Monday, July 28

haters gonna hate. downtown raleigh photographer.

 


There is nothing like a Saturday morning when you finally feel like you can sleep in.  However, when your husband has been up for at least an hour and a half, has had several cups of coffee and you peek one eye open and he is staring right at you while you are trying to sleep it disrupts your idea of sleeping in anymore.  Staring at me is his way of 'nicely' waking me up because he is bored and wants to go do something.  yes at 7am on a saturday.

Joe knows I'm always on the hunt for new places to photograph clients.  So in the wee hours while he was awake he searched for urban spots in downtown Raleigh.  So on an empty stomach, I got dressed, grabbed a cup of coffee to go and to downtown Raleigh we went.  We walked around for at least an hour until Joe we decided it was time for breakfast.  Joe's comment, well aren't we the hipsters walkin' around downtown Raleigh early on a Saturday morning heading to a hippie breakfast spot.  yep.

Monday, July 21

summer goodness straight from the branch

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

Millstone Creek Orchard

It was a cool overcast 68 degree morning in mid-July.  The humidity had strangely disappeared the last few days, but really there was no complaining here.  We decided it was the perfect day to make the hour trek west through farm country to the orchard to pick peaches.  We were the first car to arrive and waited for the rope to come down to 'open'.  Once we were in we were informed that hayrides were free out to the peach orchards.  I was hesitant as allergies are not my friend to the ole hay, but with a little convincing from Joe we hopped on since the peach orchards were quite a walk.  There were a whopping 7 of us on this tractor hayride to take us to those glorious sun ripened peaches just waiting to be picked straight from the branch.  This was the first day of opening so you could imagine the peaches were in quite the numbers.  We spent an hour wandering and soaking in the peach orchard that was coupled with magnificent weather.  especially for july or any summer day for that matter.

During the tractor ride back we decided that since we were here we may as well pick grapes.  We headed back to the barn to get our grape picking instructions along with a seedless grape sample that confirmed our decision to go to the grape vineyards.  While we were getting our instructions we asked how we knew the grapes were ripe and they told us to just taste one.  The first one Joe tried was definitely not ripe and spit it out rather quickly as it was a Concord grape that still had another month of ripening.  We continued to wander and finally found those sweet little seedless grapes and snipped a few bunches to take home with us.  These were THE BEST grapes I have ever tasted.

We checked out with a little less than a half bushel of peaches (~17lbs), 2.5lbs of grapes and two honey sticks to go.  Those peaches will be canned for the out of season months to make endless peach cobblers.  Can't blame us for that, right?

You can find more posts here: Amanda English Photography

Friday, July 18

officially called crazy


This process can be and is completely overwhelming.  Realizing that you have about 8 kazillion toxic chemicals in your home.  Either they are going down the hatch or you are smearing it all over your body or breathing it in.  Whatever it may be, it's quite terrifying.  Knowledge is power right?

So.... it all began a few years ago attending a Green Cleaning Party.  A friend taught us how horrible 'normal' cleaning products were and that they were very toxic.  We learned how to make a few key cleaning products with safe non-toxic ingredients.  Recently I became more aware of personal care products and makeup toxicity.  Holy moly did I freak out...  Plus a little more healthy organic options never hurt anyone anyways right?  First step.  Prove to your husband you are not crazy.  mmmm okay slightly crazy is okay.

Safe house cleaning products
Homemade cleaning ingredients typically include white vinegar, baking soda, castile liquid soap, pure essential oils, club soda, olive oil, etc.  Curious about my recipes you can find them in this book: Clean House Clean Planet.  A few things I purchase like hand soap, laundry detergent and dish soap by brands such as 7th Generation, Honest Company and Mrs. Meyers.  Just changing those products alone from chemical based to natural safer ingredients made a huge difference for me in cleaning.  I felt like I wasn't poisoning our little family including our four legged animals and then I also didn't mind cleaning as much.

