When We Know We’re Loved

I was driving around town after making pb&j’s with my younger sister. Well, she was driving. I was the DJ. As it always goes!

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She turned to me and said, “I hope my future husband loves me as much as you do.” I was immediately flattered and curious all at once. I asked her why that it is.

“You laugh at everything I say [TRUE], always want to spend time with me [TRUE], give me back scratches [TRUE] and now…you’re staring at me and it’s freaking me out [ALSO TRUE].”

Flash forward to the following night when I was reading Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead by Brené Brown. I underlined the sentence (and am switching around a few words because the context it was placed in won’t make sense), it is easier to become real when we know we’re loved. Page 110 in my book for anyone who has a copy!

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Flash forward to the following morning when I was at church. I couldn’t stop thinking about how the concept of being so securely loved transforms an individual’s courage to be authentically themselves as if no one was watching. I kneeled before God and knew that I was loved beyond measurement. That reason alone is why I can be and am real in my relationship with Him – the most important relationship in my life that graciously pours into all others.

From my sister who understands how much I love her to my own self who attempts to understand how much my Father loves me, we collectively know that we are loved. We are so so very much so loved.

It is the common desire for all human beings. It alters how free we are. It breaks down our walls. It ceases embarrassment. It stirs up a whole lotta oddness (see #11). It is the reason for confidence. It fuels our passions. It is the driving force for celebrations. It unquestionably changes us or rather, pushes us to grow into our true selves.

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A friend who I have no filters around (due to mutual love hehe) recently told me, “there’s a lot of fish in the sea and well…you’re an octopus”. Count that as one of the best compliments I’ve ever received because it affirmed that I must be doing something right toward my goal to chase after greatness, not comfort! But it all comes down to the fact that I know he deeply cares about me and would be by my side at 3am if I was in need at that hour.

For me, striving to be 103% authentic doesn’t start from within. Nor does it stem from outward validation like my octopus-naming friend. It originates from the simple truth that I am fully known and deeply loved by my Creator. And to live without embracing this would break His heart more than I want to think about.

05f314e140c4fcf93dc81072ebda3b4a.jpgLet’s all be octopi or stingrays or pufferfish or whatever creature you so portray. Not because you want to but because that’s what you are. For when we know we are loved, the presence of our originality stirs up a whole lotttta joy.

11 8am Front Porch Thoughts

Slow slow morning make me smile just thinking about them. Ok, that’s not hard to do.

Slow mornings are my favorite verb, hobby and practice that keeps me grounded and chasing after my dreams. It’s where my mind runs rampant while the world is so still. Ughhh, I just crave it always.

Give me iced coffee with a splash of almond milk and a straw, a huge blanket, fresh air, a book and my Bible and I’m so content. For hours. My mornings could really be endless if my stomach didn’t rumble for a big breakfast. And I hit my max of too little social interaction. Annnd then it’s not morning anymore and the blissfulness has lost its charm.

Here is my mind. In 11 random thoughts. During a slow morning.

1. I’ve always looked to Pinterest for cute phone lock screen prints but I just made my own and it’s way more meaningful. I wanted one of my grandpa’s most well-known sayings as a constant reminder so I threw it together on Canva. “If you don’t believe in yourself, it’s probably unanimous.”

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2. :20-:24 of this song has been stuck in my mind for the past three-ish weeks. I sing it every day with a 14.3% accuracy that it’s actually Friday. I’ll take that odd!

3. Did you know that your body actually metabolizes food better when you are enjoying it? THE BODY IS THE COOLEST! So when you’re at a restaurant and someone makes a comment about how their food is so indulgent and how they’re glad they didn’t eat all day to “save their calories” for this meal, just know that they won’t be digesting that dish well as well as they could if they found their meal to be pleasurable. Never ever eat food you don’t like…unless it’s a social setting and it would be rude not to give it a try!

4. I’m allll for the classiness of one-piece swim suits. The kinds without 18 cutouts. This 9:30 AHHMAZING video dives into the history of the female swimsuit and showcases how one-pieces scientifically shift the focus to a woman’s personality and character, not her body. PS, Jessica Rey who gives the talk was the yellow power ranger 🙂 I ordered this watermelon print one and love it!!

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5. My sister’s fiancé just interrupted this slow morning (in the best way!) to show me his suit for their wedding in four months!! I followed that up by a sprouted bagel with cream cheese, avocado, smoked salmon and everything bagel seasoning. DIVINE.

