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!

DSC_0225DSC_0259 DSC_0229DSC_0231DSC_0257DSC_0284DSC_0296I got to try on entire outfits in the store. How cute is this?! I ended up buying these flare jeans and will style them in an upcoming outfit post. DSC_0252

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

 

Spotlight Series: Mother & Daughter Style

April 2, 2017

There’s something to be said about the phrase “I got it from my mama.” As a daughter of a strong, caring, and vibrant lady, my mother has always had a strong influence in my life. Although I’m not a mother yet myself, I so enjoy learning about motherhood from my dear friends who are. That is why today I’m sharing with you a very special look into the important role a mother plays in her daughter’s life with the example of my friend Kristina. I’ve only known Kristina for a short while, but we’ve become quite close over these past few months. Of all Kristina’s wonderful qualities, her passion for motherhood was so infectious and pure that it truly stood out to me. I quickly realized that I had a lot to learn from her in many areas of life. Today she and her daughter, Alexandria graciously join me on the blog to share their story of being mother & daughter and how that relationship impacts both their overall body image and relationship with fashion. –Hannahfashionistamomdaughter What did you learn about yourself through this experience of taking photos and writing for the blog? We really enjoyed embracing who we were throughout this experience.  Our thoughts as mother and daughter come from a relationship fostered in embracing individuality and loving every bit of who we are.  Knowing yourself, and identifying your inner being, is something that I believe as a mother is crucial in teaching my daughter to love who she is, and be comfortable with the things that take her away from what society dictates.  Through this experience, I was able to just let her be, pick out the wardrobe that suited her needs, and made her most comfortable in front of the camera.

A mother-daughter relationship is incredibly important to nurture and strengthen throughout life, not just in the moment, or when your child declares they need you.  To me, they always need, you, whether they realize it or not.  Life gets busy, and the daily to-do list often becomes stressful and tiring, however, remembering to laugh, respect each other, and listen, are what remind us to not lose sight of the relationship at the core of craziness.

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What new thoughts do you have about each of your futures? I am not sure if either of us has new thoughts about the future, more like, thoughts that continue to evolve and change as we grow together as mother and daughter.  Alex has a bright future, she’s a hard worker, open minded, free in spirit, yet surprisingly grounded at her age.  Most importantly, she is very comfortable with who she is and does not fall into peer related pressures.  At this age, peer groups can already be difficult, however, she remains true to herself, and helps all of her friends to get along.  My fierce, but gentle peace keeper!

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What have you learned about your mother from becoming a mother?  Ha!  That she was right!  On a serious note, she gave me a great sense of self.  I was empowered to be me, to like me, to accept me, and not change for others.  This is something I have carried into my life as and adult, and as a mother.  She was firm, and offered tough love when needed, always holding her ground.  Never wavering in her love for me, and belief in me.  My situation is and was unique, in that my parents could not have children, and chose to adopt me.  It has been a beautiful and special relationship from the beginning, one that I am truly blessed to have.  I still strive to be half as good as she, and to apply some of her parenting with my soul mixed in. So far, so good!

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What’s your best hope for your daughter based on what you know about fashion, style, body image, and overall identity? I hope for Alex to identify with herself on all levels, not try to fit into any societal mold, but to just be.  When you are a confident woman, stand tall, and find a style that is all your own, you become free from body image struggles, and insecurities.  It is amazing how it just sets you free.  A confident woman, a woman who knows who she is, and does not stray from the very nature of her soul, is a woman who is sexy.  It is never about the look…..it is all about the being. 

What worries you given the complexities your daughter faces, as she grows older? I worry about her education, her relationships with other women and her intimate relationships as well.  I want her to understand that she needs her own path in life, not a path that suits others needs, but her own.  I want her to understand that life is beautiful, full of wonder, and can take you to so many places.  I hope she never limits herself but continues to push herself to be a better human and to have a great love of humanity.  With the way, the world is at this time, and the hate that still exists, I hope I can raise a compassionate woman, who respects differences, faiths of all kinds, and the beautiful colors that make up humanity.  I hope that she will impact people on some level, and empower others to be the best version of themselves they can be.

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What are your thoughts as to how you can better prepare and equip her to face social pressures and other influences?There will always be social pressures, and negative influences, but with a solid foundation, and a strong sense of self, I believe she will be prepared to ward off such influences.

What are your thoughts about how fashion has impacted your previous as well as present life? I have always loved my sense of style, one that in ingrained in comfort and as I like to call it, sass!  I dress in what makes me comfortable and feel pretty, not in what others think I should wear.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to follow the latest trends, but I chose what I like, what will fit my body type, and what will make me smile.  I have never been one to wear something just because a magazine says I should.

