Huge Announcement! We are moving to….

Hey y’all!! I’m pretty excited to finally publish this post 🙂 I wanted to get all caught up on everything else before I filled in all these deets. So, many of you might know that DJ has been applying for grad schools. Well, I’m so stinkin’ excited to announce he was accepted into his #1 choice and we are moving to Austin, Texas this summer!!! I am so dern proud of him & happy for him (us)!!

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It’s pretty cool how this all came together, and I truly believe God’s hand has been in this whole process.

So y’all know how much I love the Bay Area. DJ loves it too, but I adore it on anotha level. When DJ started talking about applying for grad schools out-of-state, I became uneasy. The thought of leaving filled me with a twinge of dread. We love our life here, although we had never planned on staying here past a few years. I would have gone wherever he wanted and knew the move was inevitable… but I couldn’t wrap my head around the actual reality of leaving this place we now call home. However, when he said he was interested in a school in Austin, I surprisingly found myself excited and at peace about the idea.

DJ meticulously perfected his application. We prepped for his interview together into the late hours of many evenings. And finally…*the* weekend came! The interview seemed to go well (of course DJ humbly downplayed just how well; if he says it went “pretty good” that means he knocked it out of the park). We flew back from that weekend ecstatic and hopeful as ever! Seeing just how badly he wanted this made me want it for him all the more.

Yet something still bothered me in the back of my mind. The thought of leaving our church was difficult to grapple with. I know the church isn’t defined by place, structure or location…and yet I still was uneasy about it. BUT … you may remember the Gala I went back to for Boys and Girls Club back in November? The very same evening was the Vision Gala for our church where we discuss the Vision for the coming year. Due to the scheduling conflict I couldn’t go, but DJ repped us! On the way home he called me and said, “You will not believe the Vision for this year”…

I love the audacious faith of our Pastors, but nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to hear.

“What what what?!” I was bursting at the seams to know.

“To open up five new campuses in one year”…

My jaw was on the floor- I couldn’t have heard that right? Our last vision was to open up five campuses in FIVE years (which was accomplished)….now we want to do five more in ONE year?! Like I said, audacious faith. Love it.

So my next question was… “What are these five campuses?”

He lists them: Morgan Hill…Hawaii…Chicago…Milan (yeah, THE Milan)….. and

*DRUMROLL*

AUSTIN!!!!!!!! 

I could hardly believe my ears, and yet suddenly everything made so much sense. The peace that surpassed understanding around the idea of Austin alone… the timing…. everything.

And keep in mind…. at this point we didn’t even know if he got in, but in that second I knew he did. I knew it in my heart because everything was aligning too perfectly.

Fast forward a month later. DJ gently woke me up super early in the morning. The only other time he has done that was to tell me our fish died (RIP Spanky Tom), so I panicked. Immediately he told me with all his typical DJ composure that he was accepted. Well, I lost any semblance of composure and jumped up & fist pumped the air about a hundred times. We hugged, I cried… it all became official… We are moving to Austin. We both feel an overwhelming peace about saying goodbye to our Bay Area home, an emotion I never thought would coexist with the idea of leaving. Oh, and logistically, I’ll be able to continue school online and fly to NC for on-campus intensives/ do my clinicals locally for those wonderin’.

We are probably going to move in June/July depending on apartment move-in dates and our schedules. I’m feeling nostalgic writing this as I started this very blog to record our California adventures….. but we are ecstatic to start this next chapter…. next stop: The Lone Star state!

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SLAPFISH Review!

Hello, my Friends! I am stoked to announce  SLAPFISH has arrived in the Bay Area, and better yet, in San Jose! I was invited by another food blogger (@fooodiemon) & SLAPFISH to promote their Grand Opening.

As a pescatarian, I take my seafood very seriously. And I am pleased to say I give SLAPFISH a big ol’ slap of approval for their sustainable, fresh, and incredibly yummy dishes. The menu has a plethora of options from the light and healthy to indulgent comfort foods you can trust. I dare say this is the new “it” spot for fast casual nomz in town. So let’s get to it, shall we?!

Enter 5297 Prospect Road into your GPS and I’ll see ya there…

 

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Upon entering, I love the nautical vibe! Let’s order at the counter, and we can’t forget to order one of their teas- I am going for the unbelievably tasty Berry Patch Haymaker.

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Time to get to the foood!

First up, The ULTIMATE Fish Taco. It lives up to it’s name. This comes either grilled or crispy with cabbage, “awesome sauce” (I concur… it is awesome), and pickled onion. The cohesive mix of flavors packed in each bite of this is mouth-wateringly delicious. I personally would order it grilled, but if you like that “fried fish” flavor, then go for crispy!

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Next up! The Power Bowl. If you are craving something extremely healthy, yet delicious, this is your dish! It has mixed-grill seafood, brown rice, crisp veggies, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil. The shrimp in it is so juicy- the word that keeps flashing in my mind with each bite is *FRESH*FRESH*FRESH*.

