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This Fall Be a Little Bit More Bohemian

What defines good fashion? One of the things it means to me is versatility; the ability to use one piece in many different ways and to use said piece for different times of the day. Warlene, the woman behind Warlene Rene Handmade Clothing creates pieces that are so versatile you can easily go from day to night with just a change of accessory or shoe.

I had the honor of modeling some of her fall pieces that are in the shop now and I have to tell you; I was completely taken aback by the comfort and ease I felt in each piece. Creating looks is one of my favorite pastimes and when I have the time I like to dedicate just a little extra to looking and feeling good- Warlene helps me do that. When I step foot in her intimate shop at Mill No 5 on Jackson Street in Lowell, I feel like a little girl playing dress up. From her reimagined vintage line to her her own custom pieces you will leave with your heart full and be feeling like a queen.

Women everywhere take my advice- if you want some boho/edge clothing or want something created for you to your own taste, Warlene is the woman to go to. She is a boss in every way and makes you feel like one too. The pieces I modeled are gorgeous, comfortable and easy to throw on. Below I have included pictures and details about each piece. Hope you enjoy reading about these pieces and make sure to check her out!

*Note: All photography done by Brianna Youte the ever talented daughter of the Queen of fashion herself. All pieces are currently in the shop now 🙂

First Look: Long Sleeve Floral Dress/Top

  • Open back
  • Front slit that provides flexibility and mobility
  • Flowy style
  • Fabric is soft to the touch

What I loved about this outfit was how the floral/dreamy look mixed with the edginess of my ripped jeans

Loved how this dress made me feel…

Second Look: Long, oversized denim dress with frayed ends

  • Super comfortable
  • Day to night transition
  • All you need is a statement necklace and you have an outfit

Things I loved about this outfit was how great I felt in it, it was a great piece to wear along with denim and created such a great vibe I wanted to take it home with me.

I felt amazing in this piece!

Third Look: Logo Tee with Denim Overcoat

  • Tee is soft and stretchy and super comfortable
  • Overcoat is so versatile- buttoned or unbuttoned
  • Quick outfit to throw together with some sneakers and specs

Things I loved about this outfit was how street it was but also incredibly stylish, great weekend look!

Walking the streets outside Mill No 5

Go grab a Logo tee from Warlene’s shop, they are incredible!

Fourth Look: Taupe Bell Sleeve Top w/Tieback

  • Can be tied in front or back
  • Incredibly comfortable and sleek
  • Simple yet brings a new dimension to your look

I loved how romantic this piece was, with its graceful edges and great silhouette

I always love pictures in motion 🙂

Loved these sleeves- bell sleeves have been one of my faves this year

Romantic tie back

Such a fierce and classy look!

Accessory of the day: Clutch w/Denim Strap

  • Easy to carry
  • Brightens up any outfit
  • Denim component makes it so different with a play on texture and look

 

Livin that Maven Life….

 

Cheerio!

Wine & Connections

Last month’s mixer hosted by The Foundation Mixer and Tutto Bene Wine & Cheese Cellars was inspiring. Conversation accompanied by good wine is always a good mix and I saw many new faces this time. Over the course of the last few months, I can personally say that the mixers have been collaborative and I have been able to meet many new people.

The very premise of mixers is to connect with people outside of your realm of comfort, it allows you to step outside your box and find new venues for your personal entrepreneurial goals or just to meet new people. These mixers also promote local business and one thing I truly appreciate is the ability talk about what I do and hear what others do in these local settings. Tutto Bene was no exception; with a Sommelier on site talking to us about the different wines we were tasting and an incredible assortment of wines from all over the world it was the perfect spot for a mixer.

We had Presceia Cooper, Director of Community Engagement at the Institute for Non-Profit Practice as our special speaker and she spoke about the impact of the programs they offer and how they can help individuals with a passion for learning and growth. We also heard from Wendi Wilkins the owner of Tutto Bene on how she started Tutto Bene and her passion for wine and local business.

As always these mixers bring people together from all walks of life, by doing so the events enrich our lives and help us with our own endeavors as we reach high for our entrepreneurial goals. If you haven’t been able to make it yet, check out  The Foundation Mixer page on Facebook and give them a follow for more events in the future.

