Nick’s Next Door & Homemade Wine!

Hi all! I am pleased to report I am feeling much better than when I wrote up my last post. The first couple weeks of the semester are always the most challenging, but I think I’ve found my groove and am relieved having a couple good grades under my belt. Thank you bunches for all your encouragement in the last post- it helped tons! Also, we have some logistics figured out about the move that also is a huge relief. I am gonna jump straight into recapping since I have quite a bit of ground to cover.

On May 24th I made an avocado toast with Everything But the Bagel seasoning from TJ’s. Gosh, I love that stuff! Sometimes I throw on some tabasco for a kick too.

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I studied all morning and whipped up this omelette in the afternoon with tons of veggies, garlic powder, pink Himalayan sea salt, and wilted kale served with some green goddess dressing (from TJ’s too). This dressing goes deliciously with eggs!

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But in the evening is where the real guuud eats come into play! As ya know that week was particularly emotionally draining for me. We had been saving a gift-card for a special occasion, and this was perfect timing. Even if it’s not a holiday, sometimes a much needed date night is an occasion of its own.

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The restaurant we went was called Nick’s Next Door, a tucked away little spot in Los Gatos. This is considered a local favorite, and it became clear quickly as to why. We opted to sit out on the patio under the twinkle lights and were warmed by overhead heaters that created a cozy temp in the coolness of the evening.

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We started the evening with some unique and wonderful wine- a white for DJ, red for myself.

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Complimentary bread to start a meal is always a huge bonus in my book 🙂 It was served with a zesty marinara-type sauce.

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We also shared a couple appetizers. First up, their lobster spring rolls with sweet chili beurre blanc, Thai cabbage salad, and crushed roasted peanuts. These were refreshing! I will say the lobster was masked a tiny bit by the other flavors, but still tasty.

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Our personal favorite were the basil pesto croquettes. Gosh, these were stuffed with flavor!

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Oh oh! Wait, tying for first place in the appetizer department is the wild truffle mushroom soup. This is some of the best darn soup I have ever tried. You can see the truffle oil bubbling at the top. I thoroughly enjoyed dipping bread into it to sop it all up.

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For my main course I had Nick’s on Main Salmon with lemon risotto, sautéed asparagus and fava beans topped with a Dungeness crab beurre blanc. WOW. wow. wow. Every bite was tremendous. Also, every time I have risotto I wonder why I don’t eat it every single day.

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DJ had their Pan Roasted Rib Eye Steak with bone marrow, crispy truffle fries, tarragon dusted roasted cauliflower. He loved the rib eye steak portion, I loved the cauliflower portion. Also, I tried a bit of the bone marrow- forever convinced it is one of the tastiest things you can eat on planet earth.

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What a scrumptious meal! It was so nice to just chat and enjoy an evening out on the town without any distractions. One thing we discussed debated in our convo at dinner is whether you can like both the Office & Stand-up comedy. I don’t think it’s even a question- absolutely you can, and probably do, like both!!! I love stand up, and I love The Office. DJ thinks if you like The Office you have too dissimilar a sense of humor to like stand-up. Curious your thoughts!

The bill was brought out in The New Food Lover’s Companion book for you to sign along with countless other customers. We also met Nick himself. He came over and made sure we were comfortable- such a nice guy who is clearly beloved by the patrons!

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For our signature in the book we posed our question, hah.

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Such a lovely evening <3 We were practically there till close & enjoyed every moment.

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On May 25th it was “back to school” for me. In the afternoon I made some grilled cheese & tomato soup for us.. an easy go-to.

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In the evening I made DJ a skirt steak with chimchurri sauce, roasted potatoes and an egg for that “steak and eggs” feel.

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I had the same thing, minus the steak- add a veggie burger.

Oh, and also exciting…after a little over four weeks and hours of prep/filtering/etc. our homemade wine was ready to be bottled! I have saved memorable wine bottles from the last couple years to use for the bottling (except the Cupcake- I just needed a fifth to store the last bit, hah).

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Just for kicks, here are the posts that correspond with each bottle above:

Kieu Hoang

Cashmere- Black Magic

La Fantasia 

John’s Grill

When I eventually tried the wine for the first time I was a bit nervous- I was pretty sure I’d get sick or that it’d taste awful since I kinda messed up a couple steps, but it turned out sooo yummy & full bodied & delicious (and did not make us sick!).

I am super stoked about how it all went from the entire manual process to the actual wine itself. I would highly recommend this as a gift to anyone you know who likes vino! My only concern is how we will transport the bottles with us to TX.. I think maybe I could get one of those empty wine boxes from Trader Joe’s or something? We’ll see!

On May 26th I made rack of lamb for the first time. During my long study days making dinner is such a highlight of the long hours- it’s a fun creative outlet to break up the studying.

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I served the lamb over a bed of brown jasmine rice with wilted spinach and a homemade tahini sauce. DJ loved it! At first he said it was way too much food for him that I plated, since I just gave him the whole thing haha. But whaddya know.. he ended up eating the entire thing minus maybe one single chop.

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May 27th, Memorial day, DJ had to work, and I had a ton of studying to get ready for my first exam. Since DJ didn’t really get to experience a relaxing Memorial Day I tried to prep a dinner that would give somewhat that holiday feel (burger, mashed potatoes, mac n’ cheese, a bread stick). I ordered it all from Applebee’s with a gift card & added a giant refreshing salad for myself that I topped with some vegan crumbles & green goddess dressing. Thank you to all who serve and your families for your service <3

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On May 28th I started the day with toast with PB & honey. This has been on repeat the last few weeks paired with my avocado smoothie.

