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

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Sarah Here :

Happy Friday!  This is the first full week that I’m home and working since mid-December, so it was all about writing lists, cleaning up my office, and getting the ball rolling. Sometimes it takes me a few days to get into the mindset of doing computer work.  Instead of writing or editing, I’ll find myself deleting every single unread email in my inbox or washing every piece of laundry in the house.  My body is definitely feeling it too.  When I lay down to go to bed at night, I find myself wanting Aleve or something else to numb the pain.  I find that if I run through a round of bedtime stretches to relieve lower back pain, I feel decompressed enough to relax into sleep.  My shoulders and neck feel most sore when I wake up, so I’m working on a little routine to loosen myself up in the morning before sitting back down for a day of editing, researching, and writing. Besides checking in with my clients and brainstorming ideas for the blog, this week has been nice and mellow and I’m hoping the weekend will be similar.  I think I’ll work through the weekend, but take a little break on Sunday to help Clean Up Chatham, a weekly lake cleanup event that a friend hosts.  I met that friend while volunteering on the Appalachian Trail last summer.  See, there are plenty of good folks out there, if you’re feeling a little tired of your friend circle, go find them! Have a great weekend! XO

 

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Knitting WIPs II

Hey there, I’m popping in this afternoon to share some of the knitting projects that I’ve recently finished, am working on, or are on my mind. I’m exciting. You may need an extra cup of coffee.

After I finished up the big sweater project, I immediately cast on a sweater of my own, Wolf River. I love how this turned out and now have a case of sweater fever (there are so many good patterns out there!). I haven’t even worn this one yet and I’m already itching to start another sweater, but as you’ll read below, there are a few other little projects that I’m hoping to get out of the way first.

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Wolf River is a boxy sweater – no waist shaping at all – and it got me thinking that this is a great characteristic to look for if you’re new to sweater knitting. Of course, this sweater’s lace pattern may not be the easiest thing for a new knitting, but there are other simple boxy designs out there.

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This sweater was knit with less than two skeins of Cascade Ecological Wool, one of my favorites. I have two more skeins in my stash and am thinking that it would be fun to make a second Aidez since I wear my first all of the time.

Last year I designed and knit a fair isle hat for Alex and realized that it would be fun to knit the boys new hats every year. I made this one over the weekend (after knitting a sweater, little hats are a breeze!).
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Matcha Green Tea Milkshake

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter. We’re using that as an excuse to sit down more often and relax over a cuppa’. I’m not sure which I like more today’s milkshake or this old favorite.

How does that saying go, it’s 5 o’clock summer somewhere? At first I felt funny suggesting a milkshake recipe in the middle of January, but Sarah and I are such shake fans that we never pass one up, no matter the time of year, and I’m guessing we have a few readers with the same priorities.

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I know this is going to sound absurd, but I remember everything about the first time I tried a Starbucks Green Tea Frappuccino (GTF). I was in Boston during a hot summer struggling to do my research on a Saturday, living on a meager grad student budget, and decided that I needed a treat. The GTF it was, and I swear it was the most delicious thing I had in weeks… possibly a reaction to how grey my life was feeling? Dramatic much? Anyway, to this day I love GTFs, but admittedly I still rarely order them. They are never as good as that first one and I still don’t like paying that much for a drink. BUT I have found the perfect homemade alternative : a green tea milkshake!

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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 your a bit of your week or day in the comments, or if they’re better represented by a photo, tag us on instagram @liveseasoned

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Sarah Here :

This vacation has me exhausted and I know what you’re thinking, ‘oh booooohoooo, sleepy Sarah in sunny Florida,’ but I’ve been busy running around seeing the sights and I sure could use a little rest.  Don’t you always feel a little tired after a really great vacation?  This past week and a half I hopped around traveling East, West, North and South, from Orlando to Key West and back again.  I really am nodding off here, so below is a quick rundown of the highlights this time around. I’ll be sure to share some more images and details next week.

  • Seeing my childhood best friend and her beautiful new home – she is killin’ it! It pains me to live so far away from her.
  • Teaching sweet, young, autistic kids a bit of yoga.  We didn’t do too much, but I think they really enjoyed it!
  • Sleeping in an old Airstream trailer for a few nights. AirBnB is an amazing resource that never disappoints me.
  • Traveling to the Everglades for the first time in my life, even if I didn’t see any Alligators. We totally saw a manatee, which made up for the lack of gators.
  • Laughing at my brother after he was stung by a Portuguese Man of War. He just haaaaad to poke it.
  • Checking out the Florida Keys – another first for me.  Next time I go back, it will be to camp in one of the many state parks for a few weeks.
  • Seeing my Brazilian family and laughing away the days with them. My heart is so full, yet it will ache until I see them all again.
  • Spending quality one-on-one time with my brother and truly not having a care in the world for a dozen days.  Travel with your fam – you won’t regret it!

