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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The bread!!!! This was delicious.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture time!

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

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

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

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

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Go, Djers, go!!

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Post race pics!

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

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Our attempt at a selfie, haha.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions for you:

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

xo <3

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

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

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

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

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We started with some fresh guac and chips to start.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What a memorable evening! <3

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

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

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

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They even had Mexican Hot Chocolate available- too cute.

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

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

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That stuff was guuuud.

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Such a stinkin’ adorable brunchy spot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Got our bibs!!!

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

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

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Next up: Balboa Park!

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We strolled around enjoying the bright, sunny afternoon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions for you:

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

xo <3

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San Diego Part 1! Cafe 21, Coronado, & CVS

Hey all!! I am so excited to finallllly share our time in San Diego with you 🙂 It’s my favorite city in the US- I just LOVE it. The school load has been pretty intense this week, so I am just now getting out this recap. If you are curious to see our previous San Diego adventures I will link them here: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.  January 17th right before we left I received this beautiful delivery of flowers for my bday! It was so special, and they are stilll in full beautiful bloom today 🙂

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We booked a late evening flight out (around 9:30). The flights to SD are generally pretty cheap & short since it’s within the same state- and this time the best deal was through Alaskan airlines. We love when the cheapest price is through Alaska- it’s one of our favorite airlines (and it’s the best terminal in SF’s airport!). We arrived to the airport obnoxiously early per usual, so Deej and I decided to have a little popcorn shrimp snack & wine and chit-chat about our week since we had been in our own little work/school worlds since Sunday.

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While waiting our gate I was able to catch up on some blogs, my favorite way to pass the time!

We had a bit of a delay getting to the airport & then getting off the tarmac, but the short flight was great- this plane was massive and even had the free movies to choose from. I watched Game Night, but the flight was soo short that it cut off before the movie was over. It was SUCH a good movie, and I’ve got to finish those last ten minutes one of these days haha. Finally around 1 am, we arrived at our Hotel- The Kimpton Palomar. We got a great deal on a room with our Orbitz bucks!

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Our check in concierge was extremely chipper for it being so late, lol. I loved her energy though! She informed us that there was coffee in the lobby in the morning, but if we wanted we could have a Keurig brought to the room. I jumped on the Keurig option, naturally. I love having a warm cup of coffee to accompany me in getting ready in the morning.

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The hotel has a Mexican restaurant right downstairs too called Curardero. We never ventured to it- but it seemed like a fun option!

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The rooms were simple, pretty & clean!

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Okay, it seems silly to take a picture of the soap- but that hand soap was some of the most wonderfully scented doggone soap… the sandalwood particularly came through!

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I took a nice 2 am shower (I always feel the need to shower after being on a plane) & then snooooozeeed.

In the morning after a big cup of steamin’ jo (or two), we walked down the road to Cafe twenty-fun, I mean…. Cafe twenty-yum.. okay okay it’s really called Cafe 21. 😉

I heard about this gem from Kate at LiveintheNautical when she visited SD. Alsoo, when I went to their website I saw you get a free entree if it is your birthday month, so trying it out was a no brainer!

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cah-uuuute.

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The decor! The menu! The food! The ambiance! Even the way they serve the water is too cool. Let’s call it what it is: A millennial/hipster/blogger’s paradise. My mom and Pete texted us that they’d landed, and met us right on time to get some good eats! My mom hasn’t missed a marathon yet, and she was not about to ruin her streak. I say she’s my good luck charm 🙂  You may remember the last Big Sur Marathon (that was such a great weekend!). I was excited Pete was able to join- also it was his bday month too- so we got two free entrees with our meal, what a steal!

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We had to try their Bloody Mary’s which people rave about over YELP. We ordered three off the menu, and decided we would just decide who wanted what once we tried them. We first tried one that had a whole real prawn in it. (it was a bit too cocktail saucey tasting for my liking). But this was Pete’s favorite of the three so he claimed it!

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Next up we tried the “California Greenin'”. Now THIS was my cup of tea. Those grilled cheeses were insanely good too. I could have ate a plate of those alone as my breakfast- mmmmm! Not your traditional bloody, but pretty darn refreshing! It reminded me of those Naked juices, I think the one called the Green Machine?

