I had some fun experimenting with some negatives I just got back today. This roll has been sitting around for a while. Especially since that last photo is from the Octopus Project concert that we saw last July. I love some of the scratchy texture that showed up in these. 


Out of Place.

Andrew and I got the chance to see the documentary Out of Place over the weekend. Our Saturday morning coffee and bagels were interrupted by the announcement that it would be playing at the Cedar Lee within the hour and since we were already in the area without much to do we decided to go and I'm really glad we did. It's a fantastic little window into the lives of unique locals making the best of what we have. 

The photo below is one I snapped a couple of years ago of one of the surfers. It was one of the first "warm" (I was still wearing multiple layers and a winter hat) days in the month before spring and some friends and I had gone to Edgewater Park to have a cookout and fly kites. It was incredibly windy at the lake and we were surprised by a sudden downpour. But throughout that the surfers kept surfing. It was the first time I had seen them at the beach and it was pretty incredible. 

I don't like to hear people say bad things about the city I live in. Especially because I know that it has so much to offer if you take the time to find it. Because who would have ever thought that you could find surfers in Cleveland. 


Weekend snapshots.

We had a very busy weekend which involved a lot of fun. I only captured a few snapshots from it with the exception of the photos I took with my Holga that are still undeveloped. We saw a great documentary (more on that to come). Andrew finished his bike (well, enough for us to go for a ride). We ate lot of excellent local Cleveland food with friends. I got around to planting more of the succulents from my dad. Partied in Cleveland Heights under an incredible sunset. Heard a great message at NEOchurch. Went sailing on my dad's new boat. And Andrew had two back to back soccer games during which I found a cat friend to curl up on my lap for a while. 

On a side note, please go to StandardVariety.com and vote for my T-shirt design! It's only in the sketch phase right now, but if I win I promise it will be fantastic!


Do you take sugar with your tea?

My dad went to some sort of a garden expo in Columbus recently and brought back some pretty awesome plants for me. Many of which are some new hybrid succulents. I found a great little teacup at the thrift store the other day and decided I'd use it as a planter for one of my new plants. Andrew decided to taste it.


Making a difference...even if it's small.

I try to make environmentally and physically healthy choices for our lifestyle. I think it is important to be conscious of how the products we purchase, use and throw away effect the environment and our bodies. For instance, it's easy to believe that toothpaste is good for you because it cleans your teeth. However, many toothpastes have unnecessary chemicals in them that are neither good for you or the environment. Not only are you ingesting small amounts of that toothpaste every day, but it's going down your sink, into the water system, into the environment, and eventually, the whole plastic tube ends up in the landfill. I'm not saying that your toothpaste is going to kill you, but it can contribute to some of many unnecessary, unhealthy chemicals that end up in your body every day.

Not too long ago our good friends Ryan and Lindsay stayed with us for a weekend and Lindsay suggested that I blog about some of the products that we use. I've since compiled some groupings of products that we use on an almost daily basis that I felt were good to share. We shop primarily at Whole Foods, Target, and Giant Eagle stores. 

Cleanliness and Beauty:
(In clockwise order starting from the top left)

1. Avalon Organics - Grapefruit & Geranium Shampoo. This is one of the cheaper brands of organic shampoos that we've found. It does the job and has a simple fragrance that is pretty refreshing in the morning. We used to use Whole Foods 365 brand, but it seemed like we had to use far too much of it to get our hair clean.

2. 365 Everyday Value - Conditioner, Fragrance Free. First of all, I'd like to say that one thing I love about organic cosmetics is the opportunity to get things "fragrance free", because I never really want to smell "powder fresh" or "strawberry sun kissed". Bleh. Secondly, this conditioner (unlike it's shampoo counterpart) takes care of my hair and leaves it feeling healthy. It comes in a huge size that costs less than most conditioners I've used in the past.

3. Everyday Minerals - Intensive Fair Concealer. All of the makeup that I use I purchase from Everyday Minerals. Their products are organic, vegan, and eco friendly. I don't use a whole lot of makeup and I haven't tried a whole lot of makeup in the past, but I can say that this company makes a great product at a very affordable price. As far as I know, their products are only available online, but they make it easy to get to know their products by offering sample sizes at $2.50 each or sample kits at $5. And trust me, the samples go a long way. 

4. Burt's Bees - Royal Jelly Eye Creme, Beeswax Lip Balm, Deep Cleansing Cream, and Toner. I think Burt's Bees is a fantastic company. They've been around producing natural products for as long as I can remember. I feel good when I use their products, not only because I know they're safe and healthy, but they also have a refreshing feel. There are very few Burt's Bees products that I don't particularly like, mostly due to fragrance or color. These products are more easily found in stores than some of the other items we use. The one con to Burt's Bees is that they're a little pricer than I'd normally like, but I think the quality makes them worth it. 

5. Tom's of Maine - Original Unscented Deodorant and Whole Care Toothpaste. This is the first deodorant I've ever used that seems to really do it's job. Another plus for the ladies is that it doesn't irritate shaved underarms like some regular brands do. I think Tom's toothpaste is great, Andrew however still fights me on this and uses Crest. I believe he says it's the texture that bothers him. I vaguely remember thinking the texture was a little odd when I first started using it, but I'm completely used to it now. 

6. Preserve - Toothbrush. These toothbrushes are made from 100% BPA free recycled plastic. Their motto is "Powered by recycled Yogurt Cups" because, well, that's where most of their plastic comes from. If you frequent Whole Foods, you might have seen a Preserve recycling station on your way out of the store. The toothbrush is what launched Preserve, but they've since moved into many other recycled products. My #1 favorite thing about these toothbrushes is that they come in a postage paid mailer to send them back to the factory to be recycled again. Even lazy people can recycle!

