Best of the Season : Winter 2016

At the end of each season, we take a look back and highlight our favorite posts. See previous Seasonal Bests here.

What an odd winter of posts its been. We would have expected to see quite a few soups and warm comfort foods shared over the winter months, but there’s not a single one! It just goes to show how much our ingredient of the season can dictate the posts we write. This winter it looks like we did nothing but drink and eat tea, in everything from our milkshakes to our cupcakes! And maybe it’s a serious case of cabin fever that had us writing a wider variety of travel posts than we have in previous seasons? Either way, we’re always happy to have this space as a record of every well-lived season.

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Best of Desserts

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Best of Drinks

  •  Katie’s pick: Oh, Garden Gin, you’re so complex.
  • Sarah’s pick: Kate’s Kombucha post got me geared up to make a batch.

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Best of Tea

  •  Katie’s pick: I’m a big chai fan, so the Masala Chai it is for me. And in that post, I praised the simplicity of the recipe, but also mentioned that it’s a nice solid foundation for experimentation. Just this week I made a cup of chia with cardamom, cloves, star anise, and fresh ginger. And now I have a new favorite.
  • Sarah’s pick: This Rose Tea is so pretty 🙂

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Best of Crafts

  • Katie’s pick : Floral Lip Balm for the win! And since the balm turned out so nice, I’m excited to experiment with a few other floral potions.
  • Sarah’s pick : How to create a care package was not only the most fun post to produce, but I felt so much love and gratitude from the recipients of these brown envelopes.

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Best of Health & Beauty

  • Katie’s pick :  Kristin’s DIY Bath Bombs! I don’t take baths enough, but these awesome balms make me make time for a soak. 
  • Sarah’s pick : I’m a big fan of the Invigorating Essential Oil Sinus Pressure Relief Rub.

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Best How To

  • Katie’s pick : The sewing kit for preschoolers was such a simple gift idea, but turned out to be a big hit with everyone. I’m glad I took the time to put it together. 
  • Sarah’s pick : Everyone needs to know How To: Photograph Pets!


Best of Travel

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Best of Yoga

  • Katie’s pick :  Being that I haven’t been traveling much in the past few years, I do a lot of vicarious travel through Sarah, and I loved hearing every detail about her Rishikul Yoga 200 hour teacher training.
  • Sarah’s pick : Reawaken your yoga practice with this Easy Yoga Flow.  It’s a perfect way to end a month’s hiatus. 
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Five Ways to Have a Better Day

With my recent travel mishap, I’ve been thinking about moods and emotions and the power we have over them. I must say, I have the ability to become gruuuuumpy.  Nine times out of ten it’s because I’m hungry or tired and once I realized this correlation, I was amazed at how easily I could control my mood for the better.  It’s like once I recognized the problem, I was able to address the effects of it even if I couldn’t immediately solve it. Admittedly, some days I have no idea what the problem is. I wake up and wish I were still sleeping. It could be attributed to something in my work life or maybe my student loan bill is due or maybe my personal relationships are troubling me, but whatever it is, an easy solution isn’t always present and I just want to lie under the covers for a few more hours.  Ultimately that makes me feel even worse.  Ignoring the day is no way to go about creating a happy life. It’s important to check in with yourself, acknowledge your pitfalls, but ultimately to shake them off, get out of bed, and get on with your day.  Easier said than done, right? I hoping these five ways to have a better day will have you up and at ‘em before you remember what’s troubling you.


Take a moment and a mantra – Take a few deep breaths. I’m talking deep, belly breathing, breaths. Choose a mantra for the day and remember to talk to yourself like you would someone you love. If your bestie was having a rough day, what would you say to him or her? Decide on a few wise words or a mini goal for instance: I am compassionate, I will use my actions to help others feel loved today, or whatever you think you need to hear and repeat that three times. I try to think of whatever I’m dreading for the day, maybe it’s completing a project or a deadline, and gear my mantra towards that goal: I’m creative and productive. My work is valuable and appreciated. Whatever you need to hear, say it to yourself, don’t wait for someone else to acknowledge your struggle or congratulate your triumphs.

Call an amigo – Even though I’m not really a phone person, talking to a friend or family member helps immensely.  Sometimes we all fall into a funk and we need a familiar voice to pick us up a little bit. It’s okay to reach out when you’re feeling stuck, chances are the person on the other end of the line has been there or is dealing with something else at that very moment.  You could be doing them more good than you know.