Wines from Whites to Reds- delicious

Photography: Rita Tinega & Justin Pradachith 

Photography: Rita Tinega & Justin Pradachith

Photography: Rita Tinega & Justin Pradachith

Photography: Lifeasamaven

 

Cheers!

Life as a Maven

 

*Note: Photography for the night was done by Rita Tinega & Justin Pradachith from Visual Mag–  two of the photos were taken by me

 

Strawberry Feta Salad

I never used to be one for adding fruit to anything savory, I thought it would be weird and honestly never knew what I was missing. There are so many flavors that you can combine whether savory, sweet, tart, or earthy. The list is really endless and I have opened up my palate to experiment with these unique flavors.

This week I have delighted to be spending a lot of time with my very good friend who is also a blogger and we have been collaborating on several recipes. One of them happened to be this amazing salad that is fresh, summery and has tons of flavor. Between the equal sweetness and tartness of the strawberry, the salty feta and the fresh parsley the combination was potent and made for a wonderful side dish to the main meal.

Eating healthy should never be difficult and this recipe makes your life easy when you just want a different take on salad and makes for a wonderful main meal or side dish. Enjoy this fresh and summery recipe!

Definitely check out my friends blog: Mom of the Twins Blog for insight on her life with twins and tips.

 

Strawberry Feta Salad

Ingredients:

10 Fresh Strawberries (Sliced)

1 Cucumber (Diced)

1 Tomato (Diced)

1 Cup Fresh Parsley (Chopped)

2 Tbs Feta

Lemon Juice and Vinegar to Taste

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together, toss with lemon juice and vinegar to your taste

Beautiful, delicious salad

Made for an excellent side salad with scallops and potatoes

 

Enjoy!!

 

Life as a Maven

 

 

Lowell Folk Festival 2017

“Whatever is good for your soul, do that.”

The festival vibes this year were incredible. The community, the small businesses, the performers and even the weather- everything just meshed together and created a beautiful atmosphere all weekend long. I have to say it was the best year yet and no I’m not just saying that because I finally got to try the Filipino food booth 🙂

My weekend started with Friday night- first day of the festival. While its a short night, the streets were closed downtown, food booths were set up and the festival hum had started. People were milling the streets checking everything out. My friends and I checked out the opening of Warp & Weft a new restaurant on Market street that will officially open later this fall, we went over to Boardinghouse Park to catch the sunset and had some yummy food and drinks.

It was a beautiful evening filled with good times and almost every single downtown restaurant had something going on. It was great to see so many people enjoying the first quiet night of Lowell Folk Festival

Friday Night

Little Delights Macaron Menu

Birthday Cake, Earl Gray & Creamsicle

Trick or Treat Cupcake

Festival Fashion- Day 1 Humanity Style

      

Warp & Weft- Folk Festival opening only, Muffuletta sandwich on the menu

Incredible Sangria

The yummiest Rum Cake from the Jamaican/Indian booth

Crab & Clam cake from booth on John St!

Burmese noodle salad- delicious and light

Grilling the meats over at Dutton Street

 

Saturday is always a full day, its the day the festival lasts the longest and where a large number of activities are taking place.  I roamed all over the festival for around 8 hours and saw some performances, ate some food, did some shopping and got a lot of walking in.

First a flower crown was picked up from The Flower Mill, my festival wear on Saturday was designed by Warlene Rene a local fashion designer who creates incredible pieces. I then went over to John Street because they had this incredible vendor making smoothies in fresh Pineapples! All the performances of the day that I was able to catch were incredible from Gospel to Cuban music I had so much fun- first time I danced at folk festival this year 🙂

The line at the Filipino table was short enough I managed to squeeze in and grab a combo plate, incredible, delicious food. I was so happy I got in this year and tried the food. Definite festival must try.

Saturday was a phenomenal day and was filled to the brim with people that came out to enjoy what the festival has to offer. I was so excited this year for Folk Festival and it ended up being everything I wanted it to be and more.

