Category Archives: Eco-Friendly

In the last month Justice has had a burst of growth with new skills.  Early on last month he cut tooth #8. He no longer does his army crawl, but does the typical baby crawl with a robotic flare to it. While he took a few steps on his own 12 days ago, he has not attempted it since. He has been using language, like saying and waving “hi” pretty reliably. Recently as we were listening to his babbles we realized that he is saying “O My God” and copying lots of sounds he hears. Now we have to be more careful what we say around him since is now our little mocking bird! He has also been eating so much more solid food.  Just 2 days ago he had his biggest solid meal ever! He now eagerly eats whatever we are eating for our meals.

One commitment that we have kept over the past 9+ months is cloth diapering our little man. It has been a family endeavor indeed. Dad is the one who cleans off the “solid” waste, I wash and dry the diapers, and sister periodically helps me stuff them. We have over 35 pocket diapers, more than enough for one baby! Ideally we do 2 loads of diaper laundry a week, washing half of his “stash” at a time. Although recently we have been stretching it, perhaps it has gone a bit too far…  Because of waiting too long to wash the most recent load of diapers, I had to do some extra washing to get the smell out of them. With most of his diapers cleaned all at once, this allowed me the opportunity to get a “stash” shot showing off his colorful “fluff.”  We decided to make a heart and put him in the middle of it.  This was no easy task as Justice is a fast mover, but we got it!!!

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Our little man was born in the summer and here it is Halloween already, my how fast time flies!?  When he was born Dad commented on how wise he looked.  And each time I change his clothes, as the arms go over his ears, I giggle as he reminds me of the famous Yoda.  To have fun with baby, I decided Yoda is the perfect character to dress him up as.

I was able to construct his costume completely from items on hand and repurposed, all I needed was to put it all together and somehow figure out the hat. With such a big noggin, the hat was the main challenge, but I eventually got it using a cut up green t-shirt. One last thing I needed was a staff for baby to hold (ie: chew) and a brown paper bag did the trick. I think the staff is his favorite part!  So there you have it, a handmade Yoda he is!

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First off, a belated Happy New Year to everyone!  The end of 2011 came with a mixed bundle of delights and challenges. Looking back on the year I accomplished everything I said I would, and more. I launched an updated look and website for I See Beauty, as well as being certified as an Eco-Friendly photographer forwarding my commitment to the betterment our children’s future.  I took a two month journey to Australia and New Zealand establishing some very deep friendships, creating life long memories, and capturing some amazing images. But the thing I accomplished in 2011 that is the most dear to my heart is that I became the foster mother of a very special 6 year old little girl.

The hurdles of mothering a child with a high level of special needs forced me to take a step back from my everyday life and business, to refocus my time and attention on stabilizing her.  I am happy to say that we are making progress, and in this very short period of time my daughter and I have come a long way.  The strides she has made is encouraging and I am hopeful for her continued success.

Now that it has been more than two months since motherhood came knocking at my door, I am working hard at achieving the balance so crucial with new mothers. How do I give my daughter the time and attention she so desperately needs, along with fulfilling my necessities, keeping the business I am so passionate about thriving, and finding a little break every now and then?  These questions are all on my mind daily.  I haven’t figured it all out yet, but I have been carving some much needed time out each week that is dedicated to I See Beauty.

With all that being said, I am excited for 2012 and where the unforeseen adventures will take me. The great news is I am back to photographing again after my unexpected break, so do not hesitate to contact me for pictures!

A special thanks to my friend Marcy for taking these beautiful images of us.

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Guest blogger, Kris Martin, is back to share another easy tip on going green!

Tip 2: Wave Goodbye to Paper Products

There are so many things that you can do to promote a more eco-friendly lifestyle.  You don’t have to make huge changes; you might not be in a position to buy a hybrid car right now, and your neighborhood might not be conducive to walking to work.  But there are lots of simple, everyday changes that collectively can make a big impact.

Do you use paper towels, paper plates, paper napkins, and plastic cups?  Stop!  Using real dishes and silverware, glasses, cloth napkins, and towels will save you money at the grocery store every month and prevent a lot of junk from filling up a landfill.  It may mean one extra load in the dishwasher or washing machine, but it really doesn’t take that much more time or energy.  Your table will look so much prettier when it’s set with real dishes, too.

Try toilet paper that’s made from recycled paper.  No, you don’t have to use washable, reusable toilet cloths.  That’s just crazy.

Kris Martin is the founder of consumer-car-reviews.com where they work to find the most up-to-date information on cars and trucks for people looking to buy a new or used vehicle. They share information on mileage, quality, and sustainability, offering readers advice on hybrid cars and car repairs to get the most possible life out of their vehicles

For more reviews, visit the Print My Logo on Hoodies website!

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I am happy to introduce guest blogger, Kris Martin, who will share a series of easy tips on going green, here is the first!

Tip 1: Eliminate Packaging

There are so many things that you can do to promote a more eco-friendly lifestyle.  You don’t have to make huge changes; you might not be in a position to buy a hybrid car right now, and your neighborhood might not be conducive to walking to work.  But there are lots of simple, everyday changes that collectively can make a big impact.