6. I’ve been talking to a lot of friends about how social media is just becoming (and has been) blehhh. My sister and I have both noticed that a lot of our friends post things that they supposedly “love” when we really know the true story behind it and we wouldn’t call that love at all. She was even telling me that one of her friends writes up the paragraph long captions for her boyfriend to post along with Instagram pics of them two. I usually just approach social media with a light heart but I’m now limiting time spent in that space.

7. I want to make these pop tarts. I think pop tarts are on the mind because my church’s pastor mentioned them in his homily yesterday haaa.

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8. I just got this and this book from the library and ordered this and this book from Amazon (thank you much, graduation gift card!). I’ve never been more excited about my future so I’m soaking up all of the resources to fuel that fire!

9. As we’ve grown up, my older sister and I are becoming more and more alike. She didn’t want a bachelorette party because she is laid back and has no intentions of not being able to remember it. I started suggesting ideas and now, I’m planning a trip to a vineyard. Gahhh. Stoked!!

10. I discovered my absolute favorite coffee shop in existence!!! It’s a 25 minute drive for me but so worth the almost hour in the car to and from. Pro trip: go in the afternoon when it’s less busy to talk to the baristas without folks behind you getting annoyed. After interning for Yelp, chatting with the people behind a business about their products and life makes my day! Every single time.

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11. Whenever my fam goes out for ice cream (looking at you, last night’s Father’s Day celebration!), I always analyze the customers around us because they try not to stare and hold back their laughter. I say this because I’m beyond fortunate to have a family who is unapologetically themselves without any filters when it comes to our originality. Cheers Cones up to strangers overhearing our odd conversations!

How Interning for Yelp Changed my Definition of Health

For nine months, I interned for Yelp. No, I wasn’t paid to write reviews. I know you were thinking that because 96% of the time, that’s the first question I get.

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I assisted the Community Manager in the city where my college is located by fostering the online community of Yelpers, helping plan events, assisting with television segment productions, attending local businesses’ events and using social media as a platform to support the happenings and wonderful spots in our city. And yes, I got a fair amount of free food along the way.

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Simply Rolled Ice Cream

In those nine months, I ate out a lot more than I ever have before. This fact alone transformed my life…stick with me to the end because I’m not being dramatic. Initially, this was all because of my Yelptern duties but only three of the pictures in this post were actually for work. Yelp introduced me to the most innovative and best reviewed local joints so I did what I now do weekly: share businesses’ links with friends left and right and left again with a “What are you doing on Saturday afternoon because Simply Rolled is having a pop up shop”. And right back in return I got a, “You always know the coolest places. I’m in!”

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Momo Ghar

My friends would make comments about this marketing internship and I remember them quite clearly. While a lot of them were so intrigued about my responsibilities and the events I was given the opportunity to attend, I received a fair amount of comments that reflected their diet-culture mindset. The ones that blatantly communicated the fear mongering of eating food that can’t be controlled. Such as, “You eat out all the time and haven’t gained a pound.”

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Coffee Connections

That comment may not mean a lot to you but as a (hopefully) future dietitian and frankly, human being who hopes people see me for more than what I look like, I don’t brush it off too easily. 1. Why do you associate dining out with weight gain? 2. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t weighed myself in a few years. 3. I truly truly hope that is not what you think about when you walk into a restaurant. However, you wouldn’t say that if a number on a scale doesn’t occupy space in that mind of yours.

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Hot Chicken Takeover

My weight may have fluctuated because that is freaaaking expected. It would be exhausting to do all in my power to not let my body change as it needs. I follow my hunger cues but I also know what it’s like to eat past satiety. Sometimes a double dark chocolate brownie tastes best on a full stomach and I’d call that normalcy. But I do just that; follow my hunger cues. I order whatever sounds best in the moment, typically stop eating when I’m satisfied and frankly, have much better things to turn my attention to.

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Zest Cold Pressed Juice

The more I ate outside of my home, the more I recognized that the emphasis is not on the food. It never is when I’m sitting down across from a beautiful soul.  It’s on that individual and our friendship that grows when we are sharing a meal. Although my camera roll is cluttered with plates and glasses from all over the city of Columbus, I don’t view it as that. Rather, it’s full of memories of who that second bowl belonged to (heyyo, Lez), what we talked about and what songs we sang together on the car ride to and from. It’s full of these edible, fleeing pleasures because hecckkya, food can look pretty and taste insanely good. However, to me, those can’t stand in the way of how it brings people together.

