Turning over a new leaf.

If you had told me a few years back that before turning 30 I would start considering whether or not to set my browser homepage to the Old Farmer’s Almanac website, I would have nodded politely and said “huh, interesting,” while thinking you were a psycho who should definitely get out of the fortune-telling business.

But… that would have ruined both of our careers, because here we are: I have a vegetable garden, and indoor grow-light system, and I obsessively check the weather every morning to determine if I need to water the plants that day or not, or if they need to be covered with a blanket that night.

But more than anything these days, you can find me combing the Old Farmer’s Almanac website for all of this information and more.

If you’re not familiar with the Old Farmer’s Almanac, allow me to enlighten you with this brief description from wikipedia:

The Old Farmer's Almanac is a reference book containing weather forecastsplanting charts, astronomical data, recipes, and articles. Topics include: gardening, sports, astronomy, and folklore. The Almanac also features sections that predict trends in fashion, food, home, technology, and living for the coming year.

Released the first Tuesday in the September that precedes the year printed on its cover, The Old Farmer's Almanac has been published continuously since 1792, making it the oldest continuously published periodical in North America.

It’s essentially the one-stop shop for everything you need to know about… everything. And I’m obsessed. I can check the weather, I can learn how to properly plant a leek, and I can read my horoscope - all in one place.

(I promise, this is not an ad. I’m just that obsessed)

Side note: I have no idea know who the original old farmer is, but I like to imagine they’re the stuff of legends… like, at some point, we all become the old farmer by following in their manure-ridden footsteps…

Obviously, I didn’t always feel this way. First of all, until recently I was absolutely awful at caring for plants. Dogs were my jam, but plants for some reason always seemed to wilt in my presence, and I didn’t really get why so many people were so obsessed with them. They just sit there, being green, and then they die, leaving you with a feeling of failure. I was always kind of baffled when people would come into the bookshop every September and obsessively request the newest copy of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, with a passion in their eyes. I’d curiously flip through it and wonder what the heck the big deal was…. and then… then I decided to start a vegetable garden and all of a sudden BAM! I, too, was one of the tribe.

So while the rest of you cruise through Facebook or Pinterest, you’ll find me reading up on how to plant according to the phases of the moon, or this actual article titled “Celery: Bland and Boring? Not so fast!

Because I think it’s time I embrace this new side of myself: I am Old Farmer. Hear me roar.


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We Really Need to Get Out More…

I don’t watch Game of Thrones (don’t @ me), so it’s been a relatively slow week for me, but today two adorable things happened and I need to share them with you all.

First, a dear young friend of mine emailed me and told me to search for “Turtle Chases Rabbit” on YouTube.

It was easily the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

Until I moved my gaze over just a few feet and saw this:

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Apparently she really loves turtles. Or bunnies.

It’s actually not the first time we’ve caught her watching TV. She absolutely loves it when we watch nature documentaries, so sometimes when we need her to sit quietly for a bit, we’ll do what all parents do: pop something on the tele. While for some kids it’s Peppa Pig, for Aloy, it’s Planet Earth (and now Netflix’s Our Planet). We hit play and before we know it, she’s up on the couch, chin on the armrest, and she’s focused.

We’ve learned that she loves chase scenes (which is probably why this one, even in its slow nature, caught her eye) and birds, but fish and bugs don’t do much for her. Lizards and snakes are hit or miss.

Either way I’m not sure if I should be proud or ashamed? On the one hand, it’s kind of a cool party trick, right? On the other hand, have we domesticated our animals so much that they’re even learning to become tv-watching couch potatoes who are more likely to experience nature on our televisions than in real life? One of the big benefits of having a dog is that they get us outside, right? Now all of a sudden, nature is just her toilet. And now that I’m thinking about it, I woke up this morning to find a giant poo on our kitchen floor, so maybe I’m not even doing that right…

In all honesty, though, I think this is the perfect solution for when the weather is crappy and we can’t spend a lot of time outside. While the dogs and The Mr and I all love the snow, we all tend to agree that winter camping isn’t for us. So… we go out for an hour or two to play in the snow, and then we come inside, snuggle up with tea and a bone, and watch the world from safety and comfort of our homes and internet connections. And at least we’re all learning more about the planet, right?

Now, of course, the days are getting nicer and the ability to get out and do stuff is growing, which thankfully means that our couch time is shrinking.

But I have to say, on rainy days, I’m really grateful for this amusing party trick.

And let’s be honest, she doesn’t seem too upset either.


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I DROVE!!!!!

Earlier this year we traded in our old Jeep and bought a new one.

New Jeep, who dis?

A post shared by Emelie Samuelson (@awkwardlyaliveblog) on

She’s amazing. Her name is Rubi and I love her so, so much. She is bright orange and so happy looking, and she has a leather interior, so the dog fur is so much more manageable, and it’s so freaking easy to take her top off, which I realize sounds really sexist and terrible now that I’m personifying my car, but we all know what I mean, so let’s not freak out here. After all, just because she likes to go around topless in the warmer weather doesn’t make her any less of a respectable vehicle. She’s beautiful and she flaunts it.

There’s just one tiny problem... She’s a stick shift. And I never really learned how to drive a stick shift. I mean, I had a few lessons when I was a teenager, but none of my cars ever ended up being manual, so I never had to get used to it.

So now, the only car that The Mr and I have is only drivable by The Mr.

And now my vehicle feels even more sexist.

Until yesterday.

Because yesterday, my friends, I. DROVE. MY. CAR.

ON. THE. ROAD.

IT. WAS. AMAZING.

Pretty shortly after buying it back in January, The Mr took me to the school parking lot and we practiced there for a bit, but then winter kept happening and it just never really came up again. We both wanted me to learn and get comfortable, but it never felt necessary. I don’t really ever go places without The Mr very often and so I didn’t need to ever drive myself.

But there’s a strange sense of imprisonment that occurs when you can’t drive yourself places - even if you don’t have to. The fact that I couldn’t go meet a friend for coffee without getting a ride from my husband was annoying.

So the other day I put my foot down, metaphorically speaking, and demanded to start putting my foot down literally speaking.

Not that he fought me on it. He doesn’t like having to chauffeur me around either.

So yesterday we were leaving church and he said “Hey, you wanna drive home?”

And so I did.

And I didn’t stall the car once.

And I felt so gosh darn free.

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I love you, you fools.

I don’t have kids, but The Mr and I go to a lot of high school plays. It’s not as creepy as it sounds, I promise. We’re actually the leaders of our small-town church youth group and so we always try and show up to major things that the kids are doing, like track meets, soccer games, and musicals.

We had two weekends in a row of being supportive mentors this past week, and while I’m sure a lot of you are thinking that this sounds like some sort of self-inflicted torture, both shows (Young Frankenstein and Footloose) were pretty incredible.

I was in drama club in high school, and there really is nothing like theater when it comes to formative group experiences. There’s a strange familial bond that occurs between you and all the cast and crew and you’re all doing some ridiculously embarrassing things for hundreds of people, but for whatever reason, those embarrassing things become awesome things. You hope.

When I was in elementary school, I played Little Red Riding Hood in a community theater production in which all these fairy tale characters ended up together for some reason. The only problem was that I had cut off all of my hair before the show, and in the ‘90s in Suburbia, Ohio the costume mom certainly couldn’t let a small pre-pubescent girl who might pass for a boy go out there to play a female character, so I was given a brown, shoulder-length wig.

The costume mom and the choreographer should have talked, though, because community theater wigs and somersaults do not get along too well.

It’s all on camera somewhere, that moment when I went head over heels and my wig flew off and slid across the stage….

But the show must go on, so I smiled, retrieved my wig, tugged it back onto my head, and flashed a quick set of jazz hands before stepping back in line with the rest of the cast to finish the song. It was embarrassing for a moment… but then it was awesome.

Because while I was up there, and even in later years when I found my place with the set and lighting crews, I was with my weird, temporary-but-it-didn’t-feel-like-it family. And as long as they were singing with me, nothing could embarrass me.

