Five Tips For Shooting Better Fall Photos

Happy Monday! There’s only one week of October left, eeek! Grab your camera and go take a walk in the woods, but before you head out, learn how to take better fall photos. This post was originally published on October 30, 2014, but after a wonderful hike in the woods this weekend, I thought it was worth another look.

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Autumn really tends to steal the show in terms of natural beauty, dontcha think?  This year I took a trip to Asheville, NC and after cruising up and down the Blue Ridge Parkway I don’t think I’ll ever take fall for granted again.  I spent three days hiking, driving and simply sitting and looking at leaves.  After the trip I mentally cataloged what went well and what went wrong in terms of the photos I took.  I thought it might be helpful to share a couple fall photography tips here in case you want to capture the season.

  • Zone in.  Don’t be afraid to focus in on one tree, one branch, even one leaf!  Get close, choose your angle and go for it.  While the whole forest is beautiful sometimes when we constantly shoot at a wide angle, the viewer’s eye doesn’t really know where to focus when looking at the picture.  The resulting image will be a mess of pretty hues instead of that amazing sugar maple with fiery red leaves. While you’re busy looking up, don’t forget to look down and around too.  There are multitudes of berries, fungus and seed pods waiting to be photographed too.

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  • Photograph your subjects in open shade or on cloudy days.  Cloudy days are great for photographing people; the clouds act as a huge soft box eliminating all shadows.  Obviously you have no control over the weather, but avoid midday sun and its harsh shadows, instead find a big wide open area of shade (near a building, under tree cover, etc) and take portraits there. You should find that the light is even and diffused because of the shade, but still bright enough because you’re in a wide open area.  If the sun is peaking through and creating hot spots (over exposed areas) in your photo, it will be pretty distracting so look around and try to avoid that as best you can.  Shooting in open shade is more comfortable for you (not so hot!) and your subject (no squinting) and the balance of light between your subject and background won’t be as drastic and therefore much less confusing for your camera in turn creating a better image.

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  • Shoot when there’s weather. Shooting during a sunny day with blue skies is nice, but shooting when it’s stormy, foggy or rainy is more dramatic and interesting. Weather easily adds mood to a photograph without a subject present.  I especially like shooting dark blue stormy skies during the fall because the contrasting colors of the deep blue sky makes the orange leaves pop even more. Shooting in the rain (or right after if you want to stay dry) looks fantastic during fall.  The colorful leaves that normally look dry (well, cause they are) glisten and shine, which really brings out their color.  Think about how nice a car looks when it’s freshly washed and still has drips of water on it or how shiny your nails look when you put a clear coat on.. it’s all about the glisten 😉

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  • Try setting your white balance to Shade.  (Its symbol is usually a house with three diagonal lines next to it)  Shade basically warms up your photograph, which in turn will result in leaf hues closer to what you are seeing with your eyes.  Sometimes photography can be frustrating and disappointing because what we see isn’t what our camera sees.  It’s ok to use the camera as a tool to better create the scene in front of you.  Using Shade white balance is one way I’ve found to help the camera represent changing leaf colors more accurately. Try it and see if it works for you.

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  • Coordinate with the fall foliage.  We think about color whenever we’re trying to create something visually pleasing (interior design, picking out an outfit, choosing a palette for an art project) so it only makes sense to do the same when we’re creating photos.  If you know you’ll be the subject or the shooter, dress to compliment your scene!  This is especially easy in the fall because you generally know what colors to expect. Next time you are the subject of the photo, you’ll compliment the scenery and visa-versa.

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I planned on only dishing up five tips, but here’s a bonus that works for shooting in any season and setting: Shoot during the golden hour.  This rule basically runs every photographers life.  The light is warm and shadows are long, which creates for interesting and beautiful photographs.  If you want to shoot the changing leaves and natural scenery, shooting during the first hour and last hour of light is highly advantageous.  The colors of the yellow, orange and red leaves will look even more brilliant during the golden hour so plan your walks just before sunset!