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From time to time, I would lose sight of this notion because I know that the majority doesn’t share my view of food and appreciation for all that my body does for me. I would think, ‘I need to stop posting when I’m eating out on social media because people are going to think I’m not “healthy”. They can’t see my pans full of roasted veggies and the ugliest shade of green smoothies (my roommates would actually make fake gagging noises when they saw it because ya, not the most adorable thing ever) in my home.’

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Zauber Brewing Company

I have come to learn that the molecular structure of food doesn’t qualify it for the category of “healthy” or not. PS, those quotations are there because I cannot take that word seriously anymore. What oh what does it even mean? Are you talking nutrient-dense or respecting your body’s natural cravings or restrictive eating with your “cheat meals” and “eat on a smaller plate to trick your eyes” and all that ugliness that seriously makes me cringe. Either way, placing such a big emphasis on food to determine an individual’s well-being is completely flawed. My definition of healthy has shifted over the past few years as I have been on the entire spectrum of health.

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Toast Bar

Spring of high school senior year, I was being readmitted into the hospital due to post-surgery complications. I will never forget the moment when my mom looked at my emaciated, helpless self sitting in a wheelchair and burst into tears as we were trying to figure out what was wrong with me. My body was failing me (I have a red blood cell disease) and I wasn’t doing a good job at taking care of it. I was going to school part-time because I was too weak to make it past lunch, let alone walk up the stairs. People started looking at me differently, I became very familiar with social isolation and I lost every bit of my vibrancy. Thankfully, a lot can happen in four years (far more than the fact that my scleras are now white instead of 18 years of anemic yellow woo!) 🙂

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Northstar

Spring of my college senior year, I was scheduling scone dates and walk n’ talks multiple times a week. I carried on with enthusiasm in my academics and on and off-campus involvement while finally treating myself with the delicacy that I had resisted for far too long. I was maintaining a Yelp online community while treasuring the in-person community of those in my life. I unraveled a new definition of the messy and loose and splendid term that is “healthy”.

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Meza Wine Shop

My version of healthy is:

Not working out after a night of little sleep because my body’s cortisol levels are much too high for any good to occur.

Making time for what I actually want to do and not what I feel expected to.

Drinking endless water refills of my healthy human (my side kick aka my beloved wooden water bottle) while saying yes to the cocktails as they come my way.

Scheduling plans on weeknights because I need friend time on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and not just Saturdays.

Getting two scoops because I’m in tune with my body enough to know that one will not be sufficient for my hunger on some days.

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Bake Me Happy

It was Christmas break when I identified this transition. That month, I fell in love with nurturing the bonds I have with my long-time friends. It’s when I grew a new appreciation for food because it’s social, not because of the actual substance. It’s when my body reminded me that it was starting to trust me again after years of immense stress that literally shut off one of my body’s systems. Yelp in its dynamic, relational glory played a huuuge role in that shift.

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Alchemy Juice Bar & Cafe

You may never call these pictures of beer and ricotta pancakes and fried chicken healthy. But I do. I know what it’s like to not to and that life is not cute. Through interning at an eating disorder treatment center last summer and Yelp the past two semesters, I have never been surrounded by people whose relationship with food is so normal. It makes me sad saying that because I wish everyone fell into that category. But these folks who I worked alongside for the past year taught me so much more than the skills I have added to my resume.

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Kittie’s Cakes

Staff meetings with dietitians and clinicians had veggies with hummus right alongside cookies and ice cream. Everyone went through the line, created a balanced plate, didn’t make any justifying comments about how they “never eat ice cream” and moved on with their day of saving lives. Same goes for my Yelp supervisor. Our conversations about food in the meals that we shared were only of total amazement for the chef or baker’s talents and creativity. He knows how to throw the party of yo dreeeamz and food is the medium for celebrating people. Ahem, Bleu & Fig.

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Acre Farm-to-Table To-Go

Without even knowing it, they taught me that when you let go of the skewed view of health that is unfortunately normalized today, there is so much more space to think and talk about and conquer the million and two other things that make this life remarkable. Go canoeing with a friend to appreciate nature and your friendship, not to “get your workout in”. Get that fresh loaf of cinnamon raisin bread at the farmer’s market because it’s your favorite flavor combo, not because it has the FDA-approved whole grain label. Apply for that internship or job (just might be your best decision ever!) that you would utterly love and be challenged by, not because you meet every single qualification.

