SF Staycation Part 3: La Taqueria & Urban Putt!

Heyyy ya! How are you? I’m quickly going to wrap up our second half of our big San Francisco day, mostly through pictures.

If you missed our first half of the weekend you can check it out here:

Part One 

Part Two 

After Strawberry Hill, DJ and I went to check out the rest of the park. We just strolled around and passed some notable museums like the de Young Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, Spreckels Lake, and random little monuments.

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On our drive out we drove passed the Bison Paddock, a little fenced area that houses real Bison. We were skeptical that actual Bison existed in the middle of San Francisco, but they doooo!

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We then met up with Amy and all decided to grab some lunch together. I just love that she lives here. We went to  La Taqueria, one of the most popular Mexican spots in town.

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The line was out the door–it always is every time I pass it- a sign of great food! We waited about 45 minutes and finally got to the front.

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I ordered their veggie burrito. It was very good… but I wouldn’t say it was the best I’ve ever had. I love when tortillas are kind of crispy, and this was a bit doughy. But the fixin’s & added house hot sauce was a terrific combo. Not worth the wait I’d say, but still a really solid burrito.

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We drove a little way down the road and walked around the Clarion Alley Mural Project. The history behind this is really fascinating- it is a grassroots movement of art that began in 1992 and promotes culture, dignity, and empowerment of the marginalized.

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^^ Despite the fact that I have trypophobia and this picture really freaks me out, I still thought it was too cool not to share.

We then went to another place on the BL- Anchor Brewing SF.

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This is a great place to just hangout on a Saturday afternoon. I had their unfiltered anchor steam, a brew you can only get in their brick and mortar brewery- I really enjoyed it….I even got it in a Merry Christmas glass- so bonus points!

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Also, I captured my matte nails that in the natural lighting. I haven’t done these in a while, and I was pretty pleased how they turned out, although I messed up the thumb a bit, oh welllls!

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We then went to the close by Urban Putt– an indoor mini golf course & restaurant.

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We said we would have some “light” appetizers since we had our burritos barely a couple hours before. L to the O to the L. This is what we ended up ordering…

Empanadas with roasted pumpkin, queso fresco and pasilla pepper filling with creamy chipotle pepper sauce on a masa crust…

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Chicken and waffle skewers with vermont maple syrup…

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A side of broccolini….

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The Fairway Deep Dish Pizza with mozzarella, parmesan, provolone, white cheddar, tomato sauce and basil….

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& UP Poutine with Kannebec Fries, beef short rib gravy, garlic, and herb marinated cheese curds.

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“Light appetizers”…😆

Our review? The fries were our favorite across the board. I love cheese curds- mmm mmmm. The broccolini was my second favorite- the flavor was spot on. The empanadas were yummy too. We surprisingly thought the pizza was a bit subpar- disappointing because it looks like cheesy gooodness, it was just lacking some kinda flavor kick.

Now- time to golf! The downstairs of the building turns into a giant mini golf course.

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The wait was insane- at least an hour- but we finally got up to the front.

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Each course was so unique with tons of odes to the city & interesting themes. It was a lot of fun, but we had a realllllly obnoxious family right ahead of us that were actually pretty disrespectful to everyone else- that was the only downside.

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In the hole below, the ball actually hit the drums and comes down the ingeniously designed contraption? So interesting!

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I definitely recommend this if you do visit SF- just try to go in “off” hours (Not on a weekend or try to go super late at night when there are fewer people!).

Question for You:

  • Do you like poutine?

xo <3

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SF Staycation Part 2: Craftsman & Wolves, The Presidio, & Japanese Tea Garden!

Happy Sunday or Monday or Tuesday… or whatever-dayuvthaweek this post finds ya!!! Just want to take a second to say thanks for reading- still boggles my mind that ya would take a second out of your day to read about what’s happenin’ in ours. I just finished my first draft of one of my huge semester papers, so I’m finally going to finish up our weekend in SF! So let’s get to… shall we?! You can find part one here! Saturday February 16th, we woke up early (around 7 am) to beat the morning breakfast rush and traffic.

It was my Dad’s birthday, so I took some time talking about him with DJ and in our family group text… just remembering the amazing man he was. My brother said my nephew now recognizes him in pictures, which just melts my heart <3 His birthday is usually one of the hardest days of the year for me, missing him horribly…. but I knew that he would want us to just smile, laugh, and have tons of fun. So that’s exactly what we did- it ended up being a full wonderful day I’ll never forget!

To start with, I grabbed a cup of free bitter coffee from the lobby as we set out for the day. I couldn’t even take more than a few sips- it was awful, haha- and I’ll drink just about anything that resembles coffee. Luckily, I knew I’d have plenty of time for coffee to come- so I wasn’t too worried about it 🙂

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Here is a peek of the gorgeous Ferry Building on our walk over. There are so many parts of SF I love- but the Embarcadero might be my favorite!

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I always use the Transamerica Pyramid as a reference point in the city too. I love the architecture of it!

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Alright – time. to. grub! First place on the bucket listCraftsman and Wolves.

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This little cafe is filled with soo many goodies! DJ and I first tried the vanilla glazed donut with biscotti crumbs on top- OH my…. it was a perfect donut. They also have an apple cider one I would love to try at some point!

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This donut was so warm, yummy, doughy (but not undercooked), flaky & just hit the spot. And of course, I unashamedly dipped every bite into my latte. Mmmmm!

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Now for the grand finale- the Rebel Within!! This egg centered muffin specifically was what we came here to try & it did not disappoint. I will say it actually surpassed my eggspectations. Also, whatever salt they served it with was ridiculously goood & the touch of pickled carrots were a lovely accompaniment.

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We scurried out after finishing up our first course to try out breakfast treat numero dos.. at this point it was probably about 9:45 am, the rush usually starts at 10/10:15, so we were doing good on time!

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I usually don’t venture somewhere twice simply because there is an overwhelming amount of goodies to try in SF. But I couldn’t pass up introducing DJ to B. Patisserie– the best bakery in SF without question. You may remember it from when Amy and I went on her bday!

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Mainly, I wanted to make sure he tried their famous Kouign-Amann.

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DJ raved about how great it was after the first bite… even without my standard prompt of, “Soooo what do you think”?!

Also, they have little mini Kouign Amann keychains you can buy that I was just smitten with. I didn’t get one, but maybe next time!

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Anddd on to the next place! As we walked back to the car I had to capture the bright pastel home fronts & lovingly decorated doorsteps.

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Another place we’ve wanted to check out is Lovers’ Lane in The Presidio. First off, I did not realize how massive “The Presidio” (former U.S. Army military fort) was! It is home to the Walt Disney Family Museum as well as many other commercial buildings. I thought “The Presidio” was only a little tiny hiking area… I didn’t realize it was basically a small city of its own.

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Anywho, after some serious issues finding where exactly Lovers’ Lane was, we finally found it! It’s not a hoax after all!

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We hiked the stunning tree lined pavement portion for a while…we couldn’t believe how quiet it was. It was hard to believe this was actually located in The City. There were very few people on the trail as well.

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We hiked around a while and couldn’t seem to find the exact location of the iconic swerving logs and tree path.

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I showed DJ those pictures linked up top from Google Images, and he suggested we off trail a little to locate it, so that is what we did…..

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And we found it!!! Check check off that list! It was such a unique little spot & such a nice breath of fresh air from the craziness of the actual city. If I lived in SF I’d have to come here often.

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Next up.. Golden Gate Park!!! I was shocked how huge it is. To give you an idea, it is 20% larger than NYC’s Central Park!

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We found some free street parking, then immediately searched out some restrooms (that’s always the struggle when visiting The City)… I will force myself to limit my fluids through the day just so I don’t have to go to the bathroom, haha. We then set off to hunt down Strawberry Hill. We were accompanied by stunning lake views & blooms along the way.

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We eventually spotted the storybook adjacent bridge that crossed the river to Strawberry Hill.

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We hiked to the top and soaked up the spectacular views that surrounded us. We couldn’t believe this true sanctuary existed in the middle of the city?! Too cool.

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My adventure partner <3

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After hiking down the hill, we walked past the Golden Gate Pavilion. This pavilion was a gift from Taiwan and houses beautiful plants and birds, such as the Blue Heron.

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Next Stop: The Japanese Tea Garden! We surpassed visiting the tea garden in Portland and San Diego, so we agreed we probably should at least visit it here.

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WOW. This place is stunning. It was raining while we were there, but the rain added such an element of serene beauty.

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Also, we saw this oddly vertical bridge we just had to climb over.

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Not sure why this picture distorted the back of DJ’s neck… Professor Quirrell???

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Ahhhhh <3 It’s the type of place that just forces you to take a big deep breath & relax for a moment.

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And that about wraps up our first half of the day. I’ll cover the second half of the day in a separate post!

Questions for you:

  • Have you ever been to a tea garden?
  • Any big plans for March?

xo <3

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Momma’s Cornbread Recipe… in a Jiffy!

Better late than never, right?! I know I promised to share my Mom’s epic cornbread recipe when so many asked for it back around Christmas time. This recipe is crazy easy and oh so yummy. It’s particularly delicious because it’s a more moist cornbread than traditional ones. (Sorry to all the word-“moist”-cringers). Anyways, we are still in the thick of winter, so comfort food dishes are still oh so very necessary.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Jiffy Corn bread mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can of Del Monte cream corn (or name-brand of choosing- just not generic because it does not have as much corn in it usually)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 F
  • Grease a loaf pan
  •  Combine all ingredients in a bowl
  • Transfer to loaf pan
  • Bake 20 mins. May take longer to bake- wait until slightly golden brown

There ya have it ! Easy peasy. Enjoy!

xo <3

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SF Staycation Part 1: Lands End, Sutro’s, & Harbor Court Hotel in SF!

Hey, everyone! I just finished up watching The Oscars- all I can say is, I have a lot of movies to watch! I mainly watch to see the fashion and “people watch”, and this year did not disappoint! I think my favorite was Marina De Tavira’s gorgeous gown. Anywho- On February 15th, DJ and I ventured into SF for a staycation, as I mentioned at the end of the last post. We had about $80 with Orbitz bucks to put toward our hotel and giftcards, so we decided to make it a weekend of knocking stuff off the ol’ bucket list. I planned our whole Friday night around going to Sutro’s at the Cliffhouse. This is supposed to be one of the most spectacular restaurants in SF. It is built upon an actual cliff overlooking the Bay. I planned our dinner right at sunset to watch it out the window, but it was supposed to rain all evening. I tried to talk myself off a cliff after seeing the promise of rain from the weather app, “It’s not like we’ve never seen a sunset before! The food is still supposed to be insanely good. It’s like the REAL experience of the bay if it’s cloudy! Actually, I’m glad there won’t be a sunset!”. DJ couldn’t help but laugh at my immediate externally processed effort to make myself feel better about the plans not going exactly as I envisioned, haha.

Even though it was cloudy it was still boldly beautiful. The serene views of the Bay never cease to amaze me.

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As soon as we parked the sun started peaking through!

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The clouds parted letting in bright blue skies and sun rays that covered all of Lands End. The views were simply breathtaking. Luckily, we had some time to walk around the entrance before going to the restaurant itself.

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This is easily one of my all time favorite spots in SF. You may remember last year when I was in a pretty bad place I came down here on my own and just soaked up some nature and fresh air to get in a better head space. Below is the remaining ruins from the Sutro Baths. It all burned down in a fire in 1966. The history is pretty fascinating- if you are interested you can read about it more here. (yes, I’m citing wiki although I’m in a research course-hehe ).

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Turns out we were gonna get some kinda sunset after all!

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We popped into the Visitor Center and briefly peaked at the different kitschy souvenirs and flipped through 100 Places You Must Visit in SF books to kill the last few minutes until our reservation.

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Below is a picture of the original Cliffhouse, where we would be having dinner that evening.

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Here we go!!

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Sutro’s is located downstairs. On the top floor is a Bistro restaurant with a bit more casual feel. On the way down the stairs there is a picture of the original Sutro Baths on display.

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We checked in with our Open Table reservation and were seated within a few minutes.

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This might be the most stunning restaurant I have ever been in. WOW. The pictures do not do justice.

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If you peak closely in the picture below you can see us in the reflection of the mirror.

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We started with some lovely wine & some fluffy, warm, sourdough bread to start. The butter was my favorite part- it was served with volcanic salt.

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We then split some oysters. They were delicious— suhh fresh! I joked that they probably just went out to the bay to grab them per order… then realized that was a hard- core cringy dad joke…. why am I this way…

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For my main dish I had their truffled ricotta ravioli with roasted shiitake, cauliflower, parsley shallot soffrito & parmesan-vegetable essence emulsion. This was just wonderful. It was almost too salty for my liking, but still very yummy.

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DJ ordered the star of the show! Pictured below is the sautéed scallops & wild shrimp scampi with Israeli saffron couscous, pine nut, and parsley jus. WOWZA. THIS is the dish to get!! I’m thankful he generously shared a few bites with me 🙂

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And while we didn’t have a traditional sunset, this was still one of my favorites <3 This was a dinner we will never forget!

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We passed on dessert at the restaurant because we wanted to enjoy some dessert in the hotel after our food settled & while watching Ozark. We wanted to get Zanze’s Cheesecake, but we were a half an hour past their closing. We found a place in Little Italy that had great reviews- Stella Pastry.

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It was tons of fun walking through Little Italy at night- we haven’t explored that area much, and it had such a fun buzz of energy in the air. I’d love to go back sometime & try some of the restaurants there in the evening!

Stella was very much a hole-in-the-wall… our kinda place! It was quite unassuming from the outside, but the meaningful decor and kindness of the employees immediately made it a true gem.

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We ordered their patented-recipe-famous Sacripantina, Black and white cake, and Tiramisu to take back. (Pictures later in the post).

We then went to sign into the Harbor Court hotel located on the Embarcadero. We were able to get the night for less than $100. That is really a steal for downtown SF.

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This boutiquey hotel was awesome- definitely surpassed my expectations! I loved the decor & special touches.

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They even had a little coffee shop in the lobby, and served free coffee in the morning. Ya know I took full advantage of that.

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Some other notable points if you are looking to stay here- they don’t have a gym, but there is a YMCA next door that you have access to & every night they have a wine hour from 5-6 pm in this gorgeous little homey community room! There also is a full snack bar in the lobby for purchase too.

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The only downside was it took us over 45 minutes to find parking. It was $60(!!!) to valet, so we were determined to find something cheaper. DJ ended up dropping me off to check in while he continued to look, and finally he found something about 0.5 miles away using the Parking Panda app. I managed to grab the photos above in the meantime.

The room was so cute!! Online people complained about the sizes of the rooms, sure they were somewhat small, but I loved the cozy feel. Also, it was super quiet, I’ll take that over our upstairs neighbors clanking around any day (oh yeah, they never moved out- that’s a whole other story- haha). Needless to say, it was a much welcomed respite.

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I also couldn’t help but laugh that Ozumo was the option for room service. You might remember this is one of my all time favorite restaurants in San Jose from here or here. I rave about this restaurant to anyone who will listen. Best sushi of my life- hands down. MMmm! We didn’t order anything, but I was comforted to know it was there, lol.

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I also loved the bathroom!

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They even had a little makeup towel- what an adorable idea, right?!

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Time to pop open the pastries!

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We nibbled on each of them while watching Ozark.

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Our thoughts — they were fine. The sacripantina (their most popular item) was DJ’s favorite. It almost had a creamy vanilla flavor. I would have thought this would be my favorite, but it was too “cakey” and crumbly for my liking. I actually preferred the tiramisu! I enjoyed the strong coffee flavor and moussey-ness of it, but probably wouldn’t order it again.

We slept so well and woke up excited to have a full day ahead of us in The City. In the morning of February 16th we woke up around 7:00 am to get ready for the day. We were out of the hotel by 8 am and hit the town! To be continued…

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Question for you:

  • Do you ever do Staycations?

xo <3

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Friday Favorites #21!

Happy Friday!!! We made it – woohoo!! DJ had to work super late last night (around 11 pm), but in turn he gets today entirely off! I still have to work on school shtuff all day, but I love having him around. I have faves bursting at the seams this week- definitely will have to save some for next week too!

  1. Trader Joe’s Tzatziki– oh man, this stuff is so creamy and delicious. I like putting it on my “chik’n”, eating it with hummus and pita chips, or putting it in my salads.

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2. Trader Joe’s Sliced French Brioche. The obsession is real. This is a must-try. We use it mainly for sandwiches, french toast, and grilled cheese!

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3. Little Pink Book. I am sooo old fashioned in keeping “paper records”. I don’t totally trust technology plus I’m bad at it, lol. Anywho- this little book is so fun & adorable for storing all contacts and addresses. I’m sure my mom is happy to read this considering it means I won’t constantly text her, “What is so & so’s address again?”

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4. Crispy Chickpeas from Trader Joe’s. This is more of a DJ Friday Fave, I like these, but DJ loves them. I actually prefer the Saffron Road brand, but these are still yummy.

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5. Olay Instant Hydration Eye Cream. I gotta say, I am usually so skeptical about face and eye creams- they cost an arm & a leg, but do they actually work? I noticed a difference in my under eye puffiness and also general smoothness in my under eyes by using this for one day! It lasts for a long time too because you only need very little.

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6. Fyre Festival Documentaries. This is kind of old news now, but I have to include it! Oh man, this is a fascinating documentary! I suggest watching both- the Netflix and Hulu styles are different & you learn different aspects about the whole mess through each. I won’t even give a synopsis because I’m sure y’all are well aware about it by now. Gosh, it’s entertaining.

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7. Airpods! DJ has wanted to get these for me for a long time for a Christmas or bday gift for the last couple years, but I always said I didn’t get the point. I didn’t see how they were that different truly from the regular headphones. WOW, was I wrong in my thinking- these are a game changer!! He finally got them for me this past Christmas, and I am sooo glad. They are sooo much easier, don’t catch on everything, and I think my form is better running because I can truly stand up straight without the headphones tugging on my phone. Also, I can do HITT routines while listening to podcasts or music… I couldn’t do that with my wire ones because they needed to be connected to my phone.

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8. Maybelline’s Colossal Volume Mascara. We have all seen the commercials for this mascara, and I had a sample I finally tried. I usually use “They’re Real!“.. but that can be sooo doggone pricy. This Mascara is insanely comparable, maybe even adds more volume, and is a price I can justify!

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9. The Wife Between Us. Wowzas, this book is a good one! Some people compare it to the style of Behind Closed Doors, one of my favorites from last year. This book, similarly, had sooo many twists and turns at the end, my jaw was nearly on the floor. Thanks, Maureen, for the suggestion! I really hope they make this a movie!

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10. The Final Table. Where my cooking show fanatics at?!?! This is a must watch! The Final Table takes the best chefs from around the world and they compete in the ultimate cooking competition. This is top tier cooking competition gold.

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Question for you:

  • Any favorites for you this week?!

Have a great weekend, my friends 🙂

xo <3

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**There are affiliated links in this post, but all ideas and opinions are my own! Some images are from a Google Image search- ya know the really crisp professional looking ones 😉 **

Our Valentine’s Day!

This is gonna be a short & sweet (pun totally intended) post filling in the foodie gaps from the last update up to our Valentine’s Day! (I know y’all are probably sick of any and all Valentine’s Day chat by now, so thanks for tuning in anyway!).

Sunday February 10th, we both got up early and went to church. When I came home we were still super low on groceries, so I put together some canned butternut squash puree & a dollop of Fage mixed and heated up with mixed nuts, pumpkin butter and Ezekiel bread. It was surprisingly very satisfying! Ya never can know how those hodge-podge concoctions are gonna go, but it’s often when I discover my new favorite snacks!

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The afternoon was just working on school assignments & I think I squeezed a run in.

For dinner I was really getting down to the bare bones in the fridge- I needed some protein, so I whipped up some eggs, beans, and salsa & paired it with homemade pumpkin hummus that I defrosted from the freezer.

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February 11th I woke myself up with Fage, oatmeal, PB2, and mixed nuts. The thought of breakfast & coffee causes me to jump out of bed in the morning, haha. For this one, basically anything I could find in the cupboard I was throwing into that bowl.

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After doing a ton of schoolwork it was time to finally acquiesce to a full grocery trip. But I will say- TJ’s is the pretty much the adult equivalent of going to the park. On my way I grabbed some Starbucks cause I was feeling chilled to the bone that day! It was one of the colder days of this winter. *Cue the laughs from my midwest friends*

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Aaaaaaand here we are.

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For dinner I defrosted a pack of thanksgiving turkey and made turkey noodle soup for the Deej with some egg noodles I picked up. He enjoyed it even more than I expected! It served as a lunch throughout the week & he usually had it with a slice of lightly warmed buttered brioche.

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I had a salad full of the fresh veggies from TJ’s with hummus, Lightlife’s Savory “chick’n” tenders, and lotsa hummus. I like to cook the chik’n till it’s kinda crispy & it almost serves as a kind of crouton in the salads.

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February 12th I finally found and tried the Banh Mi Bowl recommended by the lovely Kate over at LiveintheNautical. Y’all this stuff is so guuud. I wasn’t as big a fan of the dressing, but the actual bowl itself was just delish & fresh! The tofu in it was sooo hearty & yummy.

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In the evening, I attended School of Leadership. This is a four-week course I’m taking through our Church, and WOW, it’s enlightening. I feel like I’m drinking wisdom from a fire hose. So much knowledge and practical application. I am just loving every second of it & have made some new friends through it. At this point in time there is only one week left- crazy how quickly it flew.

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On February 13th I gathered together all my Valentine’s I was making for Boys and Girls Club and paired them with a chocolate. The Valentine’s were 3D which I thought the third graders would like. After I made the Valentine’s I panicked because I realized the Snickers had nuts in them & I didn’t know if any of the kids had an allergy. I switched out any of the Snickers for another type of chocolate & left those for DJ since their his fave anyway!

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I was craving some of my “chick’n” so I made it with roasted beets, corn, and topped it off with tzatziki sauce from TJ’s (that tzatziki sauce is the bomb! I’ll include it in my FF).

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On February 14th I went to Boys and Girls Club in the afternoon. Holy hyperness… I thought they were sugar filled last week- oh man, you haven’t seen chaos till you’ve seen a third grade classroom on Valentine’s Day! LOL! It was so much fun. I came home to these gorgeous roses from DJ and yummy treats & cards from friends & family. <3 They are the bestt.

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This card was from DJ… he said each one of these dogs represented one of my moods. LOLOL.

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Oh, and this was from a friend at church! Tell me this isn’t the cutest little idea for a Valentine ya ever did see?!

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I made Deej a little box of some of our faves- our favorite candle, his favorite granola, and then made a little note saying “Will You Accept This Rosé?” As a play on the Bachelor. CHEESY, I KNOW!

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For dinner I made him heart shaped grilled cheese on our TJ’s brioche and tomato soup- his favorite weeknight meal. Just when ya didn’t think it could get cheesy-er 😉

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For my dinner I had my stuffed purple sweet potato with Fage, avocado, meatless crumbles, and almond vegan cheese. This is one of my personal favorite go-to winter meals.

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I also made a big ol’ batch of these cookies for dessert. I think I should have made them thicker because they were a bit too crumbly, but the flavor was wonderful!

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On the 15th I woke up at 4:30 am bright and early & could not fall back asleep; I was so excited for the weekend we had before us! I started the day with oatmeal, protein powder, blueberries, granola and stevia.

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After drilling my brain with school work, around 3:30 pm we left for SF for a staycation. I was feeling pretty sick, the cold that is going around definitely got me, but I was ignoring it. That’s my go-to when I’m not feeling good- just pretend it’s not there. That is NOT sound nursing advice, hah. I did stock up on Advil, Halls, & Vitamin C to take along. We stopped for gas on the way, and I captured this rainbow. I will share about the weekend in a separate post because it was fun, special & so very memorable. Can’t wait!

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Questions for you:

  • Favorite hodge-podge meals?
  • What is a staple in your home? (Truly can be anything- food, candle, cleaning supplies- anything at all!)

xo <3

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Snow Capped Mountains & A Dragon!

This sounds like it’s about to be an episode of Game of Thrones, huh? Sorry, not quite that exciting 😉 I’m picking up where I left off from my last recap.

February 4th for breakfast I made french toast out of brioche from TJ’s. Y’all have gotta try this!!! The brioche from TJ’s is a game. changer. It’s our new obsession.

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We were running low on groceries at this point, so I had to get creative for eats. I made a purple sweet potato with meatless crumbles, hummus, and pickled beets from TJ’s.

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For dinner I made DJ a bubba burger with gruyere, and I had a mixup of eggplant, hummus, roasted peppers, and tempeh.

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On Tuesday, February 5th we woke up to a sight I have never seen before…. snow capped mountains!!! In the almost three years of living here I have never seen snow where we live!

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On Wednesday the 6th I chatted with my friend, Rachel, while out on a walk. Even though it was chilly it was a nice break in the day from the school work.

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In the evening I made quinoa/brown rice pasta from TJ’s with basic tomato sauce and gruyere shredded on top.

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Thursday morning the 7th I tried a new breakfast out! And while this post doesn’t contain a literal dragon, it does have dragon….fruit! Kori posted about these packs, and I forgot how delicious they are! I found a couple packs left in the freezer and mixed in a frozen banana, some coconut, peanut butter powder, and granola. Mmmm! It’s like ice cream for breakfast. I’m not a big Acai bowl person, but I love love love this.

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I went to Boys and Girls Club in the afternoon & the kiddos were in rare form! They had a bunch of candy leading up to class, hehe. I didn’t mind though- I love their energy. Also, I got a text from Amy, my SIL, that there was an explosion in SF. It turns out it originated in Hong Kong Lounge II, a restaurant on our bucket list and one of the city’s premier spots for dim sum. She was sending me pictures and it looked BAD. She only lived a couple blocks away and the fire department was having a hard time getting the fire under control at first. She almost had to evacuate, but finally they stopped it once PG & E turned off the gasline. It’s seriously tragic- I feel awful for the owners of the restaurant and all the others that were affected. I don’t think anyone was badly injured, thank goodness.

On Friday the 8th I finished up some big assignments during the day and then met up with Tammy for happy hour on Santana Row.

We went to a new spot, EMC Seafood & Raw Bar.

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I adored the decor & the general vibe. Such a fun little spot.

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Their oysters for happy hour are $1.50! They were huge & really yummy! You can tell just how fresh they are. Wowza.

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We then split some ahi tuna crispy rice. I’d never had crispy rice before, but Tammy explained it is a southern California delicacy! So good. Love the texture/flavor together.

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We also had the truffled salmon sashimi. Good lawd, this was everything. I think it might have been my favorite thing we ate.

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We also tried a few nibbles of the uni pasta. It was creamy and tasty..almost like alfredo! I haven’t liked uni when I’ve tried it in the past, but this uni wasn’t quite as bitter. I will say I think this dish was far overpriced. I probably wouldn’t order it again and would just stick to straight seafood dishes. But people rave about it- so maybe it’s just me! I took a dish home for DJ. He tried it and gave it an 8/10 which is a pretty good rating for him.

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On February 9th for dinner I made DJ a chicken parm with garlic naan bread. I made the breading with frozen bruschetta that I had made about a month ago (I just defrosted it, put it in the food processor, then put it on the chicken once I basted it with eggs). Y’all know I am a freezing fanatic, but why waste food when it can go to good use?! He loved it!

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I had cauliflower mashed potatoes, beets, boca crumbles, and pumpkin butter that did not photograph well, imagine a big ol’ purple thing of mush, ha!

Also, I just had to include how beautifully our Tim Cantor collector’s book fits into our home!

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I’ll stop here 🙂 Hope you all are having a great start to the week!

Questions for you:

  • Have you tried Uni?
  • What are you looking forward to most this coming week?

xo <3

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Cookies, Curry Pizza & a Donut Bar!

Hey hey!!! How are ya?! This post is the beginning of highlights from the last couple weeks in between school and work, aka food pics. Let’s just dive right in, shall we? On January 20th we got back around midnight from the race and went straight to sleep just exhausted. On January 21st we luckily both had some time to recover. DJ had a day off work & I just worked on school assignments all day while also unpacking and doing laundry. I woke up ravenous and craving carbs. I made a big bowl of oatmeal with mini wheats and peanut butter. Mmmm!

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In the evening we watched Bachelor, and of course, had to have our Tollhouse cookies accompany us!

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Fairlife is hands down the best chocolate milk around. This & the cookies together is our favorite combo.

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January 22-the 23rd I just did tons of school work morning to night and on the 24th I went to Boys and Girls Club in the afternoon. They had all their homework done already, so I helped one of the girls create a restaurant menu (they have popsicle sticks to pull with fun ideas to pass the time if they finish their homework up)- it was so cute seeing her thought process and preferences! She wanted it to be a Pizza buffet and named it “Pizza More”. We served gelato AND Ice cream.. she felt it was very important to serve both, hehe.

January 25th was the same, but I captured a picture of our dinner of scallops, brown rice, and roasted beets. I am on a roasted beets kick right now!