Almost everything you buy comes in an excessive amount of packaging.  Try to eliminate as much packaging as possible by providing your own reusable packaging.  When you do your grocery shopping, use reusable mesh bags to hold your produce instead of the disposable plastic ones at the store.

Bring glass jars and ask the butcher or deli counter worker to put your meat and cheese directly into your jars instead of wrapping them in plastic.  You can even get basics like flour, sugar, and coffee from bulk bins and pour them into canvas bags or plastic storage bins instead of single-use plastic sacks.

Kris Martin is the founder of consumer-car-reviews.com where they work to find the most up-to-date information on cars and trucks for people looking to buy a new or used vehicle. They share information on mileage, quality, and sustainability, offering readers advice on hybrid cars and car repairs to get the most possible life out of their vehicles.

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While I was up in the Bay of Islands in Northern New Zealand I had an unforgettable experience with a local beekeeper.  Earlier in my trip I heard about some incredible benefits of Active Manuka Honey produced from the nectar collected from New Zealand’s native Manuka bush.  So when I met Marcus at the Paihia farmers market in the Bay of Islands, selling his bio-dynamic Active Manuka Honey, I was eager to learn more.  I asked if I can join him on his typical day of beekeeping and he so generously accepted my request.

So 7:45 the next morning Marcus picked me up in his little white truck and we were off to see the bees. I must admit I was a bit scared at first, and eagerly put on the white suit he provided for me when we arrived at our destination.  The field where the hives were was surrounded by the newly blossoming Manuka bushes and the buzzing of happy bees was all around us. I was able to watch Marcus do his magic with the bees while he tended to his hives.

During our day together Marcus and I talked quite a bit about beekeeping, its ethics, and why Manuka Honey has so many medicinal qualities. He so gently cared for his bees and proved to be a true guardian (kaitiaki in Maori) to them.  He told me about how his healing honey has proven to be a treatment for wound infections and other sicknesses with its antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities.

I was eager to take home a few jars and have my friends and family try it too, and everyone is enjoying it tremendously! I tried several different honeys while in New Zealand and not only does Marcus have the good ethics and the research showing his is “Active” with healing qualities, but his hands down tasted the BEST.  I will be ordering directly from him in the future when mine runs out, but if you want your own jars of his super Honey, email him directly at: ayamarcus@clear.net.nz

If I was a honey bee, I would want to be buzzing around the beautiful Bay of Islands with Marcus as my keeper!

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This is first in a series of posts I will be doing throughout the year showing how I have “greened” my life and I See Beauty Photography, along with ideas on how you too can take small steps in reducing your personal carbon footprints. With the redesign of the I See Beauty website came the announcement that I am also an eco-friendly photographer.  The last two years I have spent shifting my business practices to be in alignment with my personal convictions of living a sustainable life.

As I was preparing for the dinner party I hosted the other night, I took a look at my kitchen and realized this small corner of my home is a good example of just a few of the steps I have taken towards a green lifestyle.  Here is a snap shot of my humble kitchen which exemplifies 9 ways that I have gone eco-friendly.

1) I use a faucet mounted Púr water filter for all my drinking water, preventing the unnecessary waste & expense of plastic bottles.

2) I have taken almost all of the plastic out of my kitchen and replaced it with glass, including for my water storage needs.  I love drinking out of glass bottles, it feels so fresh and clean, and not as heavy to carry around one may think.

3) All my cooking utensils are made from sustainable bamboo, and so are the utensil and napkin holders. My natural olive wood cutting board is not only beautiful, but is even more fun to chop on.

4) I found a set of 15 vintage napkins at a yard sale down in the Tower district a few years back which have replaced the wasteful paper version. They take up no extra room in my laundry and I feel good every time I use them.

5) I also purchased a set of organic Un-bleached “paperless towels” off of Etsy which I absolutely love. A guilt free way to do the usual jobs of a paper towel, and in the last year of using them I think they have paid for themselves.

6) The parsley I used in my meal was freshly picked from the organic community garden which we have here in Co-Housing. Having a small organic garden or even a few herbs growing on your window seal make all the difference in your family meals.

7) Fresh, local, organic produce like the asparagus I used for dinner is the best, but going to the farmers market or maintaining your own garden is not always convenient. Belonging to one of the 3 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs in the Fresno area is probably one of the best kept secrets. They are all year around, and two of them even come with home delivery!  If you do not live in the Fresno area, check out www.localharvest.org to find a CSA near you.

  • T & D Willey Farms is out of Madera is the most established CSA I know about in the area. You pick up the in-season produce once a week from a choice of several drop off locations.  Their boxes of produce is always fresh, and a surprise each week.  The unusual items come with recipes to inspire your inner cook.
  • Farmer and the Dale is out of Reedley, you choose what you want each week from their in-season produce and they deliver it right to your front door.
  • Whole Farms I just recently heard of from my neighbor who started using them last month.  They seem to be the most flexible with home delivery of your chosen produce available a couple of times each week.  In addition to produce, whole farms also has other organic products such as nuts, eggs, milk, honey and oils just to name a few.

