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Setting Intentions with Food + Fashion

October 17, 2017


As a part of my happiness journey, I’ve been working hard to be more intentional in the different spheres of my life. For so many of us (myself included), we have a tendency to sleepwalk through life, creating unintentional rituals that don’t support our well-being. We binge watch too much Netflix instead of making time to work out, or we snooze instead of meditating. What ends up happening when we do this is that we allow our instant gratification to take precedent and ultimately this leaves us in a cycle of feeling unsatisfied on a larger, deeper level.

Setting an intention is like drawing a map of where you wish to go — it becomes the driving force of your higher consciousness. Intentions are the fuel to manifesting your goals and visions. This is why it is so important that we become more self-aware and put out into the Universe what it is we wish to receive. To begin with, you can only change patterns if you’re aware of them.

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Two areas that I’ve felt disconnected from as of late has been the food that I eat and the clothing that I chose to wear. When life has a tendency to get hectic, often the first things I struggle to make time for are preparing healthy meals and giving myself enough time in the morning to look put together. As an image consultant, this is especially negative for my overall business, but also for my personal sense of creative fulfillment. Also, I’ve found that when you have on a good outfit you tend to have a better day. Same with eating – when you eat good, clean foods you always feel better than when you eat poorly.


To begin this process of being more intentional with both my wardrobe and eating habits, I’m exploring the concept of minimalism. Essentially minimalism boils down to if it is not useful than it has to go. Meaning if the food you put in your body is not helping you in some way then don’t put it in your mouth. Same with clothing- if the item does not make you feel glowing and confident than change into something else that does.


Outfit Ingredients: Sweater – H&M | Shirt – H&M | Mules – Steve Madden | Bag – Longchamp


Eating clean does not have to be difficult. Since eating clean means eating foods in their most natural form, it makes sense that processed foods with lots of added sugar are not a part of the clean equation. Instead, focus on nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables that are locally sourced. As someone who works many jobs and is the queen at being on-the-go, places like Blake Orchard make eating clean both easy and tasty. For instance, today I enjoyed a Summer smoothie bowl made from organic apple juice, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, banana, topped with coconut berry crisp granola, fresh fruit, house-made honey roasted peanut butter, bee pollen, shredded coconut, and local honey drizzle.


If you live in the Portland area you should be sure to check them up! What drew me most to the company (besides the instagrammable signage and delicious looking treats) was that they truly understand the positive impact raw food has on your health.

P.s. Since I very much wish to encourage you in your own wellness journey I will be giving away a $25 gift card to Blake Orchard. Simply be sure to follow both @thefashioncookbook and @blakeorhard on Instagram. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Sunday, October 29th. Good luck!


Photography by Amanda Fogarty 



Why Practicing Gratitude Is the Secret to Finding Happiness

October 10, 2017


As I was sitting down to write this blog post, I was simultaneously scrolling through my Facebook feed and stumbled across this beautifully written post by my friend that encapsulates so much of what has been on my heart lately. Kory said, “Being happy is not just a choice- it’s a decision. Aim to be in spite of happy. In spite of the circumstance. In spite of the situation. In spite of it all. Be genuinely, intensely, and consistently happy -regardless of what it looks like to others. Here’s to living your best life.”  

Wow. How beautiful is the Universe for offering us each individual wonderful messages if our hearts are open to receive it? There was no way that I randomly stumbled across that simple, but powerful Facebook post. I knew that I wanted to write about the concept of happiness, or rather the choice to be happy. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety, there have been many times where I have lost sight of all the many blessings in my life because my attention is fixated on something negative I’m currently experiencing. Have you ever felt like that? Like, all the beautiful things life has to offer is somehow thrown out the window when something more painful comes your way.

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The truth is blessings never truly leave us in our times of sadness, but rather, they are simply masked by the negative emotions we are giving more of our energy to. Instead, we must deliberately choose to redirect our focus to all that we have, versus all that we lack. In a recent session with my spiritual healer, Jodi, she said that I will feel happier if I develop a mindset of gratitude. The reason being is that if you focus on what you are grateful for, you’ll likely realize that your troubles aren’t as bad as they seem.

Why is this the case? This is because your brain actually interprets gratitude as optimism. Observable in brain scans, optimistic thoughts calm and soothe the amygdala, the part of the brain that sounds the stress alarm. Optimism also lowers the stress hormone cortisol, releases pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters, and activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and relaxation.


Outfit Ingredients: Bell sleeve top- Forever 21 | Jeans- Madewell | Heels- Steve Madden | bag- Louis Vuitton | Watch- Michael Kors

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Another reason to practice gratitude is that consistently practicing gratitude trains the brain to choose positive thoughts. Thoughts and words of gratitude are powerful triggers of optimism. When these thoughts are repeated frequently, the brain connects thoughts and words of gratitude with a sense of well-being. Eventually, new neural pathways are formed, which is what happens with any habitual thought pattern (good or bad). This is a way to harness your knowledge to encourage a positive outcome.


