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 :
dump trump
When the host of the Apprentice took office, I left the country for four months. I needed a break. I wanted to ignore whatever the fuck was happening here and even though I still can’t bear to watch or listen to the news, it is impossible to ignore the degradation of our society, as much as I try.
As someone who hates arguing, opposition, and confrontation of any kind, I do realize it’s important to let my peers know where I stand. Voices of hate and intolerance should be combated by voices of love. I’m struggling here, but I appreciated reading this guide of Ten Ways to Fight Hate. I took comfort in knowing I actively preach and #9 Teach Acceptance, but I realize I need to#4 Speak Up more often. I often feel like I can’t change peoples’ minds, so why attempt it, but I am trying to adopt an attitude of at least challenging others’ hateful views, even if I don’t believe I can change them. What number are you working on?
 
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Love, love, love to you all. Even Richard Spencer, the alt-right, and the head of state that encourages violence. Everyone needs a big ol’ hug.
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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.

katies week live seasoned

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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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.

 

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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.

Sarah Here :

Friyayyy! What the f*ck happened to my week?! I’ll share my Monday alone.. Sunday evening I had an awesome friend date in Philadelphia, I stayed up all night and then drove to the airport around 3:30 a.m. I boarded my flight an hour later, slightly peeved about my middle seat and life in general since it’s 5 a.m. and I haven’t slept yet. I passed out, waking up only when the woman next to me spilled her diet coke all over my leg, and then again when the plane landed. I switched my phone off airplane mode and immediately saw two dozen messages from my photography partner basically telling me *not* to fly to Houston and if I did to turn around and come home. WTF… FML… all the curses.

I got off the plane, headed down to grab my bag, called a couple of airlines and secured a flight home in a few hours. Now what? I had a few options, be grumpy as fuck or get over it. Aren’t these pretty much always the options when life doesn’t go as planned? We can get emotional and upset or we can choose to get over it. We can replay all the ways it was supposed to go or we can be at peace with what is.

I recognized how shitty my day could become if I played into the pity party that was forming at my mind’s door. In that moment I decided to experiment with a mindfulness exercise in awareness. I like to call it Flip The Script, because I’m not that creative and it really is as simple as that. Each time I noticed an inner complaint, grumpy reaction or just pissiness in general, I completely flipped the script. It helped me to be aware of the negative inner talk and then poke fun at it. It went something like this:

  • Identify the negative thought or complaint
  • Turn it into a positive
  • Take a breath and move on
  • Repeat x Repeat x Repeat

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Here are a couple of examples, the initial negative thoughts are in red – while the flipped script is green.

Thoughts as I walked into the food court : Great. Shitty airport food and it’s all lunch or dinner options except Starbucks. Yes! A free pass to eat pizza before 9 a.m.

Thoughts as a huge drop of sauce falls onto my only sweatshirt : Fuck. How will I stay warm and not look like a slob? I knew laying so far back in this chair and eating was a bad idea and yet I did it anyway. Hahaha I’m basically laying down and eating, what did I expect putting forth so little effort to eat a saucy pizza?

Thoughts as I walk through the Philadelphia airport : Wow. It’s 5 p.m. it’s been twelve hours since I’ve been here. I hate this place. I wish I was in RDU (my home airport of Raleigh Durham) I’m so much closer to my car and therefore freedom than I have been all day. You hate Philadelphia? Good thing you don’t live here anymore.

Thoughts as I turn on my car and see my gas light is on : Of course you’d do this to yourself. This is not the first or last time the gas light will come on. This is how you operate. You can get a kombucha when you stop for gas.

Thoughts as I pay $24 for parking at the airport : Cool. I just paid $24 to park here while I spent twelve hours in airports. Today was cool. I would have paid nearly $300 if I left Houston on schedule. At least the parking attendant was super nice. (He gave me Tootsie rolls!)

Thoughts as I sit in traffic on the way out of Philly : 5:30 p.m. could not have picked a better time to drive to D.C. than rush hour on a Monday. I didn’t choose this time to leave. I’ll make it to D.C. in time for sunset. I’ll eat dinner with a friend and meet her two new kittens.

After the traffic cleared and I made my way to D.C. I can’t recall anymore negative thoughts. Sure, they came back after I left D.C. and drove through the night home to North Carolina, but I went ahead and flipped the script every time. Why?

