Activated Charcoal Deodorant

When feasible, we like to experiment with our own beauty potions. You can find a bunch here, from lip balms to face masks to foot scrubs!

We like our deodorants simple and effective. With their long ingredient lists, it can be hard to find simple deodorants in the beauty section. And when we do find something that’s simple and often “natural” it’s often not as effective as we want it to be. Admittedly, that goes for our own DIY blends too.

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But we aren’t throwing in the towel yet, and today we have a new blend that we’re excited to share!

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Read With Me : The Nature Fix

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If you dislike reading, tune out now because this is the third post about books in two weeks. #Nerdalert OR get into it man! Now’s the time. Okay, I’ll shut up. Last week I touched on the positives of reading and clued you in on the books I was reading. You can see them all on our sidebar to the right and just FYI anything that you buy from Amazon by clicking through from our website kicks back a few cents to us at no additional cost to you. Pretty cool, huh?

I mentioned in my Year in Readview post that I was working on The Nature Fix : Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative – a neuroscience read but written by a journalist, not a scientist, so equal parts informative and entertaining. That sounded like a dig on scientists, it wasn’t, but geez their books can be a little heavy and hard to get through. Once I really focused on reading this book, I flew through it in three days.

Florence Williams does an excellent job of setting the scene for each city, park, and wilderness space she spends time in. She also lays out the scientific process and experiments as well as potential knowledge gaps in an understandable and often comedic manner. It’s easy to process without being bogged down by too many details and yet she’s not just skimming over the science stuff. She’s not skimming at all actually, this entire book focuses on our mental and physical health and yet it doesn’t read like a textbook. Ahem. You can also tell that Florence is doing her due diligence to not just feed you the success stories. She’s honest and she mentions the less than perfect results of some studies, again I point to the background in journalism. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. I was learning something page after page, positives about spending time in nature that I could share with my Schu Tours adventure groups and friends alike.

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Welcome January

Typically, 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, sometimes we focus on animal activity, celestial events, and our farmers’ fields and other times we expand the conversation to highlight relevant nature and environmental topics in the news, a discussion of our intentions for the month, and other bits of inspiration.

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In the News

Guys, there is something called a bomb cyclone and it’s coming for the east coast. Think hurricane, but wintery conditions. Ick. I moved to North Carolina to avoid winter and here we are talking about temperatures 20-40 degrees colder than usual. Typing that just sent a shiver down my spine. Hopefully, Santa brought that electric blanket I asked for, we’ll see at Russian Christmas this weekend in Saxis.

I thoroughly appreciated this nature in the news roundup for 2018. What to expect in 2018: science in the new year gives you a briefing of what we’ll hear about this year.

Two negatives and a neutral is what we’ll call this segment :

Human impacts on forests and grasslands are much larger and older than we previously assumed. Why does that matter? Well, carbon stocks in vegetation have a crucial role in the global climate system and if we’re going to take climate change and the Paris Agreement seriously, these studies are important for future bioenergy policies.

Boats are threatening the survival of Panama’s Bocas Del Toro dolphins. These dolphins are pretty special because there is a pod of about eighty who do not interbreed with the more common Carribean dolphins. Dolphin watching in the area is increasing, which may work in the dolphins’ favor as it will bring awareness and attention to this small, unique dolphin population.

Lastly, humans are kinda helpful here: Ecologists used maps produced before World War I to recent kelp forest surveys in the Pacific Northwest and found that they’ve been pretty stable over the past century. Read the article to find out why we surveyed kelp beds way back then in the first place, pretty interesting stuff.

 

Russian Christmas

If you’ve been a friend of the Schu family long enough, you know the whole crew gets together during the first weekend of January to celebrate Russian Christmas, which takes place on the 7th each year. The date marks the birth of Jesus on the Russian Orthodox Church’s calendar and really that’s where it starts and ends for the Schu fam. We use the date as an excuse to gather once more, which is especially convenient now that some siblings head to their inlaws for Dec. 25.

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Tea Season

For me, tea season is all year long, but I find myself doubling up this time of year. If there’s not a steaming mug of tea in my hands, likely I’m walking to the kitchen to procure one. Drinking tea has become one of my favorite daily rituals. Heating the water, picking my favorite mug, selecting a tea, allowing it to steep, reading the tag (kind of like a fortune in a cookie) sipping it in both hands until the mug is empty.. and repeat.

