Sabrina Brooks Photography » Boston based portrait and newborn photography.

2 years ago, I posted about shopping with a conscience and linked to some great organizations that help the world with their business. You can see that here: Presents Under The Tree. Those companies still exist and are companies that I still highly recommend. I’ve even gone beyond Christmas and bought wedding and birthday presents from these companies.

My husband and I have become more aware of the world we want to see after 2016 has been one of division and brokenness. One of the ways that we want to show that we care about others is how we spend our money. That means buying from companies aware of their impact and also being more generous with the money we have. We are so blessed, we want to give back.

I would encourage you to check out the companies below (and Presents Under The Tree) to do some or all of your holiday shopping. Make a difference. When I shopped ethically/socially conscience a few years ago, it felt like a sacrifice. The product was not high quality and felt from another world; it didn’t fit into my “style” With how our culture is changing, ethical is no longer cheap quality and is up to speed on fashion.

It’s worth it. Enjoy it. Give it. Celebrate it.

Nisolo

Nisolo | Ethical Shoe Production

I had, HAD, to add these guys. I own a pair of their Ecuador Huarache in Bone and my husband owns a pair of Emilio Chukka Boot in Oak. We love them. My one suggestion: order the sandals a half to one size SMALLER than your feet. They are uncomfortably tight at first but the leather stretches and becomes so soft and molds to your foot. It’s worth it, promise.

“We believe in holistic development, which is why we offer skills training, health, nutrition, English, physical education, and even yoga classes to our employees and their families. We also offer regular financial literacy training, which has led to more than 95% of our producers being introduced to the formal banking sector for the first time in their lives.

We are deeply passionate about the long-term effects of our partnerships on the next generation. Whereas only 16% of our shoemakers were able to finish high school because they had to work to help provide for their families, 100% of our shoemakers’ children are in school, and 6 of them will soon be the first university graduates in their families. “

Starfish Project

Ethical Christmas Shopping Options

RESTORING HOPE TO WOMEN ESCAPING HUMAN TRAFFICKING & EXPLOITATION

“Starfish Project is an organization that cares for women escaping human trafficking and exploitation in Asia. We provide life-changing opportunities through our Holistic Care Programs and our innovative social enterprise where women create beautiful jewelry, but also become managers, accountants, graphic designers, and photographers.

Through our holistic care programs we provide each woman with vocational training, health care, shelter, counseling, as well as child education grants for women and children. Starfish Project has employed over 100 women and has served thousands through our Community Outreach Services.”

Mercado Global

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“Mercado Global empowers indigenous women to overcome poverty and become agents of change in their communities.

Traditional development efforts address the effects, not the causes, of cyclical poverty. Mercado Global is unique in its focus on change from the ground up: we provide education, tools, and access to international markets so that women can build their own businesses and invest in their own communities.

Our partner artisans have suffered discrimination, violence, and extreme poverty. Through an innovative dual approach that combines business partnerships with educational programs, Mercado Global helps these women connect to international sales opportunities on an unprecedented scale.

From one of the most marginalized populations in the world, our partner artisans are rising to become leaders in their communities and a source of change in global sourcing practices.”

Fait La Force

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“Rooted in simple beauty and a commitment to sustainable long term partnerships, Fait La Force partners with artisan makers + cooperatives, using natural materials and traditional techniques. We work in developing parts of the world and hope to put traditional craft in a new context while stimulating economic growth.

Our project in Haiti is based in a cooperative in Port-au-Prince and with artisan partners in the community. We are working to create jobs, skills + access to markets, while making beautiful things.”

GlobeIn

GlobeIn | Shopping with a Conscience

Like Birchbox, you can sign up for a monthly subscription of artisans products. Or buy ale cart. I’ve purchased a stuffed elephant from here for a niece and it was beautiful!

“We empower remarkable artisans in remote areas with the tools to build sustainable businesses. Providing connection and guidance, we help our partners feel stronger, more confident and in control of their lives through the expansion of their craft. As servant leaders, we improve the lives of our artisans so they can take great care of themselves, their families and their communities.”

I first met Caitlin in Santa Barbara, CA as I was only weeks away from moving to Boston. Caitlin was already living out East and since I was on my way, we were connected through a mutual friend. I remember following her on Instagram, thinking she was way too cool to ever be my friend. Good thing I was so wrong because she’s the best ever.

We quickly became close and over the last 4 years, we have gone through good times, bad times, rough patches in our friendship, break ups, engagements and shortly we will go through marriage together. Caitlin is one of those friends that you know deserves a great guy. Thankfully Zach is that guy. They even each other out, he shows her that she’s worth it, they build each other up and there is constant laughter and joy.

When it came to engagement photos, they wanted something very Boston. Urban engagement photos and filled with old school Boston buildings. What better than the Seaport district so there we went on one of the coldest days out but we were successful.

Love these two and am excited for their wedding this summer!

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Boston urban engagement photography Boston urban engagement photography

Boston urban engagement photography Boston urban engagement photography
Boston urban engagement photography Boston urban engagement photography Boston urban engagement photography Boston urban engagement photography

Growing up in mounds of snow….was not my favorite and was a large reason why I decided to pack up my car at 17 and attend college in California. For 10 years, I loved the lack of powder on the ground, rubbing it in people’s faces that I had my toes dug into the sand on the beach in January while they scraped ice off their car windows.

For a good solid few years, I believed myself to be against hiking. Only really half enjoying the beauty of Griffith Park or Runyon in LA, the epitome of Hollywood hiking.

Something changed once I moved to the East Coast and I started to appreciate the seasons. The changing in the air, the snow dropping in bucket loads, snow men, and snow ball fights and seeing the whole city come alive in the Spring. Then came hiking in the snow and standing in awe of the beauty with friends, laughing and jumping into deep conversations. I’ve changed in these last 2 1/2 years here and this small change, I love the most.

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I really can’t tell you the moment that I fell in love with hiking or even enjoying nature really but it grew on me. It once was my last choice to spend a full day of my weekend hiking around in snow. No longer is this the case and I welcomed being invited to take a drive out to New Hampshire with Paul to hike through what I now call “winter wonderland.”

There was a moment on our hike that we stopped, stood and took in the silence. Sometimes the snow would trickle down off a branch and that moment felt life giving. To be surrounded by silence, disconnected from stress and anxiety, business and social media. I will forever remember this hike and this day.

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And a couple off the good ol’ iphone…

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PhotoDec20-2