Have fun and happy shooting! Oh and if you snap a shot using one of these tips, tag us on IG @liveseasoned because we would love to check it out 🙂

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Best of the Season : Fall 2015

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

It’s that time again. Kate and I like to take a look at our favorite posts from the past season in order to appreciate the projects we’ve tackled and pat ourselves on the belly for making so many desserts without gaining twenty pounds.  What kind of fun did you get into this fall?

Katie here : I had to jump in and state the obvious: time is going too quickly. I really feel it whenever we’re transitioning between seasons on the blog, but even so, I love these “Best of” posts, because they make me sit down and review the previous season. It’s always a nice reminder that we packed so much life, food, and fun into the previous three months. Yet the blog posts are just a snippet of our daily life; for example, seeing a post about pumpkin curry also reminds me that behind the scenes that was an early introduction of solid foods for Luc. Rather than be sad for how fleeting the season is, this moment of reflection gives me the motivation I need to jump into the next season with both feet as I get excited about all that lies ahead this winter. So, here’s our little toast to a fall well lived and the anticipation of a winter season full of promise.

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Best of Soups & Sides

  • Katie’s pick : I loved our three sisters stew. As I mentioned in the post, I went against my gut and didn’t roast the squash, rather I diced it while raw and added it to the soup, and it added a nice texture to the stew.
  • Sarah’s pick : Yum ditty dum, Kate’s cauliflower soup was excellent.

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Best of Dinners

  • Katie’s pick : It’s a tie between the pumpkin curry and pumpkin chili. They were both well received by everyone in the family, including little Luc!
  • Sarah’s pick : The butternut squash pasta was the perfect combination of flavorful and filling.

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Best of Desserts

  • Katie’s pick : I’m still thinking about that pumpkin pudding, and am serious about doing a few more pudding posts in the future.
  • Sarah’s pick : I loved Kate’s pumpkin whoopie post even if she didn’t exactly pat herself on the back after that one…

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Best of Drinks

  •  Katie & Sarah’s pick : The homemade pumpkin spice latte wins hands down.  True, it’s the only drink we made this season, but it is also delicious.

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Best of Crafts

  • Katie’s pick : Am I allowed to boast and say the sweater project? There were moments when I just wanted to be done knitting the sweater, but those were mostly moments when I was worried about how it would turn out. I loved the challenge of a project like that.
  • 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 :  The pumpkin face mask was so moisturizing. I’m hoping to convince Sarah and Kristin that they have to try it when they visit dry Colorado this winter. 
  • Sarah’s pick : I really enjoy window shopping and learning about reputable companies so fair trade favorites for fall is my top pick for fashion posts this fall.

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Best How To

  • Katie’s pick : Oh man, cooking with little A is such a trip that I have to pick the cooking with kids-pumpkin muffins post.
  • Sarah’s pick : How to survive an international flight should be on everyone’s must read list before traveling for the holidays.

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Best of Nature

  • Katie’s pick : Eldorado Canyon State Park, because while we didn’t get to do as much fall camping as we would have liked, that post reminds me that we got to hike on some new-to-us trails. 
  • Sarah’s pick : World rivers day was so magical for me this year that I’m feeling inspired to celebrate that seriously on all environmental holidays.

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Best Around the House

  • Katie’s pick : Painting a mountain mural, because it was the first big paint job in our new house and I’m happy with how well it turned out.
  • Sarah’s pick : I loved reading about the shower spray, orchids, and bee home updates from Kate.

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Best of Travel

  • Katie’s pick : Oh, those gardens of Nepal. I love traveling vicariously through Sarah.
  • Sarah’s pick : Tips for visiting temples will save you an embarrassing moment or two – I loved sharing advice in this post almost as much as I love visiting temples!

