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.

live seasoned seasoned view july-1-4

Sarah Here :

Hey babies! I can’t believe July is a quarter over… for someone who strives to live in the present moment I feel myself grasping at each July day every single year, without fail. Here I am, sweating in ninety degree heat, taking four showers a day and trying to add a little summer vacation feel to each moment. So far, so good.

This week, I’ve filled my days by climbing a bunch, practicing yoga on the mosquito-infested deck, taking long woodsy walks with the dogs and clocking into the darkroom well after dinner time and staying until it’s about time for the sun to rise. I’ve also done a fair amount of procrastinating my digital editing work by way of reading. My two new books are The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative  and How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain. They’re both so damn good that I have to keep switching back and forth between them.

On Monday, I head to Seattle to reconnect with a friend I met while trekking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. I’m excited to soak up some nature on the west coast and just take in the vast expanse of earth that I sometimes forget about while living here in the east. That’s not to say the east doesn’t have some sweet spots, but maybe they aren’t as apparent as epic views of the Olympics, ya know? I am planning to tackle this beast of a day hike in the Adirondacks later this month though, have any of you tried it? Apparently you summit ten peaks over the course of 25 miles. Wanna join? I’ll give you the weekend to think about it.

 

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Seasoned View : Vol. 27

Each month we share our Seasoned View.  Snapshots of nature and daily life taken by the Seasoned sisters. Find our archive of past months’ views here.

Happy Monday y’all! It’s July, unquestionably my favorite month of the year. Growing up, Katie and I would have joint birthday parties at the local pool. I still remember splashing around in the sun, getting out only when the smell of the grill wafted over, shivering with blue lips and being wrapped up in a big fuzzy towel then sitting down and opening a pile of presents. I truly feel all kinds of grateful when I think about the happy childhood I had, but seriously, how lucky are July babies? Pool parties every year! Here’s a few summer shots to tide you over at your work station this month.

Screen Shot 2017-07-03 at 5.01.17 PM

You can upload one or all of these photos to use as your desktop background or even as phone and tablet wallpapers.  Simply click on the download link below each photo and save the image.  Enjoy!

live seasoned seasoned view july-1-2stroll

live seasoned seasoned view july-1-4 breeze

live seasoned seasoned view july-1-5 leaf

live seasoned seasoned view july-1Ferris

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Colorado Roadtrip : Great Sand Dunes

You can find more of our Colorado adventures here, and if you like travel posts, we have a lot! We took this road trip in our *new* van (can’t wait to tell you more about it); this post gives you a little overview of what we pack in the van. And here are some of our basic tips for camping with kids.

Earlier this month, we went on a five-day road trip to south west Colorado. It’s a part of the state we haven’t explored, but had heard great things about. We set out excited to experience the beautiful San Juan mountain range. Let me spill the beans right now: this trip was awesome (I’m writing this about a week after the trip, and we’re still talking about it). We loved the scenery, the hot springs, and the towns we visited.

roadtrip1

This is going to be a two-post report. In this post I’m going to share photos and from the first bit of our trip that was spent in Great Sand Dunes National Park, and in the second post I’ll share photos from our visits to Pagosa Springs and Ouray.

We left after work on Tuesday and drove until we reached Great Sand Dunes (it was sometime after midnight). Rather than head straight to the park, we took the rocky and bUMpY 20 minute ride to Zapata Falls, camping there for the night. When we woke up in the morning, the view was breathtaking! From high on the hill, you could look down and see the sand dunes with the mountains in the background. Don’t you love waking up to a surprise like that? roadtrip2

We were so excited to get to the dunes that we had breakfast, stretched our legs, and then got back in the car and headed into the park. Sadly, we didn’t take the time to hike to the actual falls at Zapata Falls. That’ll have to wait for our next visit!

Campground

But, our timing was perfect, because we drove into the park, took a quick stop at the visitor’s center, and then took a drive through the unreserved campground and were able to snag a spot as someone was checking out! I definitely think timing was on our side, there seemed to be daily-turnover in the park midweek, but then as we were checking out Thursday morning, it seemed like everyone coming in had plans to stay through the weekend.
roadtrip3roadtrip4

The Dunes

After securing the spot, we drove straight over to the sand dunes. We knew we wanted to hike on them, and everyone warns that it’s best done either earlier in the morning or later in the evening – times when the sun isn’t shining as bright and the dunes are cooler.

As you can see in the photo above, we came early enough in the season so that the water (from snowmelt) was still flowing through the park. This creek dries up by late June, and I’m sure that would create a much different (hotter/dryer/dustier) visit. I’ll share a few more pics of our time near the water later in the post. First, we just crossed it on our way to the dunes.

