Take Us Out to the Ball Game!

Hi, Friends! Speaking of Friends… I started the TV series for the first time. They are taking it off Netflix in 2020, and my friend Sara has been begging me to watch it. So it’s now or never! I’ve tried once before- and couldn’t get halfway through the first episode. She said to give it five and then make a decision. I am on episode 2 and already liking it a bit more than the first time around. I love having something light and fluffy to watch in the background of working on case studies, other assignments, etc. because the school content/life feels pretty overwhelming right now. It creates a nice balance.  When life itself feels stressful I tend to enjoy comedies and baking shows (that’s specific) even more- and when life is feeling more day-to-day or easy going I crave more dramatic shows.

I’m already digressing, and I haven’t even begun the post, haha. So where were we? June 10th was back to reality. My sister and I hunkered down at Peets and enjoyed our coffee while I studied and she worked on her to-do list.

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We came home early and whipped up some chicken and cheese quesadillas for DJ.

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For ourselves, we enjoyed some roasted asparagus, a seafood blend from Trader Joe’s, and some cauliflower mashed potatoes. Plus, (not pictured) but my sister made some absolutely to-die-for lentil stew. I have to get the recipe from her to share it here.

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On the morning of July 11th we enjoyed acai bowls with lotsa cashews, PB, and strawberries.

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And off to studying we go! We went to Philz coffee this time. I have always been “anti-Philz” because their coffee literally makes me shake (and I’m loyal to ol’ Peets). But we wanted to have a change of pace and gave it a go. We actually loved it- and since we both got decaf we didn’t get the coffee jitters. It was quite delicious!

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I also love that they offer oat milk! This was my first time trying it, and this might be my favorite milk alternative. It’s so wonderfully creamy.

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In the evening, it was Bachelorette night! We wrapped up around 6 pm at Philz and headed home to make dinner. Halston’s good friend (and basically my other little sister), Marissa, moved to the area the week prior. Since she is a big Bachelor franchise fan too, she came by our apartment, and I made us all tacos (half regular/half vegan) with all the fixin’s to gear up for the show. Can you guess which is which? It was such a fun night! I’m on the edge of my seat for the finale tomorrow..

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On June 12th we worked at Starbucks for the day and then went to an impromptu SJ Giants game since we finished up everything we had set to do!

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We walked around scoping out where we’d want to eat. Decisions, decisions, decisions!

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We settled on Turkey Mike’s for food… usually the go-to.

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We even got featured on their Instagram page with all our yums in hand!

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Found our seats!

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We loved our veggie subs… but I always particularly look forward to the coleslaw and baked beans from the stadium.

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We then popped into the press box to say hi to DJ & I took him a hot dog..Naturally, I had to get a photo of it before giving it to him- haha. He’s a trooper.

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And now- for the star of the show- The ever-so famous San Jose Churro!!!

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These are a “must” try if you go to a game. People say these churros are better than Disney World’s. I have never actually tried a churro before (That I can remember?), so I didn’t know much what to expect.

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It was tasty! I don’t know that personally I would go out of my way to have one- I think I’d prefer just enjoying an ice cream cone or garlic fries, but if you do like churros- these are the ones to try!

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And last up on the list- Somi Somi! Halston wanted to save this place for her last stop before flying out the next morning.

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It did not disappoint! I am forever convinced this is the best ice cream treat you can ever have.

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On June 13th, I had to drop Halston off at the airport- talk about a sad morning! But it helped knowing I would see her again in a month 🙂 I started the morning with an acai bowl again.

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Then I went to Philz in the afternoon to study with Smalls. I guess I can’t honestly say I don’t like Philz anymore, hehe.

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In the afternoon I enjoyed some tilapia with asparagus and a murasaki potato with vegan butter and Fage.

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The next few days were just a ton of studying and packing. I’m still on my stuffed sweet potato kick as an afternoon snack with vegan cheese, boca crumbles, an unnatural amount of jalapeños and Fage.

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On June 16th I was able to make it outside for my traditional walk route. I will say I am so excited to find a new route here! There is a river right near us, so I think that will be the place to start looking for one.

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On June 17th, I worked hard all day on school work, and then since I hit a mental wall, I texted Tammy to see if she could come over to watch the Bachelorette! Right before, I ate a dinner of tilapia, murasaki potato and a ton of roasted veggies.

8ac74fe7-ff30-4f03-b9a2-fe339fd5fc81During a commercial break, we tried out some face masks Tammy bought over. We laughed pretty hard at how the mask refused to stay on my face, and every time I breathed the mask around my nostrils would flare in and out. bahah. But the face mask did feel amazing! Even the next day my skin felt silky smooth. They are called 111 Skin Rose Gold.I added an Amazon affiliate link here if you’re interested!

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June 18th, back to Philz I gooo.

e8be47ab-302d-43b4-a243-a43a3bc3f3adMidday for a change of scenery I went to our apartment conference room to study. 92f9e0aa-1a7e-43fc-a255-12580e9904c0

I think I forgot to mention this, but funny(ish) story- I was trying to use up everything in our fridge/pantry before the move. I had a chicken-based dish I wanted to make for DJ later in the week and just needed a couple chicken breasts. Since he was going to the store I asked if he could pick a pack up. He got a large, I mean massive, super-sized pack of chicken … a week and a half before the move, lol. I cracked up when I saw it, and he was like, “What? You said to pick up a pack of chicken!”. I soo appreciated his effort- he just went a bit above and beyond (with enough to feed an army), but it gave us a good chuckle … or shall I say cluckle . 🐔 Anyways, I had to get creative to use it up, so for dinner one evening I made him some chicken tacos instead of beef- same ingredients otherwise. I didn’t know if it’d throw the whole taco off, but he actually really enjoyed them!

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I was craving my garden bowl per usual. This is definitely my summer go-to.

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On June 19th I made BBQ chicken with rice and a wedge salad.

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Eating amongst the boxes.

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Time to get back to studying!
Questions for you:

  • Do you like the show Friends?
  • Best churro you have ever had?

xo <3

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A Sister Day in the Bay!

Hey hey!! Wow, I think this is the longest I’ve ever gone without blogging since I’ve begun. I miss y’all tons! But guess what- we finally have Wifi?! Wooohooo! The last few weeks have been a real whirlwind, but with the best of memories mixed in. School and trying to find our footing in a new city is taking up every second of my spare time. I hope to get catch up on blogging during the couple days I have between semesters in August (If I’m not sleeping the whole time, lol).

I am still catching up from way back in June. After our day in Wine Country and the most unforgettable pizza dinner at Capo’s, we stayed the night at my SIL Amy’s. In the morning, Hal and I had plans to run the city. And yes, I mean physically, literally run (but I guesssss you could metaphorically say we ran the city that day too 😉 )! She is maybe the only other person I can think of that would agree to get around the city this way. While packing for the weekend I advised Hal to bring warmer clothes. SF is usually pretty mild/chilly, even in the summer – hence the saying- “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”. Wellll, it would have behooved me to actually have checked the temp- and it ended up being 95F! Whooops. We were a bit overdressed, but weren’t about to let it deter us from our plans.

Since we were going to be out and about for the day, we took our leftover pizza and snacks, and filled a bag of ice from Walgreens since I forgot my cooler (Womp Womp). We were not about to let all that food go to waste though! Surprisingly, this makeshift cooler worked out really well. We placed the bag in a little plastic lid I had in the trunk, so anything that melted didn’t actually get on the car lining. The lengths we go to to protect our food, amirite?!

