#FPMeGetTheShot Creativity Summit

Who knew adding one simple hashtag on one of my Instagram pictures would lead me on a trip to the Catskill Mountains with Free People early Thursday morning?

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I was invited by Free People and Polaroid to a creativity summit hosted by the Foxfire Mountain House in upstate New York as reward for posting one of these imagesย using the hashtag #FPMeGetTheShot. When I found out that I had won I was honestly shocked that an opportunity as unique as this one could come from a little hashtag I added to one of my pictures on Instagram.

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I began my day by waking up at 5am… Yes, 5am exactly. Free People is the only thing that could ever get me up before sunrise. At the crack of dawn, all thirty of us girls met in front of their 5th Avenue store and loaded onto the bus to start our journey up north.

We were greeted by Free People’s Social and Public Relations team as well as photographers from both Free People and Polaroid. Foxfire Mountain House had a buffet of homemade baked goods and fresh juice set up in the cozy little lounge of their big white house. Nothing beats being greeted with cinnamon buns and fresh country air!

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After breakfast we began a panel discussion with Free People and Polaroid employees. The girls and I all received tips and tricks from expert photographers that will help bring our photos to the next level. We also heard from various employees of Free People, hearing about how they got started with the brand and what creative roles they fill.

After the panel they let us loose to explore the hotel and all of its natural beauty. One of my favorite parts about this mountain getaway was the little wooden bungalow in the yard (pictured on left). I can’t even imagine how nice it would be to sit out there in front of a fire pit on a chilly fall night, s’mores in hand.

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Following another amazing meal provided by Foxfire Mountain house (I would visit here again just to eat!), Free People and Polaroid gave us a challenge to style different outfits in different locations, using FP’s fall muses as inspiration. How beautiful are their fall velvet pieces? I need to get my hands on these mustard pants!

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Once the challenge was over the FP girls announced their favorite Polaroid pictures that were taken, judging on creativity of the shot and how well the looks represented the brand’s muses.

Getting the opportunity to work with so many amazing women from all over the country (Nebraska, California and Texas to name a few!) and two iconic brands made for an unforgettable day. The next time you see a giveaway or contest on Instagram… jump on it and enter! You never know what it could lead to.

Read Free People’s blog post about the event.

(photos by Jana Kirn)

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Juice Press Rainforest Smoothie Recipe

If you are a juice and smoothie lover you are probably obsessed with all the boutique juice shops in the city. Juice Press is just one of these stores that offers delicious, fresh but overpriced smoothies. While it is nice to treat myself to one of these every once in awhile, this college student has a budget to follow.

I am always messing around with my Vitamix (aka the most life-changing gadget you can have in your kitchen), looking for the perfect green smoothie recipe. While the other recipe I shared on my blog is one of my staples, this new recipe just might be replacing it for the next few weeks.

If you have ever had Juice Press’s Rainforest smoothie, this is exactly what that tastes like. Filled with kale, mint, lemon, and coconut water, you really can’t go wrong. I even added my own little twist by making it with frozen banana and pineapple. This helps to balance out the taste of the greens.

In order to make this you are going to need:

Kale on kale on kale

Mint leaves

1/2 of a lemon

1 frozen banana

Coconut water

Frozen pineapple

Start with your greens. Feel free to add as much mint as you like. I pile in the mint because I love that refreshing ting early in the morning after a long yoga session. It is also great for indigestion!

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Next, add your kale. Once again, load this in; the more greens the better! I was lucky enough to be given kale straight from someone’s garden. I lack any sort of green thumb but tasting this fresh kale has inspired me to possibly start growing my own greens.

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The kale was so fresh that I kept finding inch worms in it! I returned these little worms back into their natural habitat and made sure to clean the kale over and over again.

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After you add all of your greens be sure to juice half of a lemon into the blender. If you want a tangier taste feel free to squeeze an entire lemon into the juice.

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Next, I added my frozen banana. I buy a bunch of bananas and freeze them in ziplock bags to make them much more accessible whenever I want to make a smoothie. This way you don’t need to worry about the time it takes to freeze a banana once your smoothie craving comes on.

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Coconut water is going to allow the Vitamix to blend everything together smoothly. You want to start by adding a good amount and then continue to add more as the smoothie is blending. The coconut water is going to make the blender’s job a lot easier, and prevent it from breaking.

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Lastly, add your frozen pineapple. Once again, there is not a specific amount that you need to add. It is all up to you and which flavors you want to be most prominent!

Now blend together and it’s ready to drink.

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Let me know what you think of this recipe when you try it. Be sure to share it on Instagram and tag @maemaddie. Happy blending!

And the Summertime Sadness Sets In…

Summer is soon coming to an end and as Lana Del Rey once sang, “I’ve got that summertime, summertime sadness”. I know I speak for all of us when I say I am going to miss the sun setting at 8:30pm, endless ice cream cones and beach trips. Nothing compares to watching the sun set over the edge of the ocean, lobster roll in hand.

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As each season ends I think it is important to reflect on how we have changed and the person we have shaped into over the past few months. This summer I got to call the Upper West Side my home for a month, living in New York City completely on my own for the first time. From this experience I have learned just how happy one can be by being in their favorite place and being completely independent. I often found myself running along the Hudson River at night, so thankful for where I was and the opportunities given to me.

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Living in New York City and working at EILEEN FISHER (which I talk about more here), has been a growing experience where I have learned more about myself than I ever knew. I like to think that my summer embodied Lana Del Rey’s “Born to Die” album. The songs in the album touch on being fearless and living your life for yourself, without any care of the opinions of others.

I can honestly say that I lived this summer for me. I enjoyed dinner at one of my favorite restaurants with simply a book as my company. I tried a new fitness class every day through ClassPass (FlyWheel will always be my favorite). I ran around the city working one job to the next.

Not only did I channel a Lana Del Rey attitude, but I also let her style inspire mine. She is casual yet glamorous with a vintage flare. She is known for wearing beautifully colored tropical patterns (her Coachella 2015 look will always be a favorite of mine). Lana is not afraid to express herself with her unique fashion sense. This tropical mini skirt, bell-sleeved top and copper sandals embody my summer.

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As we enter this coming fall I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and live a fearless life. Take the risks you have been too afraid to take. Do something that makes you happy, without worrying about pleasing others. It is amazing how much we can discover about ourselves when we live new experiences and do things for our own happiness.