And those dunes are spectacular. It’s such a mind-bending experience to see these large (largest in North America!) dunes at the base of the granite mountains. From some angles you could see the mountains, and from others you just saw sand and blue skies.

If you look closely in the photo below, you can see people hiking off in the distance, and it helps to give you some perspective of the size of the dunes. roadtrip5 roadtrip6 roadtrip7 roadtrip8

We set out on our walk not having high expectations for how far we’d get (that’s the best mindset you can have with two little guys in two)… but I secretly think that both Calder and I were hoping we’d make it to the top!

We were prepared with both a larger hiking pack to hold the big kid and the ergo to hold the smaller kid. There were times when the boys were in their packs and there were times when they were out, and step by step we made progress until we made it to the top!

It was hard work, guys. About 2 hours of hard work. Every step you took involved some sinking into the sand and sliding slightly backwards.  roadtrip9 roadtrip10 roadtrip11

As you can see in the photo above, we carried along cardboard in the hopes of sledding down the dunes. Many friends told us that this worked for them. It definitely didn’t work for us. I’m not sure what went wrong, but we had the most success just sitting on our bums and doing a slow slide down the steeper sides of the dunes.

Dune Shoes : And, as mentioned above, the dunes do get hot. I wore sneakers, while Alex and Calder both had slip-on summer shoes. I saw lots of other hikers with sandals and flipflops. Honestly, I’m not sure what kind of shoe is best. The boys had trouble with sand getting into their shoes, and so did I! I didn’t expect it with my sneakers, but sand was sneaking in through the mesh fabric of the shoes. It even got stuck between the layers of fabric, and for about a week, it would slowly weasel its way out as I wore the shoes. But the sandals and flipflops also seem like don’t offer enough protection from the hot sand. Who knows, you just have to pick your poison. roadtrip12

After our hike, we were worn out and starving, so we headed back to the campsite for an easy ramen and eggs lunch, and then naps (for everyone!).

The Water

Post naps, we headed back over to the dunes, and spent a couple of hours near the water. The boys had a great time play in the sand and wading in the water while C and I had a chance to relax and enjoy the view.

Can you spot the deer in the photo below?! roadtrip13 roadtrip14 roadtrip15

Then it was back to the campsite for marshmallows, stories, and an early bedtime.
roadtrip16 roadtrip17

Etc.

Just a few additional observations and hearsay about Great Sand Dunes :

  • sledding down the dunes : As I mentioned, many people told us to pack cardboard for sledding. That didn’t work at all for us. Maybe it will for you? We also saw people sledding and “surfing” on boards rented in the park. They look like fun, but you have to want to carry them up the dunes.
  • mosquitoes : We had no trouble with mosquitoes, but have heard from others that they can be overwhelming in June.
  • hiking : In addition to the dunes, there are many other hiking trails. We didn’t venture out on any, but would love to on a future visit.
  • campground store : There’s a nice little campground store that carries a wide variety of items. We stopped in one night for ice and firewood and saw that they also carried ice cream and avocados. Great store!
  • shade tents : many families brought shade tents to the water area, and that looked like a great idea if you planned to stay all day (it seemed like many people treated it like a beach day).
Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

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.

live seasoned koh lipe blue hour-1

Sarah Here :

Happy Friyay! I’ve been having a week. It started off inspiring and productive as I worked through the whole weekend. I researched and formulated some plans for my Tulum retreat, I meditated more than usual and I bought myself a new camera, which means I have to update this post. Then Monday came around and I heard news that Otto Warmbier had died. This event led me on a dark spiral that continued through the week and culminated in me watching dozens of videos of black men being shot and killed by police. I don’t necessarily think my behavior is healthy, but I do think exposure to evil is a helpful way for me personally to cultivate even more empathy, compassion and love.

I’m hoping that I’ll find a way to make a meaningful difference, but for now I’ll just talk about my experience and feelings about Otto’s death. I wrote this immediately after I heard the news, before I had my morning coffee, while completely wrapped up in emotion, and now I’m hearing my college professor telling me to ‘take a seat,’ after having just explained so much about my writing before presenting it. Sorry Professor Trayes!

Walking up the stairs to my tiny bungalow yesterday, I thought back to a week previous when I had caught my roommate’s cat stealing a baby bird from a nest. I was mortified, I happened to look out the window at the moment when her mouth closed around the small bird. So upset with the cat, I stomped outside with rubber gloves on, picked up the tiny, mostly unharmed, chirping bird and returned it to its nest. I felt immense sadness for this single baby bird. ‘How could the cat do that,’ I thought, even though I’ve seen dead bird carcasses lying around for the past year and I’m well aware of instinctual nature.