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My mom opted for the “Ol’ Yello’ Mary with fresh yellow heirloom tomato, horseradish pickled veggies, & the yummy grilled cheese. This was a very close second (in my opinion) to the California Greenin’. It was pretty tasty! I will say though- if you are craving a traditional bloody, this is probably not your place. These are pretty nuanced in flavor & doesn’t give that great hearty tomatoey kick. Kate said that Breakfast Republic had the best bloodies of the ones she tried, and I would totally take her word for it! We tried Breakfast Republic last time we were there, and it was a fantastic breakfast (I need to try a bloody next time though!).

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Food time! Deej had their wonderful pancakes with maple syrup, raspberry and kiwi purees, fresh fruit and seasonal house-made compotes. The mix of jams and the syrup was beyond satiable (I had a bite of course 😉 ). All our meals basically end up as family style- lol.

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Pete ordered this GORGEOUS bananas foster. I mean… can you take it?! MMmmmm!

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My mom and I split their shrimp corn cakes which was probably the most frequently mentioned item on the menu per Yelp reviewers. This had poached eggs, kennebec potato, wild shrimp, sweet corn, mozzarella, cilantro cream sauce, & fried basil. I think this was actually my favorite of all three dishes. I’d say if you come here, this is a must.

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After our scrumptious brunch we headed back to the hotel to change into some beach-easy clothes.

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Before hitting the sand, we all decided to take a peak at the rooftop pool. It was such a fun little set up! If it was warmer out we would have taken advantage of it, but it was a bit too chilly for that.

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Time to drive over the bridge to Coronado! It’s always pretty exciting to see all the massive ships & fleets of boats.

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Ah I just love Coronado <3 It has so much character and such a peaceful vibe.

img_8429img_8430We found the same place we parked last time and walked to Hotel Coronado to hang out at the beach there.

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Even if you aren’t staying at the hotel, you can still enjoy much of what it has to offer for free.

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We walked around the grounds a bit, enjoying the historical odes at every turn.

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Inside we spotted this old elevator that is still operational- I don’t know how we missed it last time!

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I’ll never forget our INSANE brunch we had here last time! We walked around the shops attached to the perimeter of the hotel, and of course, had to stop at the ice cream shop.

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Their flavors are too fun!!!

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Time to soak up some San Diego rays! My mom and Pete took a long walk on the beach & I read some articles for school. DJ listened to his podcast and lounged next to me too.

We even had a little visitor. Linda, I felt like you getting these shots! 🙂

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It started getting a bit chilly in the afternoon, so we went to the restaurants outside the hotel to have a glass of red wine to warm us up & enjoyed a vibrant quintessential Californian sunset <3

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While we were sitting outside we noticed a man at the table next to us that was sporting my school of nursing’s shirt from 2018. I had to say something! I hopped over, introduced myself, and turns out he and one of the women at the table were professors. They were there for a nursing conference with the rest of the school of nursing. They were super friendly & we chatted for a few minutes- turns out I may even have them as profs near the end of my program! I wrote their names down in my notepad, so I won’t forget haha. Small world. Too fun!

img_8490img_8491On the way back we stopped at a CVS to stock up on carby breakfast items for before the race. I grabbed some mini wheats & DJ got a box of cereal too (Can’t remember what). Once back to the hotel, we got ready to hit the town! I’m excited to share our evening, but I’ll save that for next post 🙂

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Questions for you:

  • Are you watching the Bachelor tonight? Let’s discuss.
  • Favorite cereal? I’m alll about them mini wheats- I love the chocolate & regular. Mmmmmmm!

xo <3

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Last Day in Texas- Part 3!

And sadly, we have arrived to our last day in Texas. We absolutely soaked up every second of it though! In the morning my mom took me on a little mom-daughter date to Summer Moon while DJ did his training run. This is a lovely little coffee shop that recently opened in Keller.

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Everything in this coffee shop is so cute.

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They have tons of vegan and gluten free options too!

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Whatever they put in “moon milk” is soooo darn delicious. One of the best lattes I have ever had! We only ordered the 1/4 moon, and it was plenty sweet. Their beans are wood-fired too, and you can definitely taste the difference.

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My mom and I split the vegan almond croissant (perfection) & the vegan pumpkin muffin. Their pastries are spectacular. We agreed we even liked this almond croissant more than Tartine’s (one that is hard to beat!).

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The coffee with the treats was absolutely wonderful. The pumpkin muffin was dense and yummmyyy. I loved having that time with my momma to catch up one-on-one too.

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Jadie lounging around..