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I then went to Peet’s to study the whole day away! It was very productive & was good for me to get a change of scenery to study.

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A refreshing snack I enjoyed that day was this açaí bowl. After I took the pic I decided to add some PB and chocolate chips to it- a great summer treat!

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For dinner I made DJ one of the go-tos: BBQ baked chicken with roasted potatoes, rice, and steamed spinach with some parm on top. I had my usual large salad to finish up the veggies going badly.

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May 29th I took my first exam. My head was pounding after the timed 90 minutes of adrenaline. I had a really hard time focusing the rest of the day. My headache nearly turned into a migraine, I started getting anxious about questions I convinced myself I missed and decided to just take the rest of the day off from school since I wasn’t going to be productive anyways. I worked on stuff for Hal’s wedding weekend and caught up on other things that have been on the back burner since school resumed. Like brushing my hair. Ok, I’ll wrap it up here- this is already quite lengthy! I’m particularly excited for my next post, so hopefully I can get that out sometime in the next week?..month? … year?!

Questions for you:

  • Do you like both the Office & Stand-Up?
  • How was your weekend?

xo <3

 

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Lotsa munchin’ & brunchin’!

Hey hey! How are you? I spent all day long reading countless pages in pathophysiology and watching lectures so I am treating myself to some writing late this evening 🙂 This semester is already kicking my butt. I am gonna have such little free time .. so it’ll be interesting doing an entire move in the middle of it. Even my prof said, “I hope this course is behind you before the move!”… whoops… guess we’ll see how it goes, haha. (It’s an online course for those that are confused about how that will work).

After returning from Hal’s bridal shower, on May 7th, I paid my speeding ticket, unpacked and did laundry. For dinner I made us this curried seafood mix of calamari, shrimp, and scallops with jasmine rice and naan bread.

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On May 8th I started the morning with oatmeal, a Cutie clementine, Shakeology protein powder, and Fage with my coffee.

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For lunch, we didn’t have much in the way of groceries but I whipped up my new favorite omelette combo: egg whites, artichoke hearts, vegan mozzarella cheese, and garlic powder with pink Himalayan sea salt & hummus on the side. YUM!

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And guess what?! Remember how Alexandra and I wanted to go to that Italian restaurant in SF, but they had no openings the evenings we were there? Well— our calendars aligned so we made reservations for that afternoon! Around 2:30 pm we met at my apartment, and I drove us into the city to (finally) try out Cotogna.

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I absolutely loved the interior- it was so warm & cozy and you could see the whole wood fire burning stove.

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So the item on my bucket list was the Raviolo with farm egg & brown butter.

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^^ Yes, that beauty!!! This ravioli was massive & sooo stinkin’ amazing. Did you all ever make buttered Cheerios as a kid? They were the ultimate treat for us growing up! This dish was reminiscent of that in flavor… but the cheese and quality of pasta took that nostalgic flavor to spectacular and exquisite heights. I had to leave a nibble for DJ, so I took a little home for him to try along with a dish of his own- the Agnolotti del plin. He said he preferred the Raviolo, but that both dishes were incredible.

Afterwards, we had to satisfy our sweet tooth. We headed to Mitchell’s, a place on the bucket list. They are known as one of the best places for ice cream in the entire Bay Area!

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I ordered a combo of chocolate caramel crackle per Alexandra’s suggestion & Ube.

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The Chocolate caramel crackle is some of the best darn ice cream flavors I have ever had!!! Gosh. I get why it’s known for being famous- & I was soo glad Alexandra suggested it. The Ube was fine- I haven’t been a huge fan of Ube the couple of times I have tried it– it’s just too plain Jane for me.

I always so love my time with Alexandra. Can’t wait for her and her hubby to join us in Austin- right, girlfran?! 😉

On the morning of May 9th, I rummaged through the freezer to find a frozen banana, a dragonfruit pack and then threw on some PB and chocolate chips.

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I caught up on e-mails, etc. that I missed over the weekend and got around to some other to-do list items.

For dinner I made us BBQ’d tempeh, peppers, corn, & white rice. It was pretty delish & high in proteins, so very filling!

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In the evening I took a bath to just veg out after such a busy few days.

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on May 10th DJ and I had a fun day leading into a full weekend of us just hanging out! I went for a run in the morning, caught up on some blogging, and then we headed to Shake Shack.

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Neither of us had been before, but we were so pleased with the whole experience!

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You order via an electronic system- introverts rejoice.

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It took a loooooong time for our food to be ready, but they were super busy.

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DJ tried their burger- his thoughts: It is a good, solid burger, but he still way prefers In-n-Out’s.

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I could not resist their limited time Game of Thrones milkshake! It was a peppermint shake with candied toffee that made up “dragon glass”- soooo yummy.

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DJ also loved their chocolate shake. Next time we want to try their mixers- we loved our Culver’s concrete mixers when we lived in IN. The fries were decent- good to dip in the shakes of course- but the best fries are forever from Steak & Shake. In the evening I did some grocery shopping and we finished up Ozark (the second season kinda dragged in my opinion-but still excited for the third).

May 11th, I whipped up some black bean brownies to have for the week. I just finished the last of them today. I actually have been having them with my oatmeal, smoothies, or toast for breakfast to get my little chocolate fix!

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After a morning run, DJ and I headed into the city to try out Nopa in the early afternoon. We lucked out with parking right on the corner!

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This place’s menu changes each month- but they always have one famous item on their menu- the Custard French Toast.

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We ordered that and the brioche cinnamon roll with strawberries, kumquats, and guava cream cheese frosting and a pomegranate mimosa to pair with them.

After ordering, we sat back to enjoy the ambiance of the place- it had almost an industrial feel with a wide open space and two floors, but somehow maintained a warm energy about it.

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First up- the cinnamon roll! The flavor burst in each bite of this was real. The guava cream cheese frosting is something I could eat by the spoonfuls- it was outstanding.

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Now, time for custard french toast! Y’all this lived up to every bit of the hype. I could not get over how delicious this was.

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I tried to get some syrup pouring pics, but the distance of the food on my portrait mode messed with my spatial perception, and I ended up pouring it on the table instead. We had a good laugh at it after my initial embarrassment.

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In the evening, we were craving Mexican, but nowhere around us serves crunchy tacos (the kind DJ prefers)- so I whipped us up a whole spread! I haven’t done this since my mom and Pete were here back in August, although you know I make the tacos alone all time.

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I put out salsa con queso and regular salsa with hint of lime tortilla chips and plantain chips, DJ’s regular tacos, and my vegan tacos (in the bowl) with lettuce wraps (I LOVE the refreshing crunch of a lettuce wraps for tacos topped with tons of Tabasco and Fage as “sour cream”). I also made my mom’s marg. recipe. Such a winning meal.

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On the morning of May 12th, we brunched round 2 at Stein’s! This was my last free weekend before being buried in school work, so we took full advantage, can ya tell?

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I ordered their vegan hash with mushrooms, tofu, tons of seasoning, and potatoes. It definitely needed salt- but with salt & enough hot sauce it was pretty good. Don’t think I’d order it again because I could probably make this at home, but it was worth the try. The little baguette pieces were yummy- but they could have maybe given a couple more.

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Now, this was the star of brunch! This stack of pancakes consisted of blueberry pancakes with mascarpone cheese & some delicious syrup.

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Aaaand I got that syrup pour picture to redeem myself from the prior day’s fiasco 😉

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Personally, these are my favorite pancakes I have ever tried in the area. The mascarpone cheese cuts the sweetness perfectly. They were the perfect balance of fluffy without being too dense and heavy.

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After doing some chores in the afternoon, we decided to take a late afternoon hike at one of our BL hike places- Sanborn County Park.

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^ Take note. hahah.

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This is such a little gem of a spot. There were so many families enjoying the sunny afternoon and campers galore.

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The forest was so quiet and serene.

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Going into my most intense semester yet, this was the perfect type of balanced weekend to explore, rest, eat fantastic foods and spend some great quality time with DJ.

Question for you:

  • Where do you go to get your favorite burger/fries?

xo <3

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John’s Grill & Final Bridal Shower Touches!

Happy Monday Friends!! Hope all you beautiful mommas had a wonderful day yesterday!!! Y’all are rockstars! I so wish we could have celebrated with our own today– they are truly the most incredible women we know <3

DJ had a long weekend, and we’ve been trying to make the most of it since I start my next semester this week. I am hoping to catch up on posts to present day. I’ve got on NYC Housewives on in the background to keep me company (judge away, lol).

Hur. we. goooo.

On April 26th, I went on a walk in the morning after catching up on some blogs with breakfast and answering e-mails.

44c1119c-16c1-4617-ad25-632d6d3f3d14-1In the afternoon I picked up the final templates from Staples. Here is a preview of the spread- her invitation, bridal shower bingo, and True or False questions about her and her fiancé! I also had wedding movie charades, but wasn’t sure how feasible that would be with space and people moving around. I know when I go to these things I like to just chat and eat, hah.

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So, somewhat funny story- I was at a table with a couple third-grade girls after they finished up their homework, and they were trying to decide what to draw. I asked them what they were doing for Spring Break and one of the girls said going to the beach, so I suggested drawing the beach they imagined. The other girl turned to her and said very seriously, “Make sure to put trash in the ocean so it’s realistic”. I couldn’t help but giggle (although I recognize the seriousness of the issue), but I was sooo taken aback by this third graders concern for the environment. At least they’re learning young!

In the evening, DJ had to work, but I was still excited to enjoy some quiet time at home. Any semblance of down time is about to be a very foreign concept. I decided to make wine from a “Make Your Own Wine” kit we received for Christmas! I had been saving it for a date night, but since we are moving soon (and it takes four weeks to ferment) I figured I should get started so we don’t have to lug it all the way to Texas with us. I put on a podcast and got to work!

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It was a lot of fun to make, although I’m not sure I did it 100% correctly. I couldn’t get the bag of fruit open at the suction cap, so I used a knife- pretty sure that broke sterile field. Oh well! On May 10th, I clarified the wine and in two weeks I will bottle it! This is a great gift- I’m realllly excited to see how it turns out!

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On April 27th I was invited to a food shoot by John’s Grill– one of the oldest restaurants in SF established in 1908. It actually is considered “Home of The Maltese Falcon“— the setting of the novel written by Dashiell Hammett. I’ve never read this literary piece, but after visiting the restaurant I’m adding it to the list. If you’d like to read more about its history and the famous patrons that have visited the restaurant see this link. 🙂

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I went with my friend from my nursing cohort, Cynthia, who lives in the city! You may remember when I last met up with her for some of the best pizza of my life in Noe. Anywho, when we entered the manager kindly walked us over to our seats. Since the meal is complimentary, there is a preset menu of their favorite items! I love this because it helps greatly with my indecision. They did say if there was anything else on the regular menu we wanted to try to let them know which was incredibly generous.

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They even gave us a little keychain gift to take home (it’s in the black bag!).

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We decided on their Private Label Cabernet. At tastings like this usually we get a glass- but this time they gave us the whole bottle! I was excited to take it home to have DJ try some too because it was phenomenal cabernet…Easily some of my favorite house wine I’ve tried!!

