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.

img_1546-1

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

img_1733

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.

img_1440

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!).

img_2040-1

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!

img_2054-1

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!

img_1735

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 😉

img_1737

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?

img_1736img_1739

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.

img_1740img_1741img_1743

Peek the Rombauer crate 😉

img_1744img_1742

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.

img_1745

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

img_1746

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.

img_1747

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).

img_1605img_1603

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!

img_1601

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

img_1604

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).

img_2053-1

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.

img_1600

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.

img_1598

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.

img_1751

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

img_1752

There were some radiant blooms!!

img_1753img_1756img_1755img_1757img_1754

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.

img_1758

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!

img_1750

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

submark

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

Advertisements

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!

img_1692

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.

img_1269

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.

img_1280

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

img_1298

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

img_1282

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

img_1529img_1284

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

img_1285

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

img_1287img_1288img_1289

It is a stunning campus!

img_1290img_1292img_1295img_1291img_1294img_1293img_1296img_1297

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.

img_1299

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!

img_1300img_1528

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*.

img_1301

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!

img_1207

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.

img_1099img_1524

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.

img_1526

DJ loved it.

img_1527

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.

img_1525

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.

img_1532

The coffee was soo yummy too.

img_1531

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

img_1530

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.

img_1533img_1535

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

img_1302img_1537img_1536

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.

img_1544img_1538img_1539img_1542img_1543

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

img_1540img_1695

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 😉

img_1519

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.

img_1392

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!

img_1545

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

submark

Friday Favorites #16!

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!!!

img_1276

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.

img_1423img_1424

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

img_1417

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 😉 ).

img_1425

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!

img_1426

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.

img_1418

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 🙂

img_1421

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!

img_1420

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!

img_1428

9. This. Just this.

img_1422-110. Ebates!!!

img_1414

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

submark

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

Friday Favorites #15 -Autumnal Feels!

TGIF!!!! Thank goodness it’s FALL!!!!! I know it may be a bit premature to be posting full fledged Autumn posts, but every ounce of my basic-fall-loving-self is screaming like a banshee to be let out. Even though I’m desperately trying to suppress it, just kidding I’m not, it’s showing itself in all its true colors. Like a tree in Autumn. On that note, let’s jump in (and I’m not talking a pile of leaves). How far into the back of your head have your eyes rolled? Rollin’ like a pumpkin rollllllll. Okay, I’m done. For now. Anywho- hope you enjoy these faves- maybe they’ll get ya in the spirit too!

  1. Faux pumpkins. Am I slightly embarrassed I have faux pumpkins? Yes. Do I nearly cry tears of joy when it’s time to bring them out? You betcha.

img_4536-1

2. Apple Pie & Pumpkin Candle from Bed, Bath, & Beyond. I recently did a massive bulk purchase from BBB for necessities (TP, paper towels, cleaner, dishwasher soap, hand-soap, etc.) with a $20 off coupon & slid a candle into the cart. This candle has such a strong scent; I am living for it. Recently, we’ve had a couple candles that don’t smell like much when they burn, but this is just warming the house with all the fall aromas!

img_4537-1

3. Dr. Death podcast. With a background in neurosurgery, this podcast caught my attention instantly. I have to say I think I have a strong stomach when it comes to gruesome medical talk, but this is not for the faint of heart. It is pretty disturbing- but what disturbs me the most is the fact that this story is real, and these are real patients, and involves a real surgeon. It’s mind blowing, tragic, fascinating… and horrific.

img_4541-1

4. The Passenger. I am about halfway through this thriller and loving every second of it. It’s entirely unpredictable, and the story line is gripping. It’s not super explicit like a lot of thrillers are, which I greatly appreciate. Highly recommend this one!! I can’t wait to finish it up.

img_4540-1

5. Dexter. I’m pretty sure Dexter has made it on the FF list before, but he’s making a comeback! DJ and I watched this show probably about a year ago, but dropped off around season 4 when work was getting intense. We decided we both would love to pick it back up and now we’re wondering how we ever stopped. It’s soo stinkin’ gooooood.

img_4542-1

6. A Simple Favor. Stop what you are doing right now (wait, I guess that would be reading this)….. After reading this, buy tickets for the next showtime of A Simple Favor. This is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time! I saw it this past Tuesday with my SIL, Amy and her boyfriend. The way it’s produced is just genius- the perfect blend of humor, thriller, suspense and everything else. Plus, Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively are just phenomenal actresses (goes without saying).

