Beaches & Pups & Coffee Cups! ☕️

Hey, everyone!

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First off- thank you to everybody who popped into the Mingle & Jingle!!! I wasn’t sure what to expect hosting one, but you all made it such fun!!

So…. I am a bit guilty on not doing an update post for a while…. and you know what that means…. a loooOOOooong one! But puppies & french fries are included- so it will be worth your time.

On Friday the ….*calculating date in head*….*just kidding pulling out phone calendar*…2nd of December… I went to Santa Cruz with a friend! It was her birthday weekend, and she wanted to spend the day frolicking on the beach with this little pup! She has a childhood friend that lives there, and he let us borrow the pup for a day. We took the little guy out on the beach for a while and then followed up with lunch after!

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Puppy kisses are the best

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We had her birthday lunch at a place in downtown Santa Cruz called Assembly. I wish I could say I highly recommend it, but pretty much every mistake a restaurant staff could make, they made- to a comical point. I’m not one to get my panties in a bunch about that stuff, but man, it was badddd. Their saving grace was their garlic fries with parmesan & aioli, which- not even kidding-were the best fries I have ever had. I’m not even a big french fry person! I would put up with the worst service in the world for these fries. Which I’m pretty sure we did…. haha. They were so scrumptious, I ended up getting an order for DJ too. It was one of those, “you haven’t lived till you tried this” type foods.

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We sat outside on the patio, but the inside  with the antler chandeliers was just darlin’!

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After our interesting restaurant experience, we walked around downtown and snuck in some cute little boutiques. Our favorite part while walking around was seeing these pups chilling in a bright yellow car, the one looking like it was in full control of the driver’s seat. This reminded me of the movie, My Dog Skip. Anyone ever seen it? I know my younger sister, Halston, will love this, since it was her favorite movie growing up!

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We stopped in a little classic candy shoppe called Marini’s. It had the classic burger and shake bar and the fudge shoppe on the other side. I love these retro places ❤

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On Friday night, DJ and I went to Main Street Cupertino’s tree lighting. I had this marked on our calendar for the whole month. It advertised that there would be all this festive stuff to do, hot chocolate, photo booth, etc. etc., and I was so excited. However, this was probably the most anticlimactic event and/or tree lighting I have ever seen. You can take a look for yourself! LOLZ. I think it also may have been a requirement to have a little tike, because there was not a single family without kids. The hot chocolate station said, “Kids Hot Chocolate station” so there goes the best part! I joked that we should ‘borrow’ some family’s kids so we could get some of that hot cocoa. Pshh. “Kid only Hot Chocolate”. What a nutty concept, I tell ya what.

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After the tree lighting, we went to a Moroccan Restaurant in Mountain View. We were craving it after loving our experiences in Dallas & Indianapolis, and this place had raving reviews.

To our great surprise, there was a belly dancer!!! Ok, to my great surprise…..but DJ… I think he was a smidge uncomfortable about this belly dancer shaking it around us while he was just trying to enjoy his beef tagine. I was just fascinated!

And I’m pretty sure the couple next to us were on a first date. They looked quite uncomfortable, and the music was turned up so loud that no one could hold a steady conversation. The man said something to the server, and the server replied, “No sir, we are not a club”. It took everything in me to not bust out laughing.

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Anyway, the place was super authentic and the food was delicious!! I didn’t get good foodie pics, because the lighting was super dim. Trust meh- it was tasty.

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Saturday (12/3) … I baked goodies all day long, DJ played basketball with some friends in the morning then lounged while watching sports & ending with some Netflix- it was just a perfect Saturday.

Sunday (12/4), We went to Church followed by Christmas in the Park in downtown San Jose!!!! This was another event that we forgot to bring our kids to. 😉

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Photo-bombed by a nutcracker. My Christmas is made.

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Oh hey- does this look familiar?! I finished up my Christmas baking Sunday night 🙂

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Mondays are usually my “get yo life together” day of cleaning/laundry/errands/pulling my hair out/etc. On Monday (12/5) night we got together with some friends and had authentic Korean cuisine! We tried the seafood soft tofu dish (left) & the vegetable tofu dish (right). They were still boiling when placed on the table. They are served with two eggs that you crack in each dish and then stir around the broken yolk. It’s family style, and each person gets a bowl of the purple rice to add whatever  side (kimchi, pickled pear, rice noodles, etc.) they wish on top! We have never had an experience like this and it was a fun endeavor! Plus it was excellent quality time with great new friends.

