There’s No Place Like Home: Part Two

Here we goooo, Part Dos! This one is a bit shorter, gotta give y’all some breathing room, hehe.

We left off the night of Monday the 2nd. In the morning of Tuesday the 3rd I met my friend Rachel at First Watch– my all time FAVORITE breakfast spot. It’s something we don’t have here in the West, so I was salivating as I walked through the door.


And I guess you can take the girl out of California, but you can’t take the California out of the girl…. naturally I went for their avocado toast. (I also love their coffee). My other favorites here are their tri-athlete and their massive pancakes!


Rach ordered their famous pesto chicken quinoa bowl with protein-packed quinoa mixed with kale, shredded carrots and house-roasted tomatoes topped with grilled all-natural lemon chicken breast, basil pesto sauce, feta crumbles and fresh herbs.


After breakfast, I snuck in a workout at the local gym then decided to go to Earth Fare- my main reason for coming home (jk jk … kinda)…. My last meal would include the taters from Burntwood and tofu nuggets from EarthFare. This is one of the food items I miss the absolute most and a must when I go home.


They didn’t have them in the main display and I started to panic. I asked the lady if she had any and she said none were made but she would be happy to whip some up. It was so kind, and I was willing to wait the extra twenty minutes to get some nuggs.

img_7274img_7275I grabbed some big salads for me and Clair before going to her childhood home to visit her mom and sister.


This is a picture of their gorgeous backyard. Countless of my own memories growing up were held here too.


For dinner I met with another close friend from high school, Kylie, at Pub Bricco. I hadn’t been here in forever, and forgot how doggone delicious their food was.


Kylie had their salmon sandwich and I tried a bite- heaven. Anything with sun-dried tomatoes is pure gold.


I savored every single bite of their veggie burger with tzatziki sauce.


We talked, barely stopping to take a breath for almost three hours, and yet it never seems like enough time! We have been sending cards back and forth this past year though which has been such a great way to stay in touch. Who doesn’t love still getting snail mail nowadays?!


In the morning of the fourth I woke up super early and headed to Lakeside, OH to join DJ’s family for a day on the lake!


This place is very dear to DJ and I. DJ grew up here in the summers and this was actually where he told me he loved me for the first time (fun facts all around). When you are here it feels like all is right in the world.


The girls! (Although we missed Amy- DJ’s twin).


A ceremony was held to dedicate the Park to DJ’s Grandma and Grandpa- it was a beautiful and wonderful ceremony. Truly an unforgettable day. Love this family and honored to call myself part of it <3

After the ceremony I zoomed back to Cleveland to return the rental car. I was stuck in some serious bouts of rain- I do NOT miss that!!! Rain rain go away, come back when I am on my plane….. back to CA.. where there is a whole lot less precipitation.

BUT fighting the H2O was so worth it because I was able to attend my family’s fourth of July barbecue! My brother and his amazing wife Maura picked me up from the rental place and we drove to my cousin’s home for the evening.

I seriously hope I am half the parents they are!

This is Baby Kate- can’t handle her cuteness. Our little all American girl!


And this is Jack- my nephew who literally melts my heart and soul every time he says, “Aunt Kenzie”.


Kate loooved my sunnies.


And my shoes! She got into those on her own. We just turned around and she was standing there in them with a big smile on her face. It was so stinking cute.


Time for sparklers!!!


BE STILL MY SOUL. This face <3


Jack loved the sparklers and really loved the pop-its! Fearless little man.


After an incredible family day, I tried to catch some serious snoozes before having to get up at 4 am for my flight (which would be 1 am Pacific time). Eek! I was surprisingly hungry when I got to the airport, so I found a yummy chia seed pudding with berries and nuts and had a coffee before boarding.


And now that brings us back to good ole’ Northern Cali. Thanks for letting me share my home with you all- such a special place with such special people. Where is your home home?

xo <3


43 thoughts on “There’s No Place Like Home: Part Two

  1. Aww Mack, this is such a sweet post. So glad you went to visit and had a good time. 😙💜 Especially glad you got nuggs! The place where DJ proposed is beautiful. So is baby Kate.
    Lots of love

    1. Debbbbieee!!!! I always smile big when I see your beautiful face pop up in my sidebar! Thank you so much for sharing in these special memories. Hehe- I am stillll craving those nuggs now. <3 <3 Sending back so much love to youuu!

  2. Wow. you surely had a wonderful family time at Home. All the food, fun, talk and laugh. I love your cute niece Kate and nephew Jack. I’m looking forward to seeing my family in Hong Kong next January (2019) also.

    1. Hi Miriam!!! Thank you so much for stopping by! It was a beautiful weekend- thank you for sharing in it with me 🙂 Excited for your trip to Hong Kong!! Have a great week !

  3. Aw, that was so sweet that the lady whipped up some tofu nuggs for you! <3 That salmon sandwich looks freakin' amaaaazing, mmm!! That's so adorable that you remember where DJ first said he loved you & that you got to go back & visit that exact spot. 🙂 Sparklers & pop-its were my fave when I was that little too! So cute those babies are!! Looks like you had a great time with family!! <3 <3 Thank YOU for sharing with us. My home home is in Minnesota but I think you might've already known that, hehe.