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Hai Poké

Do what brings you joy. Because that is what makes you healthy in all of the multi-faceted ways it can!! Thank you wholeheartedly for teaching me this new definition of health, Yelp. XOXO TO THE MAX! ❤

Spend Your Free Time The Way You Like

Oh, this quote. I adore it.

large.jpgSome quotes you’ll stumble upon are cute and perfectly poised. Others are inspirational and give you a mood boost. This one has me writing a blog post to expand on it because I know it very very verrrry well and agree with it with all of my beating heart. And yes, I basically stayed home on New Years Eve this year aka went over to my friend McKenna’s house for rosé and lengthy life chats in our PJs.

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Susan Cain (woman behind the quote) is a writer, public speaker and podcaster specializing in introversion. Her TED talk in 2012 titled, “The Power of Introverts” is most definitely worthy of your next 19 minutes and four seconds no matter where you place yourself on the I/E spectrum.

I wouldn’t consider myself an introvert because I get energy off of being around others. Simultaneously, my mind is a riveting place to be so my most treasured awakening moments have come from thinking, reading and writing on my own. Myers Briggs tells me I’m a ENFJ. Let’s call it, ‘I thrive on quiet mornings and dancing in the kitchen and random conversations with strangers at the post office makes me content.’

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On to free time. In the past, I felt as if I was weekending “wrong”. Every time I would come home from college, my dad would ask me about the parties I go to. Well, those atmospheres make me feel more lonely than I do sitting at home by myself so my free time is spent otherwise. However, I still wished I could be a “typical college student” and have a fun time. For once, I wanted to go out and not feel guilty for all of the things running through my mind that I could be doing instead. I’m all about making new relationships all the time but it was seriously clear that I never felt like myself in those settings.

In the midst of those thoughts, I knew I needed women and men outside of those I share genes with by my side. I can’t expect to have friends other than my parents and siblings if I never leave the coziness of my home. My goal of marriage and motherhood will not unravel if I’m not going on dates. I won’t have much to put on my graduate school application if I am not volunteering and remaining active in the work that I’m passionate about.

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I’m taking a liking for research lately and came across a study about friendship published in the American Sociological Review. It’s titled the, “General Social Survey” but came to be known as, “The Loneliness Numbers.” In 1985, the research showed that Americans had three confidants that they could turn to for important matters. In 2004, that number lowered to two with 19% of the participants having no one to confide in. Concurrently, 53% had no close confidants outside of a spouse or family member(s).

Ouch. That makes me saddened to the extreme. But I really do get it because I know what it’s like to feel so isolated and disappointed by the world’s superficial expectations that you want to take life on by your single self. However, we were told to be people of community for a reason.

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It came about incredibly slowly and I cannot even track the shift but eventually, I made a decision to start doing what I actually wanted with my free time with the core intent to kick laziness away and start making every day an adventure. That came with the search for finding out what I love to do and a fair amount of the time, inviting people to experience it with me. Which spiraled into forming a flood of memories, deepening my self-awareness and distancing myself from comparison.

I would much rather road trip to a friend (she wrote a guest post a while ago!) and have her show me around her college town than use the weekend to catch up on sleep and other procedural to-do list items.

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I would much rather ride my bike by myself without any music over sitting in a car with people who listen to objectifying tunes on the top charts.

I would much rather make t-shirts with one of my best friends than go to a bar where my high-pitched voice cannot even be heard by the people I’m with.

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I would much rather create a social media calendar for the eating disorder treatment center that I volunteer at than knock out a series on Netflix.

I would much rather cook a colorful dinner for my siblings without a timer or recipe in sight over driving to get the takeout that we know too well.

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These preferences are not to say that I don’t do the latter parts from time to time. I attempt to live intuitively and am always taking my friends’ concepts of fun into account so my days always looking different. Like the picture above. I took these girls to the Fashion Meets Music Festival for my internship. Many of them liked the rap performances. I liked the hula hoop station. We both left so content!

Sometimes laundry, a documentary and a weird cocktail of apple cider vinegar, ginger, seltzer water and lime are all I want on a Friday night. I walk right past my favorite room in the house (the kitchen) and out the door to get a burger and fries if that’s what sounds satisfying. I find time at a bar with my high-pitched voice in tow to be occasionally enjoyable if I’m with people I love (and this stranger on the right who wanted to hop in the pic).