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Since there was an option for each course, we opted to each try one of each dish. For starters was Jack Lalanne’s Favorite Salad with seasonal greens, crab, shrimp, avocado, mushrooms and tomatoes tossed in their famous creamy bleu cheese vinaigrette dressing.

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WOW. That salad was fresh as can be!!! The seafood to the avocado was all just bursting with flavor.

And this clam chowder was maybe our favorite of all the food (dessert in a separate category of its own 😉 ). It had a bit of a kick which is a huge plus for a spice-lover like myself. Mmm mm!

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Cynthia tried their New York Steak. It was perfectly done to order.

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I tried a little bite with their peppercorn sauce and their bearnaise sauce… both wonderful accompaniments too.

For my main dish I had the Petrale amandine with sliced almonds and sweet butter sauce. Oh my goodness this was delicious!!! It had a bit too much butter for my personal preference, but the flavor was tremendous and the lemon helped cut the thickness of the butter. I still think the Petrale I had at Alfred’s was better, but this steakhouse overall I prefer.

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The dessert also took the cake!!! (or shall I say cheesecake). Holy. stinking. smokes. This may be my favorite dessert from a restaurant I’ve ever had. The only contenders from another restaurant are the Carrot Cake from Gasoline Alley (A home staple in Ohio that I don’t think anything will ever beat) and the desserts we had in Florida at Il Mulino.

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I have had a craving for really good cheesecake lately, and this 100000% satisfied it. This is as close to legit NY Cheesecake as it comes.

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Now, for this chocolate mousse torte– gooodness gracious- so light, yet rich, decadent, indulgent, and luxuriously delicious.

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We also took a little tour around their upstairs floors where they host parties.

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The history and elegance is enough to make you swoon!

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Such a lovely and delicious meal! Thank you, John’s Grill, for hosting us!

Before heading home I spent some time on the Embarcadero- probably my favorite place to just “be” in the City. I tried to soak up every moment. <3

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On April 29th, I went to Marine Layer on Santana Row in order to participate in their T-shirt exchange Respun program! Thank you tons, Emily for the info! If you turn in 5 shirts, you get $25 of credit in return. It was easy peasy. I was in and out within probably 3 minutes.

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On April 30th I finished getting gifts for the bridal shower. Since it’s a nautical theme I included Mermaid Crunch Popcorn, a water bottle, tropical gummies, and a candle for the game winners (thank you all for your suggestions!). All this is from TJ’s and the candles are from Target!

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For dinner I made purple sweet potato, tofu curry, Fage, and cinnamon.

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Aaaand as promised, I made DJ my homemade chicken curry he loves with jasmine rice and the naan bread from Trader Joe’s.

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Since I was going to be leaving for Ohio, I wanted to make sure DJ had enough in the fridge for the weekend so I made him some healthy pasta to have along with the chicken curry and enough naan bread and rice to feed an army.

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I went on a little walk in the morning of May 1st and loved how these flowers cascaded over the walkway.

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In the afternoon, I made a sweet potato with beets, artichoke hearts, and Fage to enjoy before packing to leave the next day for Cincinnati.

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I’ll recap my sister’s graduation & her shower in the next post!

Questions for you:

  • What is the best, most memorable dessert you’ve ever had (can totally be your own/ a family recipe!).

PS. I am SOOO mad at Dany in GOT. I won’t post spoilers, but if you watched this episode- leave me your thoughts in the comments. I am not about the way she “handled” things.

xo <3

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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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One Cheesy Birthday Weekend!

Happy Thursday, Everyone! I am pretty stoked to share this post. Last weekend was just so gouda!

Also, this time last week I was super overwhelmed, but I can tell ya I am feeling 100% better this week. Thank you for all your sweet words of encouragement, wisdom, and perspectives. Can’t explain how much they helped & how thankful I am for y’all! Okay onto the fun-filled weekend!!

Thursday the 10th I finished up my last blog post and enjoyed some butternut squash with vegan butter, salt, pepper and a slice of Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread as a little snack.

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For dinner I made DJ a Bubba burger (his favorite at-home burger) with gruyere cheese & brussels.

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I had my big ole’ salad with Nasoya marinated tofu and all the veggies in the fridge.

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I also sliced up the rest of our cheesecake thingy-ma-bob from New Years to freeze. No way we could finish it all. (I took off the top layer of the cookie to finish off though, lol!).

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Friday the 11th I just cranked out school work- it felt good to make a dent and get a few assignments done.

Saturday the 12th was the The Great Mac ‘N Cheese melt off at Soma StrEat Foodpark in SF. Amy and I had talked about maybe going, but I messaged her the night before unsure if I would be able to go with the school load. However, I got up extra early on Saturday, got my 10-mile training run in, finished my assignments for the day, then texted her since we could make the last couple hours!!! DJ and I hit the road taking beautiful 280 into the City.

MAC AND CHEEEESE TIME!!!!

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I believe they had twelve food trucks all serving their usual food and a special mac ‘n cheese dish at each stop.

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There was a Kevita stand too. I was soo thirsty after my run & the hour-drive, so I made a dash for the tent. The guys there said they weren’t actually selling them, but since they were closing they decided to give me a bottle for free- hey, I’ll take it! The apple cider vinegar is one of my faves.

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The lines were CRAZY long. So the three of us split up to different trucks.

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I stood in line to try the “tex mex mac” from the Grilled Cheez Guy.

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It was oookay. Not the best compared to the others. The best part were the candied jalapeños on top!

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Now for the good stuff! Amy stood in line to get the “almost famous” garlic (your left) and the classic with a crispy fried bacon-gruyere mac n’ cheese ball from Jackrabbit (right). Oh me oh my! They were both delicious- I could have ate that garlic one all day, but DJ’s fave was the bacon-gruyere.