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And we are off to the races!….

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Our first stop was Arsicault– a bakery known for their croissant.

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We took our croissant next door to Breck’s since Arsicault doesn’t have much in the way of coffee.

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We grabbed some iced coffees to enjoy with it! I rarely get iced coffees, but this day was givin’ me a hankerin’ for one! It was so smooth and creamy. You could tell it was extremely high quality beans.

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Now onto the croissant… I have tried several croissants in SF-  Tartine, B. Patisserie, etc. and this one easily was the best (with Tartine as a close second). The only other croissant I’ve had that may come close is the one from Summer Moon I went to with my momma in Fort Worth (which I think they may have a Summer Moon in Austin?! I passed a sign for one the other day!). Anyway- the combo with the iced coffee is about as good as it gets. I get cravings for this on the dailyyy now.

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After the most delightful start to the day, we saw a Farmer’s Market around the corner we had to check out.

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This breaddddd. I am always drawn to the carbs like a magnet.

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We continued running, running, and running some more..

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Soaking up the views along the way…

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Our next stop was the Cable Cars, but first, we needed to find some hydrating fluids to quench our thirst. We popped into the Walgreens once again (we spent a whole lotta time at the corner of happy and healthy that day). They have the cutest little Ghirardelli section too! I have never seen that in a store before.

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After grabbing some vitamin water to refuel, we also popped into the big Macy’s across the street and cooled down for a second while perusing the super cute summer selection.

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And finally, we grabbed our tickets for the cable cars. It was about a 45 minute wait. Important Tip:We learned later that you actually can jump on at any cable car stop (you don’t have to go to the main one- you can avoid a ton of waiting time if you walk just about .25 of a mile up the road!).

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I had never rode a cable car before this either (I know– How can I call myself an SF pro if I haven’t even rode a cable car?!)… I was excited to share this SF first with my sis and not lay awake at night feeling like a fraud (JK that never happened- well not often). For my history people- Cable Cars were invented in SF, so it’s pretty much a “must” on every tourist list. If you want to read more about the history click here!

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It was actually way more fun than we even anticipated! We did it more for the novelty of it, but wow- what a blast!

 

The views of the city as we strolled along were awesome too.

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Pic or it didn’t happen.

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We ended near Ghirardelli Square, and then continued our run to our next spot….

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Boba Butt! The Corgi inspired Boba shop!

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Their boba is SOOO good!!! Pictured is their strawberry smoothie boba… the definition of refreshing and flavorful! We have to make sure to bring Pool Noodle (Amy’s Corgi) here sometime so she can get him up on the photo wall!

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And you know I couldn’t help but sing, “I like big boba butt smoothies, and I cannot lie!”

We then jogged through China Town to a place on the bucket listGolden Gate Bakery. They are famous for their egg tarts. I didn’t know what to expect since I wasn’t super excited about the ones I tried from City View- but people said these were in a league of their own. The shop also has extremely unpredictable hours- there is even a Twitter account that directly addresses, “Is the Golden Gate Bakery open today?”.

We waited about 30 minutes (not too bad of a wait from what I’ve heard!). The bakery itself was pretty cramped inside, and there was hardly room for more than a few people at once. We eagerly ordered our tarts and headed outside to try them out!

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The verdict? Woah— woah— I get it!!! I totallyyyy get the hype. It’s hard to describe the flavor because it’s unlike anything I’ve had before. It was steaming hot and the bite was the most wonderful balance of savory, sweet, and crisp with the crust. The egg flavor was there, but in a muted way that wasn’t overwhelming. Think almost like a sweet quiche. Like I said– just perfectly balanced in every way! I definitely should have gotten more than the couple we ordered, but we had one more food spot we wanted to try.

Next up we were going to go to Haight Ashbury for their Street Fair, but then we heard there were a bunch of naked men walking around so we decided to change our plans, lol. SF, you’re something else, I’ll tell ya what. Rather, we decided to go to The Mission- an area in SF with a ton of great restaurants and shops!

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My sister particularly loved it because it has a lot of Latina influence. She feels right at home when she hears people around talking in Spanish.

Hal was having a Peruvian craving, and I’m convinced Ceviche is one of the greatest things on earth. So naturally, we popped into Limon Rotisserie for a little snack before heading home.

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We shared Ceviche Mixto. This was the best ceviche of all time ever ever. This dish will definitely be the one to beat! Halston said her fiance’s mom’s is better- so when I saw her for the wedding festivities I told her we have to all get together and have her ceviche sometime! Her ceviche definitely is on that “ultimate” food bucket list- which I should publish on here one day. Hmmm. Digressing..digressing…

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Back to the food at hand— the taro chips it was served with were really tasty! I have never had these before, but I know the brand Terra has some- so I may pick them up in the store if I see them.

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And a crisp, Diet Coke was the perfect refreshing beverage to pair with it. I know how bad they are for ya, but on a rare occasion nothing sounds better!

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And here is the summation of what we ran for the day!

75ee0c58-fbc6-4e5d-a3ea-e53d21f8221dIf you like to run, this is such a fun way to see a city. Just make sure to do it with someone and map out the safe places in town… and maybe don’t wear leather workout pants in 95F weather!

That evening we just enjoyed lotsa leftovers! (mainly the ‘za, of course 🙂 ).

Question for you:

– Please share something going on in your world. I miss blogging so much & reading what you’ve all been up to too!

xo <3

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Wine Country Part II & Capo’s Pizza!

**I started this post on the evening of July 4th, just as an FYI for some temporal reference 😉 I’ve just chipped away at study breaks**

Hey everyone! We are officially in Austin! We arrived last night. It was a pretty smooth trip out, but an emotional and high stress morning today. I’ll discuss all that more when I actually do our travel posts. BUT we did have a productive afternoon, I made it to my study end point for the day, and then our evening of the 4th was a blast. Currently, I am sitting on the floor in my new “study spot” with my mood lights wrapped around our fan to give some sense of calm lighting- It may be a fire hazard at the expense of my own aesthetic comfort- gotta choose your battles, ya know? (I’ll take a picture now and put it in the post when I have Internet again). Our movers don’t come until the 9th, and we leave the 10th for the wedding- so it’ll be a bit before we are living normal again- it’s all guuud though.

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Peep the Ugg boots from 8th grade that I still wear as slippers around the apartment, totally a normal thing, ya?

I have Dynasty, a new show I’m trying out, playing in the background. I downloaded it from the Lobby’s WIFI since we don’t have any yet. I’m also eating Halo Top ice cream because I couldn’t find my normal Dreyer’s Double Chocolate Brownie favorite at the store, and this is probably my second favorite. It’s 11:37 pm, but my body is still on Pacific time, so it feels much earlier to me. I am so eager to discuss all things Austin and our last whirlwind of a 36 hours.. but for now I will try to catch up on everything else from the last month, hah!

In the last recap, I summed up the first part of our sister jaunt through Wine Country. The next winery we went to a winery called Mckenzie-Mueller! I would be lying if I didn’t say I was a touch excited about the shared name; some of those things that bring ya amusement as a kid never die. Ya know growing up when you’d be at a tourist shop and find your name on the little key chain? It’s that same thrill (even if they spelled it differently, close enough). Also, side note about Platypus tours: I think it’s so enjoyable that you don’t know which wineries you are going to until the day of- it adds an element of surprise- I didn’t even know that this winery existed!

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This was easily the most beautiful landscape of the day, although the overall feel was a bit more “stiff” than the others. It was so quiet, which was nice, but the host had an air of arrogance that created a somewhat impersonal, cold vibe.

