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

Minor Setback for a Major Comeback

March 11, 2017

Portlandshopping MaineWe’ve all had moments where we felt as if our life was falling apart around us, or that our world has completely turned upside down. These hurdles, setbacks, roadblocks, or whatever you prefer to call them, test our self-confidence, raise doubt in your capabilities, and even have us questioning our own worth. I know I for one have felt every one of these forces and this winter has been one of the hardest transitions of my life. With the help of therapy, friends, family, and A LOT of self-help books I’m finally feeling more positive. I thought I’d use this post as an opportunity to not only continue to discover better ways to cope, but also share my insights with you too and hope that they can benefit you in some way. More and more I’m realizing that there are many things we do not have control over, but we do ultimately have control over how we respond.hannah

Your identity is not tied up in labels.

Having experienced a decent amount of professional growth during college within my industry, it’s been a major let down to move from Los Angeles back to my hometown in Maine. My strides in the fashion industry appear to have come to a screeching halt and I’m left wondering what’s left of me now?

As humans, we tend to define our character and sense of worth through titles, careers, and relationships. And when one of those ceases to define us anymore it can be very disorienting, or even lead to us questioning our whole essence. Instead, embrace your new reality. Remember that so many people before you have gone through major setbacks and that it is perfectly normal. You’ll need plenty of time to rebuild whatever comes next so don’t rush it. Instead of moping, use this time to get as good at your craft as you can.

These challenges that you are facing right now do not reflect your inner value, but rather are merely a part of life. Remember no job or relationship can determine your worth. You have been and will always be worthy.

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Treat yourself the way you would treat a friend in the same situation.

Ask yourself, would I degrade, criticize, ignore, judge, or think negatively of a friend who was going through a difficult situation? Absolutely not. You would listen, be supportive, kind, loving and offer helpful advice to that person.

When we criticize or judge ourselves, we end up convincing ourselves that we are not worthy or that we are not good enough. In the end, we are only adding to our own pain and suffering. This is the perfect time to offer yourself the same kindness and compassion you would offer a friend. When we see our friends struggling we tend to remind them that this too shall pass. Tell this to yourself and remember that you are stronger than you think. A very powerful exercise it to write down what you would say to a friend who was going through a tough time and offer those same words to yourself.

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Seek evidence of your strengths.

During times of great struggle and when you’re feeling like you do not amount to much, it’s so important to remember that you do possess strengths. Think long and hard about what those strengths are. Remind yourself you’ve been faced with challenges before and that you made it to the other side. They were times before that you felt like things could not get better and look at how you are standing here today.

Identify strengths you used to get through a challenge in the past or to achieve things you’re proud of. Ask yourself, how can I apply these strengths to support myself now? What does this say about me? Also, identify resources that can offer you help. Remember that there are people in your life who love you and want to help you through dark times. Sometimes, during big transitions, we push people away. I know I for one recently felt like I was imposing or that I was somehow too much for others to handle. Not only did I end up feeling isolated and alone, but I hurt my friends by pushing them away. Practice vulnerability and allow yourself to receive community and love from others. Being able to share and commune with others can be a powerful way to recover from big change.

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Set and maintain healthy boundaries.

During times of great difficulty and when your emotions are shot, it’s essential that you not add extra stress to your life. Instead, focus on self-care and putting your own needs first. Perhaps you trade in a night-out for a night-in of watching your favorite shows on Netflix. This is a time where you need to shield yourself from negative people and unnecessary drama. Instead, utilize stress-management practices, such as prayer, nature walks, yoga, and journaling to relax and recenter.

When one door closes, another opens.

In between my senior year and graduate year, I applied for a variety of part-time summer jobs and kept getting rejected. I remember being so distraught, however, I had no idea what was in store. Just weeks later I found out that I was accepted for an internship with Tommy Hilfiger in New York City. Had I gotten those other jobs and accepted those positions I would not have had the opportunity to work my dream job. This story reminds me that you never know what is to come. I constantly try to remind myself of this when I’m feeling lost and hopeless in my current transition.

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What I’m wondering is what major life transitions have you gone through, and how did you deal with it? Do you have any advice?

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Outfit Ingredients: hat- Free People | dress- Forever 21 | necklace- Arthlin | sneakers- Adidas Originals | wallet- Needless Society

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 Photography by Chelsea MacLeod of El Photography


 P.s Even though I just finished writing this, I have a feeling that I’m going to be rereading this post often for I still have a long way to go.

LOVE,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

 

Velvet Choker Giveaway

February 26, 2017

70s

You are not your roots. You are a flower grown from them.

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Living back home has had its challenges, but it’s also brought many unforeseen opportunities. I think perhaps the best gift thus far has been that I’ve been given the chance to see my hometown in a new light. Growing up I always felt trapped by the small town feel and lack of diversity. The past five years I’ve grown exponentially by pushing my personal limitations and exposing myself to a myriad of new perspectives while in college. Now, in hometown again, the challenge I face is to continue to grow in a setting that I once found stagnant and even stifling.

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I’ve always favored the industrial framework of my town. The old brick mills connect me to my French Canadian heritage and remind me of the opportunities that originally brought my family to this area. Walking around the downtown part of Lewiston while taking these photos I couldn’t help but reflect of how I myself have been shaped by this community. I think about how special it is now to walk into the local Starbucks and always know someone- how once I used to cringe at this, but now after living in a large city this is something I have come to appreciate, and even more, treasure.

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I’m at an interesting point in life where I’m torn between the forces that once grounded me (home, family, religion, etc.) and wanting to break through the molding and completely rebuild what defines me. On one hand, I’m grateful for how I was raised, but on the other, I see how limiting it can be. I’m not someone who does well with transition, but I’m trying to accept that I’m in some kind of a free fall and learn all that I can by embracing the pain that comes from a time of growth.

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In this outfit I felt major 70’s vibes and treasured that something I wore could connect me to an entire decade I never actually experienced. The coat I’m wearing, for instance, reminded me of something my grandmother would have worn during that time and in this exact setting. For that reason, I felt somewhat close to her even though she’s no longer living. Being in this familiar setting I feel so much nostalgia, but more and more I see how I’ll always hold a piece of home in my heart no matter where I am in life or where I live.

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You can imagine my excitement when a local jewelry artist named Lincey Pepin recently contacted me to collaborate and I read that she was based out of my hometown. I was blown away that there are other creatives living in this community and pursuing their dreams in the greater fashion industry. Named Arthlin, her collection is sourced from materials made in the USA and each piece is handmade with care. I paired the velvet choker she gifted me with my Free People velvet flares to complete my retro look. What do you think? I’m wondering what you would wear this velvet choker with because Arthlin and I are giving away this same necklace to one lucky reader. Leave your comment below and I’ll choose one winner by Friday March 3rd at 12pm.

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LOVE,

Blog Signature Hannah

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