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The rest of the week is a bit of a blur. Since the rest of December I am traveling, I had soooo many things to do and figure out to get ready for Christmas and traveling. I felt like I was living in the post office and running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I cooked dinner every night, but I don’t really remember what and apparently nothing was picture worthy. Sorry DJ!

Also… only in California grocery stores….

I don’t know about you- but I like the bread or cracker samples, don’t give me carrots to sample please, sir.

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One thing that I have loved during this crazy week was the weather. Apparently, this is the coldest and rainiest winter that the Bay area has had in a while. But I love the way the beautiful leaves are contrasting against the dark backdrop. It feels very much like October would in Ohio. And if this is as cold as it gets- count me in! I’m going to be in for a shock when I go back to Ohio in a couple weeks here… Oh boy. I probably could use some prayers, ya’ll. Not sure my skin is as tough as it used to be in the tundra.

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Friday (12/9) Usually Friday is date night, but we decided to take this one easy. I was also craving my cauliflower mashed potatoes with a veggie burger & DJ was craving cereal for dinner, so we deemed Saturday our faux Friday date night instead. A night of binge watching Dexter and eating Christmas cookies was certainly in the mix Friday night.

Saturday (12/10) DJ and I went to downtown SF! We have been wanting to go to Union Square for a while to go ice skating and see the big tree. It was raining when we went, but still a great memory. We didn’t do a ton, but I just love any time I can explore with him.

And about the ice skating—- we forgot our kids for that too. We ended up getting out of line because I think it was “kids only” hour. UGH they get all the hot chocolate & all the cute Christmas ice rinks. SMH. Who do they think they are being all cute and little and innocent and stuff.

We stopped in Target for an umbrella, because the rain was not letting up and I was being Ms. Cranky pants about being wet and cold, stopped in a few shops, and then grabbed a few bites to eat through the day.

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For a light lunch, we stopped in Rouge & Blanc. Sounds about as fancy as it was. Their tag line was “Coffee Bar by morning, Wine Bar by night”, which is basically my life mantra, so it reeled me in.

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We didn’t want to eat a huge lunch, because we were still planning on having dinner in town before leaving, so we had fries with a bernaise aioli and a prawn flatbread. I savored every bite of that prawn flatbread. I don’t know what they put on it, but it was too good to be true.

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For dinner, we had to scramble! I always forget just how important it is to make reservations in the city! Thank gooooodness for Open Table. We found this french restaurant called Cafe Claude. It is super tucked away in a back alley. If not for Open Table, I would have had no idea it even existed. It felt kind of exclusive *hair flip*. We have never actually been to a french restaurant, so this menu was definitely something new to navigate!

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REAL FRENCH BREAD! My friends all know I have this dream of riding around France on a bicycle with the basket of french bread. This is the closest I have gotten yet.

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Deej ordered steak frites which included bavette steak, bone marrow butter, port-shallot sauce, and pommes frites.

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I ordered NIÇOISE which included tuna confit, lettuce, egg, haricots verts, olives, potato, capers, anchovy, and thyme vinaigrette.

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The waiter said “Bon appetite” and I realized that this was an authentic bon appetite! I may have gotten too excited about that one.

Sunday (12/11), I woke up at 3 am. I am trying to accustom myself to Texas/Ohio time because I like to get up early before everyone else to squeeze in a workout, but if I’m jet- lagged, that probably isn’t happening! I didn’t intend on getting up quite that early, but since I was up and couldn’t fall back asleep, I went down and ran on the tready and read a book on my kindle, because that’s totally normal at 3 am.

Sunday morning DJ and I helped set up at the San Jose campus, then me and a couple of my girlfriends booked it downtown SF to attend the Christmas Creative at that campus after the 9:30 service started at SJ (I won’t be here next week to see it our home campus). <– wow that was like the most confusing thing I have ever written. Happy deciphering.

Anyway-IT WAS INCREDIBLE! They presented the Christmas story via dance, song, instruments, spoken word, etc. in such a unique way. The talent was phenomenal and the whole service was so powerful.

