26. How do I feel about turning 26? To be honest, I’m not sure because most of the year I didn’t know how old I was…lol. I wonder at what point we stop keeping close track of our age. When I was little I ALWAYS knew my age, even down to the number of months I was. Maybe it’s once we are older than any law-restricting age? 16 for your driver’s license, 18 for voting, 21 for buying alcohol, 25 for renting cars without an “adult”.
The word “adult” still baffles me. Technically I am considered an adult, but I am still learning what it means to be an adult. I saw a quote a while ago that said, “Being an adult is like folding a fitted sheet. No one really knows how” and I couldn’t agree more! Though I will say that my interests are aligning more with stereotypical adulthood? Like, when I was younger, I used to HATE watching HGTV with my mom because I thought it was so boring and lame. And now when HGTV is on in the break room at work, I’m like, “dang, that kitchen looks amazing, and Joanna, there is no one else like you.”
So, as I turn 26 today, here’s a list of 26 things (in no particular order) that I have learned this past year.
1. Stop comparing! Comparing your talents, abilities, looks, and success to those around you helps NO ONE.
2. Having long-distance relationships with your best friends are really difficult but becoming pen pals is a wonderful way to stay connected.
3. There is nothing that makes travel better than traveling with your best friend.
4. Norway is the most beautiful country to take a road trip.
5. Sometimes I need alone time, and that’s okay!
6. Caesar salad is the BOMB.
7. Having an underground parking space amidst Minnesota winter is an incredible blessing (this year, winter lasted from November through April). Technically I’ve known this since I moved here in January of 2016 but having experienced two record breaking blizzards this year helped solidify this lesson.
8. Find out what is important to you and make them priorities in your life.
9. Minnesota wine is NOT the same as California wine. Sorry MN.
10. Document the “ordinary” parts of life, and not just the “glamorous” ones.
11. Don’t let your fears hold you back from trying new things. I hate heights, but this past year I faced my fears during our travel adventures because I didn’t want to miss out on amazing experiences, whether that be walking out onto Trolltunga, hiking steep vertical ascents on the side of a mountain in Lofoten, or swinging from a rope swing in a Puerto Rican jungle.
12. Spending time with family is invaluable.
13. Sleeping in a car seat WILL give you swollen ankles and feet in the morning.
14. Learning new skills takes time and patience. Don’t give up on those goals if you don’t see results quickly.
15. Ask for help if you need it. People always surprise me with how willing they are to help you.
16. If you wear a gaiter in below 0 weather, little icicles will form on your eyelashes from your breath’s moisture instantly freezing.
17. I still hate pickles.
18. Travel as much and as often as possible, even if that means exploring a nearby state park.
19. Find an exercise regimen that works for you and stick to it!
20. The headwaters of the Mississippi are smaller and calmer than I had imagined.
21. The Office will never get old.
22. Invest in experiences, not things. Things will fade away as newer technology emerges, but your memories from experiences will last a lifetime. (However, I will say that Alex and I invested in a couple large ticket items this past year, but these items have been used to further our hobbies).
23. You are going to fail at times, and when you do, embrace it, learn from it, and don’t let it hold you back.
24. There is nothing more refreshing than a flavorful watermelon.
25. Start investing in your health because the decisions you make now can either set you up for success or failure.
26. Don’t become so consumed with getting the perfect shot that you forget to put the camera away for a period of time in order to be present in the moment.
In celebration of my birthday I made Roasted Strawberry Honey Ice Cream. With an early summer heatwave these past few days I wanted to create a dessert item with fresh, seasonal strawberries. Personally, I love utilizing seasonal produce because then you can buy your ingredients from farmer’s markets! Friends, this ice cream is SO GOOD. Because this is a Philadelphia style ice cream it is easier to make than the more traditional custard-based ice cream. The strawberry flavoring is richen by roasting the strawberries in honey and balsamic vinegar. By roasting the strawberries in honey, the sugar will become embedded in the fruit which will help prevent the strawberries from freezing into little red ice blocks. This recipe requires an ice cream machine to make – click HERE to see which machine I use. This ice cream is best eaten soon after freezing, so no need to wait too long!
Roasted Strawberry Honey Ice Cream
Bake time:Serves: 8
- 16 ounces fresh strawberries
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
- Wash, hull, and cut the strawberries into quarters. In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the balsamic vinegar and honey. Transfer to the prelined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 30 minutes until the juices have thickened.
- Once the strawberries have cooled, briefly puree in a blender, allowing for small bits of strawberries to remain.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together the whole milk, sugar, and salt until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Stir in the strawberry puree.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, or overnight.
- Pour cooled mixture into an ice cream maker, and churn per manufacturer's instructions. Store in the freezer in an air-tight container.
NOTE: For easy serving, allow the ice cream to soften slightly by setting it out at room area for 5 minutes. Run the ice cream scoop under hot water before using. This will help to create that PERFECT scoop of ice cream!