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The tasting room was in a fun little nook- surrounded by the owner’s paintings and wine barrels.

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So meta, ya know?

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We headed out to the vineyards and had a lesson about basically every varietal.

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While it was fascinating, and the educational element of wine country is my favorite part, it felt a bit too long in light of the heat. They eventually let us loose to enjoy the grounds ourselves and find respite in some shade in between our galavanting! After getting a bottle for DJ of Sauvignon Blanc, my sister and I went to the vineyards for pics. **If you do visit Napa/Sonoma and want to purchase a bottle, they will often waive the tasting fee. This bottle ended up coming out to about $5- and since Hal and I shared a tasting it was only about $10/person. I highly recommend doing it this way if you do the tours with multiple stops!**

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We loaded up into our Tour Bus and headed to the last spot!

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And to conclude our tour, we went to Starmont.

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At this point in the day the heat was at a high… circa 105F. We decided to move inside after initially starting the tasting outside because the heat was nearly unbearable.

It was a nice winery– but felt more “commercialized” than the others- more of a tasting room than an actual winery I’d say.  I think it’s the type of place the locals like to come and hangout on a lazy Saturday. But I think if you want the full Napa experience, pass on this one and go to an actual vineyard.

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Time to head to the Ferry!

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When we got back into the bus to head to the Ferry, the driver had cheese and crackers for us- yummmy!! Can’t beat that.

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After exchanging Instagram handles with friends we made from the tour, we hopped off the bus and waited for the Ferry back from Vallejo to SF.  The Ferry never gets old! I just loveeee it.

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It was a nice and smooth ride with stunning views.

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And for Halston’s bday dinner… We went to Capo’s! It was only about a mile walk from the Ferry, so that was easy peasy. This recommendation came from Kate at LiveintheNautical. When she visited SF, and we met up for the first time, she highly recommended Capo’s to us. I had been eager to try it since, but it seemed we always had something else lined up every time we ventured into the city. One of Halston’s favorite foods is pizza, so I was hoping to give her one of the best pizza experiences of her life! (Also side note: This is the sister restaurant to Tony’s we had tried a few weeks prior).

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I immediately loved the entire feel from the brick walls to the red leather seats. I would describe it as casual, edgy, classic, yet somewhat romantic, all at the same time.

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We started with the Quattro Forni, a pizza cooked in four different ovens.  YES- FOUR. In 2012 this won the “Best of the Best” Pizza award in Las Vegas’s international Pizza Festival. This is cooked in a 500 gas brick oven, deep fried, then topped with all the yums. THEN, it then returns to a 500F brick oven, then a 650 brick oven, and lastly a 800 wood burning oven. I don’t even know if this would be classified as “pizza”—it had more of that feel of a cheesy bread because of the light airiness of the crust- but think the best GOSH DARN cheesy bread you’ve ever tasted in your life. I dream of that flavor (especially the crust). And they only make 10 per day! I made a note in our Yelp reservation that we would like to try one and called to confirm that day that it’d be available. I was determined we’d try one, haha. It was better than I could have ever imagined. Such a uniquely phenomenal creation.

Next up was the pizza-pizza- we had their “cracker thin” pizza- half Farmer’s Pie with mozzarella, provolone, goat cheese, white sharp cheddar, house honey Calabrese sausage, bacon, Guan’s assorted mushrooms, farm eggs, peppadews, arugula, oregano & romano (this half was mainly for DJ since we knew we’d be able to take him some home) and half Haight Ashbury (vegetarian) with mozzarella, provolone, feta, pesto, onions, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, broccolini, roasted red peppers, garlic, oregano, romano. We shared a slice of the Farmer’s to give it a review, but our heart was with the Haight Ashbury. The cracker thin crust was everything I could have dreamed of in a pizza crust- light, crunchy and balanced. The whole pie definitely satisfied our “pizza tooth”. Halston said it was some of the best she’s ever had too!

She was a trooper letting me pull out my obnoxious, incredibly non-subtle, food light to get these shots, lol.

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And that’s a wrap! My sister-in-law, Amy, graciously let us stay with her that evening since we were set to frolic in SF the next day! We had fun catching up and chatting with her all about her solo trip to New Zealand.

I’ll recap the next day’s happenin’s in a separate post.

Question for you:

  • Did you have a nice Fourth of July?

xo <3

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Friday Favorites #24!

Happy Friday one and all! Although..maybe Happy Saturday when you read this considering I am writing it Friday evening. I finished up everything I wanted to get done for today, so I figured why not share some favs?!

  1. It’s-It ice cream sandwich! On a podcast I was listening to, the host was raving about how tremendous these are. I have passed by It’s-It brick and mortar shop plenty of times on Interstate 280, but have never thought to pay it a visit.

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This place was established in 1928 and has gained fame in San Francisco with this ice cream sandwich of vanilla ice cream in between two oatmeal cookies that are coated in dark chocolate. I was bummed we were going to miss out on this famous creation considering we wouldn’t have time to try them before we left. BUT.. while at Safeway (local grocery store), I stumbled upon them in the ice cream aisle!!!

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I had high expectations… and it met every bit of them. Highly recommend tracking these down if you are the west coast. It’s unlike any other ice cream sandwich I’ve ever had before. YUMMMAYY.

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2. Peets. I am soaking up every single last moment at Peets. I have gone nearly every day this week to study. The last day I knew I’d see my favorite barista, we exchanged numbers to stay in touch. I’ll miss her!! I gave her my blog name too- so if you are reading this- Hi, Connie! You make the best Cafe Au Laits in all the land! <3

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Connie has been there from the beginning when I studied for my NCLEX before I was even a nurse. It was hard to say goodbye, but I will always be thankful to know her. She rooted us on through so many seasons & continues to do so. Endless learning & growth took place at Peets. It’ll always be way more than a coffee shop to me. (I know it’s sappy, but it’s true).

3. Living minimalistically <– dat a word? We got rid of so much while packing up & since our movers came Tuesday we have been living with the absolute bare minimum. I feel like having so little around really has cleared my head, made me more productive & focused. It makes me want to get rid of even more! (Pictured is my little study spot I made since we have no couches or chairs to sit on right now- hehe).

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4. Tofu Tacos!! Yes, you read that right. When I first made these, I was a bit nervous how DJ would feel considering tofu is a bit spongier than meat. But he loved them! So much so he was still talking about them the next day.

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Roughly estimated recipe: They are super simple to make- just sauté mixed peppers and white or yellow onion in a sauce pan over medium heat with minced garlic. Once caramelized add crumbled extra firm tofu with your choice of vegan (or regular) Mexican cheese. Then add  your decided amount of taco mix (for a batch of taco seasoning : TBSP chili powder, 1 TBSP ground cumin, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika & 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper- sprinkle in as desired). Add a little bit of slice jalapeno for an extra nice kick!

5. Sunsets. The sunsets have been just gorgeous this week. I have tried to take moments away from the busyness to just enjoy a moment in awe of the beauty. God is the ultimate artist.

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I’ll miss these mountains <3

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6 & 7. Sonicare electric tooth brush with extra soft bristles & activated charcoal toothpaste. Okayyy, this combo is a game. changer. It was time for me to upgrade my tooth brush & with all the tea I have been drinking lately I feel like my teeth are staining (weirdly, coffee doesn’t stain them – only tea?). I was a little skeptical about how activated charcoal would work, but WOWZA Mctrowza…. I woke up after using it in the evening and already noticed the stains were disappearing! The toothbrush is awesome too- it feels like it is thoroughly cleaning my mouth, but without any harshness on the gums.

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8. Ok, a bit embarrassing to admit, but guys, I am lovin’ this season of The Bachelorette. I adore Hannah. I think this may be my favorite season yet actually. I don’t know any spoilers either, and I don’t feel like there is a clear front runner. Cannot wait to see what happens these coming weeks! I hear it’s wild…..

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9. Nathanwpylestrangeplanet on Instagram (good luck saying that three times fast)… is my new favorite Instagram account. DJ showed it to me, and it basically is a couple of aliens that make parodies of humans through cartoons. They are ingenious & hilarious.

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10. Always Be My Maybe. Sigh, I just loved this movie (even though it did take me over three weeks to actually finish it, lol). I am not a fan of chick-flicks usually. I typically think they are just so darn predictable… but this one.. this one I loved (even though it was just so darn predictable 🤪). I think it’s because it took place in SF & I loveeed all the local shots & references. I don’t know that I would have enjoyed it as much if we didn’t live in the Bay Area… but it’s so cute nonetheless & anything Ali Wong I am here for.

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What is one of your favorites from this week? Any new food items, songs, TV shows, etc.?

xo <3

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**There are affiliate links in this post, but all opinions are my own!**

Sister Time & Wine Country Part I!

Hey hey, long time no seeee!! Oh man, you know what’s tough? Sometimes the times in life when you need to write and process the most are the times that are the most chaotic and don’t allow much free time to do just that! (Don’t count how many times I used “time” in that sentence, or this one). But I’ve gotta say, at this moment, I’m actually enjoying the chaos. It’s incredibly stressful for sure, tears have been shed, and there are times I don’t feel like I can handle it all- but things are going much smoother than I could have ever imagined, and I feel like we are almost in the clear! We also have a lot of the really huge stressors behind us, so now much of that anxiety is getting replaced with excitement and anticipation! Also, although each day is go-go-go from super early morning till nearly midnight, the adrenaline from everything is working wonders. We officially move out on Sunday.

Currently….My brain is fried, I cannot do another lick of studying, so I am treating myself to just this one night to do a blog post!

We left off the evening my sister arrived. On June 5th, my Sis and I woke up early to get to work! Halston had tons of “to-dos” on her list for the wedding & of course, I had a bottomless pit of reading and studying and assignments. We started the day with avocado smoothies– Hal talked about them for weeks leading up to the trip since she got hooked on them last time she was here. We had one every day of her visit this time around- and now I can’t have one without missing her!

I took a midday break to post some items on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. I’m never using Craigslist again with the success we’ve had through Marketplace. I’m so stoked about it- it’s just so easy.

In the evening we whipped up some stuffed sweet potatoes again. We made ours each a bit differently, mine with extra tzatziki and beets and Hal’s with extra green goddess dressing from TJs. These also included tofu, roasted peppers and onions, artichoke hearts and hummus all stuffed in Murasaki potatoes. We chatted out on the balcony & enjoyed the momentary quiet from the studying/wedding details.

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On June 6th we went to Peets during the day to get shtuff done, and then came back in the late afternoon and worked out on the main apartment community deck. Smalls was soaking up the sun… I would have hated to disturb him..so I figured I should just let him be 😉

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We made massive salads in the evening with all ingredients in the fridge- mmm mmmm! Halston is all aboard the massive salad train too.

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Side note: DJ had a home-stand during the week she was here (where he leaves basically at 730 am-ish and doesn’t get home till 11ish); that’s why he isn’t around in any adventures, sadly. We missed him!

Anyway, we took an after-dinner walk around Main Street before I hit the books again.

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Aaand it was the same ol’ on June 7th. We were very productive through the week, but basically it was just study/eat/workout/study/eat.

To shake things up for dinner, we decided to try TJ’s Cauliflower Gnocchi! We didn’t add much seasoning to it because I wanted to get a feel for the base to see what I could jazz it up with next time.

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They were super yummy. I think next time I’d like to add some type of nice parmesan on top! A red sauce would work well too. We ate them with tilapia and roasted veggies from Chef Hal herself. Halston and I eat essentially the same type of diet, so it was fun to tag- team dinners throughout the week.

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I started packing that evening after getting to a stopping point I had planned for the week. We made sure to try to get a good night sleep because we woke up around 4:45 am on Saturday June 8th to get a workout in. And finally- after a long week of studying and wading through wedding logistics we were ready for a day of fun & relaxation! We scarfed down our coffee and avocado smoothies and headed out to celebrate my sister’s birthday in….. NAPA!

We headed from Cupertino to the Ferry Building in SF where our wine tour car would be picking us up. I booked us through Platypus Wine Tours again since it was such a phenomenal experience the first time around with Kelsey (and it’s very reasonably priced).

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The tour bus was scheduled to pick us up in front of the Ferry Building at 8:45 am, and we had about twenty minutes to spare after grabbing our Ferry tickets for the trip back…so naturally we had to grab some pics!

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When it was time to load up the car, we found ourselves surrounded by about 8 other people from all over the world- Denmark, France, Canada… It was fun to get to know them all throughout the trip. That’s something I so love about San Francisco- you meet people from truly everywhere and anywhere with the most fascinating lives and stories.

First stop first: Auburn James.

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This was a unlike any other winery experience we’ve had before. The whole tasting room vibe was supposed to make you feel like you were entering a home, and it really did feel like we were all just hanging out in a living room.

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We were given our tasting and then showed around the vineyards.

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The vineyards were beautiful! But it was HOT HOT HOT. Our Platypus tour guide did say they were a little bit worried about wildfires that day. I think we could have all done without that little tidbit of knowledge.. eep!

6486d0ac-f7b3-4bfa-b416-ea35be5d910f1d6c75ed-5548-4dd3-8a3f-97408f06db4a I wouldn’t say this winery is a must, but it was a lovely experience nonetheless. I think it was the most educational out of the four!

Second Stop: Hagafen. This was our favorite of the day for several reasons…

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Oh, and another bonus, they had games! We attempted a round of cornhole, but the wind kept catching our bags, so we didn’t do too hot.. meaning it was probably comical for any bystanders watching, haha.

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Before we knew it, it was lunch time! yaa buddy. They had vegetarian dishes for Hal & I. Platypus called before hand to make sure they accommodated any dietary restrictions. So kind! We enjoyed every nibble of our veggie sandwiches accompanied by hummus, pears, and a lentil salad that was to die for.

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And dessert were these sweet little strawberries and cream muffin bites.

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I’ll recap the second part of wine country in a separate post! Happy birthday again, Sista!

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Questions for you:

  • What do you call cornhole? I know it has a variety of names depending where you’re from.
  • What time of day do you prefer to workout?

xo <3

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Meeting another Blogger, Golden Boy Pizza & The Emporium!

Hi, everyone! I hope you had a nice weekend!

Jumping straight on into the recap…On May 29th and 30th, it was just study study, ya know the drill by now- but also, ya can’t get started without breakfast, right?! Breakfast time is one of my favorite parts of the whole day & I have been eating this one on repeat the last few weeks: an Avocado smoothie with PB toast & honey.

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On May 30th I went to the local coffee shop to grab a cafe au lait and studied with Smalls in our apartment community office/study room. In the afternoon was Boys and Girls club. The kids are done for the summer & it’s been a bit emotional coming to that realization. I can’t wait to get plugged back in once we’re settled in Austin!