Cut to ten minutes later, I wander into my room for something and again, looking out the same window, I see the cat steal the same baby bird. This time death was imminent. My heart felt tiny and hard. WTF. What the fuck. My friend helped rationalize it, commenting on the natural cycle of life, the food chain, the minute importance of a single bird when there are surely humans dying at the same moment… Yeah, I understand all that and yet something about this moment, about seeing the cat steal the bird, saving the bird and then seeing it being stolen again, I just couldn’t handle it. Wasn’t it enough that I wanted the bird to live?

It took me a couple of days to realize that really what I wanted wasn’t so much for the bird to live, but for me to not see the bird die. This cat has been murdering songbirds and small mammals its whole life and I knew that, never once did I feel such crushing sadness, it was only because I saw the suffering. I saw the momma and poppa bird circling overhead, chirping, terrified and angry that they worked so hard only for their baby bird’s progress to be stopped in an instant. I saw them return to the nest excited and squawking when the baby was replaced, I heard the shrieks when the cat came back.. I was a witness.

So often I try to act as a witness. Observing the present moment, aware yet detached and allowing each tiny event to flow by.. but the baby bird stuck. I was no longer in the present, it made an impact. I know this because I could not stop thinking about it and yet I knew it was uncommon for me to be that upset by the death of a single bird.

So back to yesterday, I’m walking up the steps, past the exact spot where I tried to save the baby bird a week previous and in an instant I thought, ‘okay, I’m finally over the bird incident, I set my emotions aside, I understand why I was upset and I’ve come to terms with witnessing suffering and the fragility of life,’ and it was as that thought was finishing that I see a fresh songbird carcass laying on the top step.  I let out a loud laugh from the bottom of my belly; the timing was amazing. At the instant I declared I was, over it I was challenged to face it again. Reality is truly absurd. Believe it or not, I felt better and I laughed a few more times that day about the second dead bird. It’s as if my self declaration of passing the test was enough for the universe to hand me another challenge, to ask, ‘are you sure you’re okay with it?’ And the answer was yes.

Then something else happened.. Otto Warmbier, the young American who allegedly tried to steal the propaganda poster from North Korea died. He’s dead. An American kid who might have tried to steal a poster is dead. Is it idiotic to steal something from North Korea?  Especially something with the dictator’s face on it? Yeah, duh, of course. Did an immature 21-year-old brain think for a second that it wouldn’t be such a big deal? Yeah, I’m sure. Was it? The biggest.

Even though we don’t exactly know what happened, I suppose the fact that an American abroad could be arrested, detained and returned home on the verge of death, is what’s absolutely terrifying to me. I understand what a privileged position I hold. There are citizens in our home country who worry about being potentially killed during routine stops and arrests on American soil. I get that and I don’t mean to minimize it.

Maybe Otto’s death scared me so much because I travel a lot. I think about being locked up abroad and I think about my poor parents. I think about the work they put in and how I could serve them a lifetime of grief with one stupid move, but I always imagined bribery, bankruptcy and jail time, not labor camps, comas and death. If nothing else, I expected accountability from one government to another. I expected my super power of a country to come to my rescue to at least ensure I wasn’t withering away in whatever imaginary jail I found myself in if the punishment didn’t fit the crime.

As an American abroad, I actually pretend to be Canadian. Seriously. I never offer up where I’m from and I’m the first person to criticize our country in a world that is U.S.A.-crazed. I always try to emphasize that America is not what everyone sees in the movies. I don’t live in Hollywood and not everyone is rich and beautiful, has a good education or even a full belly of food where I live. It’s a hard concept for some people to grasp.

As an American girl abroad, I’ve had at least a dozen serious marriage proposals and hundreds if not thousands of conversations about our politics and presidents. Traveling during Bush, Obama and now Trump, has opened me up to a range of discussions and reactions from folks on five other continents. After rolling my eyes and shaking my head and basically crushing the idea of the American dream to whomever I’m talking to, my cynical side starts to melt away, I back pedal and I admit that America is alright. I remark on our freedom speech, fair elections and general permission to do whatever the fuck we want, including buy assault rifles.. hopefully my foreign counterparts detect my sarcasm on the last bit, but even if they don’t, America doesn’t sound too bad. Apparently most people think it sounds pretty great (No need to make it great again, we’re already there!) and at the end of each of my trips, when I finally land back on American soil, I too agree. It’s good to be home. It’s nice to know I have this amazing country to be apart of, a place where I’m mostly free to be me without persecution.