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If you are wanting something with a satiating mixture of flavors and textures- go for the Poke Bowl! They promise to serve only the freshest tuna, seasoned rice, and chips with greens.

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And if you are looking for something more simple, yet still filling & scrumptious go for the Grilled Fish Bowl. This has your choice of daily (yes, DAILY) fish, seasoned rice, herb sauce, and hand picked salad.

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Now, time for the Clobster Grilled Cheese!! This is a dish I am adding to my “Must Try” list for the San Jose area. This contains a melting mix of lobster, crab and a creamy herb sauce. Excuse me for a moment while I enjoy every. single. bite.

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Now, for the grand finale! For years I have said Sam’s Chowder House has the best Lobster Roll around, but this may have changed after trying The Lobster Roll at SLAPFISH. I was astonished at the generous portions of the lobster meat, the way they overpack the sandwich, the bursting flavor and the value. An issue I have with many lobster rolls is how often the butter masks the flavor of the lobster rather than enhance it- with this one it is only lightly drawn with butter, so the lobster flavor comes through in all its glory!

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Don’t forget the fries! Their fries and the house sauces are top-notch!

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People have asked for my favorite dish… and it’s insanely hard to choose. I think I would go with the lobster roll because it’s just so well done & flavorful. But the Clobster stole my heart with the mixture of cheese AND seafood. For a daily go-to dish I think I’d choose either the Poke Bowl or Power Bowl! The good news is, you cannot go wrong with whatever you choose! Thank you, SLAPFISH, for the wonderful food and welcome to The Bay!

If you want to catch more food adventures of mine check out @mackncheeeesy (But you will find them here on this blog too 🙂 ).

Question for you:

  • Which dish are you interested in trying the most?

 

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**Disclaimer: This food was provided to me with no fee by SLAPFISH, but all opinions, pictures, and ideas are my own**

Recent Eats Roundup!

Hello one & all! I can’t even start this post without first discussing a very important matter: Did you watch the Bachelor earlier this week?!? Hooooly smokes, that episode… I dare say it was the most dramatic episode I have ever seen (WTA was nuts too). Would love to hear your thoughts. Our jaws were on the floor in disbelief… and I actually kinda knew spoilers (they were so hard to avoid this season), but watching it play out was just … wowza.

So since our little Staycation in SF, it’s been pretty hum-drum with work, school work, and general life maintenance. This post basically highlights some our favorite things we’ve munched on the past couple weeks with little random tidbits sprinkled throughout.

I mentioned how I wasn’t feeling 100% going into our best SF weekend, but just ignored the bug creeping in. Wellll, although I survived our time in The City, when I woke up on February 17th, I felt like a train had hit me. I think I overdid it a bit, but still wouldn’t have changed anything! I was basically bed-bound for the day and watched church online. Also if you are interested in our church’s sermons you can find them here. For breakfast I was craving something warm & comforting- so I enjoyed a purple sweet potato with Fage, avocado, boca crumbles, vegan cheese, hummus, and tzatziki.

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On February 18th, aka Bachelor Monday, I woke up feeling much better. Not 100%, but definitely more like a human being. I started my day with oatmeal, blueberries, fage, protein powder, and a sprinkle of stevia.

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February 19th, we woke up to no water in our apartment. A HUGE main water line broke on the second floor of the building environmentally evicting everyone on that floor & shutting down businesses nearby 🙁 We ended up having no water for about three days. I have told people it was like experiencing our very own Fyre Festival. I had to make a couple trips to the local Target to stock up on gallons of water. Let me say, I have never been so thankful & relieved to take a full shower when the water came back on. I will never take a shower for granted again. On that morning I was craving a cafe au lait, so I went to the Starbucks located inside the Tarjay where I stocked up on some water.

This is a new one to add to the list, Cyra! “Nancy”… “Mackenzie”….. Same diff.

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When I got home I dumped my cup into an actual coffee mug to rewarm it- gotta have it pipin’ hot.  Also, I am back on my avocado smoothie kick . I paired this with some oats topped with granola. I love mixing these textures & flavors.

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One of my favorite snacks during the day was a brioche grilled cheese with TJ’s vegan cheese & tomato soup. Mmm. Since I still wasn’t totally up to par, this was a great little combo.

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In the evening I went to School of Leadership with my dinner packed in hand. I had to leave the house at 6 to get there by 7 because of traffic (even though it’s only 15 mins without). We are there till 9:30 ish so I had to make sure to pack my food.. otherwise my hangry Hyde would come out of hiding. No bueno.

On February 20th I woke up with the same avocado smoothie. Midday for a study break I concocted a snack of purple sweet potato, an over medium egg, hummus, more avocado with pink Himalayan sea salt and crushed red pepper.

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In order to clear my head in the afternoon I got a quick run in on the tread & lifted some weights. I’ve been doing short little 10 min lifting workouts every few days and am loving how much stronger I feel in general. It’s not much- only up to about 5- 12.5 lb. dumbbells, but it’s an improvement!

After, I threw together my trough salad with alll the whole garden, vegan crumbles, cheese, and tons of hummus.

