Reconnect Retreat in Tulum, Mexico

Happy Monday babies! Last night I finally bought my flight to Mexico. I’m hosting a meditation and movement retreat in Tulum from Oct 19-24th.  I’m heading there a few days early and staying through Los Día de Muertos and initially, I had this hesitation about missing Halloween (my favorite holiday!), but how often will I get the chance to celebrate Dia de Muertos in Mexico, ya know? I made the right choice, right?

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After I bought the ticket, I had this insatiable urge to know everything there is to know about Tulum. I’m arriving three days early, but I’ll want to get a good headstart on all the eats, shopping, sipping, and such so I can give my guests great recommendations. As a seasoned traveler, I know this notion of knowing where to go ahead of time is ridiculous. There’s no possible way to know exactly where to go, what to eat, and what to do, but I gave it the old college try and so here I sit, three hours later at nearly 5 am still reading about Tulum. I’ve found what I always find when researching a destination, an endless hamster wheel of the same exact recommendations from bloggers. Either these places are the tops OR everyone reads the same blogs and constantly recycles recommendations, never straying from what was introduced to them on the internet. Ah, the traps of travel in the twenty-first century.

After seeing the same restaurant pop up on every list, I made a mental note to look into the back story after all my general Tulum researchin’ had commenced. Funny thing, the very next Pinterest image I clicked on was actually a Conde Nast photo story about the American couple who runs said restaurant. Maybe I’ll go, wait in the two-hour line and report back, but maybe I’ll opt for a nameless cart on the roadside that’s been around for decades before all the tourists (and NY expats) flocked to Tulum to open restaurants. Depends on how hangry I am, but I’ll report back on that.

Besides all the restaurant recs, I’ve read up on biking Tulum, visiting ruins and cenotes, and of course SHOPPING! For the past few hours, I’ve imagined wandering around Tulum town with my sweet little retreat guest as we fill our bags with colorful handmade goodies. I’ve pictured us waking up early to salute the sun before heading off to the ruins, followed by a dip in the sea and a barefoot wander down the jungle beach road. I see us all with hands full of tacos and smiles on our faces. Laying on the sand and in colorful hammocks and poolside with midday cocktails. I see the beauty and balance that comes when we decide to take a moment to care for ourselves like we’re the most important people on the planet if only for a few days. Then we can get back to the emails, texts, phone calls and favors, but for retreat week, we’ll have to slow down, forget the wifi password, and work on reconnecting with the ones sitting on the beach beside us.

Here’s a link to my Tulum, Mexico Pinterest board if you want to see all the tasty taco stands I want to try out during my trip & here’s a link to the Rest + Reconnect Retreat that I’ll be hosting. We have a couple spots left if you need an October getaway!

*Photos by my sweet & savvy travelin’ friend Erin.
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Two Bits & a Giveaway

 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! It’s been only a few days since Kate and I left Saxis and parted ways, but man, do I miss her! I’m so grateful for our daily connection through this website and our joint Live Seasoned Instagram page and for that I want to thank YOU.

Kate and I started this website because we love learning, experimenting, and sharing our findings with you, but if there was no one on the receiving reading end, knowing us, we probably wouldn’t feel motivated to post here. So THANKS! It means a lot to me, to us, that you’re here. If you know someone else who would dig our material, needs recipe inspiration, wants to take a hike, or could use a bit of travel advice, send them over. As a gesture of gratitude (because saying it will never be enough) we’re hosting a teensy giveaway on our instagram feed. Head there for the details.

Now that I’ve shed a tear of gratitude and somehow turned that into self-promotion, we want to send you over to some sources, specifically a couple of print magazines that we love. These mags inspire us and encourage us to be our best selves and we hope they’ll do the same for you <3

Misadventures is my favorite** print magazine. Misadventures is a wee little babe yet, with only three editions, but I love it so damn much and I’m excited for it to take off like wildfire. Here are ten reasons why I love Misadventures mag :