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After DJ got back from his run, Pete cooked up Five Star hot dogs for the guys! These hot dogs are famous back from Cleveland. In fact, my mom and Pete have them shipped down to Texas from CLE… yes, that good!

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Our flight wasn’t until the evening, so we decided to make the most of the afternoon as possible! We went to downtown Roanoke, a brand new little area that sprung up within the last year. It is truly the definition of quaint and the boutiques are adorable!

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And anytime there is a candy shop, gotta pop in!

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This place was adorable.

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We even found some Harry Potter frogs & wands!!

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Since we still had some time before we had to leave for the airport we decided to try out Craft & Vine. This is a fun little taproom where you can find the most original craft beers and wines.

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You can walk by and see everything that is on tap and read all the info about each selection.

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We all opted to try their beer. They were all great flavors- they actually tasted like their descriptions (which I feel like is hard to come by in beer haha).

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And one last hurrah, gotta try Andy’s Frozen Custard before we leave!

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Pete had the Ozark turtle

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& DJ tried the triple chocolate concrete that I had a few big bites of. I forgot how amazing custard is. Wowwwza. Tast-eeee!

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Once we got home I had a hankerin’ for some real food, so I enjoyed some leftovers.

We made it to the airport on time, but then our flight got delayed about two hours. BUT we were stranded in the best terminal in all of DFW. We had plentiful restaurant options and plenty of room to set up shop (aka blog). By the time 9 rolled around we were hungry again (imagine!). Since we knew it would be a long night we decided to go to Reata in the airport. You may remember when we first went to Reata with my mom and Pete from this post from a few years ago. When we saw it, we just could not pass it up.

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DJ had their country fried steak

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& I had the veggie platter with rice- it was perfect for what I was craving.

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The flight back was great- easy peasy!

Questions for you:

  • This is an odd one- but do you have a favorite airport? I think DFW terminal D is now my favorite, hehe. DJ’s favorite airport is Indianapolis because it’s super easy and straight forward.
  • One thing you are excited for this coming week?

xo <3

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Our Texas Christmas- Part 2!

hey y’all! I am soo far behind on these posts, and I feel like I’m moving at a snail’s pace getting them out. My goal is to catch up before starting back up at school in a few days! Oh, and this is entirely foodie laden, so have your snacks in hand need be 😉

The last post ended after an awesome run Christmas Day. Around 3:00/4:00 pm, a couple neighbors came over to have lots of appetizers & a phenomenal dinner.

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My mom’s neighbor brought over this gorgeous cheese spread with olives and tomato garnish with a wonderful oil drizzle. It was the best cheese spread ever.

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My mom also made her homemade guac which is to-die-for.

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We went out onto the patio to enjoy some wine, scrumptious appetizers, and great conversation.

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Dinner time! We had roasted green beans & potatoes…

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Dinner rolls.. (a must)..

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Wild rice…

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Roasted butternut squash & craisins…

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Halibut for us pescatarians.. (gosh this was guuuud)…

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And beautiful Cornish hens for the meat eaters! I tried a tiny bite of DJ’s out of curiosity, and although I don’t care for the taste of meat usually, this was very tasty! DJ kept talking about how much he loved them too.

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That is a meal I will remember for a looong time. After dinner we played What Do You Meme? OFFICIALLY my favorite game.

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Dessert was a mix of Christmas cookies, french silk pie, and Pete’s famous pumpkin crunch.

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Pete’s pumpkin crunch is one of the things I look forward to most during the holidays. It’s basically pumpkin pie meets cake meets alll your dreams come true. Ya just load it up with cool whip and you are good to go!

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In the evening we started A Star Is Born. We only made it halfway through before going to sleep. Even from the first half of the movie I was amazed by Lady Gaga’s acting & of course Bradley Cooper was outstanding as always. The story line was gripping.

In the morning of December 26th, we went for a nice long run and then I had some of my mom’s vegan pesto pizza & a couple hard boiled egg whites for a protein boost.

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The day was sooo relaxing. We lounged around most of the day, watched an episode of The Great British Baking show, I blogged a bit, and then in the evening we went to Fogo De Chao. The weather was horrible getting there (there were tornado warnings all over the place, but has that ever stopped us from hunting down food?!). We have all been talking about going here for a while since my mom, Pete, and DJ haven’t tried a Brazilian Steakhouse before. So we all thought why not give it a try! (I had been to one in high school when I still ate meat that was incredible, but was dying to try it out again! Their veggie options are tremendous too).

