your body get full and effective recovery with a consistent night’s sleep.

Senses- Hydrate and soothe your body with oil massages in the morning before you hop in the shower, or at night before going to bed. Choose a warming oil like sesame or almond. Self-massages are a beautiful act of self-care towards yourself, and a great way to commit to your well-being when transitions are at play.

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Outfit Ingredients: shirt- c/o Tobi | skirt- Madewell | booties- Steve Madden


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Photography by Centered Images

Conquering Fear

August 31, 2017

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For an incredibly long time, I’ve been a fearful person. I would often fear things that would happen or fear it if they wouldn’t. I would for so long let the mere idea of something have a greater hold over me than the reality itself. Because that is what fear is: unless we are in actual danger, fear is a story we tell ourselves is real.

Fear is an incredibly commanding emotion that plays a role in all of our lives. It holds us back from experiencing an even more powerful emotion which is happiness. Not until recently did I stand back and realize that I have not truly been happy for some time now. So much of this was because of my physical thinking and not feeling comfortable in the present moment due to various fears. What about you? Have you felt like you only half live in the moment?

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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

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The crazy thing about fear is that at its core it makes us feel like we aren’t enough. Just think for so many of us the root of all of our issues and hardships is the sole idea that we are not enough as we are. When our sense of self is so fragile, everything around us can be perceived as a potential threat. But in all reality, this perception is our own doing. Few of us understand that we are largely responsible for the “threats” that seem to surround us because ultimately it is us, and us alone that have control over what we chose to give energy to.

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When we succumb over and over again to fear-based narratives we actually contribute to creating a climate of fear. Many times we are still blaming the people and circumstances that led to our suffering and are reliving the trauma in some way. We are continuing to get caught up in our own victimhood and as a result will remain in a place of unhappiness. To break the cycle something has to change and that is to choose to let go of fear.

After months of reading, talking with healers and dear friends, as well as doing some deep soul searching I’ve finally found some healthy ways to part with fear. By no means am I an expert, but after my recent accident I, feel like I’ve been given a new perspective on life; one that has revolutionized the way I choose to continue forward.

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Outfit Ingredients: romper- Tobi | hat- Free People | flats- Old Navy | necklace- Free People


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Be aware of where the source of your fear stems from and release it

When it comes down to it, fear arises out of our perceived need to self-protect. We think that if we don’t let this person in, then they won’t be able to hurt us like our last boyfriend did, etc. However, by allowing shadow figures of our past to have a hold over our present circumstance we end up repeating the same story as before.That is why it is necessary to identify when you are projecting such fears onto a person or situation and remind yourself that it is unfair of you to do this. Consciously stop yourself and remember that this thinking does not serve you well. Instead, move into your fear. Know that it is a necessary part of growth and use its energy to propel you forward rather than hold you back.

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Focus on the here and now

Often we don’t pursue our dreams because we fear failure, we fear success, we fear the unknown, or we fear looking foolish. At the end of the day you are going to grow and learn from every experience, so it is worth it to at least be open to the possibilities that come from embracing the unknown. For one, you may experience something far greater than you ever even imagined possible because the Universe is capable of stringing together miraculous things.

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Seek support

Fear and self-doubt flourish in isolation, so get out of your own head. Reach out to those who will support and encourage you. Not only will you gain a new perspective, but by being raw with someone you give them the opportunity to care for you more deeply. Also, depending on your particular circumstance you may consider meeting with a counselor or support group.

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I have to laugh because while shooting these very photos I experienced a lot of fear… For starters, Chelsea and I experimented with smoke bombs and we didn’t realize they were more than just the smoke but also included a loud fireworks whistle at the end. We really didn’t get many shots because every photo Chelsea took of me I looked completely terrified. How funny is it that our brain can react so strongly to an event or situation. In the case of the color bombs, I quickly realized that I wasn’t in any real danger beyond experiencing an uncomfortable loud noise. However, I still struggled to let the fear go and could not stand close to them with ease. Which reminds me of how hard it is in our everyday lives to fight our fearful thinking, even when we know deep down we are not in any real danger. Truly, unless we are in imminent danger, fear serves no purpose. Once you grasp hold of this idea and choose to consciously surrender your fears, that is when you allow yourself the ability to feel happiness freely.

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Another aspect to combating fear that I didn’t talk about earlier, but I think can also be a very powerful tool is using clothing to feel empowered and confident. This is an extension to what I talked about in my last blog post, but I think it’s important to repeat again. As an image consultant, I see every day how wearing something you feel good in can erase your fears. Honestly, it’s a balance between feeling equally good inside and out. For me, I choose clothing items that I feel not only fits my body type but also conveys my personality. As of late, I’ve been doing a lot of shopping at Tobi, an online fashion retailer that specializes in designing clothing that makes you feel beautiful and confident. The best part is their clothing is so affordable (also, it’s 50% off your first purchase!!) Although these photos were taken in Lewiston, Maine of all places, I felt so wild and free in this snakeskin romper.

Lately, that’s been so important to me- I chose to live life to the fullest and embrace the wild and unknown parts of it. Instead of running from my fear I embrace it.

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Photography by Centered Images

Special thanks to Tobi for collaborating on this post!  

LOVE,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

An Image Consultants’ Secret to Dressing With Ease

August 24, 2017

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When you look good, you feel even better.

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One of the biggest takeaways of working with clients over the past few years has been the opportunity to see how clothing impacts not only someone’s mood but also their career success and how they interact with other people. I’ve been able to see how one killer outfit can be the boost of confidence someone needs to shine in that interview or ask that person out on a date. It’s such a special thing to be able to help people find their sense of style and in turn truly shine from the inside out. What’s great too is that you do not have to spend a lot of money to look and feel confident- it’s all about finding the clothing that you feel your best in.

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Don’t believe me? In a study published in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, medical students who wore lab coats that they were told belonged to doctors performed better on tests than those who wore street clothes or were told the (same) coats belonged to artists. There is a direct correlation between what we wear and what we think of our potential.

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Outfit Ingredients: pants-Just Living  | top- Stella Luce | wedges- Steve Madden| bag- Louis Vuitton

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What would this mean for you if you could wear only clothing that made you feel awesome? I ask this because this is something that’s actually very possible. There is nothing that says you have to spend a lot of money or buy certain brands to look and feel your best; it’s more about building a wardrobe made up of clothing that you feel at ease in and represent your personality the most. For example, together this shirt and pants together cost me just over $30 and they are both items I can wear again and again with multiple outfits. When I wore this outfit the other day while shopping in downtown Brunswick with my bestie Chelsea I honestly felt awesome. Also, I guess I can’t deny that eating delicious gelato helped elevate my happiness levels. But in all seriousness, it’s incredible how clothing can make you feel.

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Someone wise once said, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” If it’s confidence we seek (and don’t we all?), then why not dress the part? You can use personal style as one of the many tools to boost your self-confidence. But how, you may ask? Here are some tips to help you dress for your most confident self:

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Learn how to dress for your body.

Personally, I can be self-conscious of my stomach and legs. To combat this I wear shirts that are looser instead of tightly fit. I also tend not to wear shorts and certain cuts of jeans. I don’t look at this as limiting myself though because I’ve merely managed to find the items that fit my body best. Once you are able to identify the clothing that fits your body just right that is where the magic happens.

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Embrace your favorite features.

What are our favorite features? Although it’s easy to list off what you don’t like about yourself, that will never take you far when finding the items you rock best. Instead, think about which parts of yourself you wish to emphasize. I really like my back and collar bones (weird I know, right?) and so I’ve formed a collection of shirts that compliment my favorite features. I can’t speak for everyone, but this technique has really worked for me!

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Know what colors look best on you.

Ever since dying my hair red, I’ve found that I love the color blue. No matter the clothing item, if it’s blue I think it makes my hair and eyes pop. While some people may stick to neutrals or certain color palettes, I’m all for allowing yourself to wear anything that makes you feel happy. Of course there are going to be certain colors that look best on you, so be sure to form the majority of your wardrobe around this.

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 Define your style

In my opinion, style is ever-evolving so what you may wear now could be different in a few months- and that’s ok! The point is that you are wearing items that you feel represent your personality and feel special in. Instead of attempting to emulate what’s trendy or someone else’s style, know what you like, both on yourself and on other people.

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The most important secret to dressing with ease is simply to be true to yourself and appreciate your uniqueness. Once you are able to love yourself flaws and all, you will exude confidence and actually enjoy getting dressed in the morning. Bottom line, your first concern when getting dressed should be to empower yourself. Impressing others is just a byproduct.

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Are you needing help with building your dream wardrobe? I want to help you! 

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Photography by Centered Images

 LOVE,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

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

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