Check out the photos and follow along on social media if you havent done so yet 🙂

 

Saturday

Fashion Day 2 – Warlene Rene & The Flower Mill

The Branchettes – Incredible Gospel Duo

Filipino table offerings

Chicken Combo w/added Turon DELICIOUS

Brownie Ice Cream Bars from Sweet Lydias

Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo – Afro Venezuelan Music

Incredible group, so much dancing!

El Septeto Santiaguero- a Cuban group, this was such a great experience for me!

This Piña Colada Smoothie was everything!

As the day was winding down I visited the ladies at Humanity

Thank you Folk Fest, you were great!!!

 

Signing off- Life as a Maven

 

 

 

 

Sneak Peak-Lowell Burger Company

Monday was a day filled with lots of food adventures including a trip to a secret menu tasting at the new Lowell Burger Company spot Downtown Lowell, MA. As we all know this was the old location of the much beloved Bishop’s Legacy Restaurant and while we were sad to see it go I am energized by this new restaurant that has taken over.

Together Tobias Marx and Chef Nick Speros have created an incredibly welcoming space that is open and inviting with a clear sense of community. With just the small sliver we were given insight to, I know that this venture will prove to be a good one. With warm lighting, fun decor and incredible burgers, Lowell Burger Company has the ingredients to make this restaurant work.

In speaking with the Chef, it was great knowing the food would be locally sourced and local farms would be supported. As you all know I believe that supporting local is a big deal and its important to retain that sense of community by building each other up and provide great food while doing so.

I look forward to having many dinners at this new place Downtown and bringing friends to share food over drinks and laughter!

Check out the pictures and check out the Vlogs now up on  YouTube about Chef Nick Speros “Secret Sauce” and “Bacon Jam” – Click here to view them and stay tuned for another blog post once they are open and I taste more of their great burgers! 🙂

The Chef getting some burgers ready

Beef Burger w/Blue Cheese, Bacon Jam & Arugula

Burgers for the win!

This ketchup is smoky, delightful &  different yet familiar

Ani, Owner –Humanity Style, myself & Chef Nick Speros

I was happy with my burger- obviously!

 

For the love of Burgers-

 

Life as a Maven

 

 

Zesty Cajun Chicken

Testing out recipes is simply one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy working with flavors, texture and while it doesn’t always work out sometimes you get a gem like this in your repertoire that you can cook easily and can change to your taste depending on your diet needs.

This dish is full of flavor and kicks you right in the taste buds. There are a few components of this dish that make it stand out such as the crispness of the cardamom and creaminess of the coconut cream. I was so happy I finally perfected this recipe- a big shout out to my friend over at Mom of the Twins Blog for suggesting cardamom!

As side dishes I used fresh Avocado and Tomato along with brown rice. Perfect compliment to strong flavors in the chicken. Please try this recipe out and let me know the changes you make and how you modify it, I want to hear all about it in the comments!

 

Zesty Cajun Chicken

Ingredients:

1 lb. Ground Chicken

1 Can Coconut Cream or Coconut Milk(full fat)

1 Can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Dice Tomatoes

1 1/2 Cups of Diced Fresh Mushrooms

3 Cardamom Pods (broken up and seeds thrown in)

1 Tsp Coriander

2 Tbs Cajun Seasoning

1 Tbs Dried Basil

2 Tbs Butter

1 Tbs of Olive Oil

Sides: Sliced Tomato & Organic Avocado

Instructions:

In a large frying pan melt the butter, add the chicken- cook through. Add Cajun and Basil. While this is cooking in a different pan saute mushrooms, when browned add tomatoes. Add the meat mixture into the tomato mixture. Add cream or milk. Let simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.

Break open cardamom pods and pour seeds into the meat, add the coriander. Cover and let simmer for another 10 minutes.

Crack open an avocado and slice up some tomatoes. You can either eat this over vegetables or eat it over brown rice. It is a versatile dish full of flavor so you don’t need much!

You can eat over the avocado and tomato without the rice

Filling and nutritious!

 

Enjoy!