I suppose I always assumed that being an American abroad insulated me as well. That I would always be saved by my country. I think Otto’s death rocked me because it flipped the script of what I knew to be true. If you’re an American, America has your back. Everything will be fine. The world is watching, but just like the baby bird, it doesn’t matter who is watching.

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

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.

Sarah Here :

first round-18

Happy Friday friends! I hope your week went well. Mine was off to a bit of a bummer because I hosted a dear friend all last week and then woke up alone on Monday morning. Who likes that? No one, that’s who. After a Monday morning pep talk, I cleared off my white board and made a plan for the week. As a self-employed person, this is pretty much my only strategy for keeping myself accountable and on track with the week’s or month’s tasks. It worked pretty well this time around.

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Top Five Travel Snacks

live seasoned travel snacks -2 graphic

A whole post dedicated to snacks. Silly? NOPE! I’ve done it before besides, I’m the grumpiest grump when I’m hungry, not only that, but I’m pretty much incapable of any sound thinking let alone making a decision so snacks are important. We need to talk about them. I conferred with my buddy Erin, who joined me in Thailand this past March, and we agreed on our favorite travel snacks. Erin showed up in Bangkok with a child’s daypack stuffed with snacks and teabags. I immediately gave her the props she deserved then we talked {snack} shop.

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Welcome June

Near the beginning 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, farmers’ fields, and environmental holidays. *You can find our archive of previous welcomes here (a few months are missing from the archive, we’re bowing our heads in shame).*

Hello, Summer!

Are you feeling the heat? Based upon our Instagram feed, I sense that most of the country had a nice spring and then transitioned into hot weather sometime last month. Not us, we had an unseasonably large snowstorm in late May, which confuses our minds and the garden. Remember last month’s welcome when I was already talking about the crazy weather BEFORE that storm? But anyway, our hot days have arrived, and we’re loving it!

We’re transitioning to more dinners on the deck, more long evenings playing in the dirt, and (of course), more fresh seasonal eats.

mosquito_poster

The image above is from the Library of Congress’ online prints and photos collection. I love these old prints. The designs are awesome, and they tell a story about the times. I also love the idea that the government was trying to get us to work together, a particularly common theme for the posters made during WWII, and even outside of war times there were others about taking care of yourself (eating healthy, exercising, etc.) and some about celebrating American heritage. If you’re looking to waste time online the LOC is a great place to do it.

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Seasoned View : Vol. 26

Each month we share our Seasoned View.  Snapshots of nature and daily life taken by the Seasoned sisters. Find our archive of past months’ views here.

Happy Monday! Welcome June – so glad you’ve arrived. As I look through my photo archives, I see a trend. Spring and summer, especially May and June tend to be about road trips. I’m always trying to skip away even for just a night or quick weekend trip. I’ve spent the last six out of eight weekends away from home, boppin’ about. Tomorrow I’ll set off once again on a week jaunt around Virginia and West Virginia. At this time last year, I just wrapped up a three week east coast road trip. Here are a few film images from my time down south last spring.

Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 6.26.09 PM

You can upload one or all of these photos to use as your desktop background or even as phone and tablet wallpapers.  Simply click on the download link below each photo and save the image.  Enjoy!

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Two Bits

Remeber when we did Two Bits? The last one was nearly a year ago, so hellllllo, we’re back. 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 :

It’s 5:30 AM and I’m still up because for the past week I’ve been going to bed to the sound of songbirds instead of waking up to them. Eeeek! Forever a night owl. Tonight I’m perusing Airbnb and imagining various longterm living situations in Thailand. I’m thinking rustic, middle of nowhere, lots of nature and they must be pet friendly.

thailand life

Here’s what I found in five minutes:

Homestay style – farm in the mountains

Island life in the Gulf of Thailand

Hundred acre farm & villa near Khoa Yai

Also, I can’t stop playing this song :

Happy Friday friends! I’m off to the beach house to help replace a porch roof.

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Sydney Bridge Climb

YourPhoto_0005

G’day mates! Just popping in with a few photos from the Sydney Bridge Climb. Normally when I visit new cities, I try to do it on the cheap and while the Sydney Bridge Climb was far from it, it was so rad that I wanted to give it a shout here.

BridgeClimb Sydney Flags Morning BridgeClimb Sydney Skyline BridgeClimb Sydney Twilight Climb YourPhoto_0004

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone