Fall Blooms!

Hey, everyone! I am picking up from where I left off to fill in some gaps in recaps. It may take a few posts to catch up- but I’m excited to share some very beautiful fall blooms that are poppin’ up here in Cupertino! I swear- California has like five springs.

Tuesday the 4th and Wednesday the 5th I just did school work all day long. In the evenings, we had leftover cheese and crackers and hummus from wine country to try to eat some of that up. I always love post-wine country trips because it gives us an excuse for cheese and cracker dinners. We love to graze around here 😋

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Come around Thursday the 6th, I had a massive craving for one of those See’s candies lollipops. To take a study break, I drove to the mall in order to stock up!

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The rest of the week was all the same- wake up, workout, study, take a walk to clear my brain, make dinner, watch Dexter with DJ (yes, we picked it back up!!), throw a tantrum about the neighbors at 12 am (lol, more to come with that), then repeat! These following blooms are from my walk on Friday, September 7th 🙂

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One of my neighbors even has a lemon tree

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And an apple tree- but more apples were on the ground then on the tree- haha

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I even spotted this little squash!

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After finishing up the cheese and crackers during the week, I then made up some vegan tacos with lettuce wraps to devour.

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Saturday September 8th, I needed to “fill in” some groceries. We are trying to use up everything we have at home and just fill in need be- our grocery bill has plummeted this month so far, and I love that it forces us to get creative 🙂

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In the evening, I whipped up DJ a farfalle pasta with sauce & cheese we already had, but added pasta I grabbed from TJ’s. I just had the lettuce cup tacos again. I blogged a bit while DJ worked on his graduate school ap!

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I’m saving Sunday festivities for the next post, cause they need a post of their own 🙂

Questions for you!

  • Favorite type of pasta noodle? 🍝
  • Favorite season? 🍂

xo <3

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V. Sattui Winery & Labor Day!

Slowly but surely we are catching up!! Sadly, this is the last installment of Labor Day weekend- but it was a couple of days that did not disappoint!

After our awesome first few days together and the first three wineries (post one, two, and three), we headed to the last one of the day- V. Sattui. It is a family owned and operated winery since 1885 and was voted the winery of the year for 2018 by the Winemaker Challenge for the second year in a row.

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This is definitely more of a tourist trap winery than the others we went to- it has a giant gift shop, a deli, a park where you can eat, stands that sell gelato, among a number of other to-dos.

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Now, I have to put on the disclaimer that our experience may have been slightly negatively skewed considering we went over Labor Day weekend- but I am going to give an honest (but brutal) account of our time here.

First, upon arriving we couldn’t find parking. Like- nooo parking anywhere. Finally we found somewhere about 3/4ths a mile away and walked in 90 degree heat to get there. Fine- it’s labor day weekend, I get it. But in Napa, usually parking isn’t an issue.

Second, we got our tickets for our reservations. I had the whole day mapped out to a “T” including our dinner reservation after- so there wasn’t a ton of wiggle room. Yet, when we got our ticket, basically it was entrance to a room where you have to fight tooth and nail for a spot at their wine bar.

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Y’all know I am not a complainer- but I gottttaaa vent a bit.

Rant time (beware): Once inside and all three of us separating to see if we could find any open areas among the mass of people, I finally found a spot on the very end of a bar for our “reservation”. We all squeezed in and were greeted by the most crotchety and condescending lady to pour our wines. For the tasting, their list is extensive so we asked for some guidance in which to choose. She basically said they were all good and that it’s an impossible question to answer (she answered as though that was the most absurd question I could ask). Okayyy. So then I asked what their most popular wine is. She said they are all popular. Okayyy. Then I finally ask what her favorite is- and she said depends on the mood. Throwing our hands up in defeat, we basically just chose whatever. Oh, and at one point we ordered a Bordeux blend, but she brought out a cab. She poured it and we asked how it was a Bordeux blend if it’s a cab and she said, “Oh it’s a cab- we don’t have the Bordeux”… but rather than telling us they didn’t have it, she just poured us something random. Hahah. Like, what?! Come the very last wine to choose, we were going to try dessert wines- and she goes, “Oh you don’t wanna try the blah blah blah (some bold red) wine?” And we all three looked at each other like, Are you kidding me?! This is what we were trying to ask her the whole time… like we asked for your help to choose best ones from the get go, now you scold us for not trying the right ones?! It was a hot mess and she was so rude through the whole thing. We will not be returning. There are hundreds of wineries in Napa- do not waste your time here! I recognize how silly and minute this issue was- I just wanted it to be perfect for momma Jill and Pete, so I got a bit heated. Also, I wouldn’t even have cared about the busyness or fighting for a spot if our lady just treated us like human beings. Just be nice, why is that so hard for people to grasp?!

After I grabbed this adorable shot of them…

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Tried to get a selfie best we could haha

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And to decompress for the madness we went to downtown Napa for a wonderful dinner at Ristorante Allegria!

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It gives off the warm ambiance of a Macaroni Grill I’d say! (One of my favorite restaurants from back in Ohio).

We eagerly dived into their bread with a delightful bruschetta dip.

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For an appetizer, we split calamari… I forgot to snatch a picture before, but I remembered when I had one little squiddy left. Hehe.

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Pete ordered their Caesar salad that was super tasty. He was kind enough to share some with us even though my mom and I also split a house salad.

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Pete also had their vitello piccata with pan seared veal scaloppini, on garlic-mashed potatoes sauteed spinach, and lemon capers white wine sauce. I had a bite of the spinach and mashed potatoes and it was all heavenly.

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My mom and I split their pappardelle allo zafferano with fresh homemade saffron pasta, jumbo prawns, wild mushrooms, finished with roasted shrimp bisque. This hit the spot!! I love the idea of using bisque on top of noodles too- I may need to try that at home sometime. One of my favorite parts of eating out is seeing different ways you can assemble different ingredients for a tasty meal.

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We headed home for the evening, but my mom gave me this when we got back- A candle from Rombauer <3 <3 So sweet. AND it is made out of a wine bottle!

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Monday September 3rd, Labor Day, my mom and I woke up early to go to Orange Theory to get our workout on.

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It was partner day so it was extra fun because we worked together 🙂

After, we refueled with our avocado toasts per usual.

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Unfortunately, yo girl had to “go to school” the whole day, so my mom and Pete went to do some prospecting of malls in the area (it’s part of my mom’s job).

In the evening, my mom and I went on a nice long walk to clear our noggins. It was one of my favorite parts of the weekend.

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I’m just rocking that “I’ve literally been studying and reading every second of the day” look.

After a hard days’ work for all of us, I whipped everyone up tacos!!! Bison tacos are DJ’s favorite of the meals I make, so I made bison tacos for the men and my vegan tacos for my mom and I. Can you tell the difference? 😉

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Momma Jill made us all her famous skinny margs. Gosh, they are the best!!

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we ended the evening by watching Bachelor in Paradise and eating caramel blossoms with ice cream!

On Tuesday September 4th they left super early to head back to Texas. It was an unforgettable weekend- I always say that- but truly nothing tops time with family and friends.

Questions for you!

  • Let’s taco bout this- you a crunchy shell or a soft shell kinda person?
  • Cilantro- yay or nay? Apparently some people think it tastes like soap!

xo <3

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Stag’s Leap & Rombauer!

– What did the grape say when it got crushed?

Nothing, it just let out a little wine.

Okay! Next stop of the day is famous Stag’s Leap. This winery may sound familiar- They sell some of their wines in common grocery stores and even in Sam’s Club!

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The views driving in were beautiful and sprawling. It was so quiet and picturesque.

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The tasting room is bright and spacious. It has one large bar with multiple sommeliers to accompany your for your testing.

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The wine bar faces a gorgeous view of the mountains and vineyards.

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We tried all cabs in our tasting, but we were a bit disappointed! They were great compared to most $5- $8 wines we are used to drinking, don’t get me wrong- but we had thought Stag’s Leap was going to be just the best of the best. The cab we had at Darioush was on another level from these cabs. “Artemis” may have been our favorite surprisingly- it is actually the cheapest of the ones we tried, and luckily it’s sold in Sam’s if you have access to one 😉

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The Hills are Aliiiiive with the Sound of Musiiiic. Jus’ channeling my inner Julie Andrews.

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And what would be a trip to wine country without stopping at Rombauer? Our forever favorite <3 You may remember we went here back in March, but unfortunately Pete fell sick the night before and wasn’t able to make it. (who am I saying “fell sick”, who says that?). Anyway- We had to make sure he visited this time around!

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We just love everything about Rombauer- the wine (their Zin and Chardonnay is the greatest around- and I don’t even like either kind usually), the views, the landscape, the ability to picnic!!

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Before our tasting we had a little bit of time so we had a little picnic we packed with vegan & regular cheese, crackers, sun-dried tomatoes, dried fruit, olives, hummus, and chocolate.

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Time for the tasting!

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After enjoying the best zinfandel of all time and the crispest chardonnay, we relaxed on their patio.

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You don’t even have to do a tasting if you visit- you can just enjoy a nice glass outside if you’d like!

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I just love Rombauer. It’s always the first winery I recommend to anyone visiting Wine Country. Next post I will recap our last winery and the rest of labor day weekend 🙂

Questions for you!

  • Anything big planned for the week?
  • Favorite wine of all time? I love a good rec’!

xo <3

mack marie signature

Tartine Bakery & Darioush in Napa!

Happy Sunday, my friends!! I am sitting here on the couch after church chillin’ with football on in the background and all my school work DONE for the weekend (until tomorrow 😉 ). Life is guuud.

OH, and I just have to share that my sister is ENGAGED! I am ecstatic beyond words. You may remember this favorite couple of mine from here, here, and here. They are finally getting murrried, and I am here. for. it.  Gosh, I just am so happy for them, and love um’ so much!

Anyways—I am only two weeks late with this? haha.. I’ll catch up eventually. On the morning of September 2nd, my mom, Pete, and I woke up early to go to SF to knock out a bucket list item at where else than a Bakery?!

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I have had my eyes on Tartine for a long time…I even had specific items that I wanted to try after doing into a deep dive in YELP. They only have three locations- SF, LA, and Seoul, South Korea.

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Like I said in my last post, there is no one better to go to Bakeries with than my mom and Pete- I know they won’t shy away from trying basically everything on the menu with me! (Unfortunately, Deej had to work :/). After waiting about 30 mins, we finally made it to the front to order our goods.

I think these pictures will speak for themselves!

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Below is the frangipane croissant with almond cream. This was maybe our favorite (along with the morning bun).

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And this is the morning bun with cinnamon sugar and candied orange- pure gold.

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I think I loved the lemon cream tart more than they did- it sure was rich for 9 am, but anything lemon I am all about. This was superb!

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We also tried their lemon tea cake- this was great too- but not a “must try”.

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We also gobbled up the pain au chocolat. It was very good, but the frangipane croissant with almond cream was even better!

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gotta try the Eclair, right?!

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And what’s the point of enjoying baked goods without some coffee?

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It was all so scrumptious- I forgot to mention we shared a chewy, fudgy brownie as well. I still want to go back to try much more- like their croque monsieur with shiitake mushroom and coconut cream pie!

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With very full & happy tummies, we headed to Napa! First stop on the list was Darioush.

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From the get-go this place is magnificent! It is unlike anything I have ever seen before. The winery is tucked against a beautiful mountainous background and surrounded by vineyards. The Persian inspired grounds coupled with the wine provided an unforgettable winery experience. This may be one of my favorites I have ever been to in Napa!

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Even the interior is gorgeously designed

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We had a reservation and were treated with a shaded table and comfortable chairs in a terrace area to enjoy our tastings.

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After they brought out pistachios and water for us we began the tasting

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This pour right here is one of the best tastings of the day- their 2015 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon. It actually may be the best cab I’ve ever had. The woman who was serving the wine was incredibly knowledgable and friendly. I highly highly recommend this winery if you are visiting Napa.

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Winery photos!

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I’ll wrap it up here for now 🙂

Questions for you:

  • What were y’all up to this weekend? (drop link if you’ve got it 🙂 )
  • Favorite bakery item?

xo <3

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All we do is Eat, Eat, Eat no matter what!

Got food on our minds, can never get enough!!

Happy Friday!!! I worked my tush off this week so that I would have today to catch up on blogging for a couple hours 🙂 I am sitting at Peet’s so I don’t have to listen to the upstairs banging at home. Usually during Savings September I won’t buy coffees out, but this warrants it for my own sanity. We will go ahead and classify it as a necessity.  DJ and I don’t have too much planned for the weekend besides school stuff (and him applying for grad school), so we are gonna take it nice and easy. I am going way back to recap our Labor Day weekend- I have been sooo excited to finally have a chance to share this fun weekend with y’all.

On Thursday, August 30th, my mom and stepdad, Pete, arrived around noon from Texas! They came for a wedding in Santa Cruz (and we happen to live so close so it all worked out perfectly to spend the weekend together!).We headed to none other than Bill’s Cafe per their request.

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Pete tried their delicious hash brown skillet

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& My mom and I split their Smoked Salmon Benny- probably my favorite item on the menu (Or the French Garden omelette- depends on the mood, ya know?).

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We also split their Belgium waffle. I don’t usually go for waffles for some reason, but this was just fantastic. I would 100% order this again!

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My mom also surprised me with a bunch of Butterscotch See’s Candies lollipops! Eeek, she knows me well. I am like a child, and I LOVE these lollipops. I just love all candy. Sometimes when I go out for walks I take one with me, load up a podcast and am just happy as a clam. Seriously, I am five.

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****Present moment****In an attempt to lick the foam off the side of my cup I just burnt my chin, that’s a first!

**re-re-re winding it back**.. in the afternoon after settling in, chatting at home, and a tour of Main Street Cupertino we decided to go get some happy hour drinks at Eureka.

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We each tried a glass of white wine. We aren’t picky at all, but my mom and I tried two different types of sauvignon blanc, which actually tasted more like chardonnays, so we weren’t the biggest fans. Pete’s Pinot Gris was actually the best of the three! Eureka is more of a beer & cocktail type place, so I think next time I’ll stick with that. **Re-reading the paragraph…. I guess we sound kinda picky haha**.

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Ahhh I just love um’!

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That evening they went to the rehearsal dinner located in Santa Clara for the wedding. Deej had a late game, so I just did school work until they came back home. For dinner I had some leftover butterfly trout, sweet potato, quinoa, mixed greens, and hummus!

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The next day, Friday August 31st, my mom and I woke up early to do hot yoga at 7:15 am together. This was her first time doing hot yoga and she annihilated it! She did so well- I was thoroughly impressed!! After getting ready for the day and us all nomming down my special avocado toast & eggs, they headed to Henry Cowell State park to see the redwoods and spend time on the Boardwalk and Pier in Santa Cruz before the wedding.

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I went for a nice long walk (with my lollipop), chatted with my grandma and Aunt, then hit the books for the day. DJ had another late day, so in the evening I decided to make myself a flatbread pizza with my “Skip the sandwich wrap” and blog up my Friday Favorites post! But whoooopsies- I took a big ole’ bite of the pizza before thinking of getting a picture— what are ya, new?!

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I snuck in a run in the morning of Saturday, September 1st (where is this year going?!). My mom and Pete returned around noon, and I was ready to have some fun since I finished my school work for the week!

First up- 85C Bakery! This is a chain Chinese Bakery that is super popular around here. I’ve never tried anything from it even though I pass it all the time. Part of the reason I haven’t is their baked goods are massive, so I’d want to share them (DJ isn’t a huge baked goods guy besides donuts and cookies), and there are so many options it’s overwhelming for an indecisive like me.  BUT, luckily, there is no one better to try out bakeries with than Pete- he is always down for a baked goods tasting challenge! I was psyched that he wanted to try this place out.

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First, you get a giant tray with a pair of tongs and just go crazy. People LOAD their trays up. I don’t know where they all put it?! Like I’ll see tiny middle and high school girls meet up there all the time and probably get like 10 items each. It’s pretty cheap, but I am genuinely curious how much of it they eat!

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We tried out several items- their sugared cream cheese brioche, a caramel pastry, and an almond danish (I think).. They were all so good, but I think the sugared cream cheese brioche was the tastiest. These all would be sooo great with coffee too. I’ll need to go back soon to grab something in the morning.

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After, we went to Steins to try out some of their tap beers. I just love Steins, and usually they have great sours on tap, my favorite type of beer.

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We tried a variety of beers, and overall they were just ok. But the company was great, and that’s all  that matters!

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Time to go to DJ’s work! This was the main thing my mom and Pete wanted to do while they were here. And boy oh boy was it fun.

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(If it’s not clear from the pictures we are at Municipal Stadium for a San Jose Giants game 😉 )

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She’s so cute

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We tried some delicious grapefruit beer while watching the game.

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Around the seventh inning we became pretty hungry, so we used our vouchers to get some Turkey Mike’s and of course, the famous garlic fries!!! (The garlic fries are 87.8% of the reason why I go to the games).

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We got a lot of food…. Pete had their pulled pork sammy, and my mom and I enjoyed every nibble of their veggie sub! I swear- is there anything better than stadium food?!?! I could live on those sides- they have some yummy baked beans, and I have zero self control with that coleslaw.

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The whole game the Giants were down, but they came back in the bottom of the ninth with a grand slam. I mean, probably the best game of the season, and we were there to witness it! It was SUCH a fun time. In the next post I will recap our time in SF and Napa!

PS. My prayers are with all my classmates, family, and everyone affected by Hurricane Florence 🙁 SO scary. Please stay safe everyone.

Questions for you:

  • Have you ever been to a minor league baseball game? Do you have a team you cheer for?
  • Favorite stadium food item?

xo <3

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Mama’s SF!

Knock knock. Who’s there? Apparently, not me! Or my brain! Guys, I forgot to publish an entire post?! After our night in SF, we had a spectacular morning in SF, but it sadly slipped through the cracks. But no worries, we will not let these shenanigans go undocumented!!

In the morning of August 10th, I woke up early to squeeze in about seven miles on the treadmill. I loved the workout room!

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After getting ready for the day, Deej and I whipped up to the top floor again to grab some views.

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We were a couple of starvin’ marvins at this point. We decided to chow down at Mama’s… a bucket list item of ours! This poppin’ place has been opened for over fifty years and is considered one of the best brunch spots in SF. It is still family owned and operated, and one of the sons of “Mama” was actually letting everyone in through the doors, giving suggestions of what to order and telling us interesting tid-bits.

We found some lucky parking on the corner, then got ready to stand in the over-an-hour wait line. (It’s ALWAYS like that, so you just have to be prepared to be on your dogs for a bit).

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Finally- we were allowed to enter into this magical place! It was just the cutest thing I ever did see. It was painted a warm pastel yellow and decorated with a farmhouse feel.

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You order everything at the cash register then are seated. I practically salivated on the glass looking at the variety of daily house baked breads.

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Now for the good stuff! I ordered the Dungeness Crab Benedict, and me oh my was it delicious! But my favorite part was actually the potatoes. The Salmon Benedict at Bill’s still tops this.

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Now listen, Linda, after our wait I was very hungry. I decided to try out the cranberry orange walnut french toast that was suggested. I LOVED it. It was the perfect amount of savory, lightness, crunch, and sweetness. And DJ is allergic to walnuts, so I couldn’t share. Darn 😉

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But I do have to say… the bell of the ball was this Monte Cristo. According to YELP, this is the dish to get here. DJ tried it out, and I had to have a bite. We both agreed this is one of the BEST brunch dishes we have ever tried- and y’all know I don’t care for the taste of meat. This was next level though. I have been raving about it since. If I was going to eat a meat dish, this would be it!

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After, we decided to knock out another BL item and see the historic Dutch Windmill!

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The flowers surrounding it were beautiful.

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And that takes us to our most current post. Next stop: Labor Day weekend. Hopefully I can get those up soon. School is pretty darn time consuming, but blogging is always such a nice break 🙂

PS. Neighbors are still being a big ole’ pain. Thank you tons for your love & empathy & ideas in the last post. We finally contacted management, and even called security when they were SUPER loud at 12 am (mgmt said to contact security if they were loud after hours). Still nothing has changed…I don’t even know what they could be doing to make so much noise. I just hope we get used to it because I’m kind of at a loss of what else to do?

Questions for you!

  • Does your hometown have any local gems or hot spots?
  • Any fall plans?

xo <3

mack marie signature

Recent Eats & Recent Things

Hey guys! I am in a fuuunk tonight and won’t be sleeping for like the sixth day in a row. We have new upstairs neighbors and they are making their presence known. They like to assemble furniture very late at night and don’t shy away from hammering and dropping and banging and anything else at 11 pm. OH, and they have a dog that incessantly barks all day long. I’m genuinely sick to my stomach about this situation. We stinking love our apartment, and this is gonna be a serious issue if it continues. A girl needs to sleep! I hope it calms down soon. I did talk to them once and they were aggressive (well the guy was nice, girl not so much) and denied that they were the ones causing the noise (although she greeted me at the door with a screw driver, lol!!!)….. come onn… I was super nice to them and told them I understand moving in is a loud process, but it’d be appreciated if it didn’t take place at 11 pm 🙁 Has anyone else had issues like this? I totally did NOT plan to go into a full on vent sesh.. but there ya have it.

I am gonna do a quick little catch up post of the in-betweens since our anniversary in the city 🙂

On August 10th, we drove back from SF, and I took a nice little walk around the neighborhood. I just love how the blooms change so frequently here- this massive purple tree really caught my eye.

 

 

 

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ohhh.. there they go….. *bang bang bang* like seriously how can someone make so much noise?! humph. I’m investing in noises cancelling headphones.

Back to the post… I am fuming right now.. can you tell?

On August 11th, we met with Alexandra, one of my dear friends from the residency program, and her husband Daniel, (from Denmark) for dinner at Eureka. It was such a blast and we really enjoyed hanging with them. Can’t wait for another chance to all get together. (Also, HIGHLY recommend Eureka’s sweet potato fries- yum!).

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STOMP, STOMP, STOMP. It’s like they are trying to be this loud. My gosh.

Anyyways, August 12th was church and then grabbing some “fill in” groceries from TJ’s for the day. I was honestly a bit tired from eating out which I didn’t know was even possible. I couldn’t wait to just eat at home and cook again! In order to save, I tried to plan our meals for the week around what we mostly had. The TJ’s trip basically was to stock up on just random little ingredients to make the full meals.

August 13th I whipped up some salmon with wild rice and roasted veggies for dinner. A favorite!

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August 14th was pretty uneventful, just house chores, knocking things off the to-do list and a beautiful run in the afternoon. These flowers were spectacular.

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DJ and I watched BIP in the evening. I stole his Oreos teheh. These mixed with Fairlife chocolate milk is an unreal combo.

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On August 15th, I read a bit and then sifted through grad school e-mails. I kept holding my breath every time I logged in- I was so irrationally nervous I wouldn’t be able to start for some unforeseeable reason or i’d be notified my acceptance was a mistake. #imposterssyndrome. It’s like I couldn’t believe I was actually in this program until the first day! And what is paranoia best solved by? Quesadillas with tomato soup, of course! I make mine vegan cheese and DJ’s with regular cheese.

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August 16th I had a weird medley of foods… I started the day with my go-to avocado and egg toast

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After snacking throughout the morning, I decided I wanted carbs… but I wanted veggies too. Solution? I put kale and hummus on a sandwich and it hit the spot. DJ thought it was disgusting hahah.

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Another snack kick I was on this particular week was Fage, peaches, and shakeology powder.

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August 17th, I made an acai bowl with oats, vegan chocolate chips, and peaches! I was just loving these TJ peaches.

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In the evening, I had a Dr. Praeger’s burger that had been sitting in my fridge for a while (SO GOOD), some wilted spinach, cauli rice, roasted sweet potato, and an egg. I felt like this was a very Kori-esque meal, and it was SO delicious!!

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STOMP, STOMP, STOMP.. it is 11:45. GO TO SLEEP! My gooodnesssss.

August 18th, I was so exhausted. It was one of those days where I was just so darn tired and hormonal and UGH. My girls get it! Nothing a cute cat can’t fix. I went to my friend Sara’s and we watched our show while I snuggled with this little fur baby.

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I had some leftover sweet potato and a veggie burger earlier on in the evening, but when around 9:30 pm rolled around I had a massive pizza craving (Like BAD). I ordered DJ and I some pies from Round Table. I had the baby pineapple with mushroom pizza and ordered DJ the large sausage. We rarely ever order pizza- I think we have maybe once in the past year, but gosh this hit the spot!

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In the morning of August 19th, I woke up with a sore throat. I decided to stay home from Church and watch the sermon online. DJ had to go to work this morning. The rest of the day I took it pretty easy just trying to recoup.

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August 20th, I felt a bit better when I woke up. I started the day with the standard avo & egg toast, and then went on a nice long walk to shake off the cobwebs.

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In the evening we watched Bachelor in Paradise, of course!

August 21-24th was just a whole lot of running errands, doing things on the to-do list like getting the oil changed, attending online orientation for school at 5 am (since I’m on pacific time lol), deep cleaning in the house, and some blogging in between while DJ worked a homestand.

August 25th I met up with my friend Alexandra for some scrumptious coffee from Voyager Craft Coffee. They have some of the best coffee- but it’s pricy, so I only go when meeting up with friends. It was a treat catching up with her and enjoying this coffee!

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In the afternoon I was craving something warm and comforting- I made up an oatmeal bowl with acai, cashews, and chocolate chips. Have y’all ever tried acai warmed in your oats?! It’s tasty!!

Ohhhh.. there goes the dog yapping. It is the yappiest little thing. hum bug.

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As we are trying to limit the groceries we buy and just use food from home (minus the pizza indulgence), I made DJ up these Special K Flatbreads we had in the freezer for breakfast. He loved them!

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We ran out of avocado, but determined to only use what we had in the fridge, I put some hummus on toast and egg over and called it breakfast. (Oh something I don’t picture but have nearly every day with breakfast is half or whole protein bar.. it keeps me full through the morning).

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August 26th I wrapped up all loose ends, got my ducks in a row with my books, finished laundry and read for pleasure for a bit because I was going to school the next day!! (and in undergrad the last thing I wanted to do was read for pleasure!).

August 27th was my first day of grad school! I started the day with a clear head by going to hot yoga around 7 am.

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I grabbed this new yoga mat at TJ Maxx for $7.99!! Way cheaper than anything I could even find on Amazon Prime.

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I made a turmeric latte at home to start the day and got started on the next 3.5 years of my life!

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I dedicated the rest of the day to school work. I am loving it, y’all! It’s a lot of work, a massive amount of reading, and a ton of discussion- but I have been anticipating this, and it feels great to be back in an academic setting.

My days basically are all the same now, which I love. I have missed routine! I haven’t had routine since 2016. I’ve been waking up around 8, have a massive breakfast, do some sort of workout whether it’s a run, insanity, or hot yoga, then work all day on school work, and then go on a walk to clear my head before cooking dinner. I then use the evenings to spend time with DJ, read, watch my guilty pleasure TV, and unwind with maybe a littttle bit more school work mixed in (Well… unwind best I can since the neighbors took over the apt. building, lol!).

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On repeat last week we had butterfly trout with roasted zucchini, forbidden rice, and greens.

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I changed it up a couple times with a veggie burger instead.

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The next couple posts I will recap our Labor Day! I am sooo psyched to share those.

Oh, one more thing! The month of September DJ, and I call “Saving September” every year. We go all out to try to save after a summer full of traveling and eating out. Basically we just keep to necessities- no eating out, no extra expenses (like those darn ICEs I am obsessed with), no shopping, etc. etc.  I always think it’s fun because it’s like a challenge to try to find new ways to make meals with what we have, get in better habits of not buying gum every time I’m at a checkout counter, forces us to just drink so much water that isn’t laden with chemicals, and get creative with clothes too! We put it off basically until this week because my parents were in town, but now we are all in 🙂 I’m eager to share how it goes!!

Also exciting- DJ is DONE with games until next season! That means his schedule goes back to a more 9-5 now. He’s super excited about that as am I.

Any meals/food items/etc. you have been loving lately?

xo <3

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Friday Favorites #14

Hey hey!!! Oooook I know I am sorta a day late with this. BUT it is technically only 10 pm Pacific time, so it’s still friyay up in here. I am taking this Friday night to relax, blog, read, and eat homemade pizza! I realized I could probably make a Friday Faves that would also break up the upcoming update post. So hur we go! *Takes a big bite of pineapple pizza*…

  1. Skip The Sandwich. Speaking of my pizza, I am eating my pineapple pizza on one of these wraps.

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I would say I am definitely a wrap > sandwich person, so this just spoke to me!! I have  had a blast this past week eating these raw with hummus, grilling them up and using as croutons in salads, and of course, as a wrap! (Oh, and the pizza I am nomming down on now- oh yum!) .

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2. The Case for Christ. This has been on my “must read” list for a while. It’s the utmost important to know what we believe and why. Lately I have been having great conversations with friends about the basis of our faith – how can we trust the scriptures veracity? Why do we trust the specific books that make up the Bible? I have decided in this next year I want to really delve into these questions deeper. This book is blowing.my. mind. Highly recommend to absolutely anyone.

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3. Mrs. Dash Seasoning. Y’all!! This seasoning is next level. I have heard of it before, but was a bit of a skeptic about the “salt free”… gosh darn it’s fantastic.

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I particularly love using it for fish dishes! Below is trout with wild rice, roasted zucchini, and mixed greens that I’ve been eating on repeat this past week!

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4. Home Depot Carpet Cleaner Rental. I noticed a couple weeks ago that our carpets were getting dirty. It got to the point where I started looking up cleaning carpet services and gollllly- they are EXPENSIVE. Maureen informed me that you can rent a carpet cleaner from Home Depot- and boy, am I glad I did! It worked wonders on our carpets, although the guys at HD looked at me a bit strange because it’s heavy- and they definitely doubted my ability to get this thing in the car myself. But I did it (just not gracefully). haha.

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5. Scrubbing In Podcast. I listened to this podcast a while ago when it first came out and thought I was bored with it. I decided to give it a second chance, and I am allll in. I love Becca and Tanya together, their producers, and the general conversation. It’s also very clean which is refreshing compared to many podcasts out there right now.

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6. Rhythm- Carrot Sticks. Uhm, new snack obsession- *check*.

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7. Fab, Fit, Fun Towels! For a birthday gift, I received a few FFF boxes for this year. I was particularly excited in this fall box for it’s towels. They fit so well in our kitchen, and are so dang cute.

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8. Honey Maid Graham Crackers. I re-discovered my love for graham crackers in Ohio when my friend Clair and I nearly ate the whole box of her son’s crackers (sorry, not sorry). Goodness freaking gracious. I forgot the magic of these little gems, and I have fallen back in love.

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9. BIP. This goes without saying. You guys know I’m not missing a beat with this one. This season is particularly great!

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10. And this. I laughed so hard. SO TRUE.

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Any products/things/podcasts/shows/etc. that you are loving this week?!

xo <3

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Our Third Year Anniversary!

Hey everyone 🙂 I am starting grad school tomorrow (Monday), although I’m not entirely sure when this will be published! I am soo very excited, but I’m soaking up this last night to try to catch up with blogging best I can before the craziness ensues.

To pick right up where we left off, on the evening of August 8th, DJ and I made a spontaneous trip to San Pedro square to pre- celebrate our anniversary. How have three years passed already? It has truly been the my favorite three years of my life. Although this past year was the hardest single year of my life, I would not have made it through without DJ nor would I have traded it for the world. It was a year of challenge, growth, but the most reward- it shaped me, shaped us. Year three we grew more as a couple more than our first two years combined, and I just love love love this man more than I could ever have imagined possible. He is my rock. Sorry for the sap, but if any day warrants it it’s an anniversary, yahhhhh? Plus we both missed the obligatory social media post, so making up for it here. Hahah.

This anniversary we didn’t think DJ would be able to do anything the actual day of August 8th with work, but he miraculously was able to leave pretty early. We went to the mall together to pick him up a new phone since his entirely bit the dust then went down the road to dinner.

We had a gift-card we had been saving for a special occasion to district in San Jose, and this seemed like no better time than our anniversary day!

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This place is just so darn snazzy. It was dimly lit so it was hard to get great pictures of the unique bar that went directly through the middle of the restaurant. It also had a lounge area with fun adieus to our favorite classic games- Twister, Darts, Billard’s, etc. It’s a contemporary age type cocktail/tapas bar and a fantastic social environment if you are meeting with friends too!! I would love to come back here with my girlfriends someday.

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I’m working on getting DJ to enjoy oysters like I do, so we ordered some scrumptious ones on the half shell. He said they weren’t bad! Baby steps!

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Then we tried my personal favorite dish- seared squash blossoms. Whatever tomato sauce these were in was magical. I sopped up every bit. Even the waiter came over trying to take the plate and I politely asked if I could keep it to dip a bit longer. He said, “I respect that!”. Lol.

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We then tried a true gastronomical delight (thank you, Linda, for the new addition my lexicon 🙂 ). DJ and I had bone marrow for the first time at Orchard City Kitchen, and we were blown away by it. This was just as savory as we remembered! It just melts right off the bone. Heaven. This was DJ’s favorite.

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We then tried a gnocchi dish that was a close second favorite for both of us. It was very unique compared to what we usually have in terms of gnocchi, but gosh every bite was terrific!

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We were so full in our regular stomachs- but there is always the dessert stomach! DJ had been wanting to try a Pizookie from BJ’s Brewhouse for a while, so I decided to surprise him with a trip to try um’ out! I pulled up the maps app, and guided him to the restaurant. It’s not often that you have the chance to surprise each other in marriage- so this was a fun little spontaneous treat.

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He was stoked when we pulled up! I swore that I was too full to eat a bunch of dessert, but when these came, we equally contributed to the pizookie demolition.

We opted for the flight which and chose cookies n’ cream…

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salted caramel…

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and chocolate chunk…

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We couldn’t decide on a favorite. They were all sooo yummy. They were way better than I ever expected. Considering we have a BJ’s 2 miles away from us this could be dangerous. I think they’ll be something I crave.

The next day DJ and I had our “official” anniversary celebrations, although we both agreed the night before would have sufficed! Since we had reservations and the time set aside already, we went through with the staycation, and boy, am I glad we did.

The restaurant we went to was a big one on my bucket list. I have been PUMPED for the past month to share this with you all. I’m sitting here spazzing out because I don’t even know where to begin.

Cafe Jacqueline is a little, teeny tiny hole-in-the-wall place in SF that serves essentially only soufflés. They do have a french onion soup that is supposed to be unmatched and a couple other little items- but their thing is soufflés!

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It’s super intimate- I think they only have a total of about twelve tables. It is a perfect date and romantic dinner night restaurant. I will warn- it is extremely hard to get a reservation, so we booked about a month and a half in advance for this particular Thursday night. Weekends are rough trying to get a spot. There was hardly anyone there when we arrived, but quickly the place filled up.

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A little more history about this place- Jacqueline herself is a chef from France who started this restaurant in San Francisco. She makes every single soufflé herself to this day. When I went to the bathroom, I had to cross through the kitchen, and there she was soufflé-ing away! She is so cute- she’s in her 80s, tiny, and jovial as can be. She looked up at me with a big smile and said, “Bonjour!”. I hope I am half as cool as she is when I’m her age.

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Everything on the menu was making us salivate. We actually spent the car ride driving into the city trying to figure out what to order, but had no idea what to expect since we had never tried a soufflé before. Each soufflé can serve multiple people (savory ones they say serve 2-3 and dessert serve 3-4). Oh, also, since Jacqueline makes every soufflé to order, it takes about an hour or more for each to come out, so be prepared to wait! We didn’t mind, I treasure time just to spend with DJ with undivided attentive discussion together.

We decided on their white corn ginger garlic one. You. guys.  I cannot find the words to describe how tremendous this was. Seriously one of my favorite- if not MY FAVORITE food item I have ever had. DJ and I kept saying this could not be real- it surpassed every inkling of expectation we may have had- was so light, fluffy, yet full of perfect flavor. It was out of this world. I want to cry thinking about it. Does a food ever make you want to cry? (not talking onions) Like it’s so delicious it just evokes emotion? Just me? Ok

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We ate every little nibble so fast. The authentically amazing french waiter with a handle bar mustache came back and looked at us with wide eyes saying, “We either starved you for too long, or that was really good”. I said, “definitely the latter!”.

For dessert we tried the chocolate soufflé. It was *insert crying sniffle* perfection. Excuse me, I need tissues. I have never felt this way toward a food item before. why. Why did it have to be so good?!?!

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Here is a video of us scooping into it! It is a semi- ok shot, until the end where it all falls off my spoon. Haha. Smoooooth.

We had to walk a looong time to get back to our car but we probably needed it after not leaving a bite of our 3-4 person soufflés. Lol 3-4. No chance!

When getting into our car we had this radiant view of the bridge.

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We stayed at Hotel Vitale for the evening- probably our favorite hotel in SF that we have been to once before. Their theme is lavender. Breathe innnn the relaxation. Even the rooms have lavender coming out of the room numbers.

img_2623The service here is phenomenal. Something I have learned in my twenties is “it doesn’t hurt to ask”. I received a text from the staff a few days before our stay and they said if you have any additional requests please let us know. I asked if it would be possible to have any champagne or anything to celebrate our anniversary (the worst they can say is no, right?).

When we arrived we had this lovely note addressed to us…

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And complimentary champagne and chocolate <3 <3 <3 It was so kind!!!

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They even complimentarily upgraded our room for our anniversary. I was so touched, like what?!?! We went from an interior room to an exterior with a view of the Ferry building and the Bay Bridge.

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After dropping off our luggage, we went up to the roof area. (They have several rooftop areas you can take in stunning views of the city). I was so excited and thought the Bay Bridge was in this picture. When it wasn’t DJ said, “Uh, Kenz, you may want to put your hand the other way.” LOL. Whoops!

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Too funny not to share.

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And here is that lovely bridge..

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It was an unforgettable evening! Truly one of my favorite date nights and anniversaries for all time.

img_2621Alas, this post is so long I will wait to recap our brunch experience in the next post. I can’t wait!!! One of the best! Stay tuned…

Questions for you:

  • Have you ever had a soufflé?
  • What is one life lesson you have had in your twenties if you have one?!

xo <3

Dog Surfing, Hot Yoga, & a Celeb Encounter

Now that we are totally caught up from the 5 full days Kelsey visited (yes those 6 posts were over the course of only 5 full days haha), I am excited to catch up on all the between. It will definitely take a few posts to get there, but life is about to get pretty monotonous with school starting (not mad one bit about it though!), so these should keep things fun for a bit.