A few details of my tea routine :

  • My Mug – I used to photograph for Haand, a lovely local company, and I honestly love their mugs and dishes more than any I’ve ever used. First off, matte glazes. I could end there, but they’re also really easy to clean, they’re restaurant quality, so not easily chipped, and each piece is designed to interact with you and your food in a really delightful way. I use these three pieces every single day: the short large mug, the margay, and the caracal. My friends also bought me this eat, sleep, yoga, repeat mug, which is a great reminder and there’s a little golden smiley face waiting at the bottom of the mug for when you finish, which always brightens my day. So choose your mug wisely, it should bring you joy each time you pick it up and even while you wash it.
  • My Tea – Celestial Seasonings is my absolute favorite. I’ve been drinking their brews for years, but after visiting the factory in Boulder, CO and hearing the company’s story (basically a few flower-picking hippies) my love was solidified. They also minimize waste by skipping the teabag string, tag, and wrapper. I also like Yogi Tea because of the little tea fortune and I think Trader Joe’s makes a few great blends, but I really hate that they wrap each individual teabag in plastic. I don’t think I would have even thought of this if it weren’t for Celestial Seasonings. Brands that drive you to be more conscious of how you consume are the best brands, don’t you think? My favorite teas at the moment (some of these are always on the list): CS fast lane, CS sleepytime, CS tension tamer, Yogi Green Tea Kombucha, Yogi Breathe Deep, Yogi Relaxed Mind, Yogi Calming, and TJ’s Moroccan Mint.
  • My Brewing – I was a big fan of the teapot for a long time, but last year, I moved in with a roommate who used an electric tea kettle and I must admit I’m totally hooked and it’s the number one appliance I use, second up is my coffee grinder. You can buy a ceramic, stainless, or see-through version. Here’s a super secret teapot trick I didn’t learn until I was 22, you *never* need to take the lid off, just fill up the pot from the spout. Maybe you knew this? Maybe I revolutionized your life? No need to tell me which.

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New Year’s Resolution Success Story

It’s nothing major, but last year, a few of us sat around and wrote down resolutions. We then put the resolutions in a bowl, mixed them up, and picked one. The one I received was, “Read a book a month” and funny enough this was a resolution I made years prior, but never fully followed up on. After pulling that resolution from the bowl in 2017 however, I made it a point to always be reading a book or three. I just decided that I needed to reincorporate reading into my daily or at least weekly routine, and I did. Simple as that. I picked up a book and made time for reading again. This is me reminding you that READING IS FUN and awesome and totally worth it and way better than facebook or instagram or whatever else you’re wasting time on (besides this website obviously). Sometimes I find myself reading by way of procrastination, but honestly, that feels way better than scrolling through FB to procrastinate. I actually deleted my FB app over six months ago and haven’t looked back. I log on way less and my life feels full of interesting stories instead of mostly superficial ones. Here’s what I read in 2017.

On that note, are you a resolute person? But really, do you take the time to look at your year and plan for the next or do you treat the shifting from December to January just like you would February to March? I’m a bit of both. I value the pendulum that swings from December 31 to January 1st, but I also feel like each moment is an opportunity to decide to take action or cease bad habits. Did you hear about our Meditative Mondays email newsletter? Just a little opportunity to bring some calm into your atmosphere this year. Join us if you’d like 🙂 or pass it along to that friend who is always running circles in his or her mind.



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Happy New Year!




New Year, new projects! Over the couple past years, I’ve integrated a short meditation practice into my daily life. It has helped me immensely, in more ways than I can put into words here. Simply interacting with the world in a more mindful way has opened up my reality into a playful game of shifting perspectives in order to watch the world around me in a more positive state. While there are still some days that I wake up feeling a little blue or bummed out for no reason in particular, I’ve said good riddance to the idea that the world is sometimes set up against me. Being grumpy, crazy, sad, or mean because I’m in a funk just doesn’t exist any longer. I can see those emotions from a mile away and I have the tools to interact with them instead of being completely taken over like the hangry and tired monster I once was. It’s pretty amazing. I feel free from my thoughts and emotions even though yes, I still have them and enjoy their presence, I’m not talking about shifting into robots here. It’s almost as if a veil has lifted and I’m starting to see the world for what it is not just what it has to do with me and that’s a pretty liberating thing.

