oh, & also a recipe

I almost forgot to post another recipe I tried out this week:

zoodles w/ creamy, cauliflower sauce, & coconut shrimp

It was tasty, rich, creamy, and had all the goodness an alfredo sauce has to offer. Check out the recipe here!

cauliflower shrimp mushroom2

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puppies & coffee make everything better

I got a new nephew yesterday!

& when I say new nephew, I’m talking about my fluffy, furry, squishy, adorable Goldendoodle nephew, Frank :)


I mean, seriously, how can that little face not make you smile? And let me tell you, he’s even cuter in person :)

I spent my morning with my sis-in-law, [but really other sis] & her new bundle of fur, chatting and drinking iced coffee. Puppies are the best thing on the planet, [aside from maybe new babies, I’m assuming?]. They have the cutest little, wet tongues, they explore, play, and give the best little cuddles. I’m so excited for this puppy to wrap my bro and sis around it’s little paw.

It was also an awesome morning, [puppy aside], to spend some time with my sis. We have had the craziest, busiest summers so far, so it was good to catch up, cry and laugh, and grow closer. I told her about my last appointment, she gave me some good squeezes, offered advice, & just agree and said outright: it just sucks & I hate it!
And I think that helped the most!

Over the past week or so I have had so many people reach out with such kind words after my last appointment. My heart has grown so full knowing, still, that I am not alone with the challenges Tony and I face. It’s hard to remember sometimes when my emotions try to take me to not so happy places.

I know there’s not always good things to say or sometimes it’s hard to know what to say in general. I would have never known what to say to someone in my position, it will get better? It will be okay? It’s hard. & I completely understand why. However, it’s always nice to know I have people who think about me, pray for me, & who are always there to support us.

A little always goes a long way & I appreciate every single one of you.

xo

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a tuesday recipe: cheesy enchilada quinoa skillet

Happy Tuesday!

I decided I’m getting out of my funk in the kitchen. So, I have a new recipe for all you loyal readers to try out this Tuesday evening :)

One of the things I love about this recipe is the fact that it takes two seconds to cook, [well, not literally two seconds, but probably 15-20 minutes? Pretty short!]. You take a handful of veggies, a cup of quinoa, some cheesy goodness, cook it over medium heat, and you got yourself a stomach growler.

My love for being creative in the kitchen and eating healthy gets the best of me sometimes – but in a good way! I become obsessive with finding new ideas and sometimes pause my dinner-cooking until I find the just right recipe, [hence the quiet cooking front]. But you will enjoy today’s recipe & it will fill your tummy perfectly!

Be on the look out for another great recipe this week – zoodles & shrimp, with cauliflower cream sauce… yummm.

Find the full recipe here & try it out!

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thinking out loud

After coming off of an amazing weekend with my girlfriends, celebrating a bachelorette in a city I love, I’m back to twirling in circles, fighting back tears.

On Thursday of last week I had another appointment at the Mayo Clinic. I met with the MFM team, [Maternal & Fetal Medicine.. aka.. the High Risk Pregnancy team]. The doctor I met was amazing. She had read my file up down, researched all trials, publications, and studies, & was ready to deliver some facts.

Fact #1: My type of cancer has an 85% re-occurrence rate.

How did I not know this about my own cancer? Needless to say, it terrified me. I had to hold back tears as the doctor continued with other findings; I tried to be strong & keep it together. But to be honest, I’ve never felt so scared. I tried to tell myself, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t know; it’s a good thing to not take up space in my brain, but it is definitely not something I can now unhear or forget. It will always be in the back of my mind.

Fact #2: Although the five year study will not be published at the end of my three years, indications of the research show five years is going to be better than three years, [in terms of longer survival statistics, least likely to re-occur, & overall quality of life].

Well, that settles one of my decisions. Five years it is, I guess.

Fact #3: There are still options for me.

As hard and as scary as all this information was to hear, I am still trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Life will never be as I planned, & sometimes that makes me really sad.

However, 85%??

I guess I’m going to be that 15%. Because, someone has to be, right?

xo

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eaux claires fest = the best fest

Picture this:

swaying colors in the breeze, a distance melody of Polica, clusters of frisbee players, pockets of sunbathers, an ice cold Summer Shandy in your hand, and the sizzling sun on your skin.