When Kels left on August 1st, I spent the rest of the day catching up on laundry, squeezing in a run, eating leftovers, blogging a tiny bit and crashing early. I slept until late the next day- the longest I have slept in a while- I never like sleeping past 8 am, but I slept until 10 am this day. My body needed to catch up on the zero sleep from the week before.

On August 2nd-3rd, I opted to a be an antisocial hermit for a couple days. I went to the grocery store, went for a run outside, and published the first of my Michigan posts. I caught up on a ton of e-mails, took care of some housekeeping for grad school, and tried to catch up on other blogs best I could. Despite having a fridge full of groceries I was not in the mood to cook at all. I actually was feeling slightly under the weather. I decided Pho sounded like the perfect remedy! I ordered vegetarian pho from House of Pho and it was phOnomenal. I don’t think I’ve actually had Pho myself (just sampled it), but this will was just perfect.

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Saturday August 4th was a blast. For breakfast I had some delicious oatmeal with PB2, Fage, cinnamon, and shakeology vegan protein powder.

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I drove to Pacifica to meet with my sister-in-law, Amy, and her boyfriend for an event unlike any other- The World Dog Surfing Championship!!!!

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Parking was difficult to find, but we finally found some on a side hill. You can see the mass of people on the beach if you look closely.

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My pictures are a bit grainy, but it was fun to watch these dogs take on the waves!! The pups were actually surfing, and great at it too. They had competitions where they even had two dogs on one board. Only in CA, right? This dog below was my personal fave.

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There were so.many.dogs. on the beach too. I passed this nugget and couldn’t help but grab a picture. I mean, can ya stand it? Would ya Jus’ look at him?!!

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I still wasn’t feeling 100% the rest of the day so I tried to nap, caught up on some easy to-dos, then went to sleep early.

August 5th after church, I went for a long walk outside, and listened to a couple podcasts. I saw that someone left a full bag of bread on this sign, and it broke my heart to be honest.

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How can you just waste good carbs like that? So sad. Should be illegal. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful.

August 6th, I woke up early to do Hot Yoga for the first time. I absolutely loved it! This past year and a half was a very stressful one as you all are probably well aware, and my body took a beating from how much running and cardio I did to cope with the stress. My knees are particularly hurting lately, so I’m trying to do more walks and am going to try to replace a couple runs a week with hot yoga. It’s pretty great and the instructor at the place I went to in SJ was amazing. Now that life is about to be more regimented, I am excited to incorporate this into my weekly routine.

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After, I swung into Trader Joe’s, and made baked Atlantic salmon, roasted veggies, and zucchini pizza boats for a couple days.

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In the evening I went over my friend, Sara’s, house to hangout and have a movie night.

August 7th, I did an Insanity workout, lifted some weights, and then did some house chores for the week.  In the evening, I met up with my friends Tammy and Dani (whom I haven’t seen in FOREVERRRR) to get happy hour at Jack Rose Libation house. Dani just moved back to CA, so we had every single reason to celebrate. I’ve missed her! You may remember her last from us all meeting up last year at Aqui.

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This place is just so dang good. They have such great food, drinks, a fun atmosphere, etc. You cannot go wrong. It’s a local favorite for sure! Dani tried their side of paradise with vodka, house made blackberry jam, fresh lemon, sparkling wine, and lemon verbena.

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Tam went for their summer wind with the botanist gin, foro amaro, venus aquavit, north coast peach berliner weisse, giffard pamplemousse liqueur, and lemon. .( I think!)

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I ordered a boring ole’ glass of white wine, not really picture worthy haha.

But you know what is picture worthy? And aware winning worthy? And just some of the best cheesy goodness I have ever had worthy?! THEIR PIZZA!!!

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We split their artichoke spinach pizza with well, you can guess it- artichoke, spinach, mozzarella, ricotta, green olives, fresh herbs, and grana padano. It was perfection. I hardly ever meet a pizza I don’t like, but this just took it up a few notches.

We also split the hummus plate with chickpeas, garlic, cumin, tahini, smoked paprika, hazelnuts, pizza bread, and veggies.

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After catching up for a looong time that felt like only two minutes, we stopped by Safeway to grab some mochi to share for dessert and settled in at Tammy’s for the premiere of Bachelor in Paradise!

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This summer I have blown up Tammy’s Instagram with mochi pictures, so we just had to try some. I have never had the ice cream type before (only the muffins you may remember). These were my/mo brand, and they were GREAT…. except for the matcha flavor that literally tasted like dill pickles. I am not exaggerating. When I took a bite, I was like, “y’all it taste like pickles”. They thought I maybe was being dramatic, but sure enough they agreed- somehow pickles must have found their way into the matcha batch. Haha.

While enjoying our mochi, we jammed to some new songs of Chris Lane’s before revving up BIP. I posted it to my story and then we glued ourselves to the TV for the night. Such a fun time.

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In the morning of August 8th, as I was getting my day started, I looked down at my phone and saw this….. (yes, I need to actually put a picture for my background, I know I know… I’m too indecisive to decide)…

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Chris Lane stinking A. WATCHED our video, B. COMMENTED on our video, and C. POSTED IT TO HIS OWN STORY. I had to pinch myself give or take ten times to make sure it was real life. This was such a big deal to us and really special because we actually bonded over Chris Lane’s music. The first time the three of us hung out was even at his concert.

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I guess I’ll wrap up here for now. Real quick though- August 8th is actually me and DJ’s anniversary! We weren’t planning on celebrating the actual day of since we had plans in the city for the next day, but with DJ getting off work early it seemed a perfect time to use up a gift-card we had been saving for a special occasion (thanks, Bro!). I will recap in the next post where we ate and what of course, but that requires a fresh page of it’s own 🙂

xo <3

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