 

 

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Masala Chai

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter. We’re using that as an excuse to sit down more often and relax over a cuppa’. Also, if you find my talk of spices interesting, you may like this post where I use a karha mix to spice up our pumpkin popsicles.

I was stumbling over my computer keys this afternoon while starting this post because I keep wanting to just write chai, but I know that’s not correct, so let’s get some vocabulary out of the way and then get on with this post.

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Chai is the word for tea in India. Masala means spiced or spice mix. So technically, when we Americans are drinking a “chai”, we’re really drinking a masala chai, a spiced black tea, not just a tea. Somewhere along the way we shorted masala chai to chai, and so I’ll stick with that abbreviation throughout this post, even though I’m focusing here on the masala. Or is it the karha?…

There’s nothing I like more than a warm cup of chai in my hands on a chilly winter afternoon. In the past I’ve always purchased either the concentrated liquid chai from the grocery store or tea shop’s chai blend for brewing. Today I want to share a beautifully simple and delicious chai recipe that you can use as the base for personalizing your cup of tea.

Traditional Karha

Another new word: karha. It’s the name for the spice blend used for making the masala chai. Traditionally, the karha begins with a combination of warming spices. This is commonly cardamom with some ginger, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, or nutmeg; all spices that we are familiar with when baking. In addition to those spices, some karha may include black pepper, fennel seeds, or coriander. You can also add spices like tumeric for their medicinal value. And those lists are not exhaustive, if there’s a spice you like, it’s fair game!

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the spice mixture. In India, the karha varies by region and even by the time of year. And likewise, outside of India, different regions of the world add different spices to their tea depending upon a region’s access to different spices and its palette.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies with Tahini

I *almost* feel bad posting another cookie recipe so soon after our ginger chews, but these are worth sharing. If you’re still riding the new-year-resolution-exercise-train, our friends have suggested that the addition of tahini makes these healthy. So there’s that.

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This recipe comes from Molly Yeh, and she got it from Danielle Oron’s Modern Israeli Cooking (which I’ve already added to my wishlist!). And to go on a tangent for a second. Have you ready Molly’s blog yet? If not, find some time to sit down and scroll through her creative recipes while enjoying her entertaining writing. That’s some blogger, and I’m so excited that she’s in the process of writing her own cookbook.

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What Living Without a Smart Phone Taught Me

Well, it has finally happened, I made the switch from a flip phone to an iPhone. Living with a flip phone has been a part of  my identity for the last eight years and honestly, I loved it. Talking on the phone has never been something I enjoyed so really a cell phone was just one of those things I needed to own, but didn’t value at all. I could go all weekend without even knowing where my phone was, let alone wondering if anyone has called it. This habit of mine has definitely irked a few friends, but I always made sure to tell clients and coworkers that email is the best way to keep in contact.

My photography career demands that I spend hours a day in front of a computer or behind a DSLR so the last thing I wanted was to be looking at yet another screen. I have to admit, I have poor impulse control and I’m often hopping on my computer to check email, Facebook, and blog traffic even if I just checked all three an hour ago. I cherished the inherent simplicity of a flip phone even if it did make some things a bit more difficult.  I loved seeing older people using the exact same flip phone as me. I thought, if they have lived without a smart phone their entire lives, so could I or at least I could try. In a world where we are always so connected, I had choosen to distance myself a little bit, even if that meant missing out on some job opportunities or making a wrong turn here or there.

I finally started giving a smart phone some serious thought after I realized I couldn’t download yet another app to my tablet. When I mentioned this to a friend, she immediately offered up her old iphone4 and I realized I had run out of excuses. It was finally time to give in and succumb to all the pressure from family, friends, and society in general. I had to be honest with myself, it wasn’t about money or conflict minerals or whatever other excuses I would spew out when people would ask, it was about changing and discarding a piece of my identity. It was about letting go of one type of simplicity and embracing another.

As a flip phone user for about five years longer than the rest of the world’s population, here’s what I learned while foregoing a smart phone for almost a decade:

You’ll develop a great sense of direction. You’ll look up an address, commit it to memory and actually visualize where you’re going and how you’ll get there. When was the last time you tried driving to a new place without google maps?

You will spend time day dreaming and scheming because you’ll enevitably be bored without an instant distraction in the palm of your hand.