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Here is the inside of it! It really was so good. And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like bacon! Then again, this may have changed my mind…

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The three of us all joined back up in line with DJ as we ate the dishes Amy and I grabbed. The line DJ was in was the longest at the fest- I think it took about 45 minutes to get to the front to even order. While we waited and passed other food trucks as we moved up, we grabbed a couple more dishes to sample and share.

Below was the favorite of Amy and DJ’s over all! This was probably my second favorite! It is a hot cheeto mac and cheese with corn from sip n’ slurp. Corn in mac n’ cheese is soooo goood- why is that not a common thing?!

img_7314img_7010Then The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen had some BOMB crab mac n’ cheese. Wow oh wow this was good. I loaded it up with hot sauce and that added to it- yummm.

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And for what we waited a loong time for- these mac n’ cheese balls from Chef’s Food truck. These balls were deep friend m n’ cheese with truffle oil and parmesan. All I have to say is worth the wait. One of the greatest bites of anything I have ever had in my whole life. YUMMMMMMMM.

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To end, we had to vote for our faves! It was hard to choose. When you entered the fest you were given a noodle to vote for your favorite dish.

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We voted for Chef’s Truck, Slip n’ Slurp  & Jack Rabbit. The winner when announced were #1. Chef’s Truck (the mac n’ cheese ball- AMEN) #2. The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen (crab mac- I totally get why they placed!) and #3. JackRabbit (absolutely deserved to place, all their mac was out of this woooorld).

DJ wanted to take the long route back home. The views were stunning along the bay.

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On Sunday January 13th it was my 25th bday. Cue the quarter life crisis!!! DJ got up around 5 am to go help set up venue for church, and I woke up around 6 am to join up with the welcome team. It’s such a blessing to have weekends back. I missed serving & spending time with my Church fam.

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But lots of coffee was absolutely necessary!

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After church, we decided to try out one of the best breakfast spots in town for a little bday brunch- Joanie’s.

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This gem is a french restaurant in the heart of Palo Alto. In order to get seated you have to first put your name on the waiting list- I kind of liked this method rather than hunting down the host to put your name on the list.

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We knew we’d have a crazy long wait (about an hour) so we perused the Farmer’s Market right outside for a while.

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It was the most interesting & diverse Farmer’s Market I have ever been to! They had everything from dim sum dishes to avocado toast specialties and german bread. If we weren’t waiting to eat breakfast I could have found plenty to nom down on there. We’ll have to go back!

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Finally time to be seated!

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I ordered a Mimosa, and this is how it came! So cute. And it was less than $10. That is unheard of around here.

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I ordered the Tuscana omelette with zucchini, cherry tomatoes, red onions, provolone cheese, and basil pesto sauce. Goodnessss this was good. Only second behind Bill’s epic omelette. But this was a very close second. The hash-browns were just to die for. And the blueberry muffin was easily the best muffin I have ever had. I’ve raved about it to basically everyone I have come in contact with since.

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DJ had their breakfast medley and said it was one of the best brunch meals he has had in the Bay.

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We LOVED Joanie’s. I would say it is a contender for the best brunch spot in the bay, yes, even up against Bill’s.

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After brunch we decided to go the mall to look around. I grabbed a lolli from See’s candy of course!

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When we came home I picked up the mail and found the best treat ever in it! Cyranny from Cyranny’s Cove sent the sweetest holiday greetings & it arrived right on my bday- serendipitous? I think so! It made my day! She even incorporated a little inside joke to the postage, hehe <3

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In the evening I whipped up a Bubba burger for DJ & alll I wanted for my bday was mushroom & black truffle flatbread from TJ’s. I had been saving it in the freezer for my bday for a couple weeks now! I told Deej all I wanted to do was eat this flatbread, sip on some red wine, and blog for my birthday. So that is what we did!

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I added some crushed red pepper and tabasco to the flatbread, and it was so yummy. Then we just opened up some cards & gifts- It was a perfect birthday & I felt so loved!!

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Monday the 14th it was back to school full force and all I’ve done is school the last couples days since. We are gearing up for our marathon this weekend though. My mom and Pete are joining us in San Diego!

Questions for you:

  • Peak of your week so far?
  • Pit of your week so far?

xo <3

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“Dirt” Pudding Recipe

Hey everyone! Per request I am excited to share this super easy “dirt” recipe with you! This is one of our favorite desserts. It has taken some trial & error, but I think I’ve nailed down the perfect recipe.

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 package of double stuffed Oreo cookies
  • 2 (3.9 oz) instant chocolate pudding
  • 4 C whole milk
  • 8 oz. cream cheese- room temperature*
  • 1/4 C butter- room temperature*
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip
  • Gummy Worms are optional!

** It is very important ingredients are at room temperature- the consistency will not be right & it will not blend well if they are not at room temp.

Directions:

  1. Put Oreos in a large gallon bag or two to crush. Use a rolling pin or wine bottle to crush into chunks. You also can put some of the Oreos in a food processor to create a fine dust to put directly on top.

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2. In a large bowl, whisk together the instant pudding with milk for 2 minutes until thoroughly mixed. Let sit for at least 5 minutes.

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3. While pudding is sitting, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until fluffy- 3 minutes or so. A Kitchen Aid is great for this step.

4. Reduce speed to low and add the powdered sugar. Gradually increase speed until fluffy texture is reached.

5. Using a rubber spatula, fold the cream cheese mix into the chocolate pudding. Then fold the cool whip in until completely combined.

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6. Assemble your dish- it can be done using any type of pan, dish, mini cups, etc. Alternate layers of the pudding mix/Oreos (and gummy worm if desired).