 

Life as a Maven

Trattoria Sabbioneda – Milan, Italy

“When you have the best and tastiest ingredients, you can cook very simply and the food will be extraordinary because it tastes like what it is.” -Alice Waters

I’ve been waiting to write this for almost three months now simply because it was one of the best meals I had in my life and I wanted to give it the praise it deserved. I also wanted a secret for myself, a place we had found while roaming the streets of Milan on our last day in Italy and it was a beautiful secret which I now want to share with you.

We almost didn’t stop and eat here, we almost went with what all the apps were saying or on what you should eat in the area we were in. We walked by this place twice before deciding on entering its small, yet homey interior full of jovial Italians who were eating delicious food with friends.

This was  our best meal in Italy. Yes, I can say that. We had plenty of food in different areas of Northern Italy but it was this meal that has stayed on my mind the last three months. A meal that I shared with my incredible husband who took me on the trip of a lifetime and one I will continue to remember until we go back 🙂

This restaurant is the lovely Trattoria Sabbioneda, Cucina Casalinga in Milan, Italy. It is a small place really, with tables packed tightly together and conversations loud and boisterous. The bar, directly to your right when you walk in is where drinks and coffee are made and  then served and I loved watching the bartender whip up the drinks and call them out as we waited for our food.

I looked at the menu and was taken aback by all the interesting and delightful things I saw. So different than anything else I had seen during our trip- we ended up ordering two entrees, a second course and then dessert. We also went with the house red wine which was perfection.

This house red wine- wow just so many good things to say about it. Rich, deep & potent

For my first course I had the House Ravioli with Borragine, what is this you may ask? It is an herb that is not often used but has a minty/savory flavor. It was so good I ate much slower than I usually do so I could savor every bite.

House Made Ravioli

Roosevelt had the Tagliatelle with Ragu which I had a bite of- incredible.

Tagliatelle al Ragu

The bar areas, so homey and inviting

Our second course was roasted meats with potatoes. The meats were so tender and the potatoes were just perfectly seasoned.

Loved this plate

Juicy, tender meat!

After our meal we were given three options for dessert, one being this rustic apple cake which we both wanted to dry.

Crispy crust, juicy apples

YUM!

The tiny restaurants exterior 🙂

Cheers to a wonderful last meal in Italy and I hope you all enjoyed reading about one of our lovely experiences while abroad.

 

Ciao,

Life as a Maven

Fruity Pebbles Treats

My childhood came through in this recipe, I remember absolutely loving Fruity Pebbles as a kid drenched in milk and then when all the cereal was gone I would drink up the milk. These days I go for more healthy options like Oatmeal or Avocado Toast but every so often I like to remember those sweet, childhood food memories.

This recipe while incredibly simple speaks to those memories and made me realize that the original cereals will never get old. It got me thinking that maybe I would like to do a blog food series completely based on all the childhood cereals I used to devour. I had tons of fun making this and it’s totally versatile- whatever you want to top it with, go ahead. Even just plain they are amazing!

Get ready for the best sugar high of your life and crank some of these out!

 

Fruity Pebbles Treats

4 Cups Fruity Pebbles Cereal

1 10oz bag of mini marshmallows

1 1/2 Stick of Unsalted butter

1 Tsp Vanilla

Pinch of salt

White or Dark chocolate for drizzling or dipping

Instructions:

Over medium heat start to melt the butter, add vanilla and salt

Once melted, let it simmer until bubbly and starts to turn a little brown- watch that it doesnt burn

Once this stage is complete, add the marshmallows and stir until melted through

Add the Fruity Pebbles and stir until evenly coated

Prepare a square pan for thicker treats or a 13 x 9 pan for thinner treats- I used Pam

Press mixture into the pan- these re not like rice crispies- they need to be refrigerated or put in the freezer to set.

Once set you can melt some dark chocolate or white chocolate and drizzle or dip

Either choice is good, don’t over do it or the treats will be way too sweet.

You will be left with delicious, childhood memory inducing treats!

I chose white chocolate and it was delicious!

Enjoy!

 

Until next time,

Life as a Maven

Creativity Meets Connection

“Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable” – William Pollard

The Foundation Mixer brought us all together once again last week for the second part of their art series connection events. This time the focus was on GiveWave Studios owned by a friend and colleague of ours . With a small business focused on creativity and design it has thrived over the last year and half into the costume and accessories go to for all your creative needs.