Each year, I read Buddha’s Brain, a book I’ve recommended dozens of times on this blog. I had just read a passage the night before that said, “even fleeting thoughts and feelings can leave lasting marks on your brain, much like a spring shower can leave little trails on a hillside.” When I landed in Houston and got the call to immediately come back east, my rational brain thought, ‘okay this is fine, I’m not going to die, I’m not going to make a bunch of money that I need either, but all in all I am okay and this is just one day in my life.’ Those initial thoughts were helpful in then recognizing that an hour later I had started to flip the script in a negative way and started feeding into the grumpiness after I had already told myself that everything was fine. Why was that? Probably because that’s the thought pattern my brain is used to. Something happened that wasn’t planned that I don’t like, I should be super grumpy about it. Not so.

Buddha’s Brain helped me to understand that how we focus our attention and how we intentionally direct the flow of energy and information through our neural circuits can directly alter the brain’s activity and its structure. Knowing how to harness awareness to promote well-being and positive change is the key to working with that scientific knowledge. If you’re aware of negative thought patterns, you have the power to try to change them every single day. 

Actively watching my negative thoughts and flipping the script might seem like a minute action, but these small exercises actually build up to larger changes as new neural structures are built. Neurons that fire together, wire together that’s why it’s imperative to be on your own side instead of adding to the misery. Whenever I’m being a grumpy see you next Tuesday, I seriously ask myself, ‘do I want the bitch muscles to flex or weaken?’ Each of us has a good and a bad side, try actively feeding the one you want to prosper and see what happens. Even if you can’t catch yourself with each negative thought, after you’ve had a rough day or something didn’t go as planned, try to seek out the positive or the benefits and say them to yourself. The best part about my Monday? I realized I LOVE my blue saucy sweatshirt turned inside out better than right side out, so yeah, I basically was granted a new favorite sweatshirt for that whole debacle. Worth it? Sure.

Happy Friday y’all!

 

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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.

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.

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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.

Sarah Here :

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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.

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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.

Sarah Here :

Hey there! What the hell have I been up to? Well once a year I kinda quit every single thing in my life, reassess and then see what I miss. I guess I had unknowingly did that with Live Seasoned when I became busy one week, too tired the next, traveling the week after that, etc, etc. I’m happy to report that I do miss showing up here on Seasoned so you’ll be hearing more from me in the coming months.

liveseasoned summer16 two bits camera-1liveseasoned summer16 two bits camping-1

In other news, I just returned from an epic road trip through the south.  It was quick (only 2.5 weeks), but packed with adventure and exploration. I’ve already posted quick travel guides to Philly and Chapel Hill – check ’em out! liveseasoned summer16 two bits schu family-1

After the road trip, I drove an insane 24 hours up to Pennsylvania to stay in the home I grew up in for a couple weeks. I was able to catch up with friends from high school, do some work around the farm house, and attend my middle sister’s wedding celebration. It was a whirlwind and although I’m happy to be back in NC, that visit stirred up a lot of nostalgia.

I have a feeling these next two months will be a little hectic.  I’m moving out of my apartment in July and to be completely honest, I don’t have a clear direction just yet. Never in my life have I felt something tying me to a specific place or person and now that I’m letting both place and person go, I’m a little lost, but I’m settling into this feeling, I’m not to worried about it. I’m searching for a cool community to join or a room in a house to rent, I’m even searching house sitting websites for a listing that will work with my situation. Ever have those days where you wander from website to website? I’m perusing through Craigs List to Idealist to House Sitters America and back again. Searching, searching, searching.

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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.

live seasoned spring 15 office workers wind down yoga outtake

Sarah here :

What a week! The weather here was so so, but it motivated me to get a bunch of work done before my trip to see Kate in Colorado next week. I spent long hours in the darkroom and in my home office, developing prints, paying taxes and getting everything squared away. Nothing too exciting. I did listen to some interesting podcasts that I’d like to share here. If you like the suggestions, I’ll keep them coming in future two bits posts.

Stuff You Should Know – How Makeup Works – Wow. This one was eyeopening! Did you know makeup hasn’t really been regulated since around 1938?! Insane! That was the real gem of this podcast, just knowing that we are all rubbing unregulated chemical concoctions into the largest organ on our body.. not good. Just like we were surprised to find out beaver castoreum is sometimes used in artificial vanilla flavoring, there are some pretty curious ingredients in common makeup products. Kate has taken a few mineral makeup classes and we’re hoping to share some of that information and a recipe or two in future here on the blog.

Stuff You Should Know – How Perfume Works – Not as disturbing as the makeup podcast, but equally informative, it was cool to hear what exactly goes into creating a perfume.  I wanted to listen to this episode after Kate wrote the coolest post (in my opinion) on DIY perfume a few days ago. Check it out if you’re interested in making one of our custom scents, or maybe you have your own idea in mind?!