 Photography by Amanda Fogarty 

Here are a few helpful tips  to get you started:

Try a gratitude notebook.

Get into the habit of everyday writing down a list of the many things you are grateful for. This is so important because even in our most trying times, we still have aspects of our lives to be grateful for. For instance, even if you are struggling financially remind yourself that you are blessed to have food to eat or a warm bed to sleep in. Before you even get out of bed, think of all the things you are thankful for in your life — your loved ones, your home, your job, your body, etc.

It’s the thought that counts.

On a physiological level, the brain does not know the difference between a truth and a lie. So when you have negative thoughts this translates to your whole life experience as seeming negative. Also vice versa, when you think positively you will experience a more positive outlook on life and feel happy. Therefore it is critical that you think positively about yourself and your self-worth.

Spread the love.

Tell others how grateful you are for them, in small ways every day or every week. Each act of gratitude will not only feel good for those on the receiving end, it will flood your brain with good feelings that can have a profound effect on your life.




How to Transition to Fall with Ayurveda

September 6, 2017

This post was written by Victoria Cyzewski, our wellness contributor.IMG_3001

It’s beginning to feel like Autumn! An aesthetically beautiful time of year that is the beginning of a transition period for both the natural world and our human internal world. The leaves begin to change, the air gets dry, cold winds begin their dance, we trade in our flip flops for boots and our flower crowns for hats, picnics in the park turn into movie nights at home. For some, the change in season can be jarring and uncomfortable. I know for me, the warmer part of the year brings so much freedom to me! And when the season begins to change to Fall, I can feel trapped and isolated. So this year as the leaves and our mental states are transitioning with the cycle of the seasons, how do we achieve a balance of the body, mind, and earth, and make way for beautiful change to take place? Today, we’re going to answer that question with the beautiful practice of Ayurveda.


What Is Ayurveda? Ayurveda is the ultimate balancing technique between your entire physical and spiritual being and your natural surroundings. Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest holistic medicinal techniques from India. The belief system that Ayurveda is based on, is that everything in the Universe, living or otherwise, is connected. And Ayurvedic techniques are those that attempt to balance all elements of the universe (space, air, earth, fire, water) in your human experience, so you can feel connected, in-tune, harmonious, nourished, and peaceful with your body, mind, spirit, and surroundings no matter the circumstances.


Why Use Ayurveda? Why do we do anything in this life? Why do we give him our number, go to that yoga class, turn down that invitation, drink a glass of wine? We do it to feel good.  Ayurveda is a practice that targets and engages your physical and emotional well-being, in a personal and comfortable way. Ayurvedic practice is your invitation to listen to your body, tune into your changing mother-planet, nourish your soul and your hungry mind, and balance out the nudging flaws in your day-to-day life that you have full control over!


What Does Ayurveda Mean To Autumn? We know that Ayurveda splits the entire universe into the five elements of:

Space, Air, Fire, Earth, and Water

And within the human body, they combine to comprise three major energies that control the functionality of your body. We call these three energies, Doshas:

-Vata dosha (space and air)


-Pitta dosha (fire and water)


-Kapha dosha (water and earth)

Every human contains all three doshas in their individual energetic makeup. However, not everyone has the same balance of each dosha within them. Some might have Kapha is the slightly more dominant energy present within them. In others, it could be Pitta. Each human is different and perfect. Every season possesses a dominant dosha, just as your body does. This is why balancing your body with the seasons creates a greater sense of happiness and harmony in the human experience.

Vata dosha rules in the Fall. The air and winds are dry and cold, and there is an energy of access movement. With this much Vata energy and the potential for it to be out of balance within the body, you could be prone to dry skin, insomnia, anxiety, depression and other physical and emotional disorders. So how do we honor the season and find balance?


Beginners Guide to an Ayurvedic Autumn:

Food- In Ayurvedic technique, you counter the over-abundance of an element with the opposite element. So as it is cold and dry, now is the time to give in to your cravings for hot soups, root vegetables, slow-cooked meals, spices, and sauteed vegetables! Warm liquids like ginger tea and hot water with lemon will keep you well hydrated and relaxed.

Body- Fire up some of your Pitta energy by taking a power yoga class, or just bumping up your exercise routine. Then balance out your active energies by making sure your body get full and effective recovery with a consistent night’s sleep.

Senses- Hydrate and soothe your body with oil massages in the morning before you hop in the shower, or at night before going to bed. Choose a warming oil like sesame or almond. Self-massages are a beautiful act of self-care towards yourself, and a great way to commit to your well-being when transitions are at play.


