Posts from August 2017

Conquering Fear

August 31, 2017


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?


“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”


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Photography by Centered Images

Special thanks to Tobi for collaborating on this post!  



An Image Consultants’ Secret to Dressing With Ease

August 24, 2017


When you look good, you feel even better.


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.


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.


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


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.


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:


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.


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!


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.


 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.


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.


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


Photography by Centered Images



Sustainable Fashion with Miakoda

August 18, 2017


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.


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!


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.


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.


Photography by Logan Ronan

Thank you Miakoda for collaborating on this post 



Practicing Non-Attachment in Daily Life

August 8, 2017


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.”

hannahgarden hannahgarden2

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.


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.


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.


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,


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