Two Bits

Each Friday we share some tidbits from our week.  We want to break down these internet barriers and invite you into our lives and we’re hoping you’ll do the same.  You are welcome to share a bit of your week or day in the comments, or if they’re better represented by a photo, tag us on instagram @liveseasoned

Sarah Here :

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It’s so lovely to be home when the leaves are changing.  Autumn is a season I can’t stand to miss.  This week I drank almost two gallons of local cider, took the pup for a few hikes, and edited photos from Nepal for at least twenty-five hours.  Usually it’s equal parts amazing and agonizing to edit travel photos, but this time there’s a bit of inspiration in the mix.  I’m finally pursuing my goal of being a travel writer and while I won’t say too much more right now, I’ll keep you updated on that front.

I also came up with a Halloween costume yesterday, which means I’m scurrying around trying to put it together on the cheap.  Each year, Chapel Hill has a huge party on Franklin Street, an amazing people watching (and meeting) event to celebrate the holiday.  Check our Instagram on Saturday to see the result of my last minute decision 🙂

Katie has been busy keeping this blog afloat while I was trekking and traveling home so I’m sure her bits reads something like this, “Naps, naps, nappity naps since that stinkin’ Sarah is finally home to help with our labor of love.”

Happy Halloween my friends – be safe out there!

Katie Here :

ugg! Today’s been quite a day so far, and I’m running on too little sleep…. but – I’m SO HAPPY SARAH’S BACK! Can’t wait to give her a big squeeze in person!

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Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin is our ingredient of the season. If you like this pumpkin chili, you might want to check out our stew and curry too!

Pumpkin Chili! In our house, chili was one of the first dinners that we learned to make. Our mom had a really simple, kid-friendly recipe (ground beef, canned beans and tomatoes, chili spice packet). Side note : can’t wait to teach Alex to make that one; look for that as a Cooking with Kids post in a couple of years. I was always really psyched to for chili night, but as I’ve grown, so have my tastes. Now I love a chili packed with fresh veggies, and fortunately for me, this chili has not one, but two types of pumpkin. Victory!

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I used two types of pumpkin because they each do something different for the dish. The fresh pumpkin holds its texture well when cooked, making it another vegetable that easy to identify in this chunky chili, while the pureed pumpkin adds a creamy texture to the chili liquid.

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Travel Novels That Reveal Harsh Truths

While traveling, I’m always reading one, or more likely five, books at a time.  I read the following three books one after another while traveling throughout southeast Asia and while I admittedly felt extremely bummed out afterwards, I’m pleased I did.  These three works are all largely based on true stories making them all the more powerful.  Each novel features younger characters that reveal harsh realities of those living in developing countries.  If you haven’t had the chance to travel, read these novels and venture far and wide from your couch.  You won’t be sorry you did although you’ll probably be more sympathetic to those across the ocean.

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When the Elephants Dance is equal parts misery and magic, written by Urize Holthe, a Filipina-American writer from San Francisco, the novel is inspired by actual experiences of her father who was a young boy in the Philippines during World War II. When the Elephants Dance begins during the final week of the Japanese-American battle for possession of the Philippines.  Told by three distinct narrators, the novel recounts supernatural tales based on indigenous Filipino mythology and Spanish-influenced legends as told by an extended family hiding in a cellar during the last week of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines.  Alternating between the gruesome realities of rape, starvation, and torture brought on by the war, When the Elephants Dance is a multi-layered view of the history and culture of a war-torn nation.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo won a national book award for nonfiction.  This novel is based on three years of reporting in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport.  No matter how different you may seem from the characters in this novel, you’ll be rooting for them from page one.  This is a story of personal tragedy set within a city’s larger global recession that results in suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy.  As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed and one realizes the fragility of human life. 

In the Sea There Are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda is the story of a ten year old boy who is left to travel from Afghanistan to Italy on his own.  This story seems especially pertinent at a time when masses are scrambling across borders to safer havens.  Travel with ten-year-old Enaiatollah over the course of five years as he treks across mountains, rides in suffocatingly small spaces, and faces violent seas in an inflatable raft.  While Enaiat eventually reaches safety, the same is not true for his traveling companions.  If you’ve ever needed to harbor compassion for illegal immigrants read this novel.

While this certainly isn’t the most uplifting post, it’s way up there as one of the most important.  Sometimes it’s easy to feel removed from our planet’s social tragedies, but these three novels close the gap between privilege and misfortune.  Whenever I’m having a bad day, I like to remind myself of all my first-world problems, it helps me to feel ridiculous and grateful at the same time.

The image of me reading was taken by the truly talented Saleem Ahmed.

 

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Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin is our ingredient of the season. Today’s recipe is great for using up those last bits of pumpkin (just like this face mask potion!) when other recipes call for less than a full can.

We’re officially halfway through the fall season here on the blog, so it’s about time that we started crafting our own pumpkin spice lattes! Of course, in order to write this post, I had to do a little bit of research last week, stopping at Starbucks to taste the original before experimenting at home. Such. hard. work.

