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.


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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. 

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Impact | Gifts that Give Back: Jabonarte Soaps

What I love to do most on The Basic Goods is share with you all the talents, missions and big hearts of people I am lucky to call my friends. This one especially strikes a chord with me because Nia Salas, founder of the Costa Rican-based social enterprise Jabonarte, was my fearless leader on a volunteer trip to Costa Rica years back. The kindness, warmth and pride of the Costa Rican people who welcomed me and my father into their community made such an impression and today I’m deeply honored to have an opportunity to give back again.

Jabonarte is a social enterprise in San José, Costa Rica that designs, creates and sells artisanal soaps. By employing women who have survived domestic violence every purchase helps to ensure permanent jobs and safe futures for the makers and their families.  Continue reading Impact | Gifts that Give Back: Jabonarte Soaps