Shop Local

Girls Weekend at Northern Outdoors

April 12, 2017

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More often than not life has a knack of getting in the way. Between the demands of work and family life, it can often feel like you do not have enough time for yourself let alone cultivating valuable relationships. In our society, we tend to put a greater focus on the importance of romantic relationships and lose sight of all the wonderful other relationships life has to offer- like your relationship with oneself, or how loved and appreciated we can feel in the context of a friendship.

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A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to partake in a girls getaway weekend with my bestie Chelsea, and our new friend Lauren. We ventured up to Northern Maine to stay at Northern Outdoors, an all-season resort in The Forks that is home to snowmobiling, rafting, hiking, hunting, fishing, as well as a microbrewery and pub. We arrived mid morning on a Friday and upon unpacking we instantly found ourselves seated by the fireplace playing cards, chatting, and listening to good music.

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What was incredible was how within just a minute or two after meeting Lauren (Chelsea’s friend and fellow lifestyle photographer) I felt instantly close and felt an emotional connection to her. This is what is awesome about forming friendships! Great friends are basically soul mates- the connection runs deep and unlike romantic relationships, they are not fleeting. Instead, these kinds of relationships immediately allow you to feel supported and cared for without the pressure to complete the other person. They also allow you feel known, seen, heard and understood on a really profound level.

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Unlike romantic relationships, friendships aren’t typically dynamics where we “lose ourselves,” but rather where we find ourselves — through introspection, vulnerability, and emotional generosity. Friendships help you to become your best self. For me, friendships — especially with other women — have allowed me to explore who I am and where I want to go in life. This is why a weekend spent with two other extraordinary women was so good for our souls. It allowed for us each to not only regroup and recharge from the stress of daily life but also to grow on a spiritual level by challenging one another and supporting each other through our unique gifts and perspectives.

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What was especially wonderful was watching Chelsea and Lauren take turns taking photos over the weekend. As photographers they each have their own unique eye and vision, however, they both were open to learning from one another when it came to shooting this blog content. Lauren having had her photography business for longer constantly provided Chelsea with words of encouragement and offered her feedback into taking her dreams & passions into a viable career.

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This whole experience reminded me of how very important it is to surround yourself with friends who encourage you to succeed, rather than feel insecure and challenged by you rising ahead. It is so important to be friends with people who are deeply committed to not only their own personal evolution but who are also committed to seeing you thrive and want to be apart of your journey. Remember: you have control over who makes up your tribe- why not surround yourself powerful, accomplished, thoughtful individuals whom your greatly admire?

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That evening we went to the Kennebec River Brewery and Restaurant inside the main lodge for a delicious dinner of mouthwatering burgers, home-cut fries, and pasta. Lauren ordered the flight of their most popular beers and Chelsea made sure to try their “Netflix & Chill” mixed drink (definitely 10/10 would suggest). We ended up sitting in the restaurant for hours talking and laughing.

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When we got back to our cabin we were able to relax and laugh some more while watching Modern Family since the cabin we were staying in had a TV with DISH network. Speaking of amenities, I just have to take a moment and point out how incredible our cabin was. We stayed in Black Bear, which was fully furnished with a fully equipped kitchen. We packed premade meals from our favorite Tripp’s Farmhouse Café that we were able to heat up and enjoy all weekend long. Also, did we mention there was a Jacuzzi in the Master bedroom? This weekend was the definition of relaxation!

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Close to the resort is the well-known Moxie falls scenic area, which we were able to hike to. Even if it’s technically the spring season in Maine, the snow on the ground makes for a prolonged sense of winter. Instead of curse the copious amounts of snow that remained, we embraced the opportunity to snowmobile and see Moxie falls covered in a white frozen splendor. Also, the three of us girls found hiking in the snow to be a welcome challenge and throughout our walk through the woods enjoyed the sound of our L.L. Bean boots crunch through the snow.

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Weekend getaways don’t have to be a luxury. If you plan ahead, budget, and prioritize you can easily plan a weekend away. More and more I’m seeing how life has to be about balance. There is something to be said about the phrase “work hard, play hard.” As much as your career is important so are your relationships. Without proper nourishment, they will not blossom and grow. What better way to spend time with loved ones than during a weekend spent in nature? I’m of the belief that life is meant to be enjoyed to the fullest and I’m blessed that my home state of Maine makes for the perfect playground. You better believe I’m already planning a getaway weekend to Northern Outdoors again for this summer. Plus then the outdoor pool will be open and I can plan on crossing off whitewater rafting from my bucket list!

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Photography by Lauren Hebert and Centered Images


Thank you, Northern Outdoors for collaborating with us on this post!