Outfit Ingredients: shirt- c/o Tobi | skirt- Madewell | booties- Steve Madden


Photography by Centered Images

Conquering Fear

August 31, 2017


For an incredibly long time, I’ve been a fearful person. I would often fear things that would happen or fear it if they wouldn’t. I would for so long let the mere idea of something have a greater hold over me than the reality itself. Because that is what fear is: unless we are in actual danger, fear is a story we tell ourselves is real.

Fear is an incredibly commanding emotion that plays a role in all of our lives. It holds us back from experiencing an even more powerful emotion which is happiness. Not until recently did I stand back and realize that I have not truly been happy for some time now. So much of this was because of my physical thinking and not feeling comfortable in the present moment due to various fears. What about you? Have you felt like you only half live in the moment?


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”


The crazy thing about fear is that at its core it makes us feel like we aren’t enough. Just think for so many of us the root of all of our issues and hardships is the sole idea that we are not enough as we are. When our sense of self is so fragile, everything around us can be perceived as a potential threat. But in all reality, this perception is our own doing. Few of us understand that we are largely responsible for the “threats” that seem to surround us because ultimately it is us, and us alone that have control over what we chose to give energy to.


When we succumb over and over again to fear-based narratives we actually contribute to creating a climate of fear. Many times we are still blaming the people and circumstances that led to our suffering and are reliving the trauma in some way. We are continuing to get caught up in our own victimhood and as a result will remain in a place of unhappiness. To break the cycle something has to change and that is to choose to let go of fear.

After months of reading, talking with healers and dear friends, as well as doing some deep soul searching I’ve finally found some healthy ways to part with fear. By no means am I an expert, but after my recent accident I, feel like I’ve been given a new perspective on life; one that has revolutionized the way I choose to continue forward.


Outfit Ingredients: romper- Tobi | hat- Free People | flats- Old Navy | necklace- Free People


Be aware of where the source of your fear stems from and release it

When it comes down to it, fear arises out of our perceived need to self-protect. We think that if we don’t let this person in, then they won’t be able to hurt us like our last boyfriend did, etc. However, by allowing shadow figures of our past to have a hold over our present circumstance we end up repeating the same story as before.That is why it is necessary to identify when you are projecting such fears onto a person or situation and remind yourself that it is unfair of you to do this. Consciously stop yourself and remember that this thinking does not serve you well. Instead, move into your fear. Know that it is a necessary part of growth and use its energy to propel you forward rather than hold you back.


Focus on the here and now

Often we don’t pursue our dreams because we fear failure, we fear success, we fear the unknown, or we fear looking foolish. At the end of the day you are going to grow and learn from every experience, so it is worth it to at least be open to the possibilities that come from embracing the unknown. For one, you may experience something far greater than you ever even imagined possible because the Universe is capable of stringing together miraculous things.


Seek support

Fear and self-doubt flourish in isolation, so get out of your own head. Reach out to those who will support and encourage you. Not only will you gain a new perspective, but by being raw with someone you give them the opportunity to care for you more deeply. Also, depending on your particular circumstance you may consider meeting with a counselor or support group.


I have to laugh because while shooting these very photos I experienced a lot of fear… For starters, Chelsea and I experimented with smoke bombs and we didn’t realize they were more than just the smoke but also included a loud fireworks whistle at the end. We really didn’t get many shots because every photo Chelsea took of me I looked completely terrified. How funny is it that our brain can react so strongly to an event or situation. In the case of the color bombs, I quickly realized that I wasn’t in any real danger beyond experiencing an uncomfortable loud noise. However, I still struggled to let the fear go and could not stand close to them with ease. Which reminds me of how hard it is in our everyday lives to fight our fearful thinking, even when we know deep down we are not in any real danger. Truly, unless we are in imminent danger, fear serves no purpose. Once you grasp hold of this idea and choose to consciously surrender your fears, that is when you allow yourself the ability to feel happiness freely.


Another aspect to combating fear that I didn’t talk about earlier, but I think can also be a very powerful tool is using clothing to feel empowered and confident. This is an extension to what I talked about in my last blog post, but I think it’s important to repeat again. As an image consultant, I see every day how wearing something you feel good in can erase your fears. Honestly, it’s a balance between feeling equally good inside and out. For me, I choose clothing items that I feel not only fits my body type but also conveys my personality. As of late, I’ve been doing a lot of shopping at Tobi, an online fashion retailer that specializes in designing clothing that makes you feel beautiful and confident. The best part is their clothing is so affordable (also, it’s 50% off your first purchase!!) Although these photos were taken in Lewiston, Maine of all places, I felt so wild and free in this snakeskin romper.

Lately, that’s been so important to me- I chose to live life to the fullest and embrace the wild and unknown parts of it. Instead of running from my fear I embrace it.


Photography by Centered Images

Special thanks to Tobi for collaborating on this post!  



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