This past weekend was Eaux Claires Fest and it was unbelievable; a weekend I will never forget.

Justin Vernon and his creative group of collaborators delivered a truly amazing weekend. From marching bands walking around the nearby campsites, to surprise stage appearances, and local art tents, the weekend was beautiful. There were 22,000 in attendance, [as described from the festival’s curator as 22,000 hearts beating as one], three stages, and a multitude of genres of music.

Tony & I and two of our good friends, [hey Amanda & Phil!], walked into the festival at around 3:30 on Friday afternoon. The festival grounds was set in the banks of the Chippewa River, down a winding path through the woods, and under an art installation that took your breath away.

When I speak of swaying colors, this is what I speak of; it was absolutely dreamy.

We kicked the festival off the first day listening to Low, Doomtree, Spoon, The Tallest Man on Earth, The National, and Lizzo. Two of the musicians we heard [Doomtree & Lizzo] are based out of Minnesota, so it was awesome to hear them perform at the best festival. The 90 degree temperatures did not deter our moods and our music lovin’ attitudes. It was hard to pick a favorite out of Day One, but if I really think hard about it, Doomtree probably topped the charts for me. [You know my love for hip-hop, especially GOOD hip-hop], but coming in at a close second is definitely Tallest Man on Earth, [very Bob Dylan-esque].

The surprise of Day One was after the headliner – The National – performed. We decided to stick around for another show and headed up the hill and through the woods to the other stage.

The path through the woods was illuminated & dusted with spotlights in the trees, which lit up with different greens, blues, whites, and reds, [they changed with the bands performing on the main stage]. There were also lit lanterns and what looked like lit window panes. It was ghostly, but beautiful.

My blurry iphone picture doesn’t do it justice, but it was goose-bump worthy.

Day One ended with a hair-rising performance from Lizzo. She came out with a bang at 11:30 at night with a Ludacris ‘Move Bitch’ remix. Between her infectious energy, dance moves, and heavy beat, I’m torn at what I loved most.

Day Two.

The most important day; Bon Iver day.

The other concerts of day two were just as wonderful. It was hard to rally in the heat for a second day, but the music was simply too amazing. I eventually didn’t care that I sweat dripping down my legs and through my sundress; it was Bon Iver day. I didn’t let my sore feet get in the way of what I had been anxiously waiting for the past two years.

We listened to Haley Bonar, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinars, Polica, Indigo Girls, and the Sufjan Stevens throughout the day. A lot of time was spent in the shade, which was perfect. As we sat and listened, I warned the group that I may cry during Bon Iver’s performance; Tony rolled his eyes a bit, [he knows I’m so emotional], but my good ol’ friend Amanda said, “that’s okay Kaylee, music is religion.”

How a true and fitting way to describe my feelings towards Bon Iver and their music? I went on to explain how much their songs, lyrics, and overall melodies have gotten me through the past two years. The hardest and worst part of the concert was to try to enjoy all the fantastic music before their performance.

& then, just like that, it was ten o’clock. It was time.

22,000 hearts beat as one as Justin Vernon took the stage. I’ve never been at a concert that was so silent – in a good way. 22,000 souls were holding their breath, waiting for the first strum of music to fill the air.

& when the music started, it was the best thing I’ve ever heard.

I had to remind myself to breath.

I had to tell myself I wasn’t dreaming.

I was captivated.

Justin made the performance one to remember – he brought up different artists: The Staves, who sang a hauntingly gorgeous melody with his second song, & the No BS! Brass Band, who accompanied him during the song For Emma, [one of my favorites!]. He sang two new songs during his encore; both amazing. But it was the song before his encore that finally did me in – big crocodile tears traveled down my cheeks as the song ended.

The Wolves, Act I & II:

Someday my pain
Someday my pain will mark you
Harness your blame
Harness your blame, walk through

With the wild wolves around you
In the morning, I’ll call you
Send it farther on

Solace my game
Solace my game, it stars you
Swing wide your crane
Swing wide your crane and run me through
And the story’s all over
In the morning, I’ll call you
Can’t you find a clue
When your eyes are all painted Sinatra blue

What might have been lost
What might have been lost
What might have been lost
What might have been lost

Don’t bother me
(Don’t bother me)
What might have been lost
(Don’t bother me)
What might have been lost
(Don’t bother me)
What might have been lost
(Don’t bother me)
What might have been lost
(Don’t bother me)
What might have been lost
(Don’t bother me)
What might have been lost
(Don’t bother me)
What might have been lost

Someday my pain
Someday my pain, my pain
Someday my pain
Someday my pain

It’s most likely not a song about cancer, but it speaks to me, like a lot.