Enough about me, let’s make this about YOU! I want to invite you to try a weekly meditation practice with me. I’m calling it Meditative Mondays because there’s no better time to start a mindfulness practice than at the forefront of a busy and hectic week. Basically, I’ll send you an email with a pre-recorded guided meditation led by yours truly, offer a few mindfulness practices like breathing techniques, and a little bit of homework in the way of a journaling prompt. None of the work is required, I’m not grading you, but if you follow along each week for a year, I think you’ll reward yourself in more ways than one. You’ll notice differences in the way you interact with yourself, the world, and the ones you love. Just a warning though, you’ll probably want to drag all your friends into this with you. I don’t blame you that’s exactly why I’m doing this because I care about you and want you to join me too.

Along with a guided meditation, mindfulness tools, and some introspective questions, I’ll share a few personal suggestions to better curate your experience. I’m big on podcasts, so I’ll definitely link you to a pertinent episode or two each week and I also have a book recommendation for each month. All the books I’ve chosen are ones that I can look back and point to knowing they’ve had a positive impact on my path towards mindfulness. More than that though, if you follow along, I’ll be here at my keyboard waiting to hear from you. I want to know how it feels to start a meditation practice, what is challenging you and where you’re finding encouragement each week. I have hopes that Meditative Mondays will be a place where you can go to kill a little time to improve yourself, some sphere on the web other than pinterest and facebook.

If all that doesn’t sound half bad, you can sign up below & if you really dig it, maybe share this post with your pals or partner and have them come along for the ride too!



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Gift Guide : Ice Cubes

We’re sharing a variety of themed gift guides this year. Check out Dinos in the Kitchen, Heard You Like Cats, and DIY Edible Gifts.

 

I know, who gives ice? We don’t.

BUT we do like a clever ice cube in our drinks, and so, we have a few ice cube tray + drink pairings that are perfect for that last minute gift or that dad mom that really doesn’t need anything other than a good drink.
ice_cubesice shot glass : perfect for your nephew going off to college. You are the cool uncle after all. Maybe don’t include the alcohol with this gift. Just get some gatorade for the morning after.

buddha : looks wise sitting in a good whisky

gin and titonic : Why don’t I own these yet? Pair it with a good gin, obvs.

polar bear and penguins : pair them with Kahlua because these would look awesome floating on a White Russian.

diamonds : champagne with the suggestion to make OJ ice cubes for a classy mimosa

The awesome thing about many of these molds is that they could easily do double-duty for someone that likes to experiment in the kitchen. Imagine juice-colored jewels for a summer day, chocolate shot glasses filled with a dessert, chocolate buddhas with gold leaf… talking myself into a few trays right now.

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First Snow Cake!

This is part of our ongoing Cooking with Kids series, because bringing them into the kitchen creates bonding moments, opportunities to learn, and plenty of messes! And ginger is our ingredient of the season this fall. You can find more ginger recipes here, but if you want another dessert recommendation, skip right ahead to these chewy ginger cookies.

A few weeks ago, we woke up to our first snow of the season. If that wasn’t special enough, I thought that it was worth fully celebrating the day, and any celebration worth its salt requires a cake. That was the humble beginning of our “First Snow Cake”.

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The base of our cake is a delicious ginger cake and it’s topped with a healthy layer of powered sugar snow. It’s a simple cake that’s easy to bake on a whim and should definitely be incorporated into your next snow day. The recipe and more thoughts on celebrating the everyday below. *I’m thinking that next year the cake has to be baked in this pan.

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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 :

It’s Friday the thirteenth, which means we’re halfway through October!? Our hearts ache. July has always been my favorite month of the year (hellllllo, it’s our birthday month!), but since I moved south, I’m all about October. In North Carolina, the temperature hovers around eighty and yet the leaves are changing and falling, we experience light afternoon sun showers, and the mornings and evenings are a bit cooler. October is hands feet down the best month for hiking. I could sustain this season’s feeling all year long.

At the beginning of the month, I pulled out my boots, but realized, I’m way too early for that down here, lucky me, I’m headed to Pennsylvania today to photograph a wedding. The boots, sweaters, and jackets are packed in the Schubaru so my buddies don’t have to hear me complain too much. And they won’t because I’m headed to Tulum, Mexico on Sunday! This will be my first trip to Mexico and although I can’t remember ten words of Spanish, I’m mucho pumped.

What does your weekend look like? Working on a Halloween costume or two? Curling up with a good book and a drink? Headed into the woods for a hike? Listen to my new favorite podcast : Spooked. It’s created by the Snap Judgment crew and believe me, it’s so good. I’ve already listened to all the episodes while developing film in the darkroom, ooooo scary. Happy Friyay!