I’m always so unbelievably proud of every single kid that I see up on stage during a low-budget, not always in tune, musical production. It’s a really hard thing to do, even when you’re “just” a chorus member or a stage hand. I was one of them and I remember how hard I worked just to be a wig-wearing Little Red Riding Hood with no lines, or a dead woman in Our Town (ironically with more lines than Little Red Riding Hood), or the one who had to cue the black out at the end of the show.

My drama club teacher always used to tell us that the person in charge of pulling the curtain is just as, if not more important than the lead, because if that curtain doesn’t open or close at the right time, the whole scene is ruined.

Each and every part carries the show. If your wig falls off, people notice. If the dead woman moves, the magic is gone. If the spotlight fails to follow the actor, your show is suddenly for radio.

And that’s why I give a standing ovation as soon as the curtain call starts, when they send the minor parts out to bow. They worked so hard just to be on that stage and to make you truly believe that you were in a small town in the ‘80s where dancing was outlawed by a crazy preacher, or in an old, mad scientist’s Transylvanian castle watching a man revive the dead, instead of sitting in a high school auditorium where just last week a recovering heroin addict probably told all the students to stay off drugs.

New Jeep, who dis?

A post shared by Emelie Samuelson (@awkwardlyaliveblog) on

Today is April Fool’s Day, a day that a lot of people associate with trickery or being fooled. I, however, like to think of “the fool” or “the jester” on this day - the person who worked tirelessly to keep everyone else entertained, offering even just a few moments of escape from whatever was happening in their daily lives. They let themselves do ridiculously embarrassing and silly things just to see the world smile.

So here’s to the fools. May we all have even an ounce of their bravery.


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Ah, to be young...

In our quest to figure out what the heck is really wrong with my skeleton, we’ve been seeing a lot of doctors and specialists lately, none of whom seem to really have answers, but they’re all like a team of detectives trying to figure me out, which is kind of fun! The latest of many theories is that the problem is not just in my hips, but also in my feet.

Apparently I stand with my feet pronated, or tilted inward, and that is a big no-no.

So on top of trying a new anti-inflammatory medication every morning, taking CBD oil, doing daily yoga, and eating an anti-inflammatory diet, my rheumatologist has assigned me with the task of getting orthopedic shoes. And, I feel like with good reason, I’m not thrilled about it.

Now, I’ve never been that hugely into my appearance. Like, my sisters have always had questions about any given outfit I’ve decided to wear, and I spent a lot of my childhood and teen years in my brother’s hand-me-downs, which was interesting because he’s a 6’8” and I am not, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve figured out and defined my look in a way. I definitely tend to opt for comfort and practicality over style, but I know I like color. My clothes are always covered in dog fur, because huskies, and I’m not a big shopper or trend follower (let alone a trend setter), but there are people who I look to for inspiration when I need to buy something or put together an outfit, and as far as I can tell, those people aren’t societal outcasts, so I’m probably doing okay. I’m also pretty into not wasting materials, so things don’t get refreshed in my closet all to often. I tend to sort of just buy or acquire stuff and wear it until it falls apart. In fact, while facetiming my sister the other day, she totally called me out for wearing a t-shirt that was hers in high school. She graduated in 2002.

So when it comes to shoes, I’m not that different. I go for basics and I wear them until they can’t be worn any longer. I’ve got my brown boots for the colder months, my Chuck Taylors for the warmer months, and one pair of brown sandals for the beach days. I think I also own a pair of running shoes from when I tried to run that one time, but I don’t know where they went.

Come to think of it, I’m actually surprised the Fab 5 from Netflix’s Queer Eye haven’t shown up at my door yet.

All of that being said, I know enough about style to know that orthopedic shoes are kind of a fashion death-sentence. There’s a reason a doctor has to tell us to wear them, right? They’re like the grapefruit for breakfast of footwear. Nobody wants it, but it’s good for you and your digestive health, so we sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top to make it tolerable and then get on with our day.