Around the House:
(In clockwise order starting from the top left)

1. Ikea - Nackten Shower Curtain. Before Andrew and I were married I did a lot of research on household furniture to figure out what were some the the most sustainable, toxin-free, and affordable options available. Time and time again I came across articles about Ikea's eco friendly strategy. On top of that, I learned that Ikea has harsher health and safety regulations on their products which means they're produced with a lot of non-toxic materials, unlike most american companies. To make an even longer story short, I came to find out that some of Ikea's shower curtains are made from PEVA, which is a chlorine-free alternative to PVC. What I didn't know prior to that article is that your typical PVC shower curtain will leech chlorine into the water as well as the moisture in the air when it heats up. Overall, not good. The end of this story is a happy one, the Ikea Nackten shower curtains are only $1.99. 

2. Feline Pine - Cat litter. A couple of years ago I adopted a kitten from a shelter. After several vet visits and a little research of my own I learned that the kitten was suffering from several side effects of clay clumping litter. One of these side effects was what appeared to be just a cold. The truth was that the dust from the clumping litter was building up in it's nasal passages and lungs causing sneezing, discharge and wheezing. The other side effect was a rock hard clay blockage in the kitten's intestines which built up every time he licked his paws clean after using the litter box. He stopped eating and going to the bathroom. When I found the information on this online I was shocked. There were so many accounts of kittens dying from these same problems that I couldn't believe it was still being sold. It's not just kittens that are effected either. Older cats can have the same problems although they are not as common because of their size. Humans too can have respiratory problems from clumping clay litter. If you're a cat owner that uses clumping clay litter I highly suggest looking up information on it. Did I mention that clay litter also just becomes a hard rock in landfills and never decomposes? Yeah. Feline Pine is a wonderful alternative. It's all natural, and has the air freshening qualities of pine. It's easy to clean up, and flushable! I'd never go back to regular litter again. 

3. Green Genius - Biodegradable Plastic Garbage Bags. They cost the same and work the same as regular trash bags. Give me one good reason not to switch over to a biodegradable trash bag. These aren't the only brand available, but they are the only brand we've used. 

4. Seventh Generation - Free & Clear Dish Liquid, Laundry Detergent and Dishwashing Liquid (not pictured). Seventh Generation products are available at almost any store you'd go to buy such items. As mentioned before, they carry fragrance free products which are great, especially for Andrew who has allergies that are bothered by smelly laundry detergents. I've never had a complaint about these products. Seventh Generation also puts out a good newsletter about keeping a healthy and eco friendly home. 

5. J.R. Watkins - All Purpose Cleaner. I'd be lying if I didn't say that it was the packaging that got me to check out this cleaner. Aside from that, it's an all natural, safe cleaner that works wonders. A little goes a long way with this stuff which I've never been able to say about a cleaner before...especially when I'm working on cleaning the stove top. 

6. Twist - Biodegradable Loofah Kitchen Sponges. Take your regular kitchen sponge, one side squishy, the other side scratchy plastic. Now replace that sponge with something that works exactly the same and is made from 100% biodegradable materials. Again, give me a reason not to switch over to this product. At first I was afraid that the loofah part of it would break down fast, or not work as well as the typical plastic sponge, but really, I think it's actually better and lasts longer. 

If you want to learn more about the products that you use at home, or these products listed above, I highly recommend checking out these two sites. You can search for products and get a rating on them that's based on different factors like sustainability and toxicity.

("But you don't have to take my word for it...")


Work and play.

Just a bit of what I am doing today. 


Handmade Promenade.

I just finished up the logo for Handmade Promenade this week. It's always nice to work on smaller, fun projects like this.


I'm not sure that a more summery album exists.

The Tree Circus.

I recently came across an image of Axel Erlandson standing next to an amazing shaped tree. I did a little searching and found out that Erlandson created what was once known as The Tree Circus in Scotts Valley, California. Unfortunately, The Tree Circus went into disrepair after Erlandson's death and multiple owners. Some trees still exist at Gilroy Gardens in California. Before the Tree Circus was dismantled and destroyed, Mark Primack took the time to photograph and record the specimens. You can view his website here. I found some pictures from when the Tree Circus was featured in Life magazine, but there was no accompanying article. 


The bug that followed me home.

This little guy was hanging on under my driver's side mirror the whole way home from work. Twenty minutes. And before I realized it was on there, I was doing 70 on the highway. After that, I quickly slowed down to a more reasonable speed so that it wouldn't fall off. I was impressed. 


California and it's seemingly perfect weather.

Tonight I'm missing it. I would love to be back on the beach in Carlsbad right now.

It's hard to believe that it's been almost a year. 


I am in need of a sun hat.

Perhaps I can borrow this one from Mr. Murray.



80 sparkler candles on her cake and more to follow. 


Hoping for an easygoing weekend.

One of my favorite paintings by Monet. I wish I could spend some time relaxing there.

There are a lot of things I'm looking forward to this weekend. Tonight we celebrate my grandma's 80th birthday with my dad's family. Our friend Martha will be in town for Bizarre Bazaar which is happening in conjunction with the Larchmere Festival and Flea Market. All of which is located just a couple of blocks from our house. After a few weeks of work, our tandem bike has freshly painted yellow fenders, rust free bits and pieces, new head light and tail light, and snazzy white walls. Just a few tweaks to the breaks and we should be able to take it for a ride tomorrow morning. To top it off, it's 4th of July weekend and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing fireworks in the streets of Little Italy.