Peace Driven Anxiety & Labor Day Weekend

This was my view this past weekend as I sat on the porch checking in on work.  The only real noise came from birds, a calm in the air emanated through the fog, and there was no where to be with any sort of urgency.

fuel sweat grow: #takethelake maine wedding

It was beautiful, calm, and so far from my norm that I started to actually get peace driven anxiety.  I officially fail vacation.

The good news is that I managed to rein it all in and march on like a normal(ish) person thanks to the incredible surprise gift of wifi and was able to check in virtually to the happenings in Charleston and Charlottesville.  I’m not going to say I wasn’t sad to be missing out on what looked like some amazing packed classes of my favorite people, followed by the first UVa Football game in Charlottesville and beach trips in Charleston, but I had something a little more rare waiting for me in the afternoon — one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever seen (pinterest wedding boards included).

fuel sweat grow: #takethelake Wedding in Weld

The wedding was held on a beautiful property in Weld, Maine, recently purchased by Linda Bean (of L.L.Bean), with the ceremony looking over the lake and the reception in an incredibly beautiful and newly renovated barn…that was almost immediately filled with 140 screaming, dancing, and laughing people.

fuel sweat grow: Wedding in Weld #takethelake

The wedding details and decor were gorgeous, and even more impressively, were largely created and arranged by the Bride’s family members.  I have always known Emily to be artsy (exceptionally amazing at cookie design), but I had no idea that it was such a strong family gift.

fuel sweat grow: #takethelake Wedding in Weld

In addition to this being a beautiful wedding for two beautiful people, it was also a mini-reunion with one of my very favorite people from college.  I met Laura while we were both undergrads at UVa, and she quickly became my workout, healthy eating, and too-many-selfie taking friend who was a constant in the rest of my college career.

fuel sweat grow: weld wedding selfie

After graduating from UVa we both moved to Philadelphia, Laura to go to med school and me to return for my first job in my hometown.  Over the next three years I got to meet her growing friend group from medical school, which included her brother Daniel (groom) and his now wife, Emily.  Amazing people all around, and the faces that can be seen in a majority of the pictures from my early – mid 20’s.

All in all this was one of the most beautiful and rustic weddings I have ever been to, and was complimented nicely with the high energy, major love, and complete involvement of both families and all of their friends.  And there’s not much that can top that.

The remainder of the long weekend was wrapped up back in Belgrade Lakes, in the kitchen with my Aunt, making a pretty awesome Monday night dinner before what turned out to be the worst / longest travel day of my life on Tuesday.  More on that later 🙂

Thanks to the Spectors and Godbouts, and all that fall in between, for making the #takethelake #spectorwedding such a beautiful experience.  And, of course, many happy years to Emily and Daniel as they grow their own arm of the family.

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Pausing in Maine: Vegan Lasagna + Higher Vantage Points

Life has been stuck on fast forward lately.  Time is moving fast — too fast — and while all the balls still seem to be in the air, I needed to hit a hard pause, away from all the noise.  So, in the spirit of my new theme, ‘reconnection,’ I took off to Augusta, Maine…on this tiny plane.

fuel sweat grow: tiny plane to Augusta, ME

Destination #1: Belgrade Lakes.  My dad’s youngest sibling, my Aunt Patty, as lived here for 20+ years with her family, enjoying what feels substantially like the opposite of my life — and it’s wonderful.

Food and cooking has always been a central bonding force for this side of the family, and without fail, our first catch-up conversations happened in the kitchen a short 5 minutes after my arrival.

The project: vegan lasagna (pretty far out of my carnivorous wheelhouse, but surprisingly awesome).

The How to:

1. Sauce.  The sauce that goes into this dish is a lighter sauce (non-cheese laden) and, in this case, homemade.  [Ingredients: sundried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, fresh red pepper, 1c packed basil, garlic and lemon juice (+ a little water for consistency), all blended together.]

fuel sweat grow: vegan lasagna

2. Zucchini Ribbons: With a peeler, ribbon out zucchini, and spread it across the sauce, slightly overlapping.

fuel sweat grow: vegan lasagna

3.  Vegan Ricotta: Cashews, salt, pepper, and garlic.  Soak the cashews overnight, drain, and give it a whirl in the food processor with the garlic salt and pepper.

fuel sweat grow: vegan ricotta

4. Keep on layering until you’ve got a sweet stack of goodness packed together. Top with a little fresh basil, and then take a DEEP breath in through your nose.  That might just be all you need.

fuel sweat grow: vegan lasagna

Thirty minutes after I arrived in this quiet space we had a full meal packed and ready in the fridge (p.s. the lasagna is no bake — just a raw dish of vegness) and I was in bed before 10pm, which is usually a pipe dream for me.  Sleep was perfect with windows open, and what felt like fall air breezing in.  No alarms, no noise, nothing being demanded or expected from me in the morning, and it was wonderful.

I came down to this sweet note (Aunt Patty is known for her love notes, and even the most logistical ones are chock-full-o-love).  So, as you can imagine, I set forth making myself some coffee and spent the morning taking my time with a few things on my mind, going through the personal to-do lists that I never seem to get to, and ignoring any sense of urgency in the matter.

fuel sweat grow: sweet Maine mornings The rest of the day was spent talking, hiking, eating, cooking, and eating some more. The timeline was flexible, the moments were fluid, and nothing was set in stone.

fuel sweat grow: belgrade lakes, Maine

This was the view on one of our hike/walks, and could not have been more perfect.  Sometimes it’s hard to tune out or even just organize all the noise in our heads (at least it is for me).  I can’t tell you exactly why, but for whatever reason, there’s a clarity that comes from a little higher altitude and a broader view of the landscape.  Thoughts are more clear, perspective is reflective of the higher vantage point, and conversations are more productive.  I’m a believer in the big picture, the root and the purpose of people, moments, and lessons, and what possibilities exist in each experience and choice we are presented with in life — but I’ll be the first to say how damn hard it can be to maintain that mindset when faced with the small moments, minds, and crossroads in life.

This was only day 1, but somehow it felt like it could have been a week, and I’m so grateful for the pause, and such a beautiful place to go and recharge.  Dinner and some more amazing recipes to follow up, but for now, I’m disconnecting.