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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.

DSC_0014Photography by Centered Images

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

What Everyone Should Know About Energy Healing

June 11, 2017

Over the past few months I’ve received an influx of questions from family, friends, and blog readers regarding my self-care practices, crystal healing, and all things spirituality. For a little over a year now I’ve been seeing a healer named Jodi who has helped me exponentially with coping with anxiety and depression. Like many twenty-somethings, I’ve experienced a deep sense of feeling lost and untethered post graduation. I would go as far as to say that this same feeling applies to so many of us in all stages of life; to anyone who has experienced any sense of loss or major life change. With that being said. I wanted to introduce Jodi to you and have her explain what it is she does. I may be a little biased by saying this, but I think if we all practiced a bit more self-love and found healthy ways to manage our anxiety there would be so much more happiness in this world. -Hannah

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Jodi Puleo

I am a spiritual teacher, counselor, life coach, energy healer and a medium. When I work with others I am guided to help them on their journey to love and truly enjoy their life by helping them to identify and remove external and/or internal barriers that prevent love and life fulfillment.

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Mediumship

It can be hard to see at times, but each and every life has an important purpose and intricate plan that is fully supported by a spiritual support team that comprises of guardian angels, loved ones who have passed on, and other divine spirits that are dedicated to helping you on your life journey. During a healing session, I access this team and provide each client with information and guidance that can help to release old thoughts and beliefs and change patterns that are no longer helpful. Each session is very purposeful and strong by nature to provide clients with as much relief and progress as possible. It is possible to experience profound healing in just one session.

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Reiki Healing

I also provide energy healing using Reiki. A Reiki healing session calls upon the healing energy that surrounds us and resides within us to remove energetic blockages that may be preventing healing. These blockages may look like depression, trauma anxiety, explosive anger, ADHD, cancer, high blood pressure, chronic inflammation, or common illnesses such as pink eye, flu, the common cold, etc.

Is Reiki Safe

Reiki is in alignment with divine purpose so an individual will experience exactly what they need during a Reiki healing session to help them to be successful on their life path. Reiki can’t change or interfere with a person’s life path which makes it extremely safe and effective.

Reiki and Other Treatments

Since Reiki is safe and holistic in nature, it works very well when combined with our medical system and other holistic approaches to healing. For example, Reiki energy can help to remove any blockages that interfere with the effectiveness of prescribed medications, help to remove blockages that prevent the body from staying in physical alignment after an adjustment from a chiropractor and improve recovery time after surgery.

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I think one of the most important things to understand about Reiki is that it is a healing system based on unconditional love and acceptance. There are no right and wrongs in Reiki and each and every life decision and path is fully supported and accepted.

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Healing Blockages

Blockages are due to a trauma, emotion, or stressful life experiences that have affected a person’s perception of themselves and the world. During a Reiki session, the energy that is “stuck or trapped” and causing the blockage is plucked out and replaced with positive healing energy which allows your body, mind, and soul to heal.  I have found that a single Reiki session can heal or greatly improve any ailment. In other cases, certain conditions require more Reiki treatments if the blockage(s) have been buried under many layers or if an individual inadvertently blocks healing due to fear or beliefs or unworthiness. Reiki will gently remove each fear, belief, and layer so that healing can occur.

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Self-Care

There are many ways to take care of your mind, body, and soul. For instance, eating organic foods, meditation, mindfulness, exercise, and yoga are all amazing ways to maintain and build health. I believe the best self-care is based on self- love and following your heart and inner guidance. It is easy to dismiss those strong urges and feelings or messages that are instructing you and guiding you; however, these messages are so important. Often, we can become disconnected from love by stress, pressure, obligations or expectations, and/or trauma. Remember that every ailment is connected to a trauma or emotional cause. When you commit to love yourself and move to a place of harmony with your heart, mind, body, and soul you will be able to recognize the trauma and will be guided to know how to heal any ailment.

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Want to learn more about energy healing? Contact Jodi here

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Photography by Centered Images

LOVE,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

A Mother’s Day Story with Jane Iredale: Cruelty-Free Makeup

May 14, 2017

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Happy Mother’s Day! I want to introduce you to someone very special to me. Everyone meet Chaucer, my little bunny son! A little over a year ago I adopted this handsome little fur ball and since then he’s become something of a therapy animal to me. Between his constant snuggles and his tiny, delicate soft kisses, he provides me so much joy. It wasn’t until recently though that I realized I wasn’t maintaining a beauty lifestyle that honored my love for my rabbit and all animals.