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On May 31st I had a very lovely morning! I met up with a local blogger, Kalpana, from surreyfarms.net at Great Bear Coffee in Los Gatos.

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We have been friends in the blog-o-sphere for years but have never met up before. It was absolutely wonderful to meet her and have such deeply rich conversation for a couple hours- I felt like we could have talked all day! And the coffee was fantastic as a nice bonus 🙂 It was certainly the highlight of my week. If you want some mouth-wateringly, beautifully prepared and delicious recipes, gorgeous garden pictures, and heart-warming family adventures I highly recommend heading over to her blog! She is a true inspiration of mine <3

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In the afternoon I enjoyed a purple sweet potato with beets, artichoke hearts, hummus, and Fage.

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I studied all the rest of the day and then while walking through our complex I realized there was something going down…. A hoe-down to be exact!

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The management team had an entire western themed party going on for the complex complete with a petting zoo for the kiddos. I texted DJ to see if he wanted any food, but he had already had BBQ at the stadium for lunch. Still, so fun and a nice gesture for the apartment crew to put this on!

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DJ finally had an evening to breathe from work, and I hustled on school work so we could enjoy a Saturday evening together the following day.

On Saturday June 1st we both were productive during the day and then around 5:00 pm we headed to San Francisco. I read Smalls in the car on the way down up (I always want to say down for some reason?!) and actually made a huge dent in my chapter- it makes me optimistic that I’ll be productive on our road-trip to TX. So where was our foodie adventure for the evening you ask? Welllll, lemme telll youuuu! I’ve been on a serious pizza kick lately and have been on a mission to find the best!

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People swear by Golden Boy Pizza as the best in the city. The wait was about forty-five minutes, but finally we made it to the front to order. It’s a casual spot- you can technically eat inside, but it’s mostly standing room. People usually just take their pies to go.

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They are famous for their clam and garlic pizza, so we tried that and a few other flavors: DJ had their pepperoni and sausage, and I had their cheese and clam/garlic.

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We took our slices back to the car and blasted the heat while chowing down. This pizza was very good. DJ and I both prefer thin crusts, and this is more of a focaccia, but it worked! It wasn’t too dense or doughy- it was light, airy, and had a lovely crunch. The flavor of the clam and garlic was pretty tremendous and unique, but DJ preferred their meat-based slices. I don’t know that I would wait that long again for it- but I am so glad we finally tried it! I see why it has its popularity, but at the same time I’m not sure it’s 100% worth the hype.

After, we headed over to The Emporium to continue our date night. The Emporium is a massive arcade for adults. They have a live DJ, play a giant movie, and have countless of games that will make you nostalgic for the 80s and 90s.

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It was a blast!!! Probably one of my favorite things we have done in SF yet.

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DJ beat me at the basketball game, of course (hello, two time national basketball champion 😉 )…. but I held my own in ski ball, hehe.

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When I was going through our pics on the way home I realized we were photo bombed by a cartoon painting who weirdly had similar eyes to mine?!

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On June 2nd it was back to it! Smalls is almost too big for the treadmill reading/walking routine, but if the chapter is somewhere in the middle of the book I can balance him, ha!

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June 3rd, same same, mixed up with my new favorite snack of a purple sweet potato, artichoke hearts, hummus, and Fage– can ya tell I’m on a kick?

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I decided to make some homemade hummus with leftover tahini that evening. This is the best batch of homemade hummus I’ve made thus far, but I stilll don’t like it better than TJ’s quartet.

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I also made Shakshuka from TJ’s. I heard about Shakshuka from Kori’s blog, and when I saw TJ’s had an easy throw-together one I figured it’d be a great way to start it out!

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I served it with a couple eggs, brown rice, and naan bread. It was so stinkin’ yummy. This will be added to the lineup!

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On June 4th I started the day with the uszh, yoozh? usz? (however you spell the short of usual).

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In the afternoon, I threw together a little snack that I quite enjoyed of cauliflower mashed potatoes, tzatziki, artichoke hearts, beets, and chik’n tenders from Lightlife.

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My sister was flying in that night! Before she arrived I had some errands to quickly run at Santana Row.

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I marveled at this cozy sunset before heading to the stores.

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After a happy reunion with my sissy, we went back home, I whipped up some stuffed sweet potatoes with tofu, hummus, roasted veggies, and green goddess dressing for us both, and we caught up while eating out on the patio.

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I was initially planning on doing more school work, but I was so excited about my sister being here that I couldn’t think about focusing. Instead, I made DJ a big batch of his favorite chicken curry and naan that would be good for about three meals for the week.

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This feels like a good stopping point.

Questions for you:

  • Are you having any food cravings/stages right now?
  • Have you watched Chernobyl on HBO? I hear it’s the new GOT, and DJ and I both are considering starting it after we finish The OA.

xo <3

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Friday Favorites #23!

Hey everyone! I just finished up a big night of studying and am taking a quick break before starting to pack. My packing hours have been basically 12 am to 3 am… so naturally gonna squeeze in a blog post in between. Normal, right? Let’s get to it- shall we?!

  1. My sister was here this past week! We spent majority of it in coffee shops studying for me, wedding planning for her, but we made the absolute most of the time we had. I can’t wait to share some of the adventures we did squeeze in. I’m having that post-visit depression since I dropped her off at the airport this morning, but cannot wait to see her and the rest of my family in a month flat for the wedding!

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2. The Woman in Cabin 10. While I don’t have much time to read right now, this book makes me want to sacrifice my couple hours of sleep a night to read. I’m not super far in, but it’s turning out to be a terrific mystery/thriller. I’ll letchya know how I feel when I finish it up!

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3. Everything But the Bagel Seasoning from TJ’s. I am obsessed. This stuff is oh so yummy- especially on avocado toast!

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4. Açaí  bowls. It’s been unusually hot here lately, so these make for a great breakfast or lunch. I put in a Sambazon açaí  packet with a frozen banana, 4 oz. (ish) of almond milk, salted cashews, and PB powder to mix in! Yum-mayyy

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4. Marine Layer Respun Program. I heard about this from Em’s blog and just love this whole mission! If you turn in 5 tees, you get $25 credit to the store, and they recycle your old shirts to make new ones! Win-win allll around. It was extremely easy- I just dropped off my shirts to the store and gave them my e-mail which had the credit in it within a couple hours. You can also mail the shirts in if you wish too.

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5. Averagefashionblogger. Dare I say Courtney is the most relatable human on the internet. I just discovered her Insta a couple weeks ago, and she has me cry-laughing.

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6. PiperWai Deodorant. I have had this sitting in my bathroom drawer for a while, and with the move coming I have been on a mission to use up allll cosmetics possible. When I ran out of my carcinogenic Secret, I decided to give it a go. I haven’t had great experiences with natural deodorant in the past, but dannnng this works. I am never looking back! And I am excited to hear they now have a roll-on version (the regular version is a little bit crumbly and messy). Highly recommend checking this out- fun fact: they had their start on Shark Tank!

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7. Youth by Glass Animals. I have this song on repeat. I can’t get enough. Fair disclaimer: I have an off-beat taste in music, so it won’t be for everyone.

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8. Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones. Soooooooo remember how our neighbors were supposed to move all the way back in November? Yeah, that never happened (long story). I didn’t feel like y’all would want to hear a full on vent session about it, but now that we are moving I feel like I can share this without it sounding so whiney, lol. Since we realized we would have to live with the crazy noise 24-7, we invested in a pair of Bose Headphones to try to deal with it, especially since we had some Best Buy gift-cards we had been saving up! Y’all…. these. are. magic. I live in them while in my apartment (no exaggeration- it’s pretty much all waking hours), but it has been the ultimate life saver this past half a year!!! Oh, and I love using them while studying in coffee shops too- they definitely help me focus. Best investment of all time.

