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

In The Studio With Alaina Marie

June 28, 2017

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“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”- Eleanor Roosevelt

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Today I’d like to introduce you to an especially inspiring woman who proves that having dreams and putting in hard work really does pay off. Meet Maine-based designer, Alaina Marie, who in the past year alone has launched a collaboration with Keds and remodeled her flagship store in Portland’s Old Port. Alaina Marie is a small handbag design company – nautically influenced and made in southern Maine. She designs and manufactures handbags made from a marine-grade mesh – the same material that lobstermen and fishermen use in the commercial fishing industry to catch their prey. How cool is that?!

Late this Spring, Alaina graciously met up with me to discuss her incredible story and show me a closer look at the design process of her successful brand. Here is a closer look I’m eager to share with you all.

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Tell us a little about yourself? 

Born and raised in the state of Maine, I have always been inspired by the coast. At a young age, I had a passion for design and knew that would be my dream job. 
 

What inspired you to start the store?

I acquired my store kind of by accident! When I was starting my business, I rented a small studio space in South Portland so I would have a place to work outside of my home. When I moved in, people started coming in to buy my bags, and of course I couldn’t say no! I soon set up a small show area where I tried to build stock and I kept selling out. This is when I knew I could sell them in a store and so I made it happen! The retail store was not part of my original business plan but happened so naturally. 

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Where do you see yourself in five years

I honestly don’t know! Just like the store kind of just happened, I don’t like to stick to a plan. I love the excitement of knowing that any given day, an opportunity could rise and in an instant change everything. I will say though, I think we are just getting started with what we will do.

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What advice do you have for budding female entrepreneurs?

The advice I would pass along would be to never put limits on yourself. You can do anything you want as long as you’re willing to put the work into it. I often work 14 hour days but to me, the payoff is so worth it. Like I said earlier, I dreamed of becoming a designer when I was little. I had no idea how I would get there, I just knew someday it would happen. 

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Can you tell us about the design process? How do you incorporate your Maine inspiration?

The coast has always been my biggest source of inspiration behind my work. When I see something that makes me feel inspiration, I go with it. I am such a visual person so I love to tack inspirational images or items on my wall. I’ll look at that wall on a daily basis and all of a sudden one day I see the product or design I want to create and that is how it all comes together for me. 

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What do you hope people take away from their experience at shopping at your store?

I just did a remodel of my store on Fore Street and I am so proud of it. With that remodel, we moved our production out of the store and into a separate, larger production studio which is where we make all of our products. Each bag is made by hand from start to finish. So now that I don’t work in the store every day, I want that space to be the best reflection of myself so that when people to come in, they can get a sense of who I am without actually being able to meet them.  

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Photography by Centered Images

Thanks again Alaina!

Much love,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

Shop Local: Rustic Arrow

May 7, 2017

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Tucked away off of Main Street in Freeport, Rustic Arrow is one of our new favorite Maine-based stores. Their sleek, yet whimsical aesthetic pulled us in, and their adorable clothing and gifts kept us shopping for hours.  At The Fashion Cookbook, we value and strive to support local artisans. Rustic Arrow embodies everything we could ever want in a shopping experience. Also, both owners are inspirational #girlbosses that we look up to and we couldn’t help but share their incredible story with you… Enjoy!

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Tell us a little about yourself? Rustic Arrow is a free-spirited, contemporary boutique bringing you fashionable apparel, accessories, and home products.   We are located at 25 Bow Street in the heart of the Freeport Maine shopping village.  Rustic Arrow is locally owned and operated by co-owners Natalya and Sarah. We offer a full-size range of apparel from junior to plus.  Our mission is to always create a fun and inviting atmosphere where customers are inspired to look and feel amazing.  Our goal is to bring affordable, fun fashion to everyone while supporting local, emerging designers in Maine and throughout the USA.