  1. Misadventures is outdoor and adventure focused magazine for women, by women. Most outdoors magazines are written for men, by men. I love those magazines too, but I’m elated to finally hear from adventurous women. The top 10 magazines for women are about either about how to make yourself or your home look good. I think both those topics have merit, but I’m stoked to see something different that focuses on my interests.
  2. Misadventures features in-depth reporting and storytelling. In the age of social media, our attention spans are shrinking, but thankfully Misadventures mag features a few long form journalism pieces in each issue. I’m a sucker for a solid story, get outta here with those blurbs and sound bites, I want something solid.
  3. The covers of Misadventures are beautiful. Each cover features an outdoor lifestyle photograph. The cover and the photographs throughout are not overproduced, stylized, or heavily edited. It’s a welcome shift towards photojournalism and away from traditional magazine photography. I also loved that the back cover of the Winter 16 edition featured a couple of postcards to cut and send.
  4. The content to advertisement ratio is refreshing. There isn’t an advertisement on every other page or ads that disguise themselves as product round ups or stories and for that I’m grateful. I actually found myself complimenting the ads that do appear in the magazine because they’re tasteful and telling instead of in-your-face and selling.
**I really mean it.

 

Katie here :

Bet you didn’t see me coming! It’s been so long since I’ve posted a few bits about myself. I’m just relying on Sarah to do the heavy lifting and that includes expressing our feelings so perfectly. She has a way with words and I’m sitting here tongue-tied with all of the feelings and a pile of knitting on my lap.

I have to agree with Sarah’s points about Misadventures. It’s a stinking awesome magazine for all of the right reasons, and I’m psyched that we found it when we did. BUT I want to talk about another print magazine that amazes me with each issue : Taproot.

  1. Their tagline is “the magazine for makers, doers & dreamers”.  Each issue is written for the whole person with sections titled “head”, “hands”, and “heart”.  The stories and projects within these sections are linked by the issue’s overarching theme. This summer’s was Grow, the next issue is Trade, and then comes Rest. Their issues are so rich and diverse because their readers are too!
  2. The current issue on my lap is 110 pages long. That’s 110 pages of completely AD-FREE content. Do you know how much material you can fit in 110 pages?! Honestly I look at a single issue and think that this has to be the best yet, but surely they’ll run out of content for the next issue. They never do.
  3. Just as with Misadventures, Taproot digs deeply into topics. They have a nice mix of long and short stories, perfect for whatever I have the time to read. The articles may highlight an individual, a food, or a craft. The writing is fantastic with perfect attention to detail.
  4. The “do” sections are so diverse! A single issue will contain baking recipes, knitting and crochet projects, wood and paper crafts, potions for your medicine cabinet. With a nice range of technical difficulty.

Admittedly, I don’t feel like I’m doing the magazine justice with these four points. But I’m definitely not alone in my love for this publication, because I just learned that they are increasing their publication rate from 4 issues/year to 6!

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Ingredient of the Season : Ginger

 Every season we like to pick one ingredient and find a variety of ways to love it and use it. You can find our complete ingredient archive here.

Ginger is our ingredient of the season this fall, and we’re already feeling the warm fuzzies. If you’re a ginger fan, then you know what we mean: that warm feeling and bit of spice that hits your tongue, then travels to the back of your throat and makes its way to your stomach when you sip on a hot mug of ginger tea. Can you feel it too? But we’re not biased, we love ginger in all of its forms, whether it’s baked into a cookie, used to spice up a curry, or sipped in a cocktail.

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Throughout the fall we hope to experiment with new uses for ginger in the kitchen and around the house. Along the way, we’ll use ginger in all of its forms, from raw to candied, and pickled to brewed.

The photos throughout this post were taken by Sarah when she was working closely with ginger farmers in Jamaica.

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Biology

The ginger plant is an herbaceous perennial, growing 3-4 feet tall with slender green leaves and yellow flowers that bloom from white to pink buds. These characteristics make it a lovely plant that is commonly grown in flower gardens in warm climates. Ginger is a member of the Zingiberaceae family along with turmeric, cardamom, and galangal (popular in Thai cuisine).

Even though we often refer to ginger as “ginger root”, from a biological perspective, we aren’t actually using the root! It’s the rhizome, or underground stem, of the plant that is harvested for consumption. Both roots and shoots grow out from these rhizomes to produce new plants.

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History

Ginger dates back over 3,000 years to the Sanskrit srngaveram meaning “horn root” in reference to its appearance. In Greek it was ziggiberis, in Latin, zinziberi, and in Middle English, gingivere, which is why in English we know it as Ginger.

Ginger is believed to have originated from the Indian subcontinent since the ginger plants in that region contains the largest degree of genetic diversity. Sharing a history similar to many spice originating in Asia, ginger made its way to Europe via the spice trade being exported to Ancient Rome from India.