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9. Facebook Marketplace. My sister introduced this to me while she was here, and I have had way much more luck than I did on Craig’s list with selling a few things before the move! It’s incredibly user friendly, even for a technologically inept individual as myself.

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10. Big Little Lies. So season two just released, and I decided to rewatch the first season while running/working on house chores. Oh my gosh, I forgot a ton. This story line is tremendous. I was definitely distracted first time around watching, because I don’t remember half of this! But wowza- maybe one of the best shows ever.

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That wraps up a FF. We were long overdue, huh?

What is your Friday Favorite today? Drop those FF links below if you have them!! 🙂

xo <3

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Nick’s Next Door & Homemade Wine!

Hi all! I am pleased to report I am feeling much better than when I wrote up my last post. The first couple weeks of the semester are always the most challenging, but I think I’ve found my groove and am relieved having a couple good grades under my belt. Thank you bunches for all your encouragement in the last post- it helped tons! Also, we have some logistics figured out about the move that also is a huge relief. I am gonna jump straight into recapping since I have quite a bit of ground to cover.

On May 24th I made an avocado toast with Everything But the Bagel seasoning from TJ’s. Gosh, I love that stuff! Sometimes I throw on some tabasco for a kick too.

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I studied all morning and whipped up this omelette in the afternoon with tons of veggies, garlic powder, pink Himalayan sea salt, and wilted kale served with some green goddess dressing (from TJ’s too). This dressing goes deliciously with eggs!

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But in the evening is where the real guuud eats come into play! As ya know that week was particularly emotionally draining for me. We had been saving a gift-card for a special occasion, and this was perfect timing. Even if it’s not a holiday, sometimes a much needed date night is an occasion of its own.

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The restaurant we went was called Nick’s Next Door, a tucked away little spot in Los Gatos. This is considered a local favorite, and it became clear quickly as to why. We opted to sit out on the patio under the twinkle lights and were warmed by overhead heaters that created a cozy temp in the coolness of the evening.

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We started the evening with some unique and wonderful wine- a white for DJ, red for myself.

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Complimentary bread to start a meal is always a huge bonus in my book 🙂 It was served with a zesty marinara-type sauce.

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We also shared a couple appetizers. First up, their lobster spring rolls with sweet chili beurre blanc, Thai cabbage salad, and crushed roasted peanuts. These were refreshing! I will say the lobster was masked a tiny bit by the other flavors, but still tasty.

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Our personal favorite were the basil pesto croquettes. Gosh, these were stuffed with flavor!

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Oh oh! Wait, tying for first place in the appetizer department is the wild truffle mushroom soup. This is some of the best darn soup I have ever tried. You can see the truffle oil bubbling at the top. I thoroughly enjoyed dipping bread into it to sop it all up.

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For my main course I had Nick’s on Main Salmon with lemon risotto, sautéed asparagus and fava beans topped with a Dungeness crab beurre blanc. WOW. wow. wow. Every bite was tremendous. Also, every time I have risotto I wonder why I don’t eat it every single day.

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DJ had their Pan Roasted Rib Eye Steak with bone marrow, crispy truffle fries, tarragon dusted roasted cauliflower. He loved the rib eye steak portion, I loved the cauliflower portion. Also, I tried a bit of the bone marrow- forever convinced it is one of the tastiest things you can eat on planet earth.

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What a scrumptious meal! It was so nice to just chat and enjoy an evening out on the town without any distractions. One thing we discussed debated in our convo at dinner is whether you can like both the Office & Stand-up comedy. I don’t think it’s even a question- absolutely you can, and probably do, like both!!! I love stand up, and I love The Office. DJ thinks if you like The Office you have too dissimilar a sense of humor to like stand-up. Curious your thoughts!

The bill was brought out in The New Food Lover’s Companion book for you to sign along with countless other customers. We also met Nick himself. He came over and made sure we were comfortable- such a nice guy who is clearly beloved by the patrons!

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For our signature in the book we posed our question, hah.

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Such a lovely evening <3 We were practically there till close & enjoyed every moment.

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On May 25th it was “back to school” for me. In the afternoon I made some grilled cheese & tomato soup for us.. an easy go-to.

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In the evening I made DJ a skirt steak with chimchurri sauce, roasted potatoes and an egg for that “steak and eggs” feel.

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I had the same thing, minus the steak- add a veggie burger.

Oh, and also exciting…after a little over four weeks and hours of prep/filtering/etc. our homemade wine was ready to be bottled! I have saved memorable wine bottles from the last couple years to use for the bottling (except the Cupcake- I just needed a fifth to store the last bit, hah).

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Just for kicks, here are the posts that correspond with each bottle above:

Kieu Hoang

Cashmere- Black Magic

La Fantasia 

John’s Grill

When I eventually tried the wine for the first time I was a bit nervous- I was pretty sure I’d get sick or that it’d taste awful since I kinda messed up a couple steps, but it turned out sooo yummy & full bodied & delicious (and did not make us sick!).

I am super stoked about how it all went from the entire manual process to the actual wine itself. I would highly recommend this as a gift to anyone you know who likes vino! My only concern is how we will transport the bottles with us to TX.. I think maybe I could get one of those empty wine boxes from Trader Joe’s or something? We’ll see!

On May 26th I made rack of lamb for the first time. During my long study days making dinner is such a highlight of the long hours- it’s a fun creative outlet to break up the studying.

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I served the lamb over a bed of brown jasmine rice with wilted spinach and a homemade tahini sauce. DJ loved it! At first he said it was way too much food for him that I plated, since I just gave him the whole thing haha. But whaddya know.. he ended up eating the entire thing minus maybe one single chop.

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May 27th, Memorial day, DJ had to work, and I had a ton of studying to get ready for my first exam. Since DJ didn’t really get to experience a relaxing Memorial Day I tried to prep a dinner that would give somewhat that holiday feel (burger, mashed potatoes, mac n’ cheese, a bread stick). I ordered it all from Applebee’s with a gift card & added a giant refreshing salad for myself that I topped with some vegan crumbles & green goddess dressing. Thank you to all who serve and your families for your service <3

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On May 28th I started the day with toast with PB & honey. This has been on repeat the last few weeks paired with my avocado smoothie.

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I then went to Peet’s to study the whole day away! It was very productive & was good for me to get a change of scenery to study.

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A refreshing snack I enjoyed that day was this açaí bowl. After I took the pic I decided to add some PB and chocolate chips to it- a great summer treat!

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For dinner I made DJ one of the go-tos: BBQ baked chicken with roasted potatoes, rice, and steamed spinach with some parm on top. I had my usual large salad to finish up the veggies going badly.

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May 29th I took my first exam. My head was pounding after the timed 90 minutes of adrenaline. I had a really hard time focusing the rest of the day. My headache nearly turned into a migraine, I started getting anxious about questions I convinced myself I missed and decided to just take the rest of the day off from school since I wasn’t going to be productive anyways. I worked on stuff for Hal’s wedding weekend and caught up on other things that have been on the back burner since school resumed. Like brushing my hair. Ok, I’ll wrap it up here- this is already quite lengthy! I’m particularly excited for my next post, so hopefully I can get that out sometime in the next week?..month? … year?!