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January 26th I completed my first run after recovering from the race! In the evening, DJ and I decided to have an easy date night. We went to Curry Pizza House to try some unique ‘za! Indian food & pizza combined- sounded like heaven to me!

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We grabbed our pizzas and headed home. We were excited to see they included jalapeño ranch dressing. If ya haven’t tried it yet- ya gotta! I’m from the midwest, so pizza + ranch is a true delicacy in my book.

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We put in an order for their their house Desi garlic sticks with red onion & green chilis. So yummy.

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We ordered a large pizza- half and half: DJ tried the Chili Paneer with curry sauce, cheese, bell peppers, diced tomatoes, red onion, masala paneer, green onions, and fresh cilantro with chicken added. My half was Aloo Chaat with red sauce, marinated potatoes, mint, red onion, cheese, and fresh cilantro with mushrooms added. We weren’t sure what to expect flavor wise, but this definitely worked! Highly recommend trying curry pizza out if you like Indian food *heart eyes*.

We watched the movie, The Hate You Give while eating. I just finished up the book- and wow oh wow was it gripping. The movie was very well done & true to the story too. It’s one of those books that I think everyone should read (or at least see the movie)- it’s heavy, but so important. Thanks for the recommendation, Katy!

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On January 27th I woke up around 6:00 am to make sure I had time to get to Starbucks before church.

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And off we go, Cafe au Lait in hand!

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This particular Sunday we set up a donut bar for the guests! It was so much fun!

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I came back from church and decided I wanted to re-do my entire paper I had spent the previous week formulating. SO, I spent from about 11:30 am to 9:30 pm at night reworking the assignment. Good times.

In the evening I made some scallops with roasted zucchini, rice, and Koop’s Arizona Heat. This has been a go-to combo lately!

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On January 28th, I submitted that paper and took a big ole’ breath of relief. For lunch I had a purple sweet potato with Fage, avocado, dolmas, hummus and red pepper flakes. I then started the next assignment for the week. Of course in the evening, we watched Bach!

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January 29th was same ol’ same ol’.

In the evening of January 30th, I put together a super simple dinner of gnocchi with creamy tomato basil sauce and fresh shredded gruyere cheese.

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This gnocchi was wonderful!! TJ’s for the win, yet again.

On January 31st I finished up some discussion forums in the morning then went to Boys and Girls club in the afternoon. On my way, I saw this adorable little bug, and the whole scene reminded me of a scene from a cartoon, like something you would see in Up.

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In the evening I made a big salad for myself with all the veggies, hummus, and a bean burger and put together Garlic Naan with Lamb Vindaloo for DJ from guess where? Yep- you got it- TJ’s.

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Friday February 1st I spent the whole day working on assignments, but I did get some blogging in I believe! On Saturday morning of February 2nd I woke up extra early, ran about eight miles, and then went with DJ to meet our campus pastors at Voyager Coffee in San Jose at 10:30 am. I’ve been here a couple times before, and I love their lattes. You can tell they use high quality beans for sure.

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I just love spending time with our Pastors. We caught up and chatted a bunch about this upcoming year and just life in general.

After coffee we met up with some other close friends from church for dim sum! Woohooo!! Twice in a couple months! We went to Mayflower in Saratoga.

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The menu was very different from the last time we tried it, but still got a bunch of good dishes to share. I tried jellyfish for the first time (first picture) and really enjoyed it! The Lazy Susan in the middle was fun to pass food around!

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I really enjoyed their tea too. I didn’t get a bunch of pictures, but it was great to spend time with everyone & the food was pretty good. Not quite on the level of City View– but that place is considered one of the best in the entire Bay!

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In the afternoon DJ told me their was a gorgeous rainbow outside- luckily I caught it in time! No matter how old you are I feel like rainbows are still exciting to see.

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For dinner I made DJ a steak with birds eye veggies and brown rice. I had a salad out of my massive bowl, or trough as we joke, with pan seared tempeh, hummus, and tons of veggies.

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February 3rd the hospitality team put together this fun Super Bowl breakfast. The brown dishes are shaped like footballs!

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The rest of the day was school, school, break to do a blog post, school. I picked up DJ some Buffalo Wild Wings for the game- his tradition on Super Bowl day, haha. Even though I was working on some assignments, it was really nice just sitting next to DJ and “watching” the game (but really only commercials). I’ll make a part 2 for the rest of the recap!

Questions for you:

  • Feelings about ranch on pizza? I know you have a strong opinion either way 😉
  • Favorite kind of milk or chocolate milk?

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!!

xo <3

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San Diego Part 3: Barbusa, Carlsbad Marathon, & Crack Shack!

Happy Monday, y’all! This last couple weeks has been jam-stinkin’-packed, especially with school, so I’m getting posts out a lot slower than usual (I feel like a broken record, saying this). I finished up a huge project last night so now I have at least a couple hours today to maybe get one or two posts written!

After spending the day in Balboa Park, we went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. They had complimentary wine and tapas in the lobby so we grabbed some tostadas & an apertif before our reservation.

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We then went to Little Italy to carb load before the big race! We said this would our dinner to celebrate my birthday as well as Pete’s whose was on the 23rd 🙂

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After much research, we decided to try Barbusa,  a Busalacchi family restaurant. The Busalacchi family are renowned for owning a medley of authentic, delicious Italian restaurants in the San Diego area.

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This was a unique spin on an Italian restaurant. It was more contemporary with distinctive decor, but still had a “warmth” about it.

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There was a tribute to famous Italians on the wall- can you identify any of them?

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My one and only complaint was the volume- it was noisy! It was almost uncomfortable how loud it was- we didn’t mind, but it doesn’t encompass that old school “romantic” ambiance of most Italian restaurants.

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Our waiter was just awesome! He was helpful navigating the menu, especially the wines and had a thick Italian accent. You know you’re getting the real deal when the waiter is 100% Italian!

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The bread!!!! This was delicious.

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For an appetizer we tried tempura squash blossoms. These were very enjoyable- pretty & tasty!