It seems obvious: Why would any human willfully harm or torture an animal? The sad reality is that so many big corporations in the beauty industry still test products on animals. Even with the prevalence of the “cruelty-free” stamp on a package, it’s still highly likely animal testing was used on the individual ingredients that make up the final “cruelty-free” product. Companies aren’t even required to label their products to reflect whether they’ve been tested on animals — it’s more of an honor system, very loosely controlled.

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There came a moment one afternoon that I was reading articles on the Internet with Chaucer asleep on my chest that I stumbled across one that made me weep. It discussed the horrifying details of makeup companies testing on animals and it broke my heart. I pictured my baby bunny being forced to not only have his body used as a canvas for chemicals but also to have to live an existence without love or affection. If I wouldn’t want this fate for my own rabbit, how could I condone it happening to any animal? It was at that exact moment that I went into my bathroom and looked at the makeup in my drawers and realized my consumer choices were impacting the fate of living beings everywhere. I was horrified.

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Upon throwing away just over half of the makeup I owned, I began to research makeup companies that I could stand behind 100%. The one at the top of this list was Jane Iredale and here’s why:

  • jane Iredale is a certified cruelty-free cosmetics brand, recognized by both Leaping Bunny and PETA for their voluntary commitment to no animal testing at every stage of product development and manufacturing.
  • Jane Iredale, the founder, was inspired to develop a makeup that was good for the skin by her career in the entertainment industry where she saw actresses and models struggling with the ill-effects of the many kinds of makeup they wore. jane iredale was the first line of makeup in the industry to have skin care benefits.
  • The brand is committed to empowering women of all ages and nationalities through the belief that true makeup artistry comes not from trying to make a face conform to the latest fashion trends, but from enhancing the wearer’s natural beauty and, as a result, allowing her personality to shine.
  • They pledge to use sustainable and healthy ingredients in their products and are aware of their overall impact on the environment.

Today, Chaucer and I are going to introduce you to jane iredale’s new 2017 Spring collection.

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In Touch® Cream Blush: Glide on this moist, cream-to-powder blush stick for soft, dewy and completely natural looking radiance.

Benefits:

-Wear alone, under powder blush for a natural look or over top for more drama

-Can also be used on eyes and lips

-Easy to use stick for touch-ups on the go

-Provides a radiant, lit-from-within glow

-Key Ingredients: Macadamia Esters hydrate and soothe, Beeswax gives antimicrobial protection

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PureMoist® Lipsticks: Vivid pigments blend with nourishing natural oils and fruit extracts for petal-soft lips that feel, look and taste amazing.

Benefits:

-Proven soothing properties of Moringa Butter saturate the lips with vitamins A and C, while Coffee Seed Extract infuses with even more antioxidant protection

-Orange Peel Wax, plus ultra-moisturizing Avocado and Sunflower Seed Oils, protect the delicate lip area and give a luxurious, conditioned and quenched feeling to the lips

-The organic Pomegranate and Blackberry Extracts are unique luscious flavors that stimulate the senses

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PurePressed® Eye Shadow Triples: From elegant to edgy, these silky, richly-pigmented, long-lasting and easily blended eye shadows can create any look.

Benefits:

-Crease-resistant and long-lasting

-Gentle and safe for sensitive eyes

-Can be used wet or dry and as a brow filler, blush or lip stain

-Key Ingredients: Boron Nitride helps shadow adhere and glide while diffusing light, Pine Bark Extract protects skin and calms inflammation

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A great introduction to jane iredale products is their Pure & Simple Mineral Makeup Kit. I’m wearing medium light in these photos.

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I regret knowing that it took owning my own rabbit to really understand the importance of cruelty-free makeup. No matter what though I’m glad my eyes were opened to the truth, and I hope too that you can also benefit from mine and Chaucer’s story.

Do your research and not only look on the packaging of your makeup but also search the Internet. Without our voices, this will not stop. Use social media to spread the message. The recognition that animal testing is unnecessary will only become more mainstream if consumers pressure legislators to enact laws to protect animals. Collectively, we can achieve this.

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What makes it so we humans think we can claim ownership over another creature’s life and wellbeing? Together we are all God’s creations and make up a beautiful whole. So much more can be done to show we care for one another- humans and animals alike. How powerful it is to be able to support a makeup company that actually builds up women and empowers everyone to feel beautiful just as they are. This Mother’s day I hope you can think about more deep and substantial ways to support the women in your life, especially through the lens of beauty & empowerment.

DSC_0093Photography by Centered Images


Special thanks to Jane Iredale for collaborating on this post


LOVE,

Blog-Signature-Hannah

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