Questions for you:

  • Do you like both the Office & Stand-Up?
  • How was your weekend?

xo <3

 

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Falafel’s Drive In & Mystery Spot!

Hey, everyone! I am writing this on absolutely zero brain power, so please excuse the typos (I’m sure there will be plenty). Imma be real– this last week or so has been a doozy. We officially move at the end of this month, and the pressure of school, the move, and trying to get everything aligned for my sister’s wedding is putting my body in a state of fight-or-flight. My heart is racing out of my chest every day, I’m not sleeping, my appetite is pretty suppressed.. I know everything will get done… it always does. I usually thrive off this type of stress, but I think the sleep-deprivation mixed with anticipation of receiving feedback for my first quiz and exam are just weighing on me. Once I get those back (they make up 20% of my entire grade) and have some (hopefully good?) grades under my belt I bet I’ll feel very relieved. So, yes, if you have any extra sanity lying around, please send it right my way 🥴

I just hit a wall tonight while reading my textbook, so I’ve decided since I won’t be able to sleep anyways, maybe some writing/reflection is just what I need to calm down. When I started blogging I realized the power of choosing to focus on all the positive. Also, everything that is happening is good great stress- I have to keep that in perspective. I wouldn’t change a thing that’s happening! And this stress does not even pale in comparison to what I was going through about a year ago- so I’ll take this ANY day over that phase of life! PLUS, I don’t have clinicals this summer- so this timing could not be more perfect. I’m very thankful. So let’s get on with the highlights, shall we?!

Let’s see, so May 13th one of the highlights of the day was enjoying this tofu curry with basmati rice and some whole wheat pita. I could eat this meal every day! It’s sooo satisfying.

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I went on a nice walk in the evening after dinner. I am soaking up every moment of my walk route lately. It’s definitely going to be one of the things I miss the most. I have been living for that daily walk to clear my head and shake off the mental cobwebs! Even just a mile or two can really be just what I need to refocus.

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On May 14th I finished getting everything together to start my semester. May 15th my term officially started. I will say I prefer the format of this semester over last’s, even though it’s going to be the most challenging yet, content-wise and workload. It’s less paper-based and more exam-based- which means less busy work through week, but overall way more time studying. I do love what I’m learning, which makes all the difference. This is my textbook that will basically become my third arm this summer. I put my fist in for reference, hah. How this will all be read in less than three months time is beyond me, but we’re gonna give it our best shot!

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I worked most of the day on reading through orientation lectures, organizing my planner and starting on the first Module. Before making dinner I went for a walk and quite literally stopped to smell the roses 🙂

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For dinner I decided to have a massive salad out of my trough with hummus, all the veggies, and some Lightlife “chicken” since I had my Indian meal for lunch.

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On May 16th I studied all morning but had a nice afternoon respite by going to Boys and Girls Club. The rest of the day I read, read, and read some more! That’s basically been every day since I started the semester.

For dinner I made DJ some BBQ chicken with corn & rice. Such an easy midweek meal.

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May 17th- Read. All. The. Pages. & Leftovers.

The 18th I started the day with some delicious oats, chocolate chips & an avocado smoothie. I joked when I posted this on my insta-story that all these competing patterns are quite dizzying.

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May 19th– Lotsa reading and lectures. Oh! I do want to say I am so thankful for my professor I was assigned. He is easily one of the best profs I think I have ever had undergrad/grad school combined. These concepts are immensely challenging, but he explains them in a way that makes them much easier to understand and digest.

In the evening we watched GOT finale. I wasn’t thrilled with it along with most of the general population, but I am eager to watch the documentary! I think the fact that people were signing petitions is absurd and offensive- you can’t protest someone’s “art”, ya know? But I do wish it had ended differently.

May 20th–  I changed up my breakfast a bit and started the day with Crunchy PB toast with a touch of honey, grapefruit and coffee. 

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May 21st I spotted these beauties while out on my walk.

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And now, for some fun- DJ and I had a little impromptu date!

I am actually getting kind of sleepy now.. it’s about 11:30 pm.. I think I might try to finish this post in the morning and sleep now! Wish me luck!

7: 00 am: Ok, I am back… I actually slept! I knew blogging would help 🙂

Jumping right back in! I love Falafel, and in SJ there is a place called “Falafel’s Drive In“. It has raving reviews on YELP & has been on my bucket list for ages. Finally time to try it out!

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It’s a fast-casual little joint where you order at the stand and then eat under the scaffolding.

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We each ordered their two famous offerings: a falafel pita sandwich and a banana milkshake to split. And, of course, some hummus on the side for good measure.

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It was easier to see the inside of the falafel after I took a few big bites in. d22a4972-807a-4aa7-800b-c94f09150944

Verdict: It was absolutely delicious! The flavor combo of the sweet, cool banana milkshake with the soft, spiced and flavorful falafel was epic. I probably wouldn’t order the shake on its own- it was more of an “icy” milkshake than creamy- but it was still a pretty tremendous combo. Their hot sauce is some of my favorite I’ve ever tried! It’s not super spicy (which usually would be a no-go for me), but the unique, sweet/spicy synergistic flavor blew me away! The hummus was fine- butttt I wouldn’t order it again with Oren’s right down the road!

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On May 22nd, DJ had a day off so we decided to go to the beach in Santa Cruz to get some fresh air & get me out of the house. I still had to study most of the day, but I just read in the car and on the beach!

On our way to Santa Cruz we stopped at The Mystery Spot, a spot we have wanted to go for a while. Since we’ve moved here we’ve seen people with a bumper sticker proudly announcing they have, indeed, been to this popular spot. We knew we had to go before moving. And I wanted a bumper sticker too, darnit! Oops, My FOMO is showing.

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So what is Mystery Spot? The description from their website sums it up very well:

The Mystery Spot is a gravitational anomaly located in the redwood forests just outside of Santa Cruz, California. It is a circular area of effect around 150 feet or 46 meters in diameter. Within the Mystery Spot you will be stunned as your perceptions of the laws of physics and gravity are questioned. But don’t take our word for it, come and decide for yourself!

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It was wild! I know there is probably some explanation, but it was pretty trippy! For example, one of the things she did was roll a ball in what appeared downward on a plank, but it rolled back up (and she “proved” how the ball wasn’t altered or there weren’t any other gimmicks- although I’m pretty sure the entire thing is one large gimmick, lol). Definitely a fun thing for kids- it will blow their mind- but also fun for adults too!

For instance, in this picture, DJ feels like he is standing straight up, but it appears as though he’s leaning forward.

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And here it looks like we should fall right off the table, but we didn’t feel unstable at all. Had to take the opportunity for the Titanic pose, of course.

5965f2f7-ea7b-4e01-b70e-9643671e75b7It was a fun experience, and only took about 45 mins total.59282dd6-d1d4-427f-9927-3971ef1f68d5

Also! Banana Slugs!!! These are the mascot of SC & it’s always exciting when you spot one.

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PS. This place was Dad Jokes galore, so naturally that made me appreciate it all the more.

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And we finally got our sticker!!! Woot woot.

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Next up: The Beach!

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I forgot our towels at home (where is my mind), so we swung into Walgreens and grabbed some. I did remember all the snacks though- you can bet I wouldn’t forget those 😉

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It was too chilly to actually lie out, but even lying down in the sun on the sand all bundled up was still soooo relaxing. It was a great change of pace to knock out some reading.

Also, I decided to name my massive book “Smalls”…. 1. Because I love irony. 2. Because now I can say, “You’re killing me, Smalls” all summer long.