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My mom and I split their caesar. This was the best caesar dressing I’ve ever had! I compared it to my mom’s she uses for the grilled romaine she makes at home. No anchovy type flavor, just smooth deliciousness. I think it had a hint of balsamic with it that was just wonderful.

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My mom and I split two dishes (I love when we go out to eat together because we have identical tastes- so we just split a couple dishes usually). The first dish we tried was the Garganelli funghi with black truffle oil, oyster mushrooms, and whipped panna. Phenomenal. It reminded me a lot of the dish I had in Disney at Il Mulino!

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Just when I didn’t think I could have anything more yummy, we tried the Gnocchi e Zucca with roasted butternut squash, sage, and cream. Oh goodness gracious this was melt-in-your-mouth-savor-every-single-nibble deliciousness. You could tell the gnocchi was truly homemade. I usually have the philosophy that it’s best to try new things whenever given the chance, but if we come back to SD I may need to stop in for this dish again. Gosh, I can’t even put it into words!

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DJ tried the Carbonara con Piselli. This had fettuccini, sweet peas, caramelized onions, pork pancetta, and egg yolk. I tried some without the meat and it was so creamy and savory!

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And last up, Pete enjoyed the Bolognese al Forno with baked anelletti, beef and sausage ragu, english peas, and tres formaggi.

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And of course, we had room for dessert! We tried their deconstructed cannoli. Oh. WOWZA. It was scrumptious. Whatever they use to make their creamy cannoli filling was just creamy gold. The cannoli itself was cooked to perfection!

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Picture time!

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These two are just so much fun! After dinner, we went back to the hotel, opened up some bday gifts, and then called it a wrap!

After a night of tossing and turning from eagerness to run the race, it was finally 4:30 am and time to get up, lol. I can’t tell y’all how excited I was to run- I watched that darn clock all night. Also, not being able to run much was driving me nuts during the tapering!

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It was chilly, but a perfect temp for a race. We set off and the first seven or so miles were accompanied by a spectacular sunrise.

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I seriously don’t know what overcame me, but I was feeling guuuud. I think it was all the pasta and pent up energy. Eat pasta, run fasta!!! Anywho- y’all are probably so sick hearing about this from my other social media spots, but I qualified for Boston.. and seriously have NO clue how. All I can say is Jesus really is in the business of miracles, cause this is one! I was with the 3:30 pacer group for most of the race and then just gave it all I had at the end. I will say when I realized I was on pace to qualify I started visualizing crossing the finish at that time (3:30). I believe 100% in the power of visualization, and whenever I started losing steam I imagined crossing that line with 3:30 reading across the time board.

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Go, Djers, go!!

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Post race pics!

img_8773This was DJ’s first marathon!!! If he didn’t want to run this race I wouldn’t have signed up to begin with. I’m already reflecting so fondly on our training season, and to say I’m proud of him feels like an understatement. He’s an athlete, but not a runner specifically.. so this was a HUGE accomplishment for him. He didn’t run at all before, never even a half or anything, and one day just said, “I’m gonna run a marathon”. He did awesome!

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Our attempt at a selfie, haha.

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After the race we headed to Crack Shack for lunch! We were both definitely sore, but my stomach was more upset than anything. Still … we were ready to chow down!

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The line was insanely long and was taking a while. We were a bit nervous because my mom and Pete had an afternoon flight, but once we ordered the food came lickety split.

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We finally put our orders in and then grabbed a picnic table in their cute little sitting area. On our way over I saw all these delicious sauces they have to choose from! We basically tried one of each naturally.

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Their milkshakes bring all the marathoners to the yard! I didn’t know if my stomach could handle a full one, but I definitely had a few generous sips of each. Pete tried the strawberry shortcake and DJ had the Cookie Monster. I have to say, they were both insanely good- but I think I liked the strawberry shortcake better. The real pieces of cookie in the Cookie Monster were mighty tasty though. It’s a close call!

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I was craving something fresh and cold. Veggies sounded perfect. My mom and I both ordered a Downward Dog. This consisted of local veggies, quinoa, hummus, sunflower seeds, and lemon yogurt vinaigrette. This satisfied that craving entirely! Mmm I can nearly taste it.

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The guys ordered the Senor Croque that had chicken, bacon, egg, cheese, maple butter, and brioche.

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We all split the fries with the different sauces- and lemme say- they top notch !!! I would seriously go back just for those. Mm!

We decided to go straight to the airport after dropping my mom and Pete off since we weren’t really feeling like frolicking around the city. I know, I know- me turning down an opportunity to frolic in a city?!? My stomach just was not having it. We got to the airport too early apparently to check in (I didn’t know that was a thing), so we had to wait in the little pre-security area. I grabbed a coconut water and read on my Kindle app while DJ caught up on all ESPN world happenin’s.

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Once we got through security and found our gate we vegged out for a while. We realized we were kinda hungry again around 8:00 pm, so we decided to stop into Prado at the airport. The big Prado is a pretty famous restaurant in Balboa park! We haven’t had the chance to try it yet, so why not preview it here?! And y’all thought I was done being a tourist- nevvverrr.

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We split their fish tacos cause I had a bunch of snacks on me, and we were only an hour flight from home if we wanted more food. They were tasty!! The portion of blackened fish was a bit small, but whatevs, airport food- ya know?

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Oh my gosh.. did I do it?.. did I actually finally finish our San Diego trip recap?!! Pause for dramatic effect…

I’m gonna try to crank out a catch up post at some point this week, but I’m kinda in that season where I feel like I’m saying “yes” a lot, and my planner is very full on top of school work. It’s all great stuff- but just busy busy. More on that to come! Goodness, I’m so excited to catch y’all up on what’s going on.

Questions for you:

  • If you run races, what is your favorite race you have ever done?
  • Valentine’s Day- yay or nay?!

xo <3

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San Diego Part 2: Yummy Eats, Marathon Expo & Balboa Park!