Thank you, Justin Vernon, for inviting me along to a magical weekend. It was one for the books.

xo

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a sweet greenie treat

This morning Ace and I got up & went for a thirty minute run.

It felt awesome.

I’ve been trying to kick a mean headache all week, [let me tell you- running was the last thing I wanted to do], but I think getting out in the fresh air helped. I’ve gotten away from my exercise routine and I miss it.

Another plus from this morning was mixing up a great green drink, [another habit that’s slipped a bit]. I love sweet green drinks, especially when I’m trying to get back into the swing of things. I have some appointments at Mayo next week, [back to meet with the high risk pregnancy team & Dr. Delaney], and I want to feel my absolute best going into that meeting.

So today, enjoy my sweet greenie recipe! You can also find it under my greens tab :)

Off to clean out my closet.. [heavy sigh].


Sweet Greenie Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 handfuls of green grapes
  • 3 lengthy pineapple slices

Method:

  1. I always mix together my liquid and leafy greens first, but it’s not a must, just helps with consistency.
  2. Mix together all ingredients and drink up!!

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a favorite place; duluth minnesota

What a weekend.

Tony and I were in Duluth, the prettiest town in Minnesota.

We were lucky enough to live there for four years through our college experience & venturing back up there this weekend made me realize how much I miss the town, itself. It was a balmy 90 degrees most of the weekend [a rarity for Duluth, even in summer], & it couldn’t have been more perfect.

The weekend held a wedding of a friend near to our hearts – a fellow football teammate of Tony’s – we were extremely lucky to be a part of their big day.

Tony had a lot of scheduled events, he was a groomsmen, and his weekend kicked off with a bachelor party on Thursday night. I enjoyed some quiet time in our hotel, caught up on some my this & that’s, and had a good night’s rest.

Friday, Tony went golfing & to lunch with some friends and fellow groomsmen.  I was left to explore and do my own thing & let me tell you – it was nothing short of amazing. I walked down to some of my favorite spots in Canal Park, I took in the lake walk [twice!], and read my book under a shady tree. My day reminded me of all the beautiful things the city has to offer. Even though the humidity was thick, there was a crisp breeze along the lake which kept me cool. I dipped my toes in Lake Superior, just to remember the frigid water temperature & was surprised. It was pleasantly cool and refreshing. I felt like a little kid again, splashing around, getting my legs and arms wet to cool down. The water in Lake Superior is the clearest, most beautiful water, with a bottom lined with smooth, circular stones of all browns, reds, and grays. It is truly a lake that glistens.

In the springtime in college, on Saturday or Sunday afternoons, friends and I would pack up our homework, beverages, and occasionally a frisbee or two, and head to Park Point, one of Duluth’s great beaches. We would lay blankets down, get comfortable, and pretend we were doing homework. There would be music playing from fellow ‘studiers’ & the day would get away from us quickly. I remember laughing so hard my stomach would ache, my cheeks would get sun burnt, and I never got my lesson plans created for practicums the follow Monday.  We would have contests of who could stand in Lake Superior the longest, [in early May, giant icebergs would still line the beaches], drink a little too much vodka lemonades, & forget everything.

It’s a cliche, but these were some of the best days of my life. Being back in my city brought back all sorts of memories I never want to forget.

 

The wedding on Saturday went off without a hitch. The atmosphere was soft, with candle light and vases filled with baby breath, and glamourous; the groomsmen wore skinny ties and suspenders and the bridesmaids wore black lace.

It was a beautiful weekend for a beautiful couple.

Here’s to another busy week: another trip to Duluth with girlfriends Tuesday, DOTD [drinks on the deck] on Wednesday night, a very bitter sweet goodbye dinner Thursday, & Eau Claire fest Friday and Saturday!! [I can hardly contain my excitement for Saturday night – Bon Iver!!]

Happy Monday my tulips! xo

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