Well hello there! Wondering who is behind this amazeballs website, huh? I can't blame you. ;)
My name is Tara, and those handsome fellas are my husband, Justin, and our son. I'm a life coach and natural wellness advocate, and this site is my baby. I started Sustainable Baby Steps in 2009 to share my passion, our lifestyle, and some inspiration to help others live greener...while creating a life worth sustaining. Because what's the point of being eco-friendly if you hate your life? That shizz can't be sustained.
We currently live in NW Florida, where we settled down after our eco-traveling. I am the one who does almost all of the writing here (hence why some areas are still lacking!) and I'm almost as crunchy as they come. I'm pretty sure I learned it from my mother; she had a compost pile and used cloth grocery bags before it was hip. (I still have the same canvas bags she bought back in the 80’s!) She was my role model for simple and frugal living, mostly out of necessity.
My first independent steps into a natural lifestyle began when I became a massage therapist at 19. I worked in the healing arts for many years, soaking up all I could about natural health and wellness. Basically, it confirmed my upbringing and my intuition about nature and health: We can work with it or against it, but it's all connected.
When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. - John Muir
Learning about our bodies and natural healing led me and our family of three to learn about organic foods, the harmful nature of chemicals, natural alternatives, essential oils, GMOs, non-toxic cleaning, and much more. I was living green by default, although health and wellness were my primary objectives. It wasn't until I learned about the tiny footprint of "urban homesteading" that I really dove head-first into living "beyond green" and dedicated myself to doing all I could for the planet.
At the time, we lived in Las Vegas, NV, and we went all out. We converted our front and back yard to an edible landscape, cut our energy usage by 75%, started learning to make everything conceivable from scratch, and yes, even switched to cloth toilet paper. Go big or go home, right? All of our sustainable actions have not only saved us money, but actually become our full-time business, and brought us closer together.
The Hidden Benefits of Sustainable Living
A funny thing happened when we committed ourselves fully to a sustainable lifestyle: The world opened up! We met the most amazing people, learned the most amazing things, saved moolah on things we thought were too expensive, and reconnected in ways we never imagined; not only to our surroundings, but to our food, our bodies and spirits, our ideas on life, and our loved ones.
This lifestyle has a way of changing people, making them question and examine their lives and beliefs and focus on what truly matters. And that's certainly what it did for us.
We lived in Las Vegas, NV all our lives (about as unsustainable a city as they come) but were constantly craving a community that fits our ideals and so we made a radical change. As my husband was facing a layoff, we decided to get rid of our 2000 sq ft home and all the stuff in it, and downsize to a 200 sq ft RV that we converted to run on solar power and waste vegetable oil. Hard to get a smaller footprint than that!
After traveling for 4 years, we stopped in NW Florida for the winter and fell in love with the snow-white beaches and the beautiful Gulf waters. We took the plunge back into home ownership and are wrapping our heads around what comes next and what to do with our RV (because I'm not ready to give it up yet), while building community on the Emerald Coast. We're loving finding naturally-minded folks, and picking organic blueberries from an nearby farm in Baker. We hope to begin a container garden soon, and maybe one day we'll even have backyard chickens again! But we're also hoping to expand our travel world-wide and explore more of this gorgeous planet, so maybe we need a yard share instead!
In addition to the work I do on this site, you can also find me at my full-time gig Organic Home Health, where I teach about essential oils, as well as my heart and soul work, TheOrganicSister.com, where I apply the principles of green living to our emotional and spiritual lives as well. (If you're curious about all our tele-commuting, sustainably-minded, work-from-home ventures, click here.)
Feel free to reach out and connect with me with any questions, feedback, articles requests, or just to say hello!
On this shrunken globe, men can no longer live as strangers. - Adlai E. Stevenson