LOVE,

Blog Signature Hannah

Shop Local: Tripp’s Farmhouse Cafe

March 28, 2017

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Tripp’s Farmhouse Cafe, located in Auburn, Maine creates products “greater than gluten-free.” The owner, Mark Tripp offers a different look at the food our society likes to eat on a daily basis that may not be the healthiest options. He transforms foods like bagels, cupcakes, cake, chili, pies, and donuts into food that our bodies can process and breakdown easier just by choosing top notch and unlikely ingredients. We spent a day with Mark learning about his journey to better health and wellbeing. He offered us an inside look at his day behind the counter baking and making tasty treats suitable for even the sweetest tooth. From the unsuspecting eye Mark’s cupcakes and treats look decadent, to say the least, but what we found out is that they are made with the simplest, whole ingredients- from sweeteners like honey and bananas to healthy fats like avocado and coconut.

Our community is beyond fortunate to have someone so dedicated to healthy eating and work to create an opportunity for others to experience a healthy lifestyle, great food, and eat in such an inclusive environment (allergen friendly). The Fashion Cookbook is honored to be able to share the Tripp’s story and encourage you to visit them! Remember the food we eat is not only fuel for our bodies, but it also has such an incredible impact on our whole wellbeing- mind and spirit.

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What drove you to open a cafe with mainly gluten and dairy free products?

The desire to open a cafe was a multi-headed dragon. First off I had seen such great success with a grain free lifestyle and wholeheartedly believed in it and the positive changes that I wanted to share. I always enjoyed cooking for myself and with the encouragement from a close friend I started making my grain free products for other people, and selling them privately out of our house. I enjoyed doing it and it covered the cost of my own foods as an added benefit. Once I saw the demand for such a clean product I thought just maybe this could be an actual business. Although a grain free lifestyle was rather popular on the West Coast, I knew we were behind the curve here on the East Coast. I also knew going forward I would need to expand beyond my own home kitchen, get licensed, and insured. I found a shared community kitchen in an old elementary school in Peru, it was small, inefficient but it was just what we needed to be “legit”.

From there we set off to farmers markets selling our grain free muffins, “granola”, and cookies. During this venture, we saw there was a gap in our local food network for humanely, organically raised meats. We added heritage bred swine, free range chickens, eggs, bees, and maple syrup to our small line-up. We had success in the farmers market scene and at one point we sold wholesale to 17 stores in Maine. It was through the farmers market that we had the chance to open a brick and motor cafe. Although about 5 years ahead of schedule the opportunity couldn’t be passed up. Knowing the grain free market was fairly limited and unknown here in Maine, we thought gluten free would be most appropriate. Being a dedicated gluten free facility we are still able to produce our grain free items while providing a completely gluten free friendly environment.

Once up and running it was quickly noticed gluten and dairy allergies seem to go hand in hand for most, being fluid we opted to incorporate dairy free into most of our products as well. It didn’t stop there, though, we’ve no pushed on further and have many allergen friendly products that are gluten, dairy, soy, egg, yeast free and vegan option as well.

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Is gluten free for everybody?

Gluten free isn’t for everyone, but it should be. I think it’s a combination of gluten and our current big AG practices that are causing so many diseases and sicknesses in today’s world.

Would you consider going gluten free a diet or a lifestyle change? Why?

I see it as a lifestyle, and for myself, I feel people shouldn’t stop at gluten free. There are even more benefits to being grain free along with healthy alternatives. Just because something may be labeled as gluten free doesn’t mean its “good for you”. If you don’t change your lifestyle and just go on a gluten-free “diet” it is going to fail eventually, and when it does you’re going to feel worse than before you started.

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What are your thoughts on the controversy surrounding gluten as an allergen?

I feel that not only does everyone have a gluten allergy but an allergy to grains in general. Some people may handle gluten or grains better than others, but it’s my true belief that if you get rid of gluten and or grains for 30 days you will see a noticeable difference if your reintroduce. While eating clean, whole, and grain free you reduce inflammation throughout your body and in turn, you have a strong healthy immune system ready to ward off any unwanted guests. Once I changed my lifestyle to grain free I saw a significant improvement in my health.

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What can you tell us about you (your products) that makes you stand out?

The difference between our products and most any other gluten free product you find is the quality of ingredients. We don’t stop at gluten-free, we use high-quality ingredients but most importantly its what we don’t use like soy, high fructose corn syrup, canola/vegetable oils, fillers, hydrogenated oils, white sugars, imitation extracts, etc. We use healthy fats such as organic coconut oil, organic butter, olive oils, pure extracts, natural sweeteners, high quality “flours, and starches”. To go along with our products we find it equally important to be providing customer service and atmosphere that matches the high-quality products.

