Mavens | Sarah McLean + Cait Bourgault of Alpine Women Collective

If you were to ask my husband, Brian and I, what made us decide to pull the trigger and move to Portland, Maine we’d have to say, the creative/outdoor community and the people behind it. Not only that, but the close proximity to New Hampshire’s stunning White Mountain range, Acadia National Park and Baxter State Park allows us to stay outside and connected to nature. Plus, all the food and beer — just being honest.

The Alpine Women Collective was one of those organizations that made me feel excited and inspired to explore this place and meet the amazing people who call it home. Run by Sarah McLean and Cait Borgault, AWC is an all-women’s hiking group for like-minded ladies to sponge up the benefits of being outside together. That in and of itself is special but to hear more about their love for this project is something else entirely. So, I’m thrilled to share that with you here. If you’re someone who has always wanted to spend more time hiking, backpacking or adventuring outdoors but don’t know how or where to start, make sure you read all the way through for some wisdom on breaking through that barrier. It’s real good, I promise.


Continue reading Mavens | Sarah McLean + Cait Bourgault of Alpine Women Collective

Mavens | Emily Rathmanner of Made by Minga

“We’re on a mission to create a more connected and environmentally-conscious world”

One of the coolest things about The Basic Goods is having a platform that makes it easy to meet other like-minded people. So, it’s fitting to have Emily Rathmanner, globetrotting gal behind Made by Minga , as our second Maven to be featured this month.

Emily’s mission is inspiring to say the least and her brand is a testament to what true connection, heart and a desire to make a difference can do for the world. My biggest take away from this passion project turned-successful-small-biz is how committed Emily was to seeing her vision through carte blanche — which is something I’m sure so many others dream of doing.

So, before you continue reading, make sure to watch Emily’s own videos with more background on how she got started, here and here. Enjoy the interview!

Continue reading Mavens | Emily Rathmanner of Made by Minga

Mavens | Missy Graff Ballone of Wellness for Makers

This is the first post in a month-long series called A Month of Mavens. Read the intro, here!

If you follow The Basic Goods on Instagram you might already be familiar with my good friend Missy, founder of Wellness for Makers. She is a gifted artist, licensed massage therapist, entrepreneur and 500 HR yoga teacher. We met while teaching at Yoga Mechanics and quickly bonded over our shared passion for wellness, community and well, we both have a really goofy sense of humor. There’s just nothing like someone who gets your weird jokes, guys. Treasure them. I sure do.

Fast forward to nearly a year later and Missy has become one of my biggest supporters and champions of The Basic Goods; always encouraging me to dream bigger and work smarter, not just harder. She is one of the most genuine and kindhearted people I know, who doesn’t see others as a threat or competition but invests in their growth and wellbeing. For that reason, I’ve experienced a shift in myself and had the guts to bring big projects to life such as, A Course in Calm and A Yogi’s Guide to Winter Wellness (thanks to her equally talented hubby, Jonathan at Scratch Work Labs) Not to mention, she and I have a retreat planned for this summer!

To experience some of that Missy magic for yourself, read on to hear all about this maven’s ongoing journey to bring wellness to the makers and the masses.

Continue reading Mavens | Missy Graff Ballone of Wellness for Makers

A Month of Mavens

It dawned on me one day that so many of the most influential figures in my life have been strong-willed, talented and intelligent women who are business owners and industry leaders in their own right.

In fact, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to work for many of them. For instance, my time as Web Editor at Pure Green Magazine and right-hand gal to Editor-in-Chief Celine MacKay, was enlightening to say the very least. To this day, Celine still has one of the best eyes for style and beauty and an innate sensibility towards environmentalism that changed the way I saw my role as an everyday eco-activist. I have her to thank for so much of my work today.

My yoga teacher and friend Omni Kitts-Ferrara, CEO of YogaMechanics in Montclair, New Jersey is a force to be reckoned with. Not only is Omni one of the most creative people I know, she’s also a gifted movement expert and excels in teaching others about the human body. She has a voice in the yoga world that has transformed many, many lives for the better and continues to push everyone to be the best version of themselves purely through leading by example. My favorite question to ask her is, “so what are you up lately, Om?”

I could keep going because there are so many awesome women out there whose accomplishments are worth celebrating. What I decided to do instead was feature a handful of them here all throughout February in a series I’m calling, A Month of Mavens. 

Continue reading A Month of Mavens

People | Suyog Mody, Co-Founder of Driftaway Coffee

This interview is a pretty big deal. Rarely do I have the opportunity to talk to the co-founder of a radical coffee company like Driftaway about the heart, soul and game-changing tactics behind their brand. Second, I’m pretty sure that after reading this you’ll have a drastically different view of coffee, climate change and your massive impact as a consumer on the world.

Featured in The Today Show, Good Housekeeping, Esquire and more, Suyog Mody and his wife Anu started their small-batch, coffee roasting subscription company as an effort to help alleviate poverty and bring you a delicious cup of coffee customized to suit your tastebuds. You know, the usual. Coincidentally, my husband and I were gifted a 6 month coffee subscription as a wedding gift (shout out to Scott and Anna) and as coffee lovers, we were hooked.