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February 21st I baked us tilapia with brown rice and roasted zucchini with Koop’s Arizona heat all over it. That sauce is tooooo tasty. I know it’s a bit much to just slather the whole dish with it, but it’s that good & goes with everything.

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February 22nd was more Avo smoothie for breakfast and this time I topped it with some granola.

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So, here’s a picture of the second floor after the flood. They had to rip out the entire carpet and flooring. I feel awful for the people that live there.. our main elevators are broken because of it now too. Ugh, what a mess.

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Anywhoooo, that evening DJ and I decided on a little easy date night. There is a new spot that opened on Main Street in Cupertino that looked like a fun vibe. We decided to give it a go.

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We arrived around 6:30 pm, and basically had the whole place to ourselves. I loved the interior- I’d describe it as a chic sports bar.

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We weren’t planning on having a full dinner, just a drink & an appetizer. We shared a platter of their house potato chips & dip. Okay, I’m not a big potato chip person, but these were ridiculously yummy. That dip *insert drooling emoji*…. mmmmm!

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& It paired well with their beautiful paper crane martini. This was a tiny too sweet for my liking, but still good- I think most people would enjoy it. I just really don’t prefer mixed drinks- Every time I try to venture out I just end up wishing I’d ordered a simple glass of wine instead– they just taste “sticky” to me, lol. but hey, it was pretty!

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When we came home I made our dinner-dinner. For Deej: a Bubba Burger with french onion straws, gruyere cheese, and ketchup/mustard.

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For me: fish, roasted beets, roasted eggplant, and brown rice. I was on a kick of fish that week. Also, I’ve been using the original Mrs. Dash which has been a total game changer in seasoning. Although I still have to mix in my pink himalayan sea salt 😉

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February 23rd was a long study day. Then in the evening I made us another meal of tilapia, roasted zucchini, and brown rice.

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Sunday the 24th we went early to serve at Church- I loved this idea from hospitality team! Bahaha. Their puns are on point.

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For lunch I had some oatmeal with frozen raspberries, almonds, coffee protein powder, and Fage.

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DJ enjoyed an after-Church snack of a caprese salad with pita chips, hummus, and salsa con queso. The pita chips from TJ’s are perfectly salty, crunchy & versatile- they go with basically any dip.

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That evening I made DJ another burger & whaddya know I had fish with brown rice and tons of veggies (Don’t worry- I won’t post such a redundant shot).

804a889f-1177-4a12-ac22-e7b0f198d4bc February 25th I submitted a paper and took a big breath of relief. We were getting really low on groceries by this point, so time to get creative again. I mixed some cauli mashed potatoes with cottage cheese warmed up with black bean burger and hummus. Sounds a bit strange, but it was reallly savory and delicious.

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You know at some point tacos had to be in the mix! Caprese salads actually pair pretty well because they are so light & refreshing mixed with the spicy tacos.

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I had a stuffed sweet potato with about four egg whites with veggies, hummus, and cottage cheese (most of it is under the egg), and tabasco in lieu of tacos since I was out of boca meat. It was a surprisingly great combo.

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February 26th I baked up some of my PB & chocolate oatmeal protein bites to have with avocado smoothies in the mornings.

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In the evening we had our last school of leadership. I have officially completed the first session! There are three total. I’m not sure I’ll be able to do all three right now, but after a little break I may do #2 in a month…. we’ll see! I really enjoyed the first round & learned a ton.

In the morning of Wednesday the 27th I had to run to the store for a few items, and looked to my right greeted by a double rainbow. Not a bad way to start the day 🙂 There have been buckets upon buckets of rain here lately that I feel like I’ve seen more rainbows in a couple months than my entire life combined.

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After being cooped up with school all day, I was ecstatic to get out of the house and meet up with some dear friends from my nursing cohort. I decided to walk to Santana Row to clear my head (it’s about a four mile walk). We’d be finishing dinner when DJ left work, so he said he’d just pick me up since it’s right on the way home. On my way I saw this license plate…. ha! Love this person’s sense of humor.

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We met up at Pizza Antica again. You may remember the last time we met up back in September!

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I had the goat cheese and kale pizza… one of my favorite pizzas I’ve ever had. It was actually way better than the pizza I had last time I was here too. Their homemade crust is realllly well done.

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On Thursday the 27th, I was out of avocados, but I whipped up a dragonfruit bowl and had it with two protein bites.

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For a snack at some point I had a stuffed sweet potato with hummus, cottage cheese, and tomatoes.

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For DJ I put together two gyros with meat from TJ’s with vine ripened tomatoes and tzatziki sauce on fresh pita.

8248bf79-a6f3-4df6-a060-d717baf6f60a4d9f799c-36a8-4166-91f4-e1c4937c6ed3Friday morning of March 1st I did a HITT routine through Fitness Blender to start the day! In the evening I went to a food blogger event 🙂 Can’t wait to share that in another post.

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Question for you:

  • Are you on any food kicks lately?

xo <3

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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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