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One of my friends from Church that reads the blog, brought me this as a gift. GUYS. Best Christmas present EVER. She obviously knows me well- PEETS!!!! Dark Chocolate!!! Peppermint Bark!!! PEEETS!!!! Coffee Mug!!!! PEETS!!!!! The thought behind this touched me beyond words. So thankful for this community, I can’t say it enough. Thanks again, Tammy ❤ ❤ You’re a real life rockstar!

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This cute cafe is connected to where the church service was held, and I had to steal a picture because it was so darn cute.

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The girlies and I decided to do brunch, because… Oh wait you don’t need a reason for brunch.

We tried the Mission Beach Cafe  because it’s known as an epic brunch spot. It surpassed all expectations. If you live in the area, do yourself a flavor favor and try this place!

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I personally ordered the MBC Vegan Breakfast. It included black barley-farro, a butternut squash patty, artichoke hearts, carrot, orach, roasted garnet potatos, and nettles. I don’t know what the heck they put in this, but it was heaven on a plate. We all nibbled on the french toast too- and besides Bora Bora’s french toast, this one would take the cake (or take the toast *womp womp*).

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I have never ordered a mimosa before, but the pictures on yelp looked too good to pass up! We all tried grapefruit pomegranate and one of my friends did the orange pomegranate. Is “mimosa” not the most fitting name for what it is?! It just makes ya wanna say MimoOoOssssAaAaa. It was YUMMMM.

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A couple last things to update:

  • I will write about yesterdays events in another post- this is long enough! Ya’ll are busy!
  • Our neighbors did stop by again (at 10 pm per usual) and asked for a Coke this time. (In the past they have asked for cilantro & lettuce in isolated incidences). What is your next prediction for what they will want?
  • I leave Thursday for Dallas/Fort Worth!! Woot woot! Blowing dust off my cowgirl boots!

Merry Mimosas to all and to all a good night (or day)!

xo ❤

Mack

82 thoughts on “Beaches & Pups & Coffee Cups! ☕️

    1. Thank you, Kristin!!!! Santa Cruz is one of my favorite places to go since we have moved here! And we feel honored to help serve, it’s the least we can do for the amazing church community that serves us! If you ever find yourself in SF area and need a Church for a Sunday I have a great suggestion 🙂 Have a wonderful rest of your week!!!!

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    1. That day that we went to the beach was just especially beautiful!!!! It was so restful. The only thing is the water is ICE COLD year round, so I’ll have to go back to the East coast if I actually want to swim (or at least go south!).

      I was tempted to take that pup and run back home with it. It was one of the most cuddly, lovable, and adorable dogs I’ve ever encountered.

      We loveeeed that with the Converse! It was too good to not steal a picture.

      Thanks for stopping by, Mike!! I always appreciate hearing from you!!! I hope you are doing so well & have a wonderful rest of your week!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I can’t believe you’d never had a mimosa before that brunch! They are my absolute favorite beverage and the flavor you had sounds amazing! *salivating* 😉

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    1. I know, right ?! I just always chug coffee at brunch usually, but this was a nice change!!!!! If you like mimosas, come to SF and we will hit up this spot 👌🏻 Have a great rest of your week, dear! Xo

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    1. Hehe- isn’t he a cutie!?? My husband and I decided not to get any dogs for a couple years, but I think we might give in early! And although you aren’t at a beach, I hope you have a very restful week!!!

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  2. What fabulous photographs! I feel as if I were there with you! And the Goldendoodle is SO cute! What’s with the “kids only” stuff? Don’t they realize out there on the left coast that grown ups are kids too?