Spend five minutes enjoying nature – It is proven that a few minutes outside will improve your mood. Don’t wait until lunchtime to sneak a moment in the sunshine, go outside right now.  Spend five minutes taking in your surroundings.  Listen for birds, insects and frogs.  Notice the trees that you see.  Can you name any of them? Acknowledge the growth and decay all around you and appreciate both. Enjoy the absolute absurdity that is life on earth.

Drink Michael’s Secret Stuff – Drink a big glass of water, tea, coffee, kombucha, fruit juice, whatever is your favorite go to beverage, gulp it up.  Offer your body a bit of hydration to kick start your day. Water has the amazing ability to improve your mentality and energy levels.  If you’re fueled up, you’ll certainly function better so start with a big glass of h2o. Oh and if you didn’t get the Space Jam reference you need to reevaluate your life and re-watch the movie 😉

Work up a sweat – Get the blood flowing. Even if you start your morning with one sun salutation, your body will thank you. Stretching and sweating releases endorphins, which in turn improve your mood. When we’re feeling bummed, the last thing we want to do is go to the gym, but you don’t even have to take it that far. Simply lie down and do thirty crunches or hold a plank for thirty seconds.  After that try twenty lunges or squats, there is no way you’ll regret slipping in a few seconds of exercise and who knows, it may turn into an hour of sweating and stretching.

If that’s not enough, here’s a valid excuse to watch cat videos, which will definitely cheer you up!

Image by the loveliest lady
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Kombucha! or Kombu-what?

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter. While we love a traditional cup of tea, we also enjoy spicing it up with a masala chai and adding rose petals for a floral touch.

Kombucha seems to be a drink that can divide a crowd. People either love it or hate it. Sarah and I are strongly in the love camp! I drank my first bottle about a decade ago, knowing nothing about it, but being drawn in by the cute bottle (and wanting to taste anything named “Wonder Drink”!). The flavor of that first bottle was odd, yet addicting, and ever since I’ve loved trying new flavors and brand.


Fast forward all these years, imagine my delight when I was biking down the bike path in Boulder and sidewalk chalk signs pointing me toward’s Rowdy Mermaid‘s kombucha taproom! During Sarah’s first visit to Boulder, we stopped in to sample the goods. Fast forward a year, and during another of Sarah’s visits, we were introduced to Upstart Kombucha while walking down Pearl Street. We’re partial to Upstart’s rose bud variety, but will take any bottle in a pinch!  Needless to say, kombucha culture (haha!) is going strong here in Boulder. We’re lucky to have some many local brands at our fingertips and love them all! Even so, we couldn’t help but get in on the DIY kombucha craze, and the nudge to do so came when our mama gave us this book for Christmas. 

The internet is full of information about kombucha, including many sites and youtube videos that walk you through the process of making a batch at home. Consider this post an introduction to kombucha and a starter brewing guide. If you have questions and/or comments, please get in touch!

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How To : Photograph Pets

Apparently we loooove giving advice. Here’s a whole archive of How To: posts.  Often times we’re chatting about travel or sharing photography tips.

Happy Monday! We’re keeping it light today with How To: Photograph Pets. One of my favorite photography subjects is my dog, actually any dog or cat or bird. I love animals therefore I’m always trying to take stellar images of them. Added bonus? Photos of pets make the best presents.  Read on for ten simple tips to create better pet portraits.

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Two Bits

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 :

Friiiiiday! This week was pretty ho-hum, but today totally made up for it. I spent the afternoon photographing oyster platters and a staff lunch at Haand, the ceramics company I work for. The vibe at Haand always breathes new life into my soul. There’s no shortage of inspiring conversations about work and life in the studio. It’s never surface chitchat either, it’s always meaningful and usually motivational in terms of producing creative work and moving towards your passions in some form or another. Each time I pull out of the dirt driveway that leads to the studio, I’m feeling immensely grateful for the opportunity to cross paths with so many creative makers on a weekly basis.

I also had a chance to catch up with Haand’s artist in residency, Ian Henderson. After talking to Ian for a few minutes, I realized we followed a similar path of wandering through the arts. Ian is only at Haand for a week, but the studio time has allowed him to play around with a particular type of mold making that he’s been interested in for years.  Ian works full time at Penland’s metal workshop and in the evenings and on weekends he is grinding away in his basement working with cement. He creates massive tile installations that are quite breathtaking. The more I talk to folks like Chris Pence, Mark Warren and Ian Henderson, the more I want to surround myself with other artists and creative types. Are you surrounding yourself with a tribe you admire? I hope so 🙂

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Bubble Tea

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter, and we are a big fan of using it in sweet treats, like these ice cream sandwiches, this milkshake, and these matcha-frosted cupcakes!