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You can choose to do the meat + feijoda bar or just the feijoda bar (veggies galore, meats, cheeses, smoked salmon, unique dishes, hot dishes, breads, etc.). If you choose to do the meats, they come around with multiple cuts of amazing meats, and if you have your card on the “green” side (meaning you would like a cut of the meat off the skewer) or they pass your table if you have the “red” side (meaning I’m okay…. for now).

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The brought out these bread rolls, pao de quiejo, which I was immediately obsessed with. They were so light, delicious, fluffy, and had a cheddar flavor that lingered on the tongue after a bite.

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Here are some pics from the bar! Some of my favorites were the smoked salmon, beets, hearts of palm, and various cheeses.

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Since we came on a Wednesday, bottles of wine were half off- woohoo!!! We split a Chilean red, and oh MY, I’ve heard Chile wine is great from my sister who has been there, but goodnessss, this stuff was top-notch.

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The picture below shows an example of them coming by with the skewer and meat being shaved off table side! You can see on the table that DJ has the green side up meaning he would, in fact, like more meat.

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They also brought out some sides from the kitchen that blew our socks off. The polenta sticks may have been my favorite, the caramelized bananas were sweet and delicious, and the creamy garlic mashed potatoes probably speak for themselves!

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Once we came home I snuck in a couple snuggles with this little pup. She loves me, I promise… even though she looks a bit unsure… haha.

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We finished A Star is Born that evening too. Talk about a tear jerker!! Goodness that movie is so well done and so darn emotive. Have tissues if you watch.

Questions for you:

  • Best movie or TV show you’ve watched recently?

xo <3

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Our Cleveland Christmas!

Happy New Year, my friends!! I am crazy behind on getting posts out, but this coming week I think I’ll be able to recap our Christmas festivities & New Years 🙂 December 20th we headed to the airport. Our Uber was a Tesla– kinda fun riding in one! However, the driver took a wrong turn and then tried to cover it up by saying there was some specific drop off for Teslas at the airport? There wasn’t, and he dropped us off on the International side, not domestic. Hence, we had to take the tram to get back to the Domestic terminal. Oh well, at least we got to see the beautifully lit up International side.

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We got to the airport with plenty of time because we were nervous about the holiday travel. The airport really wasn’t bad at all, and we were at our gate in no time. We went to our favorite little restaurant in the San Francisco airport, Mission Bar and Grill. I had a big salad right before we left to use up all our veggies, but DJ grabbed some tacos. All their food is always so fresh & delicious.

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We had a red eye and quite literally had red eyes at the end of it. Everything that could lead to lack of sleep happened to a comical degree– wailing babies (not just crying- wailing) (I know they can’t help it though), turbulence, the only lady that felt the need to read the entire flight with the bright light was in our row… needless to say we were a bit exhausted when we finally landed at around 5 am on December 21st. The only saving grace was having episodes of The Great British Baking Show downloaded onto my phone.

It felt so good to see this sign that means we are home!

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My mom-in-law picked us up from the airport and once we were back at the house we slept… and slept… and slept. We slept from 7 am to about 2 pm. It was weird waking up with only a few hours of daylight left! That evening we were getting together with my Dad’s side of the family for Christmas. We were doing a double white elephant gift exchange this year (1 funny, 1 nicer gift), and I realized I forgot our joke gift back in CA. Mom B to the rescue with a cute little tree she had at her house that she offered to give away. DJ and I ran to the nearest gas station to get lottery tickets so we could decorate it.

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We all met at my cousins’ home, and it was just so special spending time with everyone together. I was so darn excited that there were Peppernuts, the traditional cookie my family used to make all together every year. Even though time & distance doesn’t allow us to get together for the baking day, my Aunt Pam made sure to have large tins full so we could all take some to go.

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Gotta get a cheesy family picture with the cookies, right?!

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I have so missed them all.

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We also got to spend some quality time with my older sister, Andrea. I think it had been two years since we have seen each other!

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Dinner was so stinking yummy. We had pasta, pizza of all varieties from the favorite local pizza chain (my favorite was the artichoke- mmmm mmm!), salad, and a few other sides. It was perfect.

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We had my niece and nephew open their gifts first, then we did the white elephant exchange.

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Cuties <3 They always melt my heart.

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We went back to my brothers house and played some card games before heading back. We returned probably at 2:30 (ish) in the morning. We slept until about 11 am on December 22nd. I’m tellin’ ya- travel and the time change threw us all off!