8) Most of the plants in my home are succulents, they not only require very little water and maintenance but most of them are cuttings from my friend’s established plants.

9) Most of my cookware is stainless steel and my baking dishes are made from stoneware. Although I do have one non-stick pan that is the exception. I searched high and low for an eco-friendly and non-toxic pan to make sure my morning eggs don’t stick, and I found EcoPan as my solution. It has a ceramic non-stick surface free of the heavy metals and chemicals that plague most non-stick cookware surfaces.

Other things you do not necessarily see in the picture that make me eco-friendly in the kitchen is:  I am an avid recycler, have been a vegetarian for more than 5 years,  have solar panels to meet my electrical needs, use natural non-toxic cleaning supplies, only run the dishwasher when full, and on a daily basis use a smaller electric toaster oven to cook in rather than the large conventional oven which I find is a terrible waste of energy.

I hope this gives you a few ideas and inspires healthy change in your life.  If you have more ideas for me please let me know!  I am always growing and looking for new and improved ways of living green.

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On Saturday, August 14th, 2010 at 6 pm my best friend Lisa said her vow’s to her new husband Hassan.  It was two years ago that we created vision boards together, her’s was to find a husband and mine to be a mother.  In some strange way, both of these vision boards have culminated on her wedding day, since I have been a temporary mother of my two nieces.

Her husband is from Morocco and she had to wait more than a year after getting engaged to complete all the paperwork to get him into the U.S.  I recall her initial impatience last summer of the immigration process and promised her the day would come faster than she realized. I have kept my promise to her, as this last year has flew by.  She is now married and on her honeymoon as I type.

It was just this past July 4th that we first began planning this event, as we had been waiting for Hassan’s Visa to be approved before moving forward. So, the last five weeks we have been running around, planing and executing all the precious details of her very sweet and playful wedding day. I had the privilege of hosting the event at my home in Fresno Cohousing.  It was a colorful backdrop to an even more colorful wedding.  Every last attention to detail was carefully thought out and handmade either by the bride herself, or her group of supporting friends and family, as well as a few things purchased off of ETSY.

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Parasols were provided for the guests to shade themselves from the evening sun during the ceremony. Fresno Photographer Fresno Photographer Fresno Photographer

Star performed a sweet song honoring Lisa and Hassan.

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We made the most playful photo booth, compete with pinwheels, mustaches, hats, glasses, and lips on a stick for the guests to have fun with.  The resulting instant pictures were affixed to paper and accompanied by a note of well wishes to the couple, then hung  up for everyone to enjoy.  The pages are Lisa and Hassan’s guest book.  I already had an opportunity to look through the completed book and could not help but burst into laughter while looking through the pages. Fresno Photographer Fresno Photographer Fresno Photographer Fresno Photographer Fresno Photographer

The tables were decked out in the same sweet vintage fabric as the flags, with matching napkins and fresh organic herbs that the guests took home as their gift.

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After the yummy dinner the “sweet treats” bar came out for all to enjoy. Two tables filled with cupcakes, candy and ice cream galore.  We made our own banana splits, sundaes, root beer floats and took home bags of candy.  Even the music fit the vintage candy shop theme with songs like ‘sugar shack’, ‘sweet pea’, ‘how sweet it is to be loved by you’ and ‘lollipop’.  My two nieces were on a sugar rush all night. I figured it was a special day, so why not.

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Rather than cutting the cake, they served themselves an ice cream sundae.

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I have been playing the role of bride’s best friend, as well as wedding planner and hostess of the wedding, keeping me too busy to think.  I passed on being the photographer too, these images I captured are just for fun.

Lisa, I am so happy for you I tear up just looking at these images. I have watched a dream of yours become reality, and cannot wait for your new family to blossom and grow.  I love you from the bottom of my heart.

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It has been awhile since I have shared parts of my personal life on the blog.  It is not for a lack of having something to say, just simply the fact that I have been incredibly busy both personally and professionally. Today I would like to share a quick post on one of my favorite people, and best friend, Lisa.

She is the exemplification of love, integrity and true friendship.  We constantly laugh together and immensely enjoy one another’s company.  Our values, faith, and goals in life run parallel.  When I call upon her, she is always there for me, and she happily puts up with my endless antics.  We have supported one another through many trials and triumphs in our lives.  And did I mention how beautiful she is?  I could not ask for anything more in a best friend.

It is now Lisa’s time to celebrate as she has found her life partner and love in a man on the other side of the globe.  They magically found each other and are united in faith. With the anticipation of her soon to be union, comes a celebration to honor her womanhood with a bridal shower.

This past weekend I co-hosted Lisa’s shower with her beloved cousin, Veronica.  We made an effort to keep the shower green, using eco-friendly decor, organic food when possible, keeping paper products recycled and down to a minimum, and making sure the shower prizes and favors all had the environment in mind.  We had a delightful Sunday afternoon together and wish many blessings upon her marriage.

Congratulations once again Lisa, I look forward to sharing many more life celebrations together!

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