Bubble, or boba-milk, tea was always one of my favorite treats when I’d pass through Chinatown while going to school in Philly. Although, admittedly, in those days I would usually substitute coffee for the tea, but a theme’s a theme, so we’re talking tea today.

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Have you had a cup of bubble tea yet? What do you think? Have you seen it and just wondered what the heck was going on with those gelatinous black balls and the extra-large straws?

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Tea-Infused Vodka

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter. Looking for another cocktail with tea? Check out our Garden Gin. And want to experiment with more infused vodkas? We love this hazelnut liqueur and this rosemary vodka.

Today we’re here to provide a warning : tea-infused vodka may be an acquired taste… and we haven’t quite acquired it yet, but we’re trying (I’m drinking some as I type!). On a scale of 1 to 10, we’re giving this one an “ehh”.


So, the idea is simple, take some vodka, add some tea, let it sit, then strain, and then make a cocktail. But for how simple it is, and for how much we love tea and vodka, somehow we aren’t loving the results. And this isn’t some crazy idea schemed up by us, Absolut sells a tea-flavored vodka!

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Black Sesame Cupcakes with Matcha Frosting

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’. If you like combining matcha with your desserts, check out this milkshake!

Lately I’ve come across so many dessert recipes that combine the flavors of black sesame and green tea, and I’ve been so intrigued. As you may know, I’m already a fan of having my matcha green tea as a dessert rather than as a hot tea, so extending that passion to cakes seemed like a no-brainer. And since we liked the chocolate chip cookies with tahini so much, I was excited to experiment with another sesame-flavored baked good. It only took me a week and an embarrassing number of hours to hem and haw over recipes before deciding on these black sesame cupcakes with matcha green tea frosting.


In this post Molly Yeh provides a roundup of beautiful black sesame/green tea combinations (the subject of that post happens to be a green tea cake with black sesame frosting – the opposite of what we have going on here today!)… and if that weren’t enough, both of today’s recipes come from Molly’s site. What can we say, we’re fans.

Extending our search farther into the interwebs, the black sesame-matcha combination is nothing new.  From what I’ve learned it originates in Japanese cooking, where you’ll find many desserts that use flavors not extremely common to American treats, think beans, seeds like this sesame, and sweet potatoes.

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The Great Backyard Bird Count is Happening Right Now!

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Hey peeps! The backyard bird count is happening this weekend! Learn all about it here, but basically you sit somewhere for 15 minutes or more and you tally up all the different kinds of birds you see then you report in with your findings.  Read this, it’s a good introduction of what you’re getting into.  You can make it as big or as small of an affair in your household as you please.

Yesterday and today I simply sat in front of my big office window watched the woods behind my house for thirty minutes.  It’s kind of meditative and if you’re thinking you can’t sit still and do nothing (you’re actually helping quite a bit!) listen to a podcast or an audio book while you wait and watch. I’m currently listening to All The Birds In The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. Total coincidence BTW.

If you have children, this would be a great time to get out any bird identification books you might have, bird stuffed animals, stories about birds or even a big pair of binoculars.  While you’re at it, you could fill any feeders you have hanging on your porch or in your yard.  Get your babes interested in our feathery friends.  My pop started taking me on bird walks at a very young age and I still remember the wonderment I felt finding and identifying different birds.  Great egrets and snowy egrets were some of the first I learned and to this day I still get excited when I see them even though they’re hella common.  Have an amazing weekend and whatever your plans, make time to spend at least fifteen minutes contributing to the Great Backyard Bird Count.


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Two Bits

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

Katie here :




I’m giving myself a major high five for checking in this Friday, because as far as my mind is concerned, it’s only Wednesday. Our little family took off for the mountains on Monday and Tuesday. The days were beautifully blue, perfect for skiing, and the afternoons were perfectly cool, perfect for swimming in the local hot springs! These photos are from our visit to Strawberry Park Hot Springs. If you’re ever in the Steamboat Springs area, this little oasis is worth the visit… and if you’re anything like us, you’ll drive away scheming up plans to create your own artificial hot spring in your backyard (I think they call that a hot tub?).

ps. It’s been a while since we’ve used a timer to take a family portrait. I think we have to work on our composition and explaining things to the boys… Alex was so confused!

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