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth!!!!! I definitely am adding a goldendoodle to the list of potential pups in the future. Such a loveable little guy. And right!??!? That’s exactly how my husband and I feel- we are just big kids! Haha

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  3. Finally able to catch up with your posts! I am having serious jet leg coming back so today I am up at 4am. What better way to enjoy the quiet hours than to catch up on some of my favourite blogs. Mackenzie…the food pics in this post has me salivating! Haha, I’m sorry that you weren’t able to enjoy some of the festive things …and really why “kids only?” Christmas time especially, brings the kid out in everyone. Love the pic of downtown SF. I can’t imagine you getting grumpy in the rain…lol. I hope you have safe travels this week and I’m looking forward to hearing all about it 🙂

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    1. Oh I didn’t even think about how bad the jet lag would be!!!! Well I am honored that you would take the time to think of me and catch up here 🙂 And that is EXACTLY how I feel- Christmas definitely brings out the kid at heart in all. I am currently sitting in the airport and cannot wait to write about all the adventures to come 🙂 I am looking forward to catching up on your last few days in China too! ❤

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    1. Hahah- right?!? Pretty pathetic. Oh well- it gave us something to laugh about. And Dexter is getting so good!! We were watching it last night and had a hard time stopping. And thanks for reading, girl ❤ Hope you have a great weekend 🙂

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    1. Hahha- I bet!!! Now after having one I can see why they would be such an amazing vacation drink. So fruity & delicious & happy! I’m glad you enjoy the long posts- I know I’m basically breaking a big blog rule, but hey, got to do what you’ve got to do, right?!? 😉 Have a great weekend, girlfriend! xo

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  4. Okay okay, here I am lol First things first, YAS GIRL YAS the Korean food, it looks SO good. I always tell Andrew that you can tell if its a good authentic Korean restaurant depending on how many ‘ban-chan’s” (side-dishes) they give you; and my rule of thumb is that if there are AT LEAST 4 then it’s a good one! Therefore, way to go!!! I literally told my mom that I want a little jar of homemade kimchi as one of my xmas presents LOL #adultlife. I can’t help but to LOLZZ at the tree lighting that it hysterical. And whats with the kids only stuff- I totally feel your pain because we have a Legoland over here that people say is actually pretty fun/cool place to go to and the one day my friend and I decided to go they informed us that we couldn’t get in without a kid! THE HECK?! Eventually when I babysat one of my friend’s kids that’s EXACTLY where I headed towards first lol and inevitably got in. I literally feel so full from looking at all your delicious food pictures. Seriously how do you take such good pictures of your food, I feel like mine always look like a blob and not as good as it is in person lol I’m dying over the fact that you got to play with a puppy, I have the worst puppy fever, if only I could just have one to play with for the day maybe I’d be cured (probably not, it’d probably make my fever that much worse) But still…..I need a puppy to play with! So jelly of all your Cali adventures. I was JUST in the kitchen with Andrew when he was like “we should take like a week and half off and just travel through Cali”…..I had the ultimate heart eyes….I said only if we can start in NorCal and scoop up Mack and DJ on the way lol Okay now that I just wrote an essay of a comment, in conclusion I love Peets coffee too!

    xo, JJ

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    1. LOLZ. You crack me what! What would I do without you, girl?!? That is SO interesting about the Korean food! I am glad I know now. It was so good, and definitely super unique for us (which you know I LOVE). I always learn so much from you! And yesssss- I hope you get a big ole jar of kimchi with a bow on top! The tree lighting was the most pathetic thing of my existence, but it definitely gave us something to laugh about for the night. And WHHHHAAA?! Legoland sounds amazing! I’m so glad you got in, finally! I can just imagine you weaving through the kiddos with the girl you babysit in hand to make it to the front 😂😂 and I usually turn up the brightness of the photo after I take it! Some of them definitely don’t turn out great, especially if the restaurant is dim! Also from what I’ve seen I feel like yours are always good!

      PLEEEEASEEEE scoop us up! I seriously would die if you made it out here. I always love your essays of comments, they’re the best, and I’m about to go grab me some Peet’s right now!!!!!! Have a great weekend, lovely 💕💕

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  5. All of your food pics have made me hungry now! It all looked so good! I like how adventurous you are with food. I don’t mind trying new things, but I would have no idea what to order in a Moroccan or French restaurant. P.S. I would have loved the belly dancer too! You are coming to DFW! That’s pretty close to me! I am pretty sure it’s still pretty warm there, so maybe you can enjoy that before you freeze in Ohio!