How has becoming a mother impacted and influenced your own present view on identity and fashion? As a mother, I have always enjoyed purchasing clothing for the kids and myself as well as my husband.  I often look at the latest trends and then choose according to their likes and dislikes.  I guess I choose based on my own way of thinking about style, that it can be your own.  I have never wanted them to think about fashion as something that rules them, to me that is simply not healthy.  Clothing should be an accessory to your soul, that’s what makes it work per individual.

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Alexandria, what defines beauty in your mind? Being a good person, helping people, and not falling in a pattern that your friends think you should follow.  I am ok with me, and I think that is beautiful.

How does what you wear impact how you see yourself? I like to be comfortable, and I love miss matched socks!  I like it, and it’s funny, and I guess I see myself as funny. Yup, I am kind of a funny girl!  If I am comfortable, then that makes me comfortable at school too. Mom says, stand tall and be you, so I do!

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What are some ways that your mother influences your style and view of yourself? Mom sometimes gets tired of me wearing some of the same things often, but she knows they are my favorites, so she always lets me.  My mom says I can just be me, and pick out things that represent me, not the kid next to me.  And I am like, well yeah, why would I dress for someone else?  My mom always looks nice, but I like to tease her.  Mom said that I am a girl that is beautiful from the inside first, the outside is part of your inside….a reflection of who you are as a girl and person.  So I say to myself, just be you, Alex!

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Thinking about fashion and identity, what advice do you have for your friends? My friends are often focused on name brands, to the point that they make sure to comment when someone has something they want and don’t have or have that is not name brand.  I don’t think it is okay to make fun of someone who does not have a name brand item on, that’s just not cool.  Why? Because, what does it even matter anyway?!  I say be comfortable, and it isn’t your business what other people wear or do, cause they are not you.

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What do you like to wear and why? I love leggings, miss matched socks, and comfy shirts.  Leggings are soft, and I love leggings with patterns because they are fun.  Sometimes I wear fun heels or dressy boots, but I am usually a sneaker girl.  I love Under Armour sneakers, cause they are really comfy for my feet all day.  I like dressed sometimes, but nothing poofy!  Less is more I say.

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LOVE,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

Kristina & Alexandria

Step Into the Fire

March 21, 2017

newlookPerhaps it’s because yesterday was the first day of Spring, or maybe that I now have bright new red hair, but lately I’ve felt the fire awaken within me.changescoffeshopred

In my last post, I discussed how I’m finally feeling more positive after experiencing a major setback and moving back home to Maine. I just need to say that I received so much wonderful feedback from readers and family since then, that I want to take a moment and sincerely thank you all. The truth is I blog because it’s my creative outlet and I’d be doing it even if no one was reading this, however, knowing that my words resonated with people and in some way helped to encourage others I feel abundantly blessed.

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My best friend and trusted photographer, Chelsea and I went to Forage Market the other day and I was reflective of how much growth has transpired since January when I last took photos there and wrote a blog post on self-healing. First off I’m not sure if you’d pick up on this or not, but I’m wearing almost the entire same outfit as before with the exception of some accessories. It’s incredible what a few details like a scarf and hat can do- almost like how in life when you have just a couple new things going for you, you feel so much more confident in yourself. I feel like a new person like never before.

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I recently stumbled across an article on Mind Body Green called, “How To Detoxify Your Body By Using Your Mind” and it seemed to perfectly encapsulate all that I’ve been processing these days. Essentially healing starts from within and that your mind is the ultimate source of where your whole reality is formed. It’s a very heavy topic, but I think one that all humans question and ponder. I’m just finally in a place where I can accept that I do not have all the answers and that it will all work out.

“The brain is generally defined as, that which is limited to the inner workings of the physical brain structure held within the cranium. The mind is the intelligence that has no definitive location within the body. Its reach extends to every cell of the physical body and outside the body, into the spiritual realm.”

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Outfit Ingredients: bodysuit- Express (on sale) | jeans- 7 For All Mankind | boots- Steve Madden | hat- Club Monaco | scarf- Burberry | bag- Louis Vuitton | bracelets- Alex & Ani

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To heal we have to learn how to “die” — to let go of all that we were — to embrace becoming a new, healed “whole” self.

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After experiencing a lot of setbacks and painful moments these past few months I’m reminded of something my spiritual healer told me. She said that even when terrible things happen sometimes they are being used by the greater Universe to cleanse you, much as good things can come from a forest fire. Forest fires are a natural and necessary part of the ecosystem. Even healthy forests contain dead trees and decaying plant matter; when a fire turns them to ashes, nutrients return to the soil instead of remaining captive in old vegetation. Sometimes when something burns down it will grow back stronger and more bountiful than you ever imagined.

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Photography by Centered Images

LOVE,

Blog Signature Hannah

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