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Sometimes I top with the fine dust, depending on the mood.

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7. Let chill for at least five hours. Overnight is best!

8. Enjoy!

xo <3

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Little bit of this, a little bit of that!

Hi, everyone!!! Before the holidays catapult into full force I am hoping to play a little catch up with the happenings from the last couple weeks. This is gonna be one heckuvah hodge-podge post. Oh, but before I forget- please check your Spam! My comments have been getting stuck there again. 🙁 Oh dear WP, all I do is love youuuu , why must you do this to me?!

Anyywho, November 6th after returning from Austin was a day full of school work. The days entirely devoted to school are such a blur! I don’t remember the day itself- but I do know I made trout with roasted zucchini and brown rice. Mmm mmm. Such an easy go-to meal. DJ had his leftover tacos per usual.

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November 7th I went on a lovely seven mile run in the morning.

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In the evening I made DJ bow-tie pasta with a garlic breadstick from TJ’s. Highly recommend- these are quickly becoming a favorite in our home! I had a repeat dinner of the night before.

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Thursday November 8th, I enjoyed a nice run again, then finished up some discussion boards and went to Boys & Girls club in the afternoon. In the evening, since I was ahead of my schedule for school work for the week, I treated myself to a little in-home spa night!! I heard of this amazing face mask featured below from Maureen. (Also she just finished her first marathon this past weekend!! Woooohooo!).

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Anyways, I think I could count on one hand the number of facials I have done in my life (okay maybe one finger- I’ve always been skeptical that they actually do anything), but this was so nice!

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I poured myself a nice glass of wine in my San Jose Giants glass and plopped on the couch to catch up on blogs after taking off the face mask. The Aztec clay worked so well, and I truly feel that I felt a difference in the brightness and smoothness of my face. If you end up using this, I will say you need less than you think- a little goes a long way!

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November 9th I took the day off from running and decided to go for a morning walk before getting started on my massive assignment for the semester. The trees finally are tryin’ to make it feel like fall. A for effort I say 😉

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Our Friday was pretty uneventful- I worked on my huge paper & just chilled with DJ at home.

Saturday November 10th provided a little respite from the crazy studies!! I ran a fourteen-miler in the morning and then we went to the most epic annual holiday party hosted by our friend Nicole (one of DJ’s coworkers) and her family. You may remember it from last year!

All they ask is that you bring a nonperishable item- isn’t that a wonderful idea for a holiday party?

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The decor, the food……. everything is just done up superbly. It is truly the party of the year. My pictures do not even display the half of it. There was an entire other room with hot food (the most delicious apple crepes I have ever had) and a mimosa bar outside on their stunning patio.

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Peek the Rombauer crate 😉

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For dessert, there were pumpkin crunch parfaits that I was like, “I am so stuffed, but I have to have one bite”… yeah, right! Good luck stopping after one bite of these little guys. Dessert stomach came in the clutch that day.

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They also had these darling caramel apples. The creativity is just next level with everything. *cue Ciara’s Level Up*

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Nicole’s family is so fun to be around and make you feel like one of their own. I had been looking forward to this party for months, and it was full of nothing but laughs, great convo and new friends. <3

The morning of November 11th DJ proposed we go to Toast before Church. Who am I to object?! Since DJ “bumps in” to help set up for church, we drove separately and met there. I squeezed in a run before and was starvin’ marvin’ by the time I arrived.

Snuck a shot of this cutie before he noticed. Shhhhhh.

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This time I had to actually try their toast. I had the mushroom toast with whipped mascarpone and goat cheese, sautéed spinach, egg whites, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, a touch of marsala wine, & balsamic glaze all on sourdough toast. It was phenomenal!!! The savory creaminess and the cheese blends on the toasty sourdough was unbelievable ! (And actually totally feasible to recreate at home).

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And like I said.. I was so hungry! I ordered a side of french toast to see if it was any good. I will say it was about average. Not worth ordering, but glad I gave it a go, so now I know. Didn’t mean to rhyme, but guess it was just the time!

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Of course, DJ had to order the winning chocolate chip pancakes! He always lets me have a bite, bless him.

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We went to church then had a nice nap in the afternoon with football on in the background. Sunday fall football naps are the best naps.

In the evening I was having a craving for some pizza! I made a vegan pizza on butternut squash from Trader Joe’s. I had high hopes for the butternut squash crust, but it missed the mark. I would say stick with the cauli crust. I think the butternut squash should have been more of a root veggie pizza maybe with hummus rather than a traditional marinara based pizza! (but of course, I still ate every little bite).

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I topped it with their almond cheese- TJ’s almond mozzarella is some of my favorite! It is some of the best vegan cheese I think I’ve found.

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DJ had leftover pasta, and then for dessert I made some overdue tollhouse cookies for us. We finished the Haunting of Hill House… It ended on a beautiful note! I heard on a podcast that Haunting of Hill House is the This is Us of horror… I felt like it was a pretty accurate description. hahah.

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November 12th was back to the grind with school, but with the California fires weighing on my mind. This picture below was taken at 4:30 pm. The sun was blocked by all the smoke, and this is the eerie scene that resulted. It seriously felt somewhat apocalyptic.

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I thought the air was better on November 13th, so I went on a nice walk in the morning before hitting the books.

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There were some radiant blooms!!

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Unfortunately, when I came home I had an awful headache and felt somewhat nauseous. I think I thought the smoke cleared too soon— quite literally. 🙁 Even being so close to everything going on it’s hard to wrap my head around- I just pray for everyone affected and that has lost their home or loved ones. It is devastating.