You will miss out on photos, videos, and emojis because your flip phone doesn’t know what the fuck is going on or how to handle the incoming data. Group texting will be impossible to keep up with and you’ll certainly get frustrated, but in the scheme of things none of that shit matters. The photos, videos, emojis, and group texts are probably the least important aspect of your entire year and next week you will receive more. It’s kind of fun to interpret the little squares into whatever emoji you think you should have received anyway.

You’ll never worry about your phone’s wellbeing even when your nephew drops it into a glass of water, because you’re fairly certain it’s indestructible and if it’s not, you have a drawer full of old replacements.

Dropping your phone facedown on the pavement elicits no reaction because there is no such thing as a cracked screen in the world of flip phones.

Battery life won’t cause you anxiety because there is no percentage ticking down, down, down. Your battery is measured by 5 little bars and that thing can last on one bar for days.

You will live in the moment without distractions, without instant answers, and without your security blanket you refer to as a phone.

You will be comfortable having ‘nothing’ to do and you’ll realize bordem is a state of mind we can choose or resist against. Twiddle your thumbs or meditate, your flip phone doesn’t care because it can’t talk back to you.

People will approach you at parties, in bars, and on the street because you aren’t glued to a screen. You’ll smile at strangers instead of avoiding their gaze and connections will be created.

You will pay attention to your friends when they speak and you’ll have something intelligent, helpful, or humorous to say in return. You’ll notice the subtle nuances in their stories and you’ll offer support and guidance.

You will think really freaking hard about that actor’s name you can’t remember from that movie you forget the name of. You’ll ponder facts and probably get a few of them completely wrong.

You will trust your instincts about directions, restaurants, and other menial decisions.

You will go with the flow and figure shit out as it happens. You’ll cease to care about how things should have went and instead deal with how they’re going right now.

You will take in your surroundings and notice storefronts and landmarks. You’ll start to orient yourself with the mountains, ocean, and stars to determine the direction you’re traveling.

You will enjoy a healthy level of disconnect and you’ll be out of the loop more than you’re in it. You’ll enjoy not reading work emails in bed on Sunday morning when you don’t intend to answer them anyway.

You will not give two fucks about having internet service because that is totally normal for you.

You will not research your every move because you don’t have time for that shit. You’ll walk into a place and walk right back out if you’re not feeling it.

You will drive to an address and a Starbucks will not be there and you’ll be pissed off and laughing at the same time because this isn’t the first or last time you’ve encountered a phantom coffee shop.

People will judge you and that feeling will suck. You’ll be forced to explain yourself so many times that you stop using your phone in front of assholes.

You will miss out on a job or two, but you’ll sleep better at night knowing that you can actually be off the clock and not expected to be checking in constantly.

You will hear over and over and over again the benefits of a smart phone until you finally give in so that everyone will finally shut up and stop caring what phone you have.

You’ll sincerely wonder if you’ll stop missing having less than you do now and you’ll realize how ridiculous and ungrateful that sounds.

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Cooking with Kids : Ginger Cookies

Cooking with Kids is an ongoing series where we share recipes that are easy enough to make with a two-year-old. If you’re new to the series, our first post that provides our detailed tips for cooking with little ones; subsequent posts are less detailed, but each contains recipe-specific ideas for working with your little ones in the kitchen.

Ahhh, I meant to share this post before Christmas so that you could add yet another cookie to your baking list, but time got away from me, so here we are with a delicious ginger cookie that tastes just as good on a cold day in January as it would during the hustle and bustle of Christmas.

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And I’m still smiling about how this came to be my favorite ginger cookie recipe. Calder’s sister made them a few years ago at Thanksgiving. That first batch was delicious and reminded me of the ginger chews that I used to buy in Trader Joe’s. I was so smitten that I asked for the recipe. She sent it along, and from her notes, I could see that it came from the grandma of a good friend. As I was baking these with Alex, I looked more closely at the bottle (more on that below) and realized that the recipe on the Grandma’s Molasses bottle matched the recipe I was making! Ingredient for ingredient and word for word. So, maybe you already know this recipe?

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Easing Into Yoga : A Relaxing Morning Stretch Series

Want more yoga and exercise? Become a woods warrior, try this lower body workout, then end the day with bedtime stretches that relieve lower back pain. Check out my 200hour yoga teacher training experience and read about the school I attended here.

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If you’re reading this at posting time, good morning! Start your day off right with a relaxing series of stretches that are perfect for the morning time.  This routine starts in child’s pose, moves to all fours then up into downward facing dog, but don’t stress, you’ll be back down on the mat in no time.  Start each day by adding length to your spine, stretching out those hips and quads, and opening your chest and shoulders, you’ll be happy you did and it will take less than fifteen minutes.  This whole routine is meant to be a casual flow so once you’re familiar with the poses, move in and out of positions with fluidity.

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