Production

The top ginger producers include China, India, and Nepal. As well as Asia, ginger is quite popular in the Caribbean Islands. Ginger grows easily in these lush tropical climates.

When Sarah visited Jamaica in 2009 & 2010, she worked closely with ginger farmers on education, prevention, and remediation of common ginger root diseases.

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Uses

The use of ginger in cooking varies from one culture to another. Throughout Asia, it is common to see ginger used in a wide variety of savory dishes, whereas in Western cultures, it is much more common to see ginger used in desserts, particularly baked goods. In India ginger is a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine. Then there’s the Jamaicans, who we will be forever thankful to for brewing their ginger into non-alcoholic ginger beers. And you can thank the Japanese for that side of pickled ginger that comes with sushi.

We’re excited to explore this wide range of uses throughout the season, and we hope you’ll enjoy the ride!

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Farewell August!

 Usually, on the first Wednesday of each month, we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us, with a particular focus on animal activity, celestial events, and our farmers’ fields. This month came and went without a welcome and so we’re offering up a hearty farewell instead!

Our August was spent primarily outdoors and for that we’re thankful. I actually slept in the tent this month more than my bed. Beyond all the beautiful weather, the celestial events had us captivated this month. A few clouds got in the way of the Perseids, but the solar eclipse from Saxis, Virginia had us inspired from the first glimpse. We spent the afternoon slipping our glasses on and off, bearing the bugs, and reporting the progress to each other. Bloody marys, beach days, and boat rides rounded out the weeks since. It’s difficult to remember each detail when this past week alone involved not only Margarita Monday but Wargarita Wednesday as well. Hope you had an August for the books captain’s log!

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Hike McAfee Knob

If you want to see more of our outdoor adventure posts, click here! And if you’re interested, you can learn more about my experience volunteering on the Appalachian Trail.

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McAfee Knob is one of the most photographed views on the Appalachian Trail. From McAfee Knob, you’ll see a nearly 270-degree panorama of Catawba Valley, North Mountain, Tinker Cliffs and the Roanoke Valley. I hiked McAfee’s as a day hike, but there are numerous shelters and campsites along the trail. If you plan it right, you can catch sunrise or sunset on the knob, which would make for some incredible images.

In my opinion, McAfee Knob is the perfect day hike. You get a big payoff for only a slightly strenuous hike 8.8 round trip hike and there’s an option to make it a loop. You’ll climb about 1,700 feet in elevation over 4.4 miles. I wore these sneakers and my feet were more than happy. On a clear day, the views are said to be the best in the Southern Shenandoah Valley. Pack a hammock and a lunch or a single beer like we did, and hang out at the top for a long while.

This hike is about twenty minutes outside of Roanoke. Park in the McAfee’s Knob parking area. Though the trail is well worn and populated, snap a photo of the map on the information board before crossing the road and beginning the hike. Follow the white A.T. (Appalachian Trail) blazes as the trail winds its way upwards. You’ll pass a couple shelters and campsites along the way. Eventually, you’ll cross an old fire road and a power line clearing. The blazes pick up again on the other side of the clearing and after only a quarter mile more you’ll see the first good view of Catawba Valley. Another half mile up the trail and you’ll see the McAfee Knob Spur Trail. Turn left and almost immediately you’ll see amazing views.

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McAfee Knob extends noticeably beyond the rest of the cliffs and there’s no way you can miss the line of people taking photos there. We walked past the crowds and explored the cliffs a little further until we found a comfortable rock bench from which to sit, chill and enjoy the view. If you have the time (and the snacks) stay until sunset. On the way back take the fire road for a much easier path down to the parking lot. You’ll also skim about a half mile off the adventure that way.

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What to pack :

  • Water – I only saw one spring on the trail. Pre-hydrate by drinking about a liter of water before the hike as well.
  • Camera
  • Hammock + straps
  • Headlamp
  • Camera
  • Snacks

 

Rules on rules :

  • No camping or campfires on McAfee Knob or Tinker Cliffs
  • Leave No Trace
  • Leashed Dogs Allowed (although we saw a few off-leash, which is always nice)
  • No alcohol
  • No drones
  • Max group hike size : 25
  • Max backpacking group size : 10
  • If camping : There are only 7 designated camping areas. Know before you go!