November 14th I started the day with some toast: pomegranate and Fage with a sprinkle of Shakeology protein powder on cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread. Mmm mmm! I am loving pomegranates lately – except for the fact that it looks like a crime scene when I’m cutting them up.

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Since then we have been pretty much confined indoors. DJ kept insisting on going outside for his run, but I pulled the nurse card and wouldn’t let him. Usually you can see mountains in the background- but everywhere you looked was smoky. It is much better now though!

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Oh, super random story- but kinda funny, I use my old mac laptop (barely operating) to do Insanity since that’s what I have it downloaded on… but when I brought it up from doing a workout it went haywire. It made an unnervingly LOUD buzzing noise (not the normal fan whir)– I actually thought it was going to blow up! I put it on the floor in the bathroom and called the Mac customer service hotline. I think the guy thought I was a nut when I led into the convo with, “I think my laptop is gonna blow up”….. It stopped whirring about two minutes into the phone call (of course)… so I just let it be. I don’t have anything seriously important on there, but I am just glad it didn’t self combust hahah.

Thursday the 15th- Saturday the 17th was full of Boys & Girls Club, studying, and working on my big assignment! I made a major dent, which is such a relief. I can’t wait to share my Sunday with you in San Francisco- but that is for another post 🙂

PS. If you are still looking for a yummy side dish/dish for any vegetarian/vegan friends I have one that I just love! I am making it this Thursday and thought it’d be fun to do a little link up with the recipe here.

Anywho- have the best Thanksgiving everyone 🙂

Questions for you:

  • Any go-to face masks you really like?
  • Favorite Thanksgiving recipe? Please share a link if ya have one!

xo <3

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*There are affiliate links in this post, but all opinions are my own*

Austin, TX!

Happy Thursday! And welcome to a travel post! This is a short & sweet one, as we were in Austin for only about 24 hours. BUT we did our best to make the most of it 🙂

So, as many of you know, DJ is checking out different schools/campuses for grad school (MBA). We decided to give UT Austin an in-person visit since he’d never been, but it’s one of the schools he is considering. On Saturday November 3rd I spent the day packing, tying up loose ends around the house, trying to get as much school work done as possible, cleaning, etc.

Around 4:45 am on November 4th I woke up to run, then around 6:30 am we grabbed an Uber to the airport!

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The only thing that made standing through security and the long lines bearable was the promise of Peet’s at the end. *Big deep sigh of bliss* Nothing like Peet’s and reading about reformed Medicare at 7:30 am.

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I studied majority of the plane trip, so I hardly even remember it. I do know the turbulence was awful, and I don’t do well at all with that. But we still arrived, safe and sound 🙂 The Uber driver was very informative and we learned a ton about Austin on our way just to the hotel. Gosh, everyone is soo dern friendly in TX!

We stayed at The Hampton Inn that was closest to right off campus. It was super convenient, cheap, and easily the nicest Hampton Inn we have ever stayed.

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Highly recommend if you are ever in Austin. Those hotels downtown can be pricy- this one was a real bang for the buck!

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And in light of keeping Austin weird they had an intentionally spray painted wall & a photo booth, lol.

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This was on the inside of the elevator… Austin and I will get along just fine!

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We were greeted by a cute little Armadillo & a coffee maker first step into the room, so we were happy as a couple clams! <3

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After dropping our stuff off at the hotel, we walked across the street to UT Austin to check out the grounds!

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It is a stunning campus!

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After walking around for a while, we realized we were quite hungry (‘magine that!). We went back to the hotel, grabbed some water at their cute little water stand in the lobby, and then changed out of our frumpy travel clothes.

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If you know me, you know before big trips I can spend an absurd amount of time researching restaurants. I came to the conclusion that The Salty Sow was a must!

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It was such a warm little space!

img_1523Luckily we came in time for the tail end of Happy Hour, so we tried a few apps at only $5. *In voice of Dorothy: We aren’t in California anymore*.

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First, we had to try the “duck fat” fries. Not even sure what that means, but goodness gracious, they were crispy, delicious perfection. And how fun that they were served with a fry-d egg!

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Next, we had to try the Brussel Sprouts. These were hands down, the BEST Brussel sprouts we have ever had. DJ isn’t even a huge fan of brussels usually, but he kept saying over and over he couldn’t believe how tasty they were.

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For main entrees, DJ ordered the slow cooked beef shoulder with yukon gold mashed potatoes, glazed root vegetables, and a fried egg. It was served in a literal pan.

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DJ loved it.

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For my main, I had the chef’s veggie antipasto platter. It didn’t give a large description of everything that would be on it, but I’ve never met a veggie I haven’t  liked. The platter was massive! I thought “there is no way I can finish all that!”.. but whaddya know, everything was so delicious I couldn’t leave a scrap.

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We were pretty tired and somewhat disoriented from traveling/time change/daylight savings, so we just went back to the hotel to get a nice night slumber & watch Haunting of Hill House. In the morning of November 5th, DJ met with a student from the school of business while I cranked out a six-miler on the treadmill while reading for school. After…. brekky time! At home I usually have breakfast before working out, but when traveling I usually like to work out first thing and work up a massive appetite before chowing down. It makes all the food taste sooo guuuuud.

Look how pretty this buffet area is!!! I just love a good hotel breakfasts.

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The coffee was soo yummy too.

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I grabbed a chocolate scone, fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, a hard boiled egg, and studied for my research course while fueling up for the day.

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While waiting for DJ to return, I watched some lectures in the hotel room and then somehow dozed back to sleep.

When he came back it was around 11:30/12 and we still had some time before our flight. We decided spur of the moment to squeeze in a few more eats before heading back. First stop: Tumble 22! I actually had a Austin food blogger (AustinEater) reach out with the suggestion.