Hey, everyone!! School + other responsibilities are really vying for my attention right now, so it’s gonna probably take a while to catch up on these posts & your posts! Hang tight though- I’m hoping to get a huge chunk done by Thursday or so to take a couple hours to catch up 🙂

In Part One we left off with the four of us- my mom (Momma Jill), step-dad (Pete), DJ and I heading into Gaslamp for the evening. I instantly recognized the Ghirardelli store with its neon lights beaming down the road… the last time we were here I had to stop in and grab some chocolate squares to satisfy my sweet tooth! It’s crazy how long year ago feels, yet also crazy how quickly it flew by.

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Time for some authentic Mexican cuisine! This was the one type of food we had to get while we were here.  San Diego is famous for it! Last time we went to La Puerta, probably the most popular spot in Gaslamp. It was pretty good & a unique spot- but I wouldn’t necessarily say worth the wait. We decided to try the place next door that had great reviews- Las Hadas. I’ll say right off the bat- I think it was way better than La Puerta. There was no wait, the food was just tremendous, and the service was impeccable. A+++.

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We started with some fresh guac and chips to start.

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DJ ordered the Surf and Turf Burrito with skirt steak, shrimp, cilantro rice, pico de gallo, avocado salsa, jack & cheddar cheese. It was topped with a cajun salsa and jalapeño crema! I’m sitting on the couch next to DJ and asked him to describe it in one word- he said, “Really good” … that’s two words, but we’ll give it to him. 😉

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My mom and I split the vegetarian fajitas with roasted corn, black beans, bell peppers, onions, cilantro and fresh seasonal vegetables. These were just terrific! I was a little skeptical since they didn’t have red/yellow/orange pepper mix (my personal fave for fajitas), but the combo worked beautifully. We raved about them basically with every bite.

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& last but not least, Pete enjoyed the steak fajitas!

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After a wonderfully satisfying meal, we went to the Art Gallery of my favorite artist- Tim Cantor. His art isn’t for everyone- it’s certainly unique, but it resonates with me. I was excited to show my mom and Pete! They were troopers, appreciating the fact that I appreciated it, hehe. My mom is such a social butterfly and struck up a conversation with the woman who was working there. It turns out she is Tim Cantor’s wife, and offered to show me the original of my favorite painting Thieves of May in the back of the studio. I had chills. I got emotional when she showed it to me. Magic happens when you take Momma Jill places, hehe.

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On the way out, my mom surprised me with his collector’s book, Affinité, as a birthday gift! I was insanely excited- this immediately became one of my most treasured possessions.

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San Diego also has great options for rooftop bars and views. We weren’t quite ready to turn in for the night, so we decided to go to Altitude Sky Lounge , home of the best panoramic views of the city last time. (We discovered this last time we were here)

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The part DJ loves the most is you can overlook Petco Park.

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What a memorable evening! <3

On the morning of Saturday January 16th, we swung open the blinds to see this expansively gorgeous view of the city!

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After getting ready for the day, we met up with my mom and Pete in the lobby.

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Here is a cute pic of their little coffee bar setup!

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They even had Mexican Hot Chocolate available- too cute.

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We filled our water bottles up with watermelon water & hit the road!

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First things first: Food. Am I right orrrr am I right? We found a cute little spot close to where the marathon Expo was located in Carlsbad called Beach Plum Kitchen. We did call ahead for Yelp, but still managed to try a bit of coffee cake on our way in 😉

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That stuff was guuuud.

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Such a stinkin’ adorable brunchy spot.

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My mom and I both tried their honey lavender latte. Holy cannoli guacamole ravioli- this was SO good. I had to restrain myself from chugging the deliciousness down all at once.

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My mom and I split two dishes: The avocado toast and smoked salmon!

img_8696My mom did say that my homemade avocado toast was better- I’d have to agree but that’s because I make it with Oren’s pita bread- can’t top that stuff! 😉

The smoked salmon bagel hit the spot though! So yummy. This is easily one of my all time favorite brunch dishes. If you haven’t tried lox, you gottta. I’ll never forget the first time I had it a few years ago! Life changin’ .

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Pete and DJ both tried a skillet hash & gobbled um’ all up!

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Expo time!! This expo was a lot smaller than others I have been to- especially the Flying Pigs one in Cincinnati- that one was massive. Even the Big Sur one seemed much larger with more vendors too. Either way it was still fun to frolic around (yes, frolic).

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Got our bibs!!!

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Funny seeing you here, Mr. Friar! This is the San Diego Padres’s mascot.

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We didn’t stay too long, just made one round through the vendors. I mainly like getting all the free protein bar samples haha. The coolest thing I discovered was Ultima. This stuff is like a gatorade alternative, but much cleaner. I had it throughout the race & it really did feel hydrating. Gatorade always makes my mouth feel dry and sticky.  DJ had the idea to take the coast back to San Diego. My gosh the views were beautiful. We briefly passed Torrey Pines too- a famous golf spot.

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Next up: Balboa Park!

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We strolled around enjoying the bright, sunny afternoon.

First up is the Organ and Pavilion- this is the largest outdoor Organ in the world, prettty cool.

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Next up is the picturesque view of the Japanese Friendship garden.

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Last time we did the museums but were pretty underwhelmed by them. This time we just decided to enjoy their exteriors, haha.

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Afternoon ice cream time!!! Really- is there anything better than soft serve?

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We found this spot kind of on the outskirts of the park near the zoo that was like a little art village. I don’t know how we missed this last time, but it was too fun!

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My mom and Pete have a travel wall in their home. She found the most beautiful little painting from the park to add to it.

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After the park we went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. I can’t wait to share with you where we went!

Questions for you:

  • Favorite Super Bowl commercial? Ours was the Bud Light & Game of Thrones one! Also did anyone else find the half time show kinda awkward?! They are all so talented but I wasn’t vibin’ the Travis Scott/Adam Levine combo.
  • Since I am sooo behind on reading posts please tell me something going on in your life right now 🙂

xo <3

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