Of course it’s not just the look I’m worried about, but it’s what the look says. I already knit and crochet. I enjoy a nice, warm cup of tea in the evenings before I go to bed by 10pm. I read physical books and complain about my back multiple times a day. I don’t like gratuitous sex or violence in my television and I’m very sad that I don’t have a good space in my apartment to set up a jigsaw puzzle to work on throughout the year. I got very excited when our seed catalog arrived last month, AND I’M ACTIVELY WATCHING AN EPISODE OF THE GOLDEN GIRLS AS I WRITE THIS, so… I’m pretty sure that the minute I put on a pair of orthopedic shoes I will suddenly rip off my mask and reveal to the world that I am in fact the oldest of bitties in the blogosphere.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not trying to harp on the elderly. I just didn’t think I would be joining them quite yet! I mean, I’m not even thirty! I was supposed to have a few decades left before all of this really started happening.

It’s not just that the shoes aren’t my style (they don’t make orthopedic Chuck Taylors, I’ve looked), but they’re also damn expensive. Obviously, I could go the inserts route, and that is what I’m going to try first, but what if that’s not enough? What if my doctors end up saying “Sorry, toots, but you’re going to be spending over $100 on every pair of shoes for the rest of your life. And you won’t like a single one of them.”

Because that’s the thing, right? I know my style isn’t “stylish” according to the rest of the world, but it’s my style. I like it. When I walk out the door, I like to think that people can get an honest sense of who I am and what I’m like before I say “hello.” They can see that I like nerdy things from my graphic tees and that I’m an animal lover from the dog fur that is at this point just woven into the fibers of every article of clothing. They can see that I’m outdoorsy from my worn boots and artistic from the white converse that I’ve doodled all over with sharpies. And that’s what I want them to see. I’m not ready for them to see my joint pain or my spina bifida right away. I’m not ready for them to see an old lady before they meet a young woman.

And I know that these are just shoes and that I’m probably being dramatic and building it all up in my head, but if it’s orthopedic shoes today at 28-years-old, how long before it’s something more, like a cane or a walker? 35? 40? Can I push it until 50?

The truth is, of course, that there’s no way to know right now whether or not things will get worse, or if these shoes will prevent any further issues from one day developing. All I can do is trust the doctors and give it shot. Because if this works, then that’s a great thing, and maybe it’ll end there. So I’m not going to let these new shoes cramp my style. I’ll decorate them with sharpies and glitter. I’ll sprinkle them with sugar and get on with the rest of my day. And they will be fabulous.


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Books and Bread and Leeks, Oh My! - Adventures in Homesteading

This blog post is dedicated to Ryan. He knows why.

Friends. I went full homesteader on Monday.

Okay, I didn’t exactly go out and get chickens or goats or cancel our electric bill and start pooping in a hole in our yard or anything, so maybe I didn’t go full homesteader, but I went pretty far. For me. And maybe only for me.

I woke up on Monday and I was READY. TO. GO.

First of all, I started organizing/purging my home library and it felt amazing. I started a LibraryThing account so that I could catalog all of my books.

Every. Single. One.

If you don’t know, I have a lot of books. Like… thousands. So far I’ve cataloged 361 of them. And that’s a little less than half of the ones I own on my “to-be-read” bookcase. The “read it and loved it” bookcase hasn’t been approached yet. That bookcase is significantly smaller than the TBR bookcase mainly because I take in a lot more than I can ever read, but also I give away a lot of books after I’ve read them.

Before you panic and you’re like “HOW CAN YOU SPEND THAT KIND OF MONEY?” don’t worry! I work in a bookshop and I get a lot of Advanced Reading Copies for free. But, I also buy a lot of books, because as anyone who loves books knows, they’re kind of an addiction, which I argue is a lot safer than meth, SO GET OFF MY NUTS, THE MR.

I forgot to take an actual picture, so I stole this from my  Instagram  story.

I forgot to take an actual picture, so I stole this from my Instagram story.

(Side note: I’m getting rid of a lot of books that I just know I’m never going to get to, and when I was trying to figure out what to do with them, I came up with some pretty good ideas, but one of them is a giveaway. I’m thinking I’ll do it when I reach 500 followers on Instagram, so go tell all of your friends to follow me so that you can maybe get a box of free books!)

