Ben and Meghan's Wedding

On a warm, sunny, late April day, this beautiful couple walked down the aisle of the St. Paul Cathedral to say their vows. The bride's soft smile never left her face, while her eyes simply glowed every time she looked at her groom. But my favorite part? The look on the Ben's face as he watched his bride walking down the aisle towards him ... 


Summer Pesto

Some of my most poignant memories of summer come from the hours I would spend with dad in the family garden. During those evenings after dinner we would battle stubborn weeds, pesky mosquitoes, the quickly fading light and the sweat dripping down our backs as we pushed to finish, 'just a few more rows' Too stubborn to quit, we'd end up covered in mosquito bites, but happy and content with the finished results.

Those soft summer nights are some of the ones I miss the most now that I'm living in bustling St. Paul where I've learned to block out of the noise of traffic. I miss those evenings ... and the hard-earned produce that would come out of that garden.

Hence, as soon as I had a patio to call my own, and barely before the danger of frost was over, I had tiny little herbs and seeds tucked into pots outside my doors. And this past week I harvested the first fruits. The poor basil plants needed to be plucked in order to keep growing at a healthy rate, so the entire two handfuls of fresh basil leaves went into the making of pesto. It was simple, flavorful and so very easy ...

What you'll need:

fresh basil leaves
olive oil
garlic cloves
grated parmesan cheese
your choice of pinenuts, walnuts, etc.

Combine everything but the olive oil in a food processor and blend, slowly adding the olive oil until you reach the consistency you desire. I had only a small amount of basil to work with, so the results ended up in about a cup of pesto.

Salt and pepper to taste and then use as you see fit...

...though I must say that creamy pesto pasta and chilled white wine go incredibly well together ...


Hiking the Adirondacks

It was chilly at 9:00 a.m. when we piled out of the car at the trail-head and started pulling on our layers and packing the bags. I knew it would grow warmer as we started to climb, but in the moment I couldn't stop shivering. Partly because of the chilly breeze but also partly because I wondered if I'd actually make it. This was the first peak I was attempting to summit and I was not sure what to expect...

We found our trail-head and settled into a quick pace. Completely surrounded by the wilderness that is the Adirondack mountain range, it was quiet and undisturbed except for the wind whistling through the tree tops and carrying the scent of pine needles. My confidence started soaring as I smugly thought, 'Oh, this isn't so bad,' and after roughly 4 miles of hiking, I told myself I could do this all day It was exactly at that point, however, that I was told that everything we had just hiked was simply to get us to the base of the mountain, and that the real climb was about to begin...

...And climb we did. We took the most direct route which meant the most vertical. The trail consisted of giant boulders, exposed roots, trickling stream beds, and and sheer walls of rock. We climbed, hauled ourselves up, avoided icy patches hiding in the shade and attempted to keep our balance as we scaled boulders. There were a few anxious moments as I glanced over my shoulder only to see the edge of the boulder I was on drop hundreds of feet below me...

Finally, and only after losing the trail and having to shimmy through a crawlspace in the rocks in order to keep going, we made it. The wind blew hard and cold but the ranges, valleys, lakes and wilderness stretching out below us made every step of the way completely worth it.



When June rolls around, an all-too familiar feeling accompanies it ... the intense desire to sleep under a starry sky, to wake up to the smell of wood smoke, to experience the satisfaction of setting up camp in the middle of a deep forest, and to soak up the stillness and quiet of a being the only ones about for miles. With summer comes a need to escape from the noise, bustle, and busyness of city life ... if even for just a few days...

... thankfully my friends are just crazy enough to agree with me on this. And as I'm planning and scheming for this summer, I can't help but look back at the weekend that Nataleigh and I took on Jay Cooke State Park in Duluth, MN. We backpacked into our campsite, carrying our firewood for the weekend due to the presence of rain, hooked our food up into the trees to avoid any unwanted visitors, set up a tent next to a burbling stream, watched as the darkness of night slowly overtook us, attempted to fall asleep even though our nerves heard every twig break and every scamper of the wood creatures about us, and woke with the sun to another beautiful day. The quiet, stillness, beauty, and the deep conversations around the campfire were absolutely worth the sore muscles, the mosquito bites, muddy clothes, smoke-filled hair and the occasional worried whisper of "Was that a bear?!"

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