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What is your 5-year plan, or goals for the future?

My 5-year goal is to have a larger more efficient facility to expand the Tripp’s brand. Larger seating area for those wishing to stay and enjoy the allergen friendly environment. An observation area to see our homebrew Kombucha in production. Have our meals-to-go program up and running full speed, offering good nutritionally sound meals for those on the run. To have our brand established in Maine at a minimum, hopefully, New England. Stretch our reach through wholesale clients and who knows, we aren’t ruling out the possibility of franchising.

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We had the opportunity to be the first ones to try Tripp’s newest debut: the raw chocolate brownie! Completely raw and vegan, their brownie was by far one the best desserts we’ve ever tried. It was so gooey and delicious- you would never know it was a healthier option.

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We loved Tripp’s Farmhouse café so much that we want to share the experience with you!! We are giving away a $25 gift card to one lucky reader.

To enter:

1. Must follow Tripp’s Facebook page

2. Must follow The Fashion Cookbook’s Facebook page

3. Leave us a comment telling us what menu item you are most excited to try

Good luck! Winner will be selected by April 5th at noon.

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Photography by Centered Images


Thank you again Tripp’s Farmhouse Cafe for collaborating with us!


LOVE,

Blog Signature Hannah

Shop Local: Needless Society

March 4, 2017

DSC_0122At the Fashion Cookbook, we strive to empower local artisans and promote more sustainable consumer choices. One of the things we often come across as image consultants is that many people own repeats of clothing items and accessories. So, not only are people spending more money in the long run, but they are also contributing to unnecessary waste for this planet. Instead, we recommend investing in high-quality products that will last you a long time.

Recently while scrolling through Instagram we stumbled across an incredible brand called “Needless Society” that’s based here right out of Lewiston, Maine. Immediately we were drawn to their high-quality leather goods and design, but also their friendly and cool demeanor across social media. How awesome is that we found another Maine-based brand that was hiding right under our nose this entire time?

I had the amazing opportunity of meeting the owners of Needless Society, husband and wife duo Phoebe and Rance Pope over coffee at local gem Forage Market the other weekend, where we discussed their brand more in depth and I got to know more about the people I’m directly supporting by choosing to shop locally. They graciously allowed me to check out their super secret workshop where the magic happens and allowed me to snap some photos to share with you, my readers. I hope you not only take some time to read the interview they did with me but also please go check out their website! Phoebe and Rance both exude kindness and have such big hearts. As someone who grew up in Lewiston/Auburn it makes me so happy to know that they want to build their business in this little city of ours. They truly want to see the community thrive and pay homage to the rich history of great American manufacturing. I implore you to think about supporting local next time you need a new wallet or purse- plus you will be giving back to our community. A win-win in our book.DSC_0058DSC_0057Tell us a little about yourself! We have been together since December 2013. We were married in May 2016. Needless was started in September 2015. We live in Lewiston, ME and love Mexican food.

What inspired you to start your brand? Crafting and creating together. And we started having trouble finding well-made items in stores, so we decided to make our own. DSC_0162DSC_0117What do you hope people take away from their experience at shopping from your brand? A quality made good that will last forever.

Where do you see yourself in five years? We hope to have higher production with employees and eventually a retail location in Lewiston.  DSC_0072DSC_0076What are your favorite products you sell? Phoebe loves the Simple Slim wallets and Rance carries the Wander Wallet. Neither of us like to carry many cards or cash at once. Less is more!DSC_0146DSC_0103How are you involved in the community? We always try to support other local businesses in Lewiston! Forage Market is our favorite cafe and we frequent the Italian Bakery.  We also love getting custom orders from locals like the apron we made for the bar manager, Thomas, at Marchè.DSC_0052DSC_0115What advice do you have for others hoping to start a business/brand from scratch? Well, it’s really hard work and can be frustrating at times but believing is achieving!DSC_0174DSC_0138DSC_0087What is it like owning a business as a couple? We get this question a lot, people ask us all the time if we fight. We don’t! We have very similar tastes and agree with most decisions. Maybe not all couples would want to spend as much time together as we do, but we aren’t complaining yet.

Are there things that you each bring to the process. If so, what is that? Rance has a background in leather and sales and Phoebe has a BFA in photography. We design and build our products together but Rance really brings the technical aspects. Phoebe manages our website and social media, but Rance takes some of the photos we use too. It’s really a great balance!DSC_0159


Photography by Chelsea Blood

Velvet Choker Giveaway

February 26, 2017

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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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