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    1. Thank you, Tara!!! Yayyy! We will be so close!!! I am hoping that it stays pretty warm before Ohio. I am a bit worried about that one…. Hahhah. I’m gonna turn into an icicle. Have such a great weekend 🙂

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  6. I really shouldn’t read your posts before I have breakfast because ….. I am HUNGRY now! I am a huge French fries person (they are my Achilles!) and two pictures in one post are too much for me to not have any today! Haha! Another awesome post; I hope you have a wonderful day Mack! 🙂

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    1. Hehehe- I feel like the food just takes ovvvver my posts sometimes. And I’m telling ya, those garlic parmesan ones were beyond-words-good! Thanks for stopping by, Samantha!! Hope you have a wonderful day as well 🙂

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  7. Your life looks so fun and full of adventure (and delicious food)! I wish I lived in a bigger area like that! I may just have to come visit sometime 🙂 The list of things to do looks endless! XO

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    1. Thanks, Anna! We are soaking up this time before the work grind begins for nursing after the New Year! Interviews galore and #adulting. YIKES! And if you EVER are out here, I will make sure to give you the grand tour 😉 Have a great rest of your day, love xoxo

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  8. Carrot samples?! That is so weird, haha!

    Your neighbours sound SO odd. Meanwhile, ours only stop by to complain 😛 We live next to an old lady and her son who has never moved out and they have to be the grinchiest people around. One year on Halloween kids came to our house crying and when we asked them what was wrong, they told us the old lady next door had told them to stop trespassing on her property because she had a gun. Which er, she doesn’t… because we live in Australia and it’s illegal 😛

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    1. Hahahah right ?! It’s like I’ll sample your lemon bread, but pass on the carrot … and that story about the lady next door sounds like such a character from a movie. Too funny ! Poor kiddos. Have such a great weekend 🙂 xo

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  9. Aww, that pup is so cute!

    I wouldn’t know what to do if someone started belly dancing at a restaurant! I mean, I get that it’s culturally appropriate for the type of restaurant, but still. Glad the food was good, though!

    And way to find the exclusive back alley French restaurant! How cool!

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    1. Hahha it was so funny. My poor hubby, he was a trooper though. And although technically the restaurant wasn’t exclusive it definitely felt like it 😉 I am officially a big fan of French food!! Hope you have a wonderful weekend, dear !

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  10. I am so sorry I missed your Mingle and Jingle! I am glad it was so much fun! 🙂 Your beach pictures made me so envious! I miss the beach! I am planning on going…But unfortunately we still have to deal with the polar vortex here….Eeeeekkkk! Your food pictures put me in a food coma and I am still recovering from seeing all those cookie pictures you baked! Girl you are super woman!
    I also loved that you got to explore downtown SF (again envious!;) and do some Christmasy things. SO much fun! I hope you have an amazing weekend! Safe travels to Texas and have fun! I can not wait to read about it! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh girl no problem! And although the beach was nice- it is still so chilly and wayyyy too cold to swim in. So don’t be too jealous 😉 haha. It was soo fun exploring dowtown. I will never get sick of SF! Compared to where I’m from (the cornfields), the things to do here are endless. Thanks for sharing in the excitement with us 🙂 Hope you had such a great weekend! Things are pretty busy with traveling, but I’m dying to catch up on all your happenings soon as I can ❤ ❤

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      1. I love the beach no matter if I can swim or not. I will be paying a visit to Maine’s coast sometime this week despite the polar vortex… A mermaid at heart suffering for her craft 🙂
        I bet! I need to pay a much MUCH over due visit to my aunt there.
        Hehe I completely understand that feeling. I grew up in a very small town, so moving to New York was like Christmas and five years later it is still like that! Thanks love I did! I hope you did as well! Yes! I am slacking! ;p Have a great week beauty! ❤

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      2. My best friend and I coined the hashtag #Shouldabeenamermaid after Toby Keith’s Shoulda been a cowboy 🙂 And ironically I was just talking to my friend and I think we might plan a trip in March! 😀 ❤

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      3. Thanks beauty! And fingers crossed the chances are about eighty percent right now. I looked at tickets and they are super cheap! And I already asked my aunt (who I got my jet setting from) and she is there in March so eeeekkk!!! ❤

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    1. Awww girl!!! Thank you sooo much!!!!! I can’t tell you how much that means to me! With how insane life is I don’t know if I’ll be able to formally respond with a post, but this just made my whole day. Thank you ❤

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  11. As always, the photos look amazing and I’m living vicariously through you again! Lol what a fun filled and adventurous weekend! The dog is such a cutie, oh my gosh. Reminds me of Snoopy the dog character, like similar face!! Hahaha the beach looks so nice. I’m jealous, it’s literally snowing and raining here right now! And that’s so hilarious about the carrot sampler– I had to show it to Roman and he’s like wow California is a bit much. Hahah anyhow I’m glad you and DJ had a great time and that you two are doing well! If I don’t have internet before the holidays– MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR! ❤️ Sending lots of love and positivity to you and DJ!