Well, what do you think? Were there any favorite posts from fall that we missed?  We love hearing what you enjoy reading here on Seasoned so give us a shout in the comments 🙂

 

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Welcome November!

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.

liveseasoned fall15 welcome november hiking-1-5liveseasoned fall15 welcome november hiking-1-2Happy fall y’all.  I’m positive that’s not the first time I’ve used that phrase here this year, but whatevs it’s fall and I live in the south, I can say type y’all all I want!  Autumn is way up there on my list of favorite seasons, they’re pretty much all my favorites, except winter, winter is the middle child bratty step child, but we’re working on our relationship.  For me, Autumn is a time of no excuses, I try to get outside as much as possible even in the rain.

I truly love hiking all year round, but there’s something spectacular about walking through the woods during fall.  The air is cool, crisp and clean and the colors can keep my camera and I occupied for hours.  The summer humidity and bugs are almost nonexistent and there seems to be activity in the thick of the woods.  Animals are bulking up before hunkering down to wait out the winter. Just like the woodland creatures, humans are stocking up on food and hunting as well.  If you are going to hiking during the fall, and you really should, besides extra camera batteries, here are some things to keep in mind:

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Seasoned View: Vol. 20

Each month we share our Seasoned View.  Snapshots of nature and daily life taken by the Seasoned sisters. Find last month’s last month’s here.

Oi. It’s dark outside and it’s 5p.m. even though this happens every year, there’s no way I can get used to it. To offset the outside, I’ve been sprinkling candles about and making my living room a bit more cozy for fall.  In Nepal, most of the landscape was lush and green, but during the Annapurna Circuit trek, there were two days that looked distinctly like autumn.  Here are some of the snapshots I took. Enjoy! Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 6.23.17 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!

10.12.15 print Yak Kharka-34Click for shrub scenery10.11.15 print Manang-38 Click for Annapurna Peaks.10.13.15 print New Phedi-9 Click for her horse10.12.15 print Yak Kharka-48 Click for horses.10.12.15 print Yak Kharka-57 Click for suspension bridge10.12.15 print Yak Kharka-66Click for Yak Kharka.

 

Hope you enjoyed this month’s Seasoned View.  Have a great week!

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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 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 :

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It’s so lovely to be home when the leaves are changing.  Autumn is a season I can’t stand to miss.  This week I drank almost two gallons of local cider, took the pup for a few hikes, and edited photos from Nepal for at least twenty-five hours.  Usually it’s equal parts amazing and agonizing to edit travel photos, but this time there’s a bit of inspiration in the mix.  I’m finally pursuing my goal of being a travel writer and while I won’t say too much more right now, I’ll keep you updated on that front.

I also came up with a Halloween costume yesterday, which means I’m scurrying around trying to put it together on the cheap.  Each year, Chapel Hill has a huge party on Franklin Street, an amazing people watching (and meeting) event to celebrate the holiday.  Check our Instagram on Saturday to see the result of my last minute decision 🙂

Katie has been busy keeping this blog afloat while I was trekking and traveling home so I’m sure her bits reads something like this, “Naps, naps, nappity naps since that stinkin’ Sarah is finally home to help with our labor of love.”

Happy Halloween my friends – be safe out there!

Katie Here :

ugg! Today’s been quite a day so far, and I’m running on too little sleep…. but – I’m SO HAPPY SARAH’S BACK! Can’t wait to give her a big squeeze in person!

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Eight Fall Fair Trade Favorites

Every so often we highlight brands and products we love. Did you catch Katie’s fall favorites from last year? Here are my fall favorites from 2014 too.