What on earth does using the internet to organize my books have to do with homesteading, you wonder? Good question! I don’t really know, but it felt domestic, so I’m including it. I also did laundry. Does that count as homesteading? Sure! Why not! HOMESTEADING CAN BE WHATEVER YOU WANT IT TO BE!

Like… baking! Because I baked bread, mofos!! This one actually does feel homesteady because I made the bread not because I was bored and felt like making bread, but because we actually needed bread to make sandwiches for lunch for the week, and since the bread aisle at the grocery store gives me anxiety, I just said “screw it” and decided to make it myself, and you guys….

LOOK AT THIS BREAD.

I have to say, I made a peanut butter and banana sandwich (with a side of goldfish crackers, like an adult) with it the next day and it was maybe the best thing I’ve ever eaten. I’m never buying bread again.

In fact, I plan on never going to the grocery store again, you know why? Well, first of all, I can make bread now. Second of all, The Mr does the grocery shopping anyway, but third and most importantly of all, I PLANTED VEGETABLES. FROM SEED.

Last year we planted vegetables, and I’m going to say that it was a learning year. This year, we have charts! We have graphs! We have absolutely NO KALE! Things will be so much better.

This is just phase 1. At our height, we will have 87 plants started indoors and even more planted directly in the ground outside. I’m so excited.

This is just phase 1. At our height, we will have 87 plants started indoors and even more planted directly in the ground outside. I’m so excited.

Plus, this year, I’m planting in accordance with the phases of the moon, which I’m pretty sure makes me a witch now? I’m still waiting for my letter from Hogwarts, but this is like… Herbology 101, right? But with less screaming plant babies and more leeks. Also, for some reason I was feeling crazy and decided to plant Georgia Flame peppers, so… sorry, future me?

Anyway, all of this is to say that I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a little over a week, but I have a lot of books and bread and leeks to deal with.

But now I’m back, so yay! What have you been up to?

P.S. If you want to see even more photos of my homesteading adventures, go join the Awkward Ambassadors on Patreon! This blog is able to remain ad-free because of them. If you’d like to become an Awkward Ambassador and receive special perks (like exclusive vlogs or messages from my dog), please click here.

Emotionally Hungover and FANCY AF.

I’m a little bit emotionally hungover today because we were part of a huge retirement celebration for our pastor and her husband yesterday. It was all very lovely and bittersweet, and as is usually the case for things like this, the event brought a lot of people together who hadn’t all been in the same room in a long time. It was wonderful and terrible, and today I’m hanging out in bed for the most part.

I’ve needed a day like today - a day when I can just shirk most of my responsibilities and lay around in my bathrobe like a high society woman with zero problems. Sure, there’s a giant rip in my robe that I haven’t bothered to mend. It’s also covered in coffee stains (and I think paint for some reason?) and it’s the bathrobe that my sister had when she was in high school that I then stole from her when she graduated and that was…. almost 20 years ago?

BUT I STILL FEEL FANCY AF.

Did I wake up and eat cheez-its while I made coffee? Yes.

Did I spend a dumb about of time telling The Mr how cute our dogs are? Definitely.

Have I gotten any work done? You’re reading it.

And you know what? It has been perfect.

So, today I hope you put your nasty robe on and do the same. Call in sick if you have to. You deserve it. We all do.


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LET ME LOVE YOU

Galentine’s Day is tomorrow, which is by far my favorite made up holiday*, because not only was it brought to fame by the glorious Amy Poehler on Parks and Rec, but in general it is just a day to celebrate the glory that is a platonic, loving friendship between females. It’s the ultimate chicks before dicks day.



To celebrate I wanted to share possibly the most quintessential examples of pure female friendship awesomeness.

Yesterday I texted a friend who we’ll call “Lane” with some exciting news that I shouldn’t really share here (but I did share it on my Patreon, so if you’re an Awkward Ambassador, you already know.)