    Love,
    Jess ( + Roman wanted to extend the greetings as well!)

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    1. Awwww!!! You are the sweetest, Jess! Yes! I can definitely see the Snoopy comparison (I think it’s the wider/longer nose?). And this is crazy, but I’m in Texas right now and it dropped into the 30s, and I’m losing it!!! I am such a baby… I’m not sure I can handle this. Hahaha. I bet you are on your BIG trip right now!! AHHHH! I am so excited for you guys!!!! And that’s so sweet of Roman to send his greetings too! We send them right back. HUGS! Hopefully you are soaking up the sun as we speak, and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you two as well!!! xoxo

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  12. Oh my goodness girl!! Okay, first of all..that pup you were with! Is it a golden doodle? Adam and I are getting a mini golden doodle on FRIDAY!! We are seriously so excited. I can’t wait to have a fur baby!! LOL. I love the adventures you and DJ go on! If we lived closer, we would totally double date with y’all and eat our way through fun cities!! 😉 Lastly, you are coming to DFW!! So exciting!!! I hope you have a safe trip! Loved reading your post as always!! ❤ Xoxo, Sarah

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    1. YESSS!!! It is a golden doodle!! I can’t believe you are getting one- AHHHHHH! They are the sweetest, move lovable, cutest pups in the worldddd. I’m so excited for you guys!!! You have to share pictures! And I so wish we could double date. If we are ever all four in the same place/same time we will have to make it happen 🙂 And thanks girl- I LOVE Fort Worth and my mom actually surprised us with a trip to San Antonio this weekend! I will share pics soon. Thanks for taking the time to read, I so appreciate it, Sarah! I know it’s a super busy time of year. Hope your holidays have been nothing short of magical so far. Stay warm!!! It’s chilly here?!? xoxox

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  13. What a fun past couple of weeks, Mack! It looks like you got to try a lot of tasty food — yum! And I think it’s adorable that your friend’s friend let you guys borrow his pup — that’s so sweet!!! Also…I have to admit…I am a little jealous of your warmer winters…we’ve had -30 already. 😛
    Enjoy your holiday with your family!!! Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lauren!!!!! Alwayyyyyys searching out that tasty food! And I seriously need to get me one of those pups one day!!! And WHAT! -30?!?! I remember those days in Indiana and they are truly dangerous!!!!! Stay warm, sweet girl! Thanks for reading 💕

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  14. Bless you Mack! Sounds like you had such a lovely holiday season. I am so glad. And God, the food photos are magnificent! (I love farro 🙂 )
    Sending you and DJ much love for the holidays and the New Year. So glad to know you on wordpress!
    Loving,
    Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debbiee!!!! Thank you so much! We send BIG hugs to you! I hope this year is one for the books for you ❤ I can't wait to see how many people you inspire and the love you share in this next year ❤ I'm so blessed to know you!

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  15. Woow, that header for “stripe”. I want an unrealistic amount of keys now!

    Your carrot sample photo made me laugh!! It’s just dumped in there so unceremoniously, haha!

    Holy cow, that shot of the decorated SF street is SO DREAMY. I miss that city so so much.

    Sounds like you had started your holidays early! : ) I can’t wait to catch up on all your posts. Your photos are as usual, on point!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AFRILLY!!!!! Soooooo goooooood to hear from you!!!!! And I want to do something with the keys too! We used them as place card holders for our wedding and they are super cheap to buy in bulk from Amazon! Glad we could share a little of SF with you ❤ Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the welcome back!! : )

        Ooooh! What a cute idea!! : ) I bought a single key from Michael’s like, a year ago and I still haven’t found a good place for it. HAHA

        Liked by 1 person

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