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The PSL syrup recipe I used is directly from A Beautiful Mess (hi there, we <3 you!). I just modified it slightly by halving all ingredients and upping the ratio of brown to granulated sugar. I made half a batch because I was worried about having more than I could finish, but fortunately, these are so good that I’ll have no trouble finishing the jar.

**Our dear friend Nicole provides a low-sugar version in the comments. Check it out!

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Eight Fall Fair Trade Favorites

Every so often we highlight brands and products we love. Did you catch Katie’s fall favorites from last year? Here are my fall favorites from 2014 too.

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Happy Monday! I knew when I came back from Nepal that it would feel like autumn, but brrrr there is a chill in the air that I didn’t fully expect.  While I’ll probably just shop around in my existing closet to stay warm this season, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of the stylish fair trade options on the market right now.  Check out these shops for some threads you can feel great about buying.  The prices might surprise you too!  For instance, the zip up hoodie is only $40, the same price as its American Apparel counterpart and those sweet moccasin boots? Only $40 as well. I’m sooo tempted to pick up a pair, but I’m trying not to spend any extra money until February! Quite a goal, I know, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here are the details on all these lovely fall frocks:

One – The Root Collective is simply a heartfelt company.  I love these flats and although they are way out of my price range, I can admire the goal of the company and respect the price tag for what it represents.  The Root Collective partners with small-scale artisan businesses to handcraft vibrant ballet flats. The Root Collective strives to create a kinder world, and they are passionate about spreading the word about the positive impact that companies can have in the world.

Two – Eileen Fisher produces large lines of clothing all aimed at changing the way the world buys clothing.  Their three aims? Supporting women through social initiatives that address their wellbeing, practicing business responsibly with absolute regard for human rights, and guiding their product and practice toward sustaining the environment.  Who can argue with that?

Three – I’ve always had a thing for Good Society. Originally founded in America in 2007, with headquarters in Germany and an office in Italy, Good Society combines fashion and sustainable lifestyle. Good Society strongly believes in fair incomes for workers and they don’t use pesticide-intensive or genetically-modified cotton crops, only 100% organic cotton for their denim.

Four – This company is near and dear to my heart. Why? Because elegant tees and dresses are designed in NYC and sewn by women freed from sex trafficking in Nepal. Elegantees creates a positive source of income that reinforces independence, a healthy self-image, and confidence. I love how casual and cute this dress is and their other designs are just as basic and beautiful.

Five – These comfy looking zip ups (and everything else they produce) are 100% cotton.  Pact is a certified B Corp that goes to great lengths to make sure their entire supply chain, from the growing and harvesting of the organic cotton to the final sewing of the garment is as clean and responsible as possible.

Six – For how often I practice yoga, I only have one pair of yoga leggings!  My sister actually lent me a few pairs for my recent yoga teacher training in Nepal.  Ridiculous I know, but anyhow, if I had some extra dough, I would purchase these Good Cloth leggings. Good Cloth is outspoken about the lack of understanding in the fashion marketplace about the people that make our clothing and what conditions these workers may face. Good Cloth offers customers a space where they can purchase clothing and accessories that are produced in a way that is kind to workers and the planet.

Seven – I love the simple elegance of this dress. Shift to Nature sources the best of eco friendly brands and they do a damn good job of it.  Their products are made from certified organic cotton, hemp, bamboo and other sustainable textiles and that are also made through sustainable and ethical fair work production and business practices. Shift to Nature is a stock pile of basics in luxury organic cotton leggings, t-shirts, dresses, and active wear.

Eight – I am in deep, deep love with these moccasins and I know I’ll be thinking about them all fall, but I’m at the point where I can be happy something exists and that someone else can buy it – you should be that someone and then you should dance around in my living room so I can enjoy these beauties, but I digress.. Oliberté is the world’s first Fair Trade Certified footwear manufacturing factory. They make every single pair of Oliberté shoes at their factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Does it make you feel all warm and tingly inside to to know there are companies out there with big hearts?  Even if I’m not a place in my life where I can support them right now, I feel inspired knowing someday I may through my work or my wallet. Shop responsibly friends. XO

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Two Bits

Each Friday we share some tidbits from our week.  We want to break down these internet barriers and invite you into our lives and we’re hoping you’ll do the same.  You are welcome to share a bit of your week or day in the comments, or if they’re better represented by a photo, tag us on instagram @liveseasoned

 

Sarah here :

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I’m back! Well, almost. I’m sitting in the Qatar airport waiting for my flight to JFK to take off.  I’ve been traveling by bus, taxi and plane for 24+ hours by now and I still have at least 24 more to go!  Channel the travel gods for me and make this a smooth and speedy return. Until I’m sitting on my couch with Catahoula Cash, I’m certain to be looking out the window missing all the beautiful friends and teachers I’ve met during this trip.  Each time I travel it’s hard to say goodbye, but I’m officially deeming this the most heartbroken I’ve ever been while waiting at an airport.  Sometimes you meet some really special people when you least expect it and saying c-ya later to them can really break you down.  As I move further and further away from Nepal, I can feel the distance widening from my friends in Nepal, but….