What else? We started the week reminiscing about a trip to Bali, Indonesia, shared our camera equipment mid-week and rounded it all out by talking about IUDs. Varied, but informative week here on Seasoned. Oh question, when learning new workouts and yoga sequences online, what do you prefer? Still images, videos, GIFs? We’d love to know. Happy weekend!

 

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Two Bits

We want to break down these internet barriers and invite you into our lives and we’re hoping you’ll do the same.  You are welcome to share a bit of your week or day in the comments, or if they’re better represented by a photo, tag us on instagram @liveseasoned

Katie here :

Confession – during Thursday’s happy hour, we were those parents with their kids in a bar. In our defense, it was a bar disguised as an arcade, and if the babysitter were free, you can bet I would have been playing skee ball by myself. But then I would have missed out on an amazing moment with Alex where he got his first ever gutter ball (after about 15 minutes of rolling the balls up the ramp only to have them roll back to him). You should have seen the excitement on his face the first time the ball actually went in the gutter! After that, it was just one gutter ball after another. The kid was on fire.

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In other news, I’ve been having one of those weeks where I want time to slow.down. and then speeeeeed up!  Luc turned one. How can that be? At least he’s a tiny one year old, so he still seems a bit more baby than toddler, but the walking is going to start any day now. Ugg. I’m not ready. On the other hand, I’m soooo ready for time to speed up so that I can get out in the garden and start planting. I have some big plans for our flower beds and pond this year, and I can’t wait to put everything into motion. But I’m biding my time, because I know the threat of frost is still strong in the mountains.

Slow down. Speed up. How are you feeling?

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Sarah here :

It’s 11:43pm – I can still contribute to two bits, right? In response to Kate’s question, I wanted work to speed the f**k up today while I worked a twelve hour day and now that I’m finally home and facing that same hurdle tomorrow I want it to slooooow down. No complaints here though, I promise. Today I shot possibly the coolest assignment of my short career! I worked in Henderson, North Carolina at the Girl Scouts Camp Graham Tree Houses. Yep, that’s the cool sh!t your cookies buy! These bunk houses are supreme and seeing two troops of little ladies running around and having a blast in them today made it that much more spectacular.

Other than the tree house shoot, I’ve been working a bunch of hours in the darkroom lately. Working alone with the ancient enlarger, hundreds of negatives, and all those smelly chemicals is an art form as well as meditation to me. I listen to podcast after podcast in that small space and these were my favorites this week:

Stuff You Should Know: How Dark Money Works – Holy shit. I mean, I knew, but this podcast just spells it all out. THIS SHOULD BE REQUIRED LISTENING. I had to shout that because I learn so much every week from podcasts and this one had me captivated, horrified and pissed off (in the best way) the entire time. Please listen to this, please.

Stuff You Should Know: How Nitrous Oxide Works – As always with these dudes, a funny, entertaining, and enlightening podcast. I had no idea what the hell was happening when I did whippets and now I know! Probabbbbly should not have done so many that one day, but at least it was only that one day…

Joe Rogan #646 featuring Dr. Dan Engle, MD a practicing psychiatrist, board certified in psychiatry and neurology as well as Aubrey Marcus a fantastic writer, entrepreneur, and adventurer. Engle and Marcus talked a bunch about drugs I’ve never heard of before – drugs that have the potential to treat addiction, which is what made this podcast so fascinating to me.

Joe Rogan #629 featuring Andrew Hill, PhD, a lecturer, scientist, explorer, and also the lead neuroscientist at TruBrain. This podcast focused a lot on neuroscience pertaining to the treatment and understanding of addiction, ADHD, depression, and other diseases and mental disorders. Extremely interesting and Dr. Hill is knowledgable across the board so just enthralling all around.

It’s now 12:02am, I’ve failed. Slow down time, geeeeze.

 

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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

 Sarah Here :

I feel like I’m rubbing it in Katie’s Colorado face every time I say it, but SPRING IS HERE! For the past few weeks I’ve been lounging in the hammock reading, walking on the slackline, and taking this hound dog on hikes. Sometimes it’s sunny and sometimes it pours the entire time – like the hike shown below – but all warm weather is awesome weather in my book! We have a forecast full of rain for today, but I’ll take it 🙂 Oh and I shared a few words about the invasive Chinese Wisteria (that amazing purple blooming bush) on our Live Seasoned facebook page today.

Side note: see all that flippin’ pollen in the water?! I think everyone in the state is suffering from sinus congestion. I plan on staying in for the most part to start my taxes and sift through some photo editing work. Have a lovely weekend!

liveseasoned two bits 2liveseasoned two bits_DSC2377

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