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As we were leaving Santa Cruz I had a nostalgic moment thinking about how this was the first place we visited when we moved here. It was also one of the first places I fell in love with in California and has been our getaway when life gets stressful. It also has been where we have made amazing memories with our little sisters, Kelsey, Rachel, and Halston and Kevin. It felt all of a sudden full circle, and I was overcome by such thick emotion as we drove away for the last time.

Time to get back to reading. Thank you for taking time out of your day to stop in 🙂

Questions for you:

  • What is one positive thing going on in your life right now?

xo <3

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Lotsa munchin’ & brunchin’!

Hey hey! How are you? I spent all day long reading countless pages in pathophysiology and watching lectures so I am treating myself to some writing late this evening 🙂 This semester is already kicking my butt. I am gonna have such little free time .. so it’ll be interesting doing an entire move in the middle of it. Even my prof said, “I hope this course is behind you before the move!”… whoops… guess we’ll see how it goes, haha. (It’s an online course for those that are confused about how that will work).

After returning from Hal’s bridal shower, on May 7th, I paid my speeding ticket, unpacked and did laundry. For dinner I made us this curried seafood mix of calamari, shrimp, and scallops with jasmine rice and naan bread.

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On May 8th I started the morning with oatmeal, a Cutie clementine, Shakeology protein powder, and Fage with my coffee.

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For lunch, we didn’t have much in the way of groceries but I whipped up my new favorite omelette combo: egg whites, artichoke hearts, vegan mozzarella cheese, and garlic powder with pink Himalayan sea salt & hummus on the side. YUM!

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And guess what?! Remember how Alexandra and I wanted to go to that Italian restaurant in SF, but they had no openings the evenings we were there? Well— our calendars aligned so we made reservations for that afternoon! Around 2:30 pm we met at my apartment, and I drove us into the city to (finally) try out Cotogna.

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I absolutely loved the interior- it was so warm & cozy and you could see the whole wood fire burning stove.

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So the item on my bucket list was the Raviolo with farm egg & brown butter.

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^^ Yes, that beauty!!! This ravioli was massive & sooo stinkin’ amazing. Did you all ever make buttered Cheerios as a kid? They were the ultimate treat for us growing up! This dish was reminiscent of that in flavor… but the cheese and quality of pasta took that nostalgic flavor to spectacular and exquisite heights. I had to leave a nibble for DJ, so I took a little home for him to try along with a dish of his own- the Agnolotti del plin. He said he preferred the Raviolo, but that both dishes were incredible.

Afterwards, we had to satisfy our sweet tooth. We headed to Mitchell’s, a place on the bucket list. They are known as one of the best places for ice cream in the entire Bay Area!

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I ordered a combo of chocolate caramel crackle per Alexandra’s suggestion & Ube.

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The Chocolate caramel crackle is some of the best darn ice cream flavors I have ever had!!! Gosh. I get why it’s known for being famous- & I was soo glad Alexandra suggested it. The Ube was fine- I haven’t been a huge fan of Ube the couple of times I have tried it– it’s just too plain Jane for me.

I always so love my time with Alexandra. Can’t wait for her and her hubby to join us in Austin- right, girlfran?! 😉

On the morning of May 9th, I rummaged through the freezer to find a frozen banana, a dragonfruit pack and then threw on some PB and chocolate chips.

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I caught up on e-mails, etc. that I missed over the weekend and got around to some other to-do list items.

For dinner I made us BBQ’d tempeh, peppers, corn, & white rice. It was pretty delish & high in proteins, so very filling!

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In the evening I took a bath to just veg out after such a busy few days.

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on May 10th DJ and I had a fun day leading into a full weekend of us just hanging out! I went for a run in the morning, caught up on some blogging, and then we headed to Shake Shack.

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Neither of us had been before, but we were so pleased with the whole experience!

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You order via an electronic system- introverts rejoice.

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It took a loooooong time for our food to be ready, but they were super busy.

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DJ tried their burger- his thoughts: It is a good, solid burger, but he still way prefers In-n-Out’s.

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I could not resist their limited time Game of Thrones milkshake! It was a peppermint shake with candied toffee that made up “dragon glass”- soooo yummy.

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DJ also loved their chocolate shake. Next time we want to try their mixers- we loved our Culver’s concrete mixers when we lived in IN. The fries were decent- good to dip in the shakes of course- but the best fries are forever from Steak & Shake. In the evening I did some grocery shopping and we finished up Ozark (the second season kinda dragged in my opinion-but still excited for the third).

May 11th, I whipped up some black bean brownies to have for the week. I just finished the last of them today. I actually have been having them with my oatmeal, smoothies, or toast for breakfast to get my little chocolate fix!

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After a morning run, DJ and I headed into the city to try out Nopa in the early afternoon. We lucked out with parking right on the corner!

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This place’s menu changes each month- but they always have one famous item on their menu- the Custard French Toast.

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We ordered that and the brioche cinnamon roll with strawberries, kumquats, and guava cream cheese frosting and a pomegranate mimosa to pair with them.

After ordering, we sat back to enjoy the ambiance of the place- it had almost an industrial feel with a wide open space and two floors, but somehow maintained a warm energy about it.

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First up- the cinnamon roll! The flavor burst in each bite of this was real. The guava cream cheese frosting is something I could eat by the spoonfuls- it was outstanding.

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Now, time for custard french toast! Y’all this lived up to every bit of the hype. I could not get over how delicious this was.

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I tried to get some syrup pouring pics, but the distance of the food on my portrait mode messed with my spatial perception, and I ended up pouring it on the table instead. We had a good laugh at it after my initial embarrassment.

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In the evening, we were craving Mexican, but nowhere around us serves crunchy tacos (the kind DJ prefers)- so I whipped us up a whole spread! I haven’t done this since my mom and Pete were here back in August, although you know I make the tacos alone all time.

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I put out salsa con queso and regular salsa with hint of lime tortilla chips and plantain chips, DJ’s regular tacos, and my vegan tacos (in the bowl) with lettuce wraps (I LOVE the refreshing crunch of a lettuce wraps for tacos topped with tons of Tabasco and Fage as “sour cream”). I also made my mom’s marg. recipe. Such a winning meal.

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On the morning of May 12th, we brunched round 2 at Stein’s! This was my last free weekend before being buried in school work, so we took full advantage, can ya tell?

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I ordered their vegan hash with mushrooms, tofu, tons of seasoning, and potatoes. It definitely needed salt- but with salt & enough hot sauce it was pretty good. Don’t think I’d order it again because I could probably make this at home, but it was worth the try. The little baguette pieces were yummy- but they could have maybe given a couple more.

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Now, this was the star of brunch! This stack of pancakes consisted of blueberry pancakes with mascarpone cheese & some delicious syrup.

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Aaaand I got that syrup pour picture to redeem myself from the prior day’s fiasco 😉

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Personally, these are my favorite pancakes I have ever tried in the area. The mascarpone cheese cuts the sweetness perfectly. They were the perfect balance of fluffy without being too dense and heavy.

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After doing some chores in the afternoon, we decided to take a late afternoon hike at one of our BL hike places- Sanborn County Park.

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^ Take note. hahah.

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This is such a little gem of a spot. There were so many families enjoying the sunny afternoon and campers galore.

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The forest was so quiet and serene.

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Going into my most intense semester yet, this was the perfect type of balanced weekend to explore, rest, eat fantastic foods and spend some great quality time with DJ.

Question for you:

  • Where do you go to get your favorite burger/fries?

xo <3

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