Love for Humanity

Last week, I visited one of my favorite hidden gems: Humanity Boutique in Lowell. My friend (and, you’ll notice, occasional photographer) Katie grew up in the next town over, so she knew about the cute shop long before I did. She brought me with her to scope it out one day, and I immediately loved the owner, Ani.

Ani is an adorable, welcoming presence with the perfect balance of kindness and quirk. She has worked tirelessly over the years to make her dream of owning her own store come true, and she never hesitates to offer words of encouragement for those following their own.

“I am inspired by the beauty of everyday life, places I travel, and people I meet. [I choose] style over fashion. I love celebrating womanhood and our own individuality. Being able to help others build confidence and be comfortable in their own skin is why Humanity Boutique exists. This is why I exist; I do what I love and I love what I do.” – AV

After months of struggling to get our schedules to match up, Ani and I finally got together at Humanity to play dress up! She was my photographer for the afternoon while I modeled some of my favorite merchandise in the store. Needless to say, it was my dream afternoon. At one point I said, “I wish I could do this every day.” Ani replied, “Don’t you?” Good point, Ani!

After managing the store since 2012 and taking ownership of the boutique in May 2014, Ani gave the store a facelift last spring. She added so many unique touches in every nook and cranny – there’s always a different detail to notice! Plus, Humanity Boutique has some great initials! 😉 In the photos above, you can see some of my favorite sections of the store – including the plush dressing room area where your fashion wing-woman can wait for you and give her opinions. Or, you can grab a seat and chat it up with Ani herself, who is always eager to learn about every new customer. By the end of your visit, you’ll have a new friend – and will probably end up with a new contact in your phone!

LOOK #1

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LOOK #2

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LOOK #3

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LOOK #4

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Thank you to Ani for letting me play dress up with all of these fabulous clothes. They are all available at Humanity on Merrimack Street in Lowell – and they are all affordable! Yes, even that amazing red bag is for sale. (The shoes are my own though. Back off.)

Next time you need a cute outfit on a budget, want to get out of your usual shopping routine, or just want to gab with an inspiring fashionista, head into Humanity – and tell Ani I sent you! ❤

For more photos from our fun shoot, follow Humanity (@humanitystyle) and visit http://www.humanitystyle.com!

Colorfully Yours,

Haley

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Live Life Alive

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Life Alive Lowell

Living in the suburbs the past year has had its ups and downs.

Aside from the complete demolition of my social life, another aspect that has suffered is my taste buds.

How many sub shops can possibly be placed within a two mile radius, you ask? As Cady Heron would say, the limit does not exist.

If I never see another greasy sub or crappy iceberg lettuce salad in my life, I’ll be a happy gal.

That’s why I’m so thankful to be so close to Life Alive.

Life Alive Lowell

Life Alive is a cafe that serves organic, locally grown foods. The menu is mostly vegan, which scares some people off. But I promise I’m no earthy-crunchy person, and this is pretty much my favorite place ever. I’m eternally grateful to my brother’s girlfriend Katie for introducing me to it a couple of summers ago!

There are three Life Alive locations in Massachusetts: Salem, Cambridge, and Lowell. I’m by far the closest to the downtown Lowell location, so that’s the only one I’ve been to. The cafe is located in a brick building covered with greenery – Madeline style. As soon as you walk in the door, you’re greeted by a vibrant mural on the wall. On certain nights you enter to a wave of live music coming from the small stage by the entrance. The smell of incense wafts into your nose, and the delicate lighting relaxes you right away.

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You won’t find the decor anywhere else. That’s because most of it is handmade. The tables and chairs are decoupaged with unexpected images. Most of the signs and art on the walls are hand-painted. The bathroom is essentially a greenhouse. That’s right, the bathroom. It even has a tub filled with overflowing plants.

I’ll admit that I was a little thrown the first time I went. The array of all-natural products lining the shelves to the left of the counter seemed foreign to me. Bags of ‘coffee’ made with dandelions? Organic laundry detergent? Hemp protein? I told myself that I didn’t really fit in.

But then you meet the staff. They are the nicest bunch of employees you’ll encounter during your day, that’s for sure. They are all so friendly and knowledgable about all of the food and products offered. I was completely overwhelmed by the extensive menu when I first started going to Life Alive, but the employees were quick to offer recommendations to my indecisive self.

IMG_9670The menu consists of grain-based meals (served as bowls, in a wrap, or half portions), salads, grilled wraps, snacks, soups, and sides. As for beverage choices, there are smoothies, fresh juices, teas, and lattes. The options are endless…yet I order the same thing every time.

IMG_9674The first several months of my Life Alive groupie status, I constantly ordered “The Rebel,” which is a quinoa and brown rice bowl filled with a variety of bright veggies. However, it didn’t take too long before I switched to the “Green Goddess” bowl, and I haven’t been able to stray from it since. It’s a brown rice bowl topped with – you guessed it – green veggies. The key to these dishes, besides the amazingly fresh ingredients, is the SAUCE. I can’t rave enough about it. All of the dishes have a different blend of sauces, but the “Ginger Nama Shoyu Sauce” is the reason I haven’t been able to give up the Green Goddess. If crack was organic, I would swear that it was a main ingredient.

I’ve tried a few other meals here and there, and I can honestly say I’ve never been disappointed. I’m just the type that will order the same thing over and over until I get sick of it. Why fix what isn’t broken, right?

I do switch up my smoothie choices, though. My favorites are obviously the sweet ones: the Elvis Alive (chocolate and peanut butter, duh) and the Chai Alive. I don’t even feel guilty drinking an ice-cream-laden concoction, because the “ice cream” is coconut milk based. The fruity smoothies are amazing too though, for you normal folk.

IMG_9677Along with the all-natural products, there are also dried fruits, vegan cookies and candies available for purchase at the counter. You can even pick out teas to take home.

Considering Life Alive has no idea I’m writing this blog, you can trust my glowing review. Or just check my Twitter, where I constantly profess my love for the cafe. (And they usually tweet back!) One time I even vented via Twitter that someone forgot to include the extra sauce in my to-go order, and they requested that I call my location so they could do something extra for me next time. I didn’t call, because they’re just so freaking nice.

The food is colorful, the employees are colorful, and the decor is colorful. And their motto is “Live Life Alive.” Is there a better match for my Life in Color?

“The Rebel” and a “Love Alive” Smoothie

“The Romantic”

“The Udon Miso Masterful”

I hope some of you will check out one of the three Life Alive locations if you haven’t already! What’s better than delicious, addictive, filling food? Oh, right. Food that’s good for your body and good for the planet.

Take that, sub shop around the corner.