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I fill my days with what I like, not what I feel I’m supposed to do. I like listening to people dream, asking tough questions and watching the joy that a child brings into a room when nobody was smiling before his/her arrival. I also like how laughter comes about because the body literally cannot hold happiness inside. Watching the expanding and deflating rib cage of the person on the couch next to me is my favorite as well as taking myself out on coffee dates, doing nightly GNOTDs (good news of the day) with my former roommate and eating sushi on a rug with a pal and blankets.

Read. Cook. Run. Write a story. Only if that’s what you like. I wouldn’t recommend being an unadaptable brat about it but I also wouldn’t suggest taking what the world is handing you because it is the comfortable option.

Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn. – John Wesley

The world needs you to catch on fire in your unique way. Discover what this enthusiasm looks like without outside suppositions and both your weekdays and weekends will start getting a lot more exciting. I promise you that!

Saturday Satisfaction #7

Shalom and welcome back to another post of things that are bringing me satisfaction!! It’s the longest list in this series so far but why cut down things that are making me smile these days?!

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Purple cauliflower! Such a sweet elderly woman recently sold this to me at the farmer’s market. I’ve seen it before online but never before in person so I talked with her for a bit. She told me all about how its packed with antioxidants and that she wanted me to report back with my thoughts on it! I steamed half and threw the other half into a food processor to make “rice” of sorts. Tastes likes cauliflower, looks like a unicorn!

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My built-in car candle! This fella came about as an accident about two years ago. I have to explain it to everyone who gets in my car for the first time because their reaction is one of a disgusted surprise…oops! I ran out of small candles to put in my cup holder (and an air freshener would be too logical!) so I grabbed two candle melts and threw them in this crevice in the wintertime. It melts and hardens based on the temperature and fulfills its purpose of making my car smell good!

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The Peach Truck! The Peach Truck is a business in Nashville that does a annual tour every peach season to Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. I sadly missed the peach experience last year but was free to get a 25 lb. box when they were at the spot closest to my house! I’m waiting for them to ripen to make this peach crisp!

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This t-shirt! I saw it on Pinterest and plopped it into my Etsy cart a few days later. I typically don’t buy clothes because I would rather spend my money on experiences and have two sisters of the same size…ya, it’s a beautiful thing! But I thought it was charming, it got solid reviews and makes me excited to start my own garden one day!

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Clif nut butter filled bars (with a side of colored pens)! I usually like to make my own granola bars/no-bake bites because I can customize them and they are much more cost effective! But Kylie and Robyn (two of my favorite dietitian bloggers) both featured them in posts recently so I threw this and the coconut almond butter one into my grocery cart when I ran out of my snack stash. This + a side of almond milk = yumzaway!
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Care/of vitamins! I learned of these personalized, super affordable and research-backed vitamin packs from Alexis. I used to be anti-vitamins/supplements because I thought that I could get everything I need from the food I eat. As true as that is, I recently analyzed every vitamin and mineral in my diet in a nutrition class and found that I was deficient in a few areas that I didn’t want to be. So I visited their website, filled out the survey and now, get sent a monthly box o’ vitamins at a ridiculously low cost for their high quality products. The packaging is precious and their customer service is amazing!

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Cashew alfredo sauce! I just starting making my own nut milks (almond, hazelnut and cashew so far!) and wanted to use the remainder of the cashews for something fun. Cashews are THE BEST to play with because they are super creamy when blended. I just threw 1/4 cup soaked cashews (soaked for 2 hours), a wee bit of water, about 8 shakes of garlic powder and a pinch of sea salt into a magic bullet until all of the cashew pieces were blended. This is going to be a staple and my sister who things I eat weird food agreed!!

Blog posts about food as a biological need! Just like Kylie, I featured Rachael as one of my favorite dietitian bloggers. Last week, they both posted about how food is a biological need and how eating should be treated no different than breathing, drinking water and peeing. This may sound like an odd concept to you but both are SOOO worth the read when hunger is viewed as shameful too often. Visit Kylie’s here and Rachael’s here!

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This lemon poppyseed cake! Just because it looks delightful and delicious! Well, actually it’s pretty timely because today is my 22nd birthday (eeeeks YAY!). I’m choosing my grandma’s famous cinnamon rolls (best present ever!!) over cake today but if I were to bake something to put candles into, it would be this…or this beautiful thang!

I hope your Saturday is full of things that bring you satisfaction! I’m off to go learn how to play archery with my sisters from a man who was on the Olympic archery team!! Will it become a new hobby? Maybay baybay.