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Happy Monday! I knew when I came back from Nepal that it would feel like autumn, but brrrr there is a chill in the air that I didn’t fully expect.  While I’ll probably just shop around in my existing closet to stay warm this season, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of the stylish fair trade options on the market right now.  Check out these shops for some threads you can feel great about buying.  The prices might surprise you too!  For instance, the zip up hoodie is only $40, the same price as its American Apparel counterpart and those sweet moccasin boots? Only $40 as well. I’m sooo tempted to pick up a pair, but I’m trying not to spend any extra money until February! Quite a goal, I know, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here are the details on all these lovely fall frocks:

One – The Root Collective is simply a heartfelt company.  I love these flats and although they are way out of my price range, I can admire the goal of the company and respect the price tag for what it represents.  The Root Collective partners with small-scale artisan businesses to handcraft vibrant ballet flats. The Root Collective strives to create a kinder world, and they are passionate about spreading the word about the positive impact that companies can have in the world.

Two – Eileen Fisher produces large lines of clothing all aimed at changing the way the world buys clothing.  Their three aims? Supporting women through social initiatives that address their wellbeing, practicing business responsibly with absolute regard for human rights, and guiding their product and practice toward sustaining the environment.  Who can argue with that?

Three – I’ve always had a thing for Good Society. Originally founded in America in 2007, with headquarters in Germany and an office in Italy, Good Society combines fashion and sustainable lifestyle. Good Society strongly believes in fair incomes for workers and they don’t use pesticide-intensive or genetically-modified cotton crops, only 100% organic cotton for their denim.

Four – This company is near and dear to my heart. Why? Because elegant tees and dresses are designed in NYC and sewn by women freed from sex trafficking in Nepal. Elegantees creates a positive source of income that reinforces independence, a healthy self-image, and confidence. I love how casual and cute this dress is and their other designs are just as basic and beautiful.

Five – These comfy looking zip ups (and everything else they produce) are 100% cotton.  Pact is a certified B Corp that goes to great lengths to make sure their entire supply chain, from the growing and harvesting of the organic cotton to the final sewing of the garment is as clean and responsible as possible.

Six – For how often I practice yoga, I only have one pair of yoga leggings!  My sister actually lent me a few pairs for my recent yoga teacher training in Nepal.  Ridiculous I know, but anyhow, if I had some extra dough, I would purchase these Good Cloth leggings. Good Cloth is outspoken about the lack of understanding in the fashion marketplace about the people that make our clothing and what conditions these workers may face. Good Cloth offers customers a space where they can purchase clothing and accessories that are produced in a way that is kind to workers and the planet.

Seven – I love the simple elegance of this dress. Shift to Nature sources the best of eco friendly brands and they do a damn good job of it.  Their products are made from certified organic cotton, hemp, bamboo and other sustainable textiles and that are also made through sustainable and ethical fair work production and business practices. Shift to Nature is a stock pile of basics in luxury organic cotton leggings, t-shirts, dresses, and active wear.

Eight – I am in deep, deep love with these moccasins and I know I’ll be thinking about them all fall, but I’m at the point where I can be happy something exists and that someone else can buy it – you should be that someone and then you should dance around in my living room so I can enjoy these beauties, but I digress.. Oliberté is the world’s first Fair Trade Certified footwear manufacturing factory. They make every single pair of Oliberté shoes at their factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Does it make you feel all warm and tingly inside to to know there are companies out there with big hearts?  Even if I’m not a place in my life where I can support them right now, I feel inspired knowing someday I may through my work or my wallet. Shop responsibly friends. XO

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Welcome September

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.

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September is a great time to take a hike.  The extreme heat disappears, rain moves in and cooler temperatures arrive.  The damp woods are bursting with fungus. You could even think about joining a mushroom club or going along on a foray this month.  If you’re trotting along you’re sure to see squirrels and chipmunks gathering nuts and seeds for the winter months.  Overhead you’ll hear birds migrating, check out this post to see how to properly prepare for those on the move.  If you’re interested in following along with this season’s migrations, the Cornel Lab of Ornithology produces a bird migration forecast.  You’ll learn what species you should expect to see traveling in different regions of the United States.  Migrations are heavily dependent upon weather conditions.  The best times to see large flocks are directly after a cold front passes and very early in the morning.  That’s why birdwatching groups always meet at the crack of dawn, if you wake up early, head to the nearest native habitats with lots of water.