Katie here :

And that’s where Sarah’s internet failed her. We’ll just have to fill in the rest of that sentence for her. I’m assuming that it goes something like this:

“As I move further and further away from Nepal, I can feel the distance widening from my friends in Nepal, but the distance to my family, especially my two uber-cute nephews, is shortening, and that feels so good.”

or

“As I move further and further away from Nepal, I can feel the distance widening from my friends in Nepal, but did you know that Nepal spelled backwards is Lapen?”

or

“As I move further and further away from Nepal, I can feel the distance widening from my friends in Nepal, but who needs friends when a PSL is waiting, you know?”

or

“As I move further and further away from Nepal, I can feel the distance widening from my friends in Nepal, but now they’re #internetpenpalsforlife.

Who knows, but I’m sure she’s glad she wasn’t able to finish her two bits! 😉

In other news, the boys and I are going to spend this weekend getting halloween costumes ready, making our own homemade PSLs, and hopefully spending a good bit of time outside. What are your plans?

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Pumpkin Curry

Pumpkin is our ingredient of the season. We’re a big fan of pumpkin desserts (cookies, and popsicles, anyone?), but we’re not opposed to drinking our pumpkin or putting it on our face! Oh, and if you like the idea of a pumpkin soup, but don’t want the spice of a curry, check out this stew!

I’m trying to figure out how to introduce this pumpkin curry. Here are my options : 1. it’s so easy to make! 2. it’s delicious; everyone, including little Luc and Alex, loved it! 3. on a personal note, cooking curry brings back so many awesome memories from my time visiting Sarah in Thailand. All three introductions are true, and together, they have me wanting to make a pot of this curry every night. You should probably make it too.

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In Sarah’s post about Bangkok, she briefly mentioned the cooking class that we took together at Silom Thai Cooking School. It was such a great traveling experience. I love eating Thai food, and I’m happy to experiment with recipes I find online and in cookbooks, but it was reassuring to have experienced teachers show us how to make a handful of dishes and confirm that, as I’ll show you today, making a delicious curry is really that simple.

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Colorado Hike : Eldorado Canyon State Park

We love to go hiking, and every once in a while we share our adventures on the blog. If you would like to see more hiking posts, click here.

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Last week a friend tipped us off to the awesomeness that is Eldorado Canyon State Park, in particular, Fowler Trail. As an active 2.5-year-old, Alex is really excited to get outside and do whatever we’re doing. Translating this to hiking, it means that he’s much happier walking along with us than riding in the backpack. Unfortunately, his little legs get tired fairly quickly, so I’m always on the hunt for trails that are not that steep or long. Fortunately, Fowler trail is both short* and relatively flat! As you’ll see in the photos, it also provides outstanding views of canyon walls filled with climbers, making it extra exciting for our little adventurer. One look at the climbers and he exclaimed, “wow, that’s wild!”.

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Pumpkin Links

Pumpkin is our ingredient of the season. We’re a big fan of pumpkin desserts (cookies, and popsicles, anyone?), but we also like our pumpkin in the form of brews and stew too!

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I’ve been stumbling across a lot of great pumpkin links and wanted to share my favorites.

I can’t wait for some cooler weather to make some pumpkin chili… and then we’ll counteract the hot with some pumpkin butterscotch sundaes!

I love (love, love!) this cast iron pumpkin pot, but think I have to host at least a few more Thanksgivings before I’ve earned it.

And this pumpkin loaf pan is pretty cute too. I think cooking with Alex is encouraging my lust after all sorts of cute bakeware.

And since we’re blaming things on kids, I love browsing the Oriental Trading catalogs. Seeing things like these pumpkin erasers bring back all of the best memories of being a kid!

Why was the jack-o-lantern afraid to cross the road? It had no guts! More pumpkin jokes here. We were trying to teach Alex a few jokes last night, but I think he’s still a little young (meanwhile Calder and I were cracking up!).

What about you? Have any pumpkins caught your eye lately?

 Image from the Library of Congress archives.
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Pumpkin Face Mask

Pumpkin is our ingredient of the season. We’re a big fan of pumpkin desserts (cookies, and popsicles, anyone?), but we also like our pumpkin in the form of brews and stew too! And if you’re looking for more skincare posts, check out some of our essential oil posts.
live seasoned katies DIY pumpkin mask copy

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Today I’m here to talk about what to do with that little bit of pumpkin sitting at the bottom of the can. You’ll be faced with this problem if you make our pumpkin cookies or the whoopie pies muffin tops, as both recipes call for slightly less than a whole can of pumpkin. I’ve been giving some of that pumpkin to Luc, but the kiddo can only eat so much before he’s going to turn orange. And we put some in our oatmeal and yogurt… but I’m already making so many pumpkin treat that I don’t want every to tire of pumpkin before the season’s over. So, if you don’t eat it, wear it (at least that’s Luc’s motto!).

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