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They claimed it was the best chicken sandwich ever, and DJ confirmed.

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Right next door was a fun little spot called Ranch 616 that had pescatarian- friendly eats for ya girl, so we decided to swing in.

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The atmosphere was wonderful- nice &  relaxing, buzzing with character!

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First, we had to try their Southern Kitchen Living award winning “best oysters in the South” oysters! I am not a big fan of fried food because often I feel like all you taste is the “fried” flavor and nothing else (plus sometimes thereafter tummy troubles)… but these were jam packed with spectacular flavor. And the aioli they served with it was just the best, creamiest compliment. DJ swore he wasn’t hungry after having that massive sandwich, but after having one bite of these he had his share 😉

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I also tried their shrimp tacos which were Mmmmmm mmmmm mmmmm! My mouth also waters just thinking about the jalapeño onion rings. I may never be able to enjoy standard onion rings the same way again.

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Time to head back to the hotel. Luckily, where we stayed we were able to walk to everything except the airport while we were there. This saved on getting a rental car and also allowed us to see more of the city on foot.

I loved this mural we spotted on the way back!

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The rest of the day was a full travel day with a layover in Denver. It all went pretty smoothly. I just studied the entire time and actually knocked out a decent amount of school work for the week!

Questions for you:

  • Have you been to Austin? If so, do you have any favorite restaurants/ things to do?
  • If you could visit a city for 24 hours where would it be?

xo <3

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Friday Favorites #17!

Happy Friday, everyone!!! I was not planning on publishing a Friday Faves today, but I am having the worst time focusing on school this morning. It smells thick of smoke from the wildfires and my eyes are dry- it’s making it hard to read and absorb the info. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by Camp Fire (and the shooting). My stomach hurts thinking about everything going on 🙁 So scary, so awful. What’s happening to us, guys? *Sigh* I didn’t even plan on mentioning this, but my heart is breaking for the pain & loss being experienced by so many.

Anyways, Friday Favorites are always some of my favorite posts to post (Did that sentence even make sense?). Publishing one always brightens my spirits, and I hope it brightens yours as well! I’m currently enjoying an extra cup of pumpkin spiced joe (it’s a three cup of coffee type morning) and am excited to share some highlights before hitting the books again. Luckily, I have the whole weekend to just focus on a massive paper I have due soon. Alrighty ! Leggo!

  1. Apple Cider Donuts from Trader Joe’s. We haven’t been great this year about doing all the traditional autumn activities, but really, all ya need is an apple cider donut (or six) to call your fall a win!!!

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2. Brooks Ghost Runners  & Berry Inserts. This has been my go-to shoe/insert pairing for the last six(ish) years, maybe more! Before using this combo I had horrible shin splints. I have been fighting some serious knee pain recently, then realized I haven’t replaced my shoes in nearly five months. That’s far too long when you are marathon training. Since replacing them my knee already feels much better, but I’m gonna take it easy this week to try to let it heal up.

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3. TJ’s Lightlife Smart Tenders. Oh, how I love Lightlife. Their smart tenders are just insanely good, vegan, and super high in protein.

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I like dicing up the tenders, heating them up, and throwing them in my salads. For thanksgiving, I am going to eat these with gravy as my “turkey”. (Of course I’ll make a real turkey too for the meat eaters 😉 ).

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4. Dang, this is quickly becoming a TJ’s Friday Fave! Have y’all tried these pumpkin cranberry crisps yet?! OH man they are good! I like dipping them in greek yogurt for an afternoon snack. Mm mm. I may need to go grab some now!

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Okay, back, with crisps in hand! Onto the next one….

5. If you follow the bachelor, you have to read this exchange between Arie & Sean Lowe. Too funny.

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6. My sister asked me to be her maid of honor!!  After a lot of contemplation and ambivalence about my answer (jk jk), I said yes! I am so so excited. She asked me with this cute little scratch off  & a wine glass that had an inside joke engraved on it. Her wedding is next July 🙂

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Not a super high quality picture, but a high quality moment!

facetune_07-11-2018-18-50-23(PS. JUST in case anyone notices, I’m not wearing my ring in the pic because I was deep cleaning the apartment this day haha- there is zero trouble in paradise 😉 ). Although speaking of which- can you believe Kaitlyn and Shawn’s breakup (bachelor franchise reference)?! *insert shocked emoji*. Although I’m not alll that shocked. There were some signs. Okay, I need to move on. Hahah.

7. We are a bit late to the game with this one. But we are LOVING The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. We watched the first episode and weren’t sure how we felt, but after the second one we were glued to the series. I think we may binge it tonight depending how much work I get done to try to finish the ‘sodes. We have three left!

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8. This is an unusual Friday Fave- but this past week when checking out at my local Target I was chatting away with one of my favorite cashiers, and right before I left she threw a bunch of free goods into my shopping bag! I used up everything already except the lavender + sage soap (which I smells delightful and I’ll be opening it up today). I particularly loved the lemon sage lotion– yummy!  Shoutout to my local TarJay employees – y’all are the real MVPs!

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9. This. Just this.

img_1422-110. Ebates!!!

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Oh man, oh man! A few of you recommended signing up and installing this into my internet toolbar for cashback on purchases after my Savings September post. All I gotta say is….. what have I been doing my whole life?! This is incredible. It’s so easy, and I already am racking up cashback on things I already buy all the time. Thank you tons for the recommendation!!! If you want to sign up, click this link!

Questions for you:

  • Current favorite Trader Joe’s Product?
  • Any weekend plans?

xo <3

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**There are affiliated links in this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own**