Safe personal care products
I started thinking about my personal care products and looked up some of my daily products I used on EWG Skin Deep and the Good Guide.  (note: some products have limited information or none so you will have to look up ingredients)  Insert terrified look.  I either threw them in the trash or returned the unopened items, almost $400 worth of items that were from either Ulta, Sephora or Target that were in boxes including makeup, face wash, face lotion, shampoo, conditioners, deodorants, sunscreens (spray that the hubs used), toothpaste, etc.  This is when Joe really thought I was crazy and going off the deep end.  I mean he thought I was crazy for making my own cleaning products at the start.  There are still a few items we will finish using until the end to find alternatives (for example, eye drops, eye contact solution, nail polish, nail polish remover, etc). OH and candles...  UGH!  I returned all of them, except the two that were partially burned.  Now I'm on the hunt for non-toxic candles which appears to be 100% bees wax.

Here are a few personal care items I started out with:
-Nature's Gate toothpaste
-Nubian soap in lavender and shea butter
-Acure shampoo + conditioner
-Acure facewash + toner + day and night face cream + eye care + mask
-Organic un-refined virgin coconut oil
     -face scrub - 50/50 - un-refined virgin coconut oil + brown sugar
     -hair masks - 100 - un-refined virgin coconut oil - leave in for 30+ minutes and wash / condition as usual
     -deodorant
           -hard stick - un-refined virgin coconut oil + corn starch + pure baking soda + beeswax (recipe)
           -soft (jar) - 3 tbs un-refined virgin coconut oil + 2 tbs corn starch + 2 tbs pure baking soda
-100% pure tea tree oil - zap those unwanted zits

Safe makeup
As far as makeup goes, the majority of it went in the trash.  Sad, but true.  Either it was ancient and I didn't use it or I realized that it was highly toxic.  Causing cancer!?!  High in metals!?!?  Toxic stuff that goes into your blood stream!?!?!?  AHH!  Near the end of the process I was left with nearly no makeup. crap!  Plus I had decided I was wearing way to much makeup anyways and I feel more free with less.  So as of right now this is what I am using.

Here are a few makeup items I started out with to try:
-Alima Pure Foundation
-Alima Pure Powder
-Alima Pure Concealer
-Alima Pure Blush
-Alima Pure Bronzer
-Honeybee Garden's Truly Organic Mascara

Casual barely there makeup for a more dewy natural look:
-Juice Beauty CC cream - this is very, very sheer - not for you if you are looking for coverage, but does give you a nice glowy look.  PLUS it has 12 benefits to increasing the beautify of your natural skin!
-Juice Beauty Powder

I kept the Tarte Amazonian MATTEnificent Clay palette.  It seems to be fairly clean and I wasn't able to return it.

So in the end...
I will say that just because an item says organic or natural doesn't mean it is completely clean and low in toxins.  I've purchased items at Whole Foods thinking it was 'clean' and realized that it wasn't so I had to return them.  Lesson learned there.  So make sure you look products up before you purchase them.

Curious on how your products rank? Check out EWG Skin Deep and the Good Guide to find out what was in your products.  They even have aps for your phone.

Tuesday, July 8

to the lake we will go












For the 4th of July we headed up to Lake Gaston for a few days to spend with some close friends.  With a hurricane Andrew just off the shore of North Carolina, questionable weather was looming ahead and we did not know what to expect while we were there for those two short days.  Fortunately for us the hurricane stayed just off the coast and we were able to enjoy two beautiful days.

The first morning Joe and both woke up at 4:38am.  Joe moved, I moved and I said are you awake.  YEP.  Do you want to get up?  YEP.  So we got up, brewed some coffee watched a short half hour of television and headed out to the dock to watch the sunrise over the trees.  While we sat there and waited big blue herrings, or pterodactyl's as we called them flew right over us and later a family of ducks corralled around us waiting for a handout.

Overall we had lots of food, good sun and a relaxing time with our friends.

Happy Birthday United States of America!

Wednesday, July 2

surrender


Sometimes I find myself wandering in the weeds of this wasteland.  We'll just say that I've struggled with a lot this year.  A tug of wore on my heart that always seems to feel heavy with all kinds of rips and tears in it.  This past weekend I was reminded that He has a plan, He loves us and we have to surrender to His design.  a daily reminder.  As I was driving alone in the car, the song multiplied came on (music here).  It was the first time I had heard it and tears immediately started streaming down my face.  It is hard to be patient and try to push for your own plan, but reminding myself that it's God's plan.  it all is.  every second of it.  and i needed to surrender it to Him.  not some of it, all of it.

Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."