 

McAfee Knob is a very popular hike. I’m sure we bumped into nearly 50-75 other hikers along the trail and at the vista. That being said, the viewpoint and rock outcroppings are immense and there was room for everyone at the top. I noticed folks being really courteous about moving out of the way for photographs as well. I was also pleased to see that the trail and knob were mostly free of litter. Please remember to follow Leave No Trace hiking etiquette here and everywhere else.

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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 :

Sup pups?! Happy FriYAY! This post is a bit late, but only because the weather was too freaking fantastic to stay inside even for an instant today. I spent the afternoon doing some paperwork at Honeysuckle Tea House. I brought Cash along for the adventure, which then inspired a quick trip to the Haw River to cool off after our sunny work sess.

This week has been… standard. So I’ll talk about all the cool things I see Kate doing in Colorado.  I love the insect images she captures in her garden. Katie was the one who actually inspired me to start taking photos so my heart warms up when I see her flexin’ those photo muscles on the daily. She shoots a bunch with her iPhone and macro attachment and here’s the exact camera she uses.

I had a bit of bevy envy today when I saw Katie was drinking a milkshake with homemade hazelnut liqueur, while I was still trying to get caffeinated. She’s full of great ideas. Speaking of amazing ways to insert ice cream into your day, here’s a scavenger hunt idea. I tried it with Cash, but no comprendo with that old dog.

And finally, HYGGE! I have to admit, I just learned what Hygge means from an old episode of Young House Love has a Podcast, but as soon as Sherri started explaning it, I knew immediately because it’s something I practice daily and take great pride and pleasure in. Hygge is a danish word (this website rocks at explaining the concept), but basically, “Hygge literally only requires consciousness, a certain slowness, and the ability to not just be present – but recognize and enjoy the present.”

Before I learned of the word hygge, I suppose I thought of myself as an architect of mood in my home. I take my time in curating moments of simple happiness. Waking up and playing my favorite song, walking room to room each morning to light incense and candles, putting on a teapot for coffee, sweeping the floors and opening the windows, for some reason all these tiny moments of making a space feel loved, lived in and comfortable brings about this overwhelming joy and satisfaction in the spaces I inhabit. Simple rituals carried out with thoughtfulness bring about a fullness to my every day life and to me that’s what I now know to be my hygge.

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Camping in Wharton State Forest, New Jersey

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Happy August! July has come and gone. I feel like I’ve had enough adventures this past month that I’ll be busy talking about them all August. I’ll start today with my birthday camping trip in Wharton State Forest, New Jersey. Originally I had planned on conquering this epic hike, The Great Range Trail, but I got some pretty gnarly blisters during a recent backpacking trip in Washington, so hiking was out. Then I wanted to go to Cherry Springs State Park, but the weather looked iffy and it was a bit far north. I called Saleem, my travel partner, and we together we decided on Wharton. This is the first time I’ve camped in Wharton State Forest and if given the opportunity, I would certainly do it again.

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Postcards from the Olympic Peninsula

Happy Friday! What a month! I took it pretty easy last weekend at the lake and the weeks before I spent in Seattle and on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.

On Tuesday, I spent my birthday camping in Wharton State Forest, New Jersey, before heading down to Saxis Island, Virginia. I’m here spending time with Momma Schu and grumbling about the slow internet and hundred degree weather. Life’s not too bad, but as my bones readjust to the extreme heat, I’m sifting through photos of cooler times out west.

Here are a few post cards from the first half of my trip. The snowy peaks, evergreens and lone deer were captured on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. The tiny crab and seaweed covered rocks were shot near Sekiu. The sun setting into the ocean was taken from our campsite in Ozette and the warm sun over the water was taken on my first night in Seattle at Alki Beach. I feel like I was able to see so much in such a short trip and still I’m itching to go back immediately. I’m another year older, but nowhere close to staying in one spot for long. Come Monday morning I’m headed to Texas 🤠 Happy weekend!

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Weekend Lake Essentials

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Happy {almost} weekend! I’m packing up for a friend’s birthday celebration. A bunch of gals are headed to a lake house in Pennsylvania for a few days. Besides Cash the dog, here’s what I’m taking:

Whenever I go on a road trip, I make sure to pack a cooler full of snacks. A couple years ago, I started using ice packs instead of plain old ice and holy sh!t my life is easier. No more soggy snacks or watered down condiments. I know you know what I’m talking about.