In the morning, we woke up to a beautiful snowfall!!! It made me so happy to see snow. I do miss it (I just don’t miss the cold that comes with it 😉 ).

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We went to DJ’s Dad’s home to spend time with that side of the family for the day. It was great spending that time with them, especially since they moved from CA back to OH this past summer. DJ’s younger sisters are now going to the same high school I went to and have some of my previous friends as teachers- it’s been fun discussing that and making connections.

In the evening back at my MIL’s, we enjoyed some phenomenal desserts (including her FAMOUS pumpkin pie) and played Codenames (seriously LOVE that game).

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On the 23rd we woke up early to get in our training run- 14 miles- then went to my Dad-in-laws home for a few hours before heading to the Cavs game that evening!

This was a pretty spur of the moment event. We were offered tickets from our family and although we had to change our flights from CLE to TX around a bit this was just an opportunity we could not pass up.

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We arrived early and grabbed some delicious food at the Bacardi Ocho lounge.

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I had a ton of sushi & then downed some delicious crostini with smoked salmon & quinoa that was cooked perfectly.

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Game Time!

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We lost, but it was an unforgettable experience.

For our last evening in OH we opened the cutest stockings & gifts with the fam and Pool Noodle while sipping on champagne all together. It was a wonderful evening before our early flight.

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Oh, and I had to share this picture below we found back from 2011 I believe.

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Our rearranged flight left in the morning at 6 am heading to Dallas/Fort Worth.

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We had a layover in Washington and it was fun to see the Washington Monument and Capitol building as we were being shuttled to our gate.

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We arrived to DFW airport at around 11 am on December 24th. My mom and Pete picked us up from the airport. Once home, we were greeted by my mom’s annual mouth-watering cookie display & my sweet pup, Jade. UGH, I missed that dog!

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We snacked & ate a hodge-podge of items- my mom always has yummy vegetarian treats on hand & DJ and Pete had BLTs.

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After fueling up I went on an incredible seven-miler. Something about the warm air was just invigorating. I’ll finish up our Christmas eve in the next post.

Questions for you!

  • Travel pet peeves?
  • Best White Elephant gift you’ve ever given/received?

xo <3

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Magic Kingdom & Vacation Wrap Up!

Five days till’ Christmas! Can ya even wrap your noggin’ around it?! We leave this evening to go back to OH, and I have two more posts to whip up before then. Thankfully I am all packed, so now is devoted to time to write! My favorite 🙂

After Epcot, we walked back to our hotel (only about a half-mile away) and soaked up the gorgeous golden sunset on our way.

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We passed through the boardwalk on our way back. This boardwalk had a fun, relaxing, carnival inspired vibe. And it’s way cleaner and nicer than typical touristy boardwalks.

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Since DJ and I arrived to Disney later than everyone else, we didn’t have the chance to ride the Tower of Terror with them earlier in the week. Luckily, we had a bit of time before dinner, so we decided to go to Hollywood Studios to ride the legendary ride!

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I LOVED Tower of Terror. That and Avatar were my two favorites. Now I finally understand what the hype is all about!

We decided to eat on the Boardwalk at Big River Grille. My picture didn’t come out great since it was dimly lit, but I had a salmon salad. I was craving some greens after all the sugar and carbs that day, and that hit the spot. We ate outside, and although it was a chilly evening, the space heaters definitely helped keep us toasty.

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We even witnessed a beautiful fireworks display.

We all went back to the hotel and watched The Office for a bit. I couldn’t keep my eyes open; insomnia didn’t have a chance to set in that night! On Saturday December 8th  I woke up feeling refreshed & ready to go. I woke up early to run and study, and then we all met up to go to Magic Kingdom.

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I know I keep saying it, but I just loved all the Christmas decor.

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Cinderella’s castle!!

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First ride: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This was a fun little coaster for sure!

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And now… for another favorite- Splash Mountain!!!

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This picture below cracks me up every. single. time.

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After this we headed over to the Haunted Mansion ride.

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On the way we saw the big parade!

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*cue the spooky sounds- ooooOOoooOoooOOOooo*

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It was, again, a very immersive ride. I cannot get over the design & creativity of everything in Disney.

For lunch we went to Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. Below pictured is the loaded fries- they had flaming hot cheetos on top! YUM!

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They even had a vegan sloppy joe. Score.

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We tried to ride Space Mountain, but it was shut down for the day. Always need an excuse to go back 😉

We perused the park a bit more before heading back.

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