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Bats are also on the move this month.  As fall approaches big brown bats are looking for a place to hibernate.  Cool nights with fewer insects are the primary force that starts the migration to hibernation.  Some of these migrations may be very short, only a few miles from their summer homes.  At this time of year, big brown bats are plump, healthy and ready for a long sleep.  Unheated attics are actually ideal hibernation places for bats so keep an eye out in case some make their way into your home.  You’ll want to have them removed before they hibernate or else you shouldn’t disturb them until spring!

 

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Best of the Season

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

I don’t know about you, but for me fall seemed to creep along during September and October, and then November passed in a flash! I can’t believe that Monday will be December. I can’t put my finger on exactly what’s making it seem different this year, it probably most definitely has something to do with Little A being old enough to start enjoying the magic. Anyway, while we’re excited to jump into winter with both feet, we also love taking a moment to look back and relish all things fall.

Best of Main Dishes

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  • Sarah’s pick : I’m a big fan of Katie’s Roasted Root & Squash Soup for three reasons.  First, it is a dish that spans two seasons and can easily be modified to include whatever roots and squash you have on hand.  Second, it is packed with veggies and can be vegan if you leave out the cheese garnish.  Third, it is a great recipe for a beginner cook.  No tricky steps or hard to find ingredients in this dish.
  • Katie’s pick : Sarah’s Thanksgiving Inspired Tapas! Every time I look at that post, I wish I were a guest at the table. It’s a perfect twist on the traditional Thanksgiving dinner and looks delicious. And I have to admit that I usually shy away from tapas restaurants because I assume that I’m going to leave hungry, so I really like the idea of serving tapas at home, and know that I won’t be craving more because the leftovers are in the fridge.

Best of Desserts

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  • Sarah’s pick : I’m in love with the mini no bake pumpkin pies.  They’re creamy and chewy and they are packed with protein.  I’m not going to pretend that I always eat healthy desserts, but these pumpkin pies are my new favorites.
  • Katie’s pick : I’ll take a good apple crisp any day, especially one with cranberries! And yes, I’m totally cheating, because this should be in the “Best of Breakfasts” category for me.

Best of Alcoholic Drinks

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  • Sarah’s pick : Katie served me my first Apple Sidecar and I remember taking a nap immediately afterwards.  This time I took her advice and added a big chunk of ice to my drink. Delicious and festive, this apple sidecar deserves a spot on your holiday cocktail menu.
  • Katie’s pick : It’s been a long time since I had an Appletini, but Sarah’s post took me right back to a bar in Philly where we would get cheap appletinis at happy hour. I’m sure they have nothing on Sarah’s well-garnished drink. I’ll just add it to the growing list of post-baby drinks!

Best of Non-Alcoholic Drinks

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  • Sarah’s pick : There was no contest here, Kate’s Sparkling Cider Mocktails are by far the best non-alcoholic drink of the season.  I wish I had a little crew of kids to serve up these special drinks to.  I know they would really appreciate them.  I always loved Shirley Temples growing up, but they’re no comparison to these special sparkling holiday mocktails. Without any kiddos around, I make these mocktails during the middle of the day as motivation to keep editing and accomplishing menial tasks around the house.
  • Katie’s pick : I’m eyeing Sarah’s Fresh Apple, Carrot, Ginger Juice. That sweet and spicy combination, just seems so perfectly refreshing at any time of year, but especially have a good fall hike… and really, really miss when Sarah and her juicer lived with us!

Best of Cheese

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  • Sarah’s pick : My favorite was the first cheese we featured, Nut Crusted Brie. I love the gooey baked cheese along with the crunch of the nuts.
  • Katie’s pick : Brie with Truffle Honey. I want to eat it every day.