Me: *shares exciting news*

Lane: Ahhhhhhhh. Yes yes yes yes. *quotes and confirms great news* And yes you are amazing.

Me: Can you just follow me around and say things like this all the time?

Lane: I am so happy for you and yes I WOULD GLADLY BE YOUR LIFE HYPE WOMAN.

Me: YES.

Lane: You’re killing itttttttt. You have no idea how happy I am right now. I’m like beaming. My friend has given me a few weird looks.

Me: YOU’RE MY HYPE WOMAN, JUST SEND THEM TO A LINK TO MY BLOG AND MAKE THEM LOVE ME.

Lane: I WILLLLLL

I realize that to some of you this might seem like a ridiculous conversation, because it’s just full of caps-lock screams, but to many of us, this is what true love and excitement looks like. I feel like everyone needs a Lane in their lives - or better yet, we all should be a Lane in each other’s lives!

So… what has been happening in your life that you’re excited about? It’s Galentine’s Day (or week? whatever) and I want to celebrate you, my friends (even if you’re not a lady), so leave a comment down below and share your fun news and let me squeel with excitement for you publicly! You know what? I’ll even post about them on my instagram story. BECAUSE FOR THE NEXT 24+ HOURS I AM YOUR LANE!**


*This is a strange term to me because aren’t all holidays made up holidays? Like… none of them are just natural holidays, but we act like some of them are more real than others. THEY’RE ALL JUST DAYS THAT WE CHOOSE TO MAKE SPECIAL DAYS, PEOPLE.

**Unless the thing that you’re excited about is like… that you murdered someone who something. I probably won’t be excited about your murder. Or your murdering? Because “your murder” would be if someone murdered you… which also wouldn’t be great. You know what? Let’s just avoid murder all together.


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Making Butter - Adventures in Homesteading

If you’ve been following this blog you know that The Mr and I are starting to dive into homesteading. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go read this blog post) So far, it’s been going slowly, but well, which makes sense because it’s only February 4th, so there’s not a lot of farming that can be done in the dead of winter.

Since that’s the case, we’ve turned our homesteading efforts in a different direction: making stuff.

Like most beginning homesteaders, we started with a simple sourdough bread recipe. Or… The Mr did. I came home and was like “WHOA BREAD!” and then proceeded to unhinge my jaw like a snake and swallow the loaf whole.

“You know what this needs?” I said with a mouthful of doughy goodness. “BUTTER.”

“Oh, I’m way ahead of you,” The Mr said heading for the fridge. He rummaged around for a brief moment before popping up from behind the door holding a small glass bottle of heavy cream just as I shoved another piece of bread in my mouth.

“YEAH!!!” I jumped up and down with a level of excitement that is reserved for mild Taylor Swift fans during a brand new music video.

But I think it was totally justified, my friends, because here is the awesome thing: My brother and his wife gave us a butter churner for Christmas. Sadly, it’s not one of those giant wooden ones that you see in Williamsburg, VA, but it’s the next best thing because it’s an adorable glass mason jar with a churning mechanism screwed on top of it and it’s made and sold in Amish country, so YOU KNOW THAT THING WORKS LIKE A DREAM.

And you know what? WE MADE BUTTER.

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It was actually stupid easy. We just put the heavy cream in the jar and started cranking. Then came the coolest/most disgusting part….

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So at this point you have all this butter, but there’s also all this liquid on top, which is the butter milk, and you have to squeeze all of that out of the solid butter that you have. It’s squishy and gross and awesome, and for those of you with children, I highly recommend this kitchen activity. Oh! And then you can use that buttermilk in recipes like buttermilk pancakes and whatnot. It’s kind of amazing actually. (Side note, the liquid pictured above is not the actual buttermilk. It’s just water because you also have to rinse your butter. That’s right, your butter gets a butter bath.)

From there, you add salt if you want and viola! BUTTER.

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Ironically at this point we decided not to put it on the bread, but instead we made a giant bowl of popcorn and melted some of our delicious homemade butter for that and I REGRET NOTHING.

Have you ever tried making butter?