Shop Local

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

Eat Local: Evo Kitchen + Bar

July 14, 2017

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As a Maine-native, I’m always on the search for new, healthy local dining experiences. You can imagine my excitement when I stumbled across a farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Portland called, Evo Kitchen + Bar. Located at 433 Fore Street, Evo is an open-style kitchen that serves fresh, locally sourced meals. Today on the blog I’m touring the restaurant and tasting some delicious menu items, as well as interviewing chef Matt Ginn. I hope you enjoy, or as they say, “Bon Appétit!”

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What inspires you most, and how does that translate to your cooking?

Quite simply, the product and the seasonality. I have many strong relationships with local farmers and enjoy working with them and the product they bring in as the seasons change. 

Where do you see yourself/Evo going in the next five years?

Ha – this is a difficult question as the restaurant world is always changing. Hopefully cooking good food with integrity.

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Can you tell us more about your ingredients and where you source your food from?

I work hyper-seasonally, so the product is ever changing. This time of year is great, the product available changes quickly, which allows us to change the menu frequently. As I mentioned earlier I love the farmer’s market and have direct relationships with many producers. 

What does “Maine food. Bold flavors” mean to you?

Taking a Maine-grown product and using it with out manipulating it too much while complementing it with traditions and spices from the Eastern Mediterranean.

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What makes you different than other restaurants in the area? 

I think the way we toe the line between fine dining and casual. People can come in and do the tasting menu and wine pairings for a special occasion, or just have a quick bite with a drink. We strive to make sure there is a consistently good product. Also, our attention to detail is paramount.

What is your favorite dish you serve and why?

Right now it would be our lamb sausage with yogurt and bulgur dumplings. It is unique and really encompasses what we hope to accomplish here. It is summer in Maine so I choose to create a plate that highlights a very traditional Eastern Mediterranean dish in a more contemporary way.

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After starting with the fried cauliflower dish, I moved on to a Maine classic- Lobster served with mussels, garlic, peppers, and white wine. It was exquisite! It was definitely one of those meals that you couldn’t help but lick the plate when it was all done.

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After finishing the main meal, I took the time to enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee while overlooking the city streets. What’s incredible about Evo is that their floor to ceiling windows span nearly 30 feet high. Between the open-kitchen design and all over windows, there is plenty of people watching and entertainment. It makes for the perfect spot for an after shopping lunch or a date night.

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If you know of any great local restaurants please let me know! I’m always looking to collaborate on blog content and want to empower local businesses in the New England area. Leave me a comment below.

DSC_0484Photography by Centered Images

Thank you, Evo Kitchen + Bar for collaborating on this post!

LOVE,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

Shop Local: Alaina Marie

July 12, 2017

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The other week I introduced you to Alaina Marie and we took a tour of her studio space, and so today the two of us would like to welcome you into her storefront in downtown Portland, Maine.

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One key takeaway from my interview with Alaina was the notion that you may have an idea of what you’d like to accomplish ‘when you grow up’, but there’s no way of knowing the exact path you’ll take to get there. For Alaina, she always knew she wanted to be a designer, but when she was in the beginning stage of her career, she had no idea just how she would become one. In fact, she started her brand by merely making her handbags as gifts for friends, not knowing that so many others would desire one- let alone pay for her work.

That’s the beauty of dreaming and being so passion-driven, sooner or later if you’re meant to do something the Universe will conspire to make that a reality. What is it that you desire to create? Although there’s no way to secure your dream job, there are things you can do to set yourself up for major career success later.

Below are some tips we’d like to share with you:

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Set Intentions, Not Goals

Yes, we are both firm believers that setting goals can keep you focused, but all too often the goals that people set are narrow and somewhat unattainable. We set these goals based on what our peers are accomplishing and we forget that we don’t all have the same starting point. Instead, think about what it is you want to do more of? What’s the ultimate endgame? Instead of setting the goal of being CEO of a company by the age of thirty, think instead about what kind of leader you aspire to be. From there set your intention to be a quality leader and the reality of becoming a CEO will more likely of happening.

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Identify Your True Passion

Your twenties are the best time for career exploration. While it can feel counterintuitive to do so after you’ve invested time, energy, and even finances into pursuing a specific job, there’s really no better time to try something new than right now. Trying new things will allow for you to better understand what it is you like to do best. Ultimately spending your time doing something enjoy will bring you more happiness and will allow for you to excel more within your career.

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Grow Your Network

Network, network, network. The cliché “it’s not always what you know, but who you know” is almost always true and having a solid web of professional contacts will always help you in the end. No matter your industry, be sure to network with as many people as possible. Pass out business cards, send out personalized LinkedIn invitations, or send an email to someone who inspires you within your field. Whatever it is, the worst that someone can say is “No” and ultimately someone you reach out to will say “Yes.” So, don’t be shy. You never know what purpose the people put in your path will serve.

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Soak Up As Much Knowledge As You Can

Whether it is from schooling, internships, or job training- learn as much as you can about your specific field and the working world in general. One of the most useful tools is to have a mentor that you can trust and learn from. Ask questions. Do research and reading on your own time. Listen closely to feedback and constructive criticism so that you can use that input to continuously improve.

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Build Your Brand & Work the Side Hustle

When people think about you as a professional, what do you want to come to mind? Figure that out and then begin putting yourself out there to build a positive brand and reputation for yourself. If you have a job that you’re not satisfied with, but can’t quit, don’t fret, spend your weekends working on your craft and building your portfolio. Sooner or later your chance will come, almost always when you’re least expecting it. Without a doubt, hard work always pays off.

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Head over The Fashion Cookbook’s Instagram to enter our giveaway and have a chance to win your own bait bag! Giveaway ends 7/31 at 11:59 P.M. If you’re not local to Portland, you can order online or check out a list of boutiques that carry Alaina Marie, here.

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LOVE,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

& Alaina

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

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