Best of Crafts

  • Sarah’s pick : I loved looking back at the craft category and seeing how many natural crafts we made this fall.  I enjoyed making the leaf garland and outdoor twig wreath, but my favorite has to be Kate’s dried fruit garland.  I just love the look of sliced oranges and apples, if you haven’t made it yet, turn on that oven!
  • Katie’s pick : I had as much fun making the witch window silhouette as I did seeing it every night in our window. I also think it’s a project that was worth the time and effort, because we should be able to reuse it for years to come.

Best of Style

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  • Sarah’s pick : We don’t do many fashion features on Seasoned, but I do give glimpses of my daily threads.  I’m loving these dressed yet comfortable pixie pants that I picked up at Old Navy.
  • Katie’s pick : Admittedly most days you’ll find me in yoga pants, but when I do get dressed to leave the house, I’m wearing some version of my Fall Favorites. So maybe I’m picking it not necessarily because it’s the best style, but because it’s my perfect fall wardrobe, and it never gets old.

Best of Potions

  • Sarah’s pick : Even though this potion was a tiny bit smelly, I enjoyed making my own pore strips.  Super duper cheap and really easy too.
  • Katie’s pick : I’m going with the Dandruff Shampoo because it was so stinking easy to make, and it worked!

Best of Nature

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  • Sarah’s pick : Can I cheat and mention two posts? First, I loved researching and writing about the Boulder Flat Irons Hike almost as much as I enjoyed the trek itself.  It is so much easier to take photos and really enjoy the landscape when you don’t have a crazy hound dog along for the walk. Second, I had a great time making the photograph and turning it into a quote celebrating the Autumnal Equinox.  Celebrating natural holidays is very important to me so spending time outside this year and creating this image was my way of thanking the earth.
  • Katie’s pick : I found Sarah’s Tips for Taking Fantastic Fall Photos to be so helpful. It’s not specifically a nature post, but it’s the type of post that inspires me to get out there and enjoy nature a bit more, even if it is through the lens of my camera.

Best of Around Town

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  • Sarah’s pick : While this better suits the category Best of Around the World, I had a great time revisiting Thailand for this Bangkok City Guide.
  • Katie’s pick : I loved our visit to the local Kombucha brewer. Getting the chance to taste-test so many flavors at once was a great exploratory mission. I now know that I love so many flavors beyond my old stand-by. And it was awesome to discover this Boulder gem with Sarah.

Any favorite posts that you didn’t see on the list? Let us know in the comments 🙂

 

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Happy Autumnal Equinox!

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Wouldn’t you agree?  As we (in the northern hemisphere) move towards the dark, it’s important to gather up all the golden moments of autumn and squirrel them away for winter.  Fall always seems to be the season that scurries by the fastest and that may be why it steals my heart year after year.  I’m always trying to grasp onto those last warm weekends and the fresh fall air before the weather turns frigid.

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“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”

-Nathaniel Hawthorne

This year I’m going to try my hardest to spend lots of hours outside (I camped at the McDowell Nature Preserve last night) and appreciate each moment that autumn brings.  I’m also going to make it a point to welcome the long nights of autumn and winter.  Life is about balance and change and the sooner we welcome and appreciate those changes the easier life will be. So dust off your dream catcher, pull out your comforter and screw in a daylight bulb near your reading nook, but before you do that, find your favorite fall outfit, take lots of walks and soak in the season.  Happy Equinox!

 

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Sarah’s Fall Favorites

Katie shared her favorites last week and now it’s my turn.  For me, autumn is all about accessories.  I love layering leggings under maxi skirts and wearing wool socks in my Minnetonkas.  I never leave home without a pair of convertible mittens, which keep my fingers toasty yet always at the ready for photo snapping.  I do have to admit that my favorite fall items aren’t clothes, they’re cup accessories! Once the cold weather comes, I always have a jar of tea in my hand complete with the Cuppow and Holdster, which are both made in the USA.

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