Now, I don’t want to give too much away but there are so many things that make Driftaway Coffee unique. From their perspective on using Organic certifications (it’s not 100% and they’re fine with that), why farmers deserve a spotlight and the important reason that coffee needs science to survive the effects of climate change.

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Hopefully you’ve read the fantastic interview with Bill Ahrens of New Country Organics Farm (if you haven’t go do that, too) and are about to have your mind blown and lens shifted once again by Suyog. His passion for sustainability and supporting others shines through and I hope you leave feeling motivated to take #inspiredaction.

Huge thanks to Suyog of Driftaway Coffee for being so generous with his time and energy. Make sure you get a coffee subscription for yourself and gift at least one more this holiday season. Enjoy, friends!

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Continue reading People | Suyog Mody, Co-Founder of Driftaway Coffee

People | Behind the Scenes with an Organic Farmer

In bold and unapologetic letters on their website, New Country Organics farm in Virginia proudly states, “We are all organic. Organic doesn’t mean trendy or cool or pretentious. Organic doesn’t have to mean expensive. Organic simply means living in ecological balance. Living real life. Real life sustained by real food.”

As a team of dedicated organic growers, New Country Organics is passionate about educating people on the farming practices that allow us to enjoy a healthy and sustainable planet, produce and people. I was lucky enough to talk to one of their team members, Bill Ahrens, about what exactly organic means to them as a small-scale organic farm and what they think we should know as conscious consumers.



WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO PRACTICE ONLY SUSTAINABLE METHODS? 

One of the things we love about organics is that it has outright prohibitions against the use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. I spend a lot of my time trying to explain what organic is as opposed to what is now the reality that we consume chemical food. Our culture tends to rely on this idea that food is inherently good. However, today, there are so many chemicals being used not only in GMO products like soy, corn and wheat but also in conventional farming and non-GMO farming. We’ve been taught that as humans we can tolerate these minute qualities of chemicals, but unfortunately we can’t.

28580628706_36cdec7eaf_k Continue reading People | Behind the Scenes with an Organic Farmer

People | How to Start a Farmer’s Market

If you’ve ever been to a bustling farmer’s market, tote bag in hand, and walked up and down the lanes past vendors with an abundance of fruits and veggies, handmade goods and food, you know that a community market is a special place.

To me, it’s become an essential part of my routine in which I can establish a greater connection to my food, the land it was grown on and the people who grow it — a relationship that has sadly faded into the background of sterilized produce and the fluorescent-lit aisles of a modern grocery store. When I don’t make it to the farmer’s market, food shopping becomes a completely different experience. Connecting food to faces is an undeniably powerful way to help us appreciate the love and hard work that goes into it and the process as a whole. Especially in today’s world, this is a vital connection that cannot be lost.

Continue reading People | How to Start a Farmer’s Market

People | Protect Our Winters (POW)

Our climate is changing. Politically, socially and especially environmentally things aren’t the way they used to be. For those of who us who love our winters, that’s a problem.

I grew up with parents who love to ski. From the time I could stand up in a shopping cart (apparently, this was the tip-off) I was on a pair of skis and learning how to pizza and french-fry my way down the mountain. Memories of fluffy powder days out west and even glorious cruddy days out east —although, we certainly have our own brand of pow — are things I won’t ever forget. However, if the rising temps have anything to say about that, these might just stay a memory.

If you’re a skier, snowboarder or a [enter winter sport here] this news probably sucks. At least, that’s what the folks at Protect Our Winters (POW) thought. Founded in 2007 by pro snowboarder, Jeremy Jones, POW is a nonprofit organization that works to engage and harness the power of the outdoor community to implement positive environmental change.   Continue reading People | Protect Our Winters (POW)

Q + A | How to Make a Feature Film

It’s not everyday that you get the chance to have a conversation with two feature-length filmmakers. Especially when those two filmmakers decided to buck the trend, ditch the industry standards and make their movie the way they want to do it.

While this is a little bit of a departure from our regular content on The Basic Goods, Kate and Daryl inspired me to get outside of my comfort zone and shake things up a little. After all, this blog is dedicated to telling stories of a life well lived and these two devoted filmmakers and hardworking creatives truly embody what it means to make things happen — no matter what.

So, without further ado, here’s my conversation with Kate Forsatz and Daryl Ferrara, filmmakers and producers of the upcoming feature film, Thre3bound!

Check out their website to learn more about Thre3bound, here.

Continue reading Q + A | How to Make a Feature Film

Art | Filippa Edghill

From the sun-soaked coast of Biarritz, Swedish-native and avid surfer, Filippa Edghill, paints delicate and compelling watercolors that speak to our connection to self, others and the natural world. She has long been my favorite artist not just because of the beautiful simplicity of her technique but also the ways in which she so effortlessly communicates that tangible feeling and emotion of being in your body—most especially in the water.  That Filippa has a heart for the environment and uses the message of conservation to underscore her work makes me love her art all that much more.  Continue reading Art | Filippa Edghill