    1. I know!!! SO SWEET. I was blown away that she took the time- would have been so easy to just say, “Sorry, we don’t have them!”. I profusely thanked her like she had saved my first born or something, hahah.

      It was an amazing time with the fam <3 I'll be treasuring those special moments. Thanks for sharing in them with me!

      And yessss- I actually don't know many people from Minnesota- do you go back often? XO

      1. I haven’t been back since we moved to Las Vegas but at the start of Aug, boyfriend’s family has a reunion & we might fly back for that weekend. Not sure yet though!

      2. Oh how exciting!!! I hope y’all have the chance. How long have you guys been in vegas now?

      3. That’s same for us! Feels like longer though, it’s really become our second home

      4. It really does feel so much longer, right? I’m too scared to go back to MN because like you said– you’re the most homesick when you’re home & I’ve not felt a bit of homesickness yet here.

  4. That was so kind of the employee to make you some nuggets! Customer service at it’s finest right there.

    I’m convinced there is nothing better than spending time on a lake. Life is just so peaceful at them!! You honestly look like you could be in DJ’s family biologically. You and his mom look so similar to me!

    Your niece and nephews are adorable! Kate in your shoes and glasses is a frame worthy picture.

    It sounds like you had an awesome trip home home Mackenzie!! I grew up in Chicago (which I think I’ve told you?) so I get the feeling of needing to hit all your favorite food places when you visit. There’s never enough time though!

    1. It was SO sweet of her to do that… something like that would never happen here! Agreed- Lake time is the BEST time… something just so serenely quiet and peaceful like you said. Haha, yes I do resemble them for sure.

      They literally take up majority of my heart- It makes me want to pack up and move back just to be close to them. <3

      Yesss! Chicago is awesome- especially in Chi- town I cannot imagine trying to get to all the good eats. If we ever visit I'm gonna need your recommendations!

      1. What’s crazy if you didn’t even ask, she just offered!!

        I would happily give you recommendations if you go to Chicago. Then I will live vicariously through you and all the good food hehe

      2. RIght?!?! Ok sounds like a good plan 🙂 I’ll definitely let you know! I’ve only been once and I was super young. (and one time for a basketball game, but we didn’t explore).

  5. What an awesome trip back home!! I love love First Watch, as you know, and their avocado toast is fabulous. I think it’s so sweet that you remember where DJ first told you he loved you – so cute! Your niece and nephew are adorable. Such a great trip back home, and I’m glad you made it back to Cali-forn-i-a safely!

    1. YES it is SO good! What is your favorite thing to order? It’s funny because when I lived at home I never ordered the avo toast, but after moving to cali I can’t resist ordering it on any menu.

      Jack and Kate meltttt my heart!!!

      Thanks, girl!


  6. What a fantastic trip!! And you got to be off of work on a holiday!! First Watch is hands down one of my fav brunch spots & no matter how many times I eat there I can’t seem to try nearly even half of the menu!

    My hair never stands a chance with this southern humid heat…total frizz city so that’s when I whip out a good ole top knot. ha

    1. I know- First Watch is so. good. What is your favorite item on the menu?!

      Haha- yesss cannot go wrong with the top knot!

      1. I love the smoke salmon frittata! When I’m feeling particularly hungry, I do enjoy the biscuits & gravy but I try not to do that tooooo much cause it’s pretty heavy on the ole stomach. Also, their cold coffee is pretty darn great.

      2. Ok definitely trying that next time! YUM!!!!!!! And I LOVE their coffee. One of my favorite parts of the whole meal!

  7. I sooooo love 💗 having you home!! Really glad you got to go to Lakeside and oh my I want to hug little Kate and Jack, absolutely precious children! You know you are always always welcome home and we love you dearly! That feeling of life is good and feels right when you are at the lake is how I feel when you and DJ are simply home with us, life feels right! Love you!!! Your Ohio Mom

    1. Awww Mom!!!! This warmed my heart and nearly brought a tear to my eye! You’re the best <3 <3 Love you and can't wait until the next time we can come back (one day for good!!).

  8. This post was beautiful! Made me feel like I was back home in Ohio! I had no idea there was First Watch restaurants there! We have them here in Florida and I always say Im gonna go, but never do. So I’m def gonna have to meet up with my friends there next time in Ohio! Those thai nuggets looked yummy!!!! Glad you enjoyed your trip home!

    1. Awww thanks for reading Diam!!! Ooooo you must try FW! It’s amazing. And if you are ever back in the area- try the tofu nuggs! SOOO DELICIOUS! I seriously would move back just for those hahah. XO

  9. Such a beautiful place! It really does make me want to visit one day. 🙂 So my real home is in Massachusetts, but I feel as though the White Mountains (of New Hampshire) are my second home… I visited there SO many times as a child that there are just so many memories. Visiting there is definitely such a special thing for me. 🙂

    1. It really is <3 <3 Haha, I have heard VERY few people in my lifetime say they want to visit Cleveland, BUT if you do I will send you to all the great spots :) My CLE pride is going strong. And I totally know what you mean about the second home- the White Mountains sound beautiful *heart eyes!!!* . Traverse City MI is that place for me. I actually will be there in a couple weeks! Are you going to be heading back to NH soon? Do you have family that lives there or did your family travel there all together ? XO

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