GiveWave Studios is based out of Lowell Makes, a Makerspace based in Lowell, MA. This is an environment where creativity takes free reign and individuals who have a membership can do everything from woodworking to 3D printing. This is the perfect place to start a business based on creative design and has been the spot for people to come out and experience on their own.

During this particular mixer, we were given a tour of Lowell Makes and we were able to see the different aspects that go into some of the creations that GiveWave Studios makes and also what those around him can make as well. It was a great experience for those who had never seen the inside of Lowell Makes because they could get a glimpse of what goes on to make the intricate work that goes into many of their projects.

Sizzling Kitchen provided the appetizers for us which were a mix of fresh rolls and decadent dipping sauces. Incredible as always; if you want to read my blog post about them check it out here.

It was a great environment with great people, good music and creative curiosity. The Foundation Mixer has once again brought people from all walks of life into the same room to take us out of comfort zones, to re-energize us and show us what potential could be had from working together as a community.

Check out the photos below! Contact and follow information is below!

Learning all about the Makerspace and GiveWave Studios!

Giving a tour of GiveWave Studios & Lowell Makes

Owner of GiveWave Studios, Castro A. & Co Founder of The Foundation Mixer Bobby T.

Some of the handmade items that GiveWave Studios makes!

 

GiveWave Studios

Instagram: @givewave.studios

Facebook: @GiveWaveStudios

Etsy Store: www.etsy.com/shop/GiveWaveStudios

Lowell Makes

www.lowellmakes.com

The Foundation Mixer

Facebook: @foundationmixer

Sizzling Kitchen

Facebook: @SizzlingKitchenLowell

 

 

Creatively Living,

Life as a Maven

 

Model for a Day

“Clothes aren’t going to change the world, the women who wear them will.” – Coco Chanel

Over the course of the last couple of years that I have been writing and sharing my adventures with you all I have been able to meet some really wonderful people within my community and beyond and it is because of those relationships that I have the ability to do things like this.

I was asked to be a model by a community colleague of mine who was doing a project for her own business and I was so inspired by her I decided to go for it. Along with myself, there were two other women, one a mutual friend and the other a new designer in town who makes incredible clothing and is ready to put her mark in the fashion world.

I wanted to share my experiences of modeling for a day and how exploring a couple different areas of Boston behind the lens made it so much more different than if it was just me without a camera following me around.

I woke up early that morning and met up with the rest of the group, we packed up our clothes into the car and made our way into Boston. We started around the Newbury Street area and took some lovely pictures in different neighborhoods and then right on Newbury Street. We were wearing pieces created by Warlene Rene Handmade (you can find that blog post here)and some of our own clothing mixed in there. We also took some amazing photos at the Boston Public Library and at the Prudential Center where we ate amazing food by Num Pang Kitchen!!!

We walked, sat down, laughed, and talked with one another all while being the focus of our two camerawomen-

Sositha Ling Photography and Style this Shindig both run by incredible women who wanted us to have fun while working behind the camera. From the different shoots we did, to the clothes changes we made to the food we ate it was an unforgettable experience and I wanted to provide to you a sneak in the world of modeling I was able to be part of. Enjoy the pictures and share what you think in the comments!

Photography: Sositha Ling Photography, Artistic direction: Style this Shindig, Fashion design: Warlene Rene

Photography: Sositha Ling Photography, Artistic direction: Style this Shindig, Fashion design: Warlene Rene

Photography: Sositha Ling Photography, Artistic direction: Style this Shindig, Fashion design: Warlene Rene

Photography: Sositha Ling Photography, Artistic direction: Style this Shindig, Fashion design: Warlene Rene

Obligatory selfie- by me 🙂

Walking around in Tulle

Details- selfie taken by me

Accessories and pops of color- taken by me

I also got to be a food blogger- great food!

Sositha Ling Photography- doing her thing!

My first time at the Boston Public Library

 

Livin that Maven Life

 

 

  • Blooms in featured image arranged by Chhavy , owner of Style this Shindig