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What inspired you to start the store? Our partnership was born out of the mutual desire to express ourselves in a new, creative and meaningful way.  We have different backgrounds – Natalya in NYC fashion and Sarah in business and finance.  We have structured our business model to play off of each other’s experience and strengths.  We both understand that owning a business is hard, especially in the early years.  We share a strong sense of commitment to our families and to our business and we know that we can rely on each other to keep both working well!  The sense of fulfillment in building something from the ground up – that can hopefully someday be passed down to our children is one of the many things that keep us going!

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Where do you see yourself in five years? In the next five years, we would like to move into a larger space which would allow us to expand our offerings and further develop the custom shopping experience.  We would like to bring in more emerging, independent designers as well as mix in some awesome vintage pieces!  We will continue to concentrate on building a brand that customers can rely on to help express their identity… not just through fashion but also through home decor and beauty and wellness.

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What advice do you have for budding female entrepreneurs? Our advice to any entrepreneur is to believe in yourself and never give up. If you give energy to your dreams, amazing things can happen.  Stay focused and patient and learn how to tap into local resources.  We started this business with a tiny budget and huge intentions and we were able to grow immensely throughout our first year!

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With Mother’s Day right around the corner, here are five great gift ideas:

Airplant in Box

Geode Natural Stone Necklace

Plantable Seed Paper Greeting Card

Rose Citron Bath Salt

Maine State Necklace

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After I was done shopping I attended a terrarium-making workshop put on by Natalya and Sarah. I’ve always wanted to own a terrarium and it was so exciting to make my own from scratch! For just $35 they provide the terrarium, soil, stones, moss, and a selection of plants. Oh, and did I mention they also provide wine and snacks? Honestly, it makes for such a fun Friday night. To sign up for the next one be sure to follow them on Instagram.

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Photography by Centered Images

LOVE,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

Hiking with L.L. Bean

April 16, 2017

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As cliché as it is to say, I don’t think I truly appreciated my home state of Maine until I was gone. Growing up I despised that I did not live in a city and that it felt like nothing exciting ever happened. I so badly craved to be somewhere with more hustle and bustle. Now after living in three cities, I’ve come to appreciate how laid-back Maine is. Also beyond anything else, I value the many opportunities there are to venture into nature.

The other weekend when we were staying at Northern Outdoors we hiked to the scenic Moxie Falls. The three of us girls had woke up early, dressed warmly, and made our way to the woods. It had snowed first thing that morning so the trees were covered with flecks of white. The sun shined bright in the sky and the air was crisp, yet not too chilly. It was a perfect day to be outside.

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“I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling.”

—Jack Kerouac

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There’s something innately beautiful about being in nature. Perhaps it’s that you feel a connectedness to something much greater than yourself, or that there is absolutely no pressure to be anything other than who you are. Whatever it is, we sure need a lot more of it in our daily lives.

How beautiful it is to feel so at peace in your very soul.

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What I love about Maine is that even after growing up here and living here most of my life, there is still so much left to discover. For instance, I had never been to The Forks area and had I not been offered a stay with Northern Outdoors, I would never have found this overlooked treasure. Moxie Falls is one of the highest falls in New England and seeing it in the early spring with the snow still on the ground was absolutely breathtaking.

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For our hike, we opted for a Maine staple: L.L. Bean. Designed and manufactured almost entirely in Maine, L.L. Bean is meant to inspire, motivate, and keep you cool and comfortable. Perhaps this is my Maine roots talking, but what I’m most drawn to is their timeless style and practicality. Our L.L. Bean boots were not only fashionable but kept our feet dry through the copious amount of snow we walked through.

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When we returned to the car from our hike each of us was quiet for a few minutes. The walk in the woods had done us all well. Our souls were at peace and our minds were at ease. Taking time to reflect and unplug is one of life’s simplest gifts. After our trip, each of us vowed to prioritize time spent in nature.

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Photography by Lauren Hebert and Centered Images

LOVE,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

 

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