 

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iNaturalist

This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed making observations and participating in citizen scientist projects. Check out our first phenology post! And if you know a little bug lover, then this post is for you. And definitely this one.

Are you using iNaturalist yet? We’ve mentioned the app a few times in other posts, but thought that a formal introduction was in order.

iNaturalist provides both app and website forums for sharing your wildlife observations. These observations can be seen by other wildlife enthusiasts, naturalists, and scientists. Basically, it’s creating an amazing forum for collecting data about wildlife across the world, and the best part is that you don’t have to be an expert to contribute data. This is citizen science at its finest!

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Having many observations across a wide geographic area and over a number of years help scientists track data about the location, movement, and timing of biological activity. For example: is the range of a species changing? are they migrating earlier or later in the season? is the timing of plant budding out/flowering/fruiting changing? Simple observations across a large group of people help to collect the data that will answer these questions.

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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 :

Happy Friyay babies! As a photographer, people are always asking me, “How long have you been taking photos for?” And my response is usually, “ah, about five years.” As I drove away from the shoot today, I realized I’ve been lying to everyone. I’ve been taking photos for as long as I can remember.

I can remember taking stealing my Pop’s camera and taking it to school in first grade. My teacher promptly confiscated it and when I tried to turn it on at the end of the day, I couldn’t. I was so terrified that I broke it and that my Pop would be upset. I’m not sure whatever happened to that camera, but I don’t remember getting yelled at so I’m sure it was fine.

When I was a couple years older, I was gifted all types of funky polaroids and when I got to middle and high school, my parents bought me point-and-shoot cameras. A lot of them. I wish I were kidding, but I probably went through five or six cameras! One was stolen at a party, another I lost on a ski slope, one was carelessly put in my backpack and the screen broke, another got too hot at the beach and the screen exploded, and so on. Even though I would lose or break these cameras after only a few months, my mom always bought me a new one. She scolded me for being careless, but she never gave up on my love of photography even though at the time, I’m not sure we knew the extent of it.

Now, let’s say twenty years later, I’m still taking photos. I find it intuitive to capture a scene and tell a story and that’s why in 2008 I changed my major from magazine journalism to photojournalism. I can still remember the moment, the first time I said it aloud to my roommates, ‘I think I’m going to switch majors.’ The uncertainty was overwhelming. My parents asked logical questions like, ‘Can you actually make a career of it?’ I wasn’t sure, but I knew I wanted to try and here I am, almost ten years after making that decision and I’m still not sure. I mean, I’m doing it, but it looks radically different than I envisioned and that’s what I hear when I talk to my fellow TU alumni. We’re all hustling, few of us are working at newspapers and even fewer are employed full-time as photojournalists. We’re the freelancing generation. We hustle. We have to prove ourselves at every gig and we’re terrible at business, but that’s not why we got into it. We wanted to tell stories and I think we’re all doing just that.

With this question of, “How long have you been taking photos,” in mind, I looked back through my archives and discovered I have digital images from way back in 2004. Then I decided to browse year by year to see what exactly I had been up to during the last decade of September 22s. With just a single photo, I’m able to remember the days so clearly and the two years that lack an image, I lack recollection. I’m lost without my camera so even if it turns out that I can’t make a career out of it, I can make a life out of it and that’s just fine with me.

On this day :

2007 : I distinctly remember throwing up in the parking lot of a Breaking Benjamin concert although I cannot remember a second of the concert.

2008 : Probably getting stoned on campus, contemplating switching my major to photojournalism.

2009 : Katie Albin and I jumped on a tiny three-foot trampoline, in the middle of Temple’s campus and I don’t think we have ever laughed harder.

2010 : I spent the day at my sister’s apartment in Philly before heading to the Reading Terminal Market to shoot video of street musicians.

2011 : I lazed away with my then boyfriend as I would move to Thailand in just a few weeks.

2012 : I photographed an event on an army base, a new and different experience for me.

2013 : The Schu siblings visited the Bloomsburg Fair with baby Alex in tow!

2014 : I worked a gig in Charlotte that tested my knowledge and techniques. I remember feeling the pressure to deliver that day.

2015 : I learned a new (and horrifying) shat kriya technique during my yoga teacher training in Nepal.

2016 : Whatever I was doing, I didn’t take a photo of it.

2017 : Today I’m taking a three-mile walk across town with Cash to pick up my Schubaru from the shop.

2018 : Will surely be my most important September 22 as I’ll be celebrating my best friend’s wedding. <3

What are you up today? And how about ten years ago? And what about ten years from now? xo

 

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