Lake hangs must involve a boat or a raft. This year I’ll be lounging on pineapple fruit float while I sip cocktails out of my drink bottle, supplemented by tons of water from the camelbak of course. A friends gifted me the RTIC drink bottle a few months ago and I’m in love. It stays icy all day even during the Carolina summer. The widemouth stainless steel is easy to clean too. I can switch from cold brew coffee to agua fresca without noticing any unwanted leftover flavors. This weekend, I’ll be sippin’ on Pimm’s Cups and my take on a Moscow Mule.

Drinking on a float in the middle of the lake requires some serious sun protection. I just bought these Sunski glasses and here’s the recipe for our mineral-based sunscreen. A hat wouldn’t hurt either.

Even writing about day drinking has me ready for a nap. I love these huge fluffy beach towels. They’re large enough to lay on and curl up with. If you’re down to hang, here’s my exact hammock at the best straps money can buy. Don’t forget a favorite book to pretend to read before dozing off.

Now I’m off to clean my car and buy some groceries. I plan on making a couple different batches of veggie burgers and letting that bowl of goodness inspire my shopping list. Our sister, Kristin, made that creation. Here’s the recipe for the kale and pine nut salad.  Kristin is also the one who turned me onto this veggie burger book, which I’ve used for over five years! She’s always placing something delicious in front of me. Hope you find some chill in your weekend. xo

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Water Meditation

Interested in mindfulness and meditation? Check this out.

Sup pups? I wanted to kick off the week with a Monday morning meditation. A few weeks ago we focused on the trees and this week I’m thinking water.  Remember, our goal is simple mindfulness or awareness. We’re noticing the sensations in our mind, heart and body in the present moment. Watching without judgment. If you can watch yourself and your actions you can control them or at least begin to understand them more fully.

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Similar to the tree meditation, we simply want to notice water. Recognize the significance of water in your life. If you think you’re already there, try giving thanks or offering gratitude each time you receive the positive benefits of water. It’s practically impossible, yeah? It would consume your whole day. Afterall we are more water than blood.

After you finish reading this post, be mindful of your interactions with water today. Think about how you’ve already made use of water. Did you brush your teeth? Make coffee? Wash your face? How will you use water during the next few hours? Maybe you’ll flush a toilet, wash your hands, or do a load of laundry. Beyond using water today, what are you wearing, eating and using that has already consumed water? It takes 1,800 gallons of water just to grow enough cotton for a pair of blue jeans and that doesn’t take into account the rest of the process. A single pound of meat takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce. Water is our lifeblood and yet we take it for granted.

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We tend to only pay attention to water if there’s a problem or scarcity. Water is seen as expendable and probably will be until shortages impact each of us directly. We water lawns, wash cars and maintain golf courses in the desert. We are running the earth dry and it’s starting to become apparent, just read about the disappearance of the Aral Sea pictured above.

Embrace the precious nature of water and treat it accordingly. Katie and I have a sister between us, Kristin, and her and her husband Ryan had a very touching elopement ceremony in which they incorporated a glass jar of water. A few of us were gathered in the snowy Pennsylvania woods one February while Kristin and Ryan held up the glass jug and explained the importance of water in their relationship. Water to them is symbolic of life. When they share their water with each other or their friends, they are quite literally offering them life. Kristin and Ryan never take their offering of water for granted and in turn are touched each time they share sips. Then they each took a sip of water before passing the jar around to each of us in attendance. After hearing Kris and Ryan explain it this way, I’ve never looked at water any differently. Each time someone offers me a sip of water, I find it to be a deeply meaningful gesture. An offering of life.

We all know that water is significant, but do we recognize it fully? Are we grateful? Do we do anything to ensure clean water for our future besides paying the water bill? Try your hardest today to begin to simply appreciate the role of water in your life. No matter the beverage, with each sip, stay present with how the water in it nourishes your body. When you wash your hands, really feel the water on your skin instead of rushing to dry it off. When you move throughout the world today notice the water around you whether it’s a miniscule amount in a plastic bottle or the coastline of the Pacific, but most of all notice that it’s there. Consider yourself lucky. Over 700 million people world-wide do not have access to clean water. Notice the abundance of water in your life and recognize that you are privileged.

 

Photos : 1+2 / 3

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