img_4538-1

7. 6 min. abs with Cassey Ho. This has recently become one of my favorite workout videos. You can get a better abs workout in these 6 mins than from  some of the 15 mins you’ll find on Youtube. Cassey & any of her Blogilates videos are amazing! I do this one about every other day.

img_4539-1

8. Murasaki Sweet Potatoes. They’re baaacccck. I literally let out a vocal “yay!” when I saw these in Trader Joe’s. I have a couple recipes for stuffed sweet potatoes I love to make with them in the fall!

img_4530img_4531

9. Miyoko’s Vegan Cheese Wheel. We used this for the first time this past summer, and it’s my new vegan cheese obsession. It’s the closest changing faux cheese to the real thing I’ve found- and the herbes de provence is remarkably delicious. You’ll need to pack this for your autumn picnics of course 😉

img_4544-1

10. African Botanics Revitalizing Therapy Gel. This stuff is magic! It came in my FFF box, and I am fully obsessed. I love using it on my shoulders and back especially. Funny story though- one night this past week my hamstrings were hurtin’, so I lathered it alllll over my legs. Not a good idea. They felt like they were on FIRE. I had to race into the bathroom and scrub it off once the burn set in. It was quite a scene, much to DJ’s entertainment. As you can tell, it works VERY well, meaning a tiny bit goes a long way! You’ll need this after raking all those leaves!!

img_4543

Question for you!

  • Any weekly favorites? Things you are loving?

xo <3

mack marie signature

Fall Blooms!

Hey, everyone! I am picking up from where I left off to fill in some gaps in recaps. It may take a few posts to catch up- but I’m excited to share some very beautiful fall blooms that are poppin’ up here in Cupertino! I swear- California has like five springs.

Tuesday the 4th and Wednesday the 5th I just did school work all day long. In the evenings, we had leftover cheese and crackers and hummus from wine country to try to eat some of that up. I always love post-wine country trips because it gives us an excuse for cheese and cracker dinners. We love to graze around here 😋

img_4481-1

Come around Thursday the 6th, I had a massive craving for one of those See’s candies lollipops. To take a study break, I drove to the mall in order to stock up!

img_4371

The rest of the week was all the same- wake up, workout, study, take a walk to clear my brain, make dinner, watch Dexter with DJ (yes, we picked it back up!!), throw a tantrum about the neighbors at 12 am (lol, more to come with that), then repeat! These following blooms are from my walk on Friday, September 7th 🙂

img_4370img_4338img_4369

One of my neighbors even has a lemon tree

img_4368

And an apple tree- but more apples were on the ground then on the tree- haha

img_4367

I even spotted this little squash!

img_4337img_4336img_4364img_4366img_4313img_4365

After finishing up the cheese and crackers during the week, I then made up some vegan tacos with lettuce wraps to devour.

img_4311

Saturday September 8th, I needed to “fill in” some groceries. We are trying to use up everything we have at home and just fill in need be- our grocery bill has plummeted this month so far, and I love that it forces us to get creative 🙂

img_4334

In the evening, I whipped up DJ a farfalle pasta with sauce & cheese we already had, but added pasta I grabbed from TJ’s. I just had the lettuce cup tacos again. I blogged a bit while DJ worked on his graduate school ap!

img_4333

I’m saving Sunday festivities for the next post, cause they need a post of their own 🙂

Questions for you!

  • Favorite type of pasta noodle? 🍝
  • Favorite season? 🍂

xo <3

mack marie signature

Mama’s SF!

Knock knock. Who’s there? Apparently, not me! Or my brain! Guys, I forgot to publish an entire post?! After our night in SF, we had a spectacular morning in SF, but it sadly slipped through the cracks. But no worries, we will not let these shenanigans go undocumented!!

In the morning of August 10th, I woke up early to squeeze in about seven miles on the treadmill. I loved the workout room!

img_2633img_2636

After getting ready for the day, Deej and I whipped up to the top floor again to grab some views.

img_2642img_2641img_2639img_2637img_2646img_2643img_2627img_2649

We were a couple of starvin’ marvins at this point. We decided to chow down at Mama’s… a bucket list item of ours! This poppin’ place has been opened for over fifty years and is considered one of the best brunch spots in SF. It is still family owned and operated, and one of the sons of “Mama” was actually letting everyone in through the doors, giving suggestions of what to order and telling us interesting tid-bits.

We found some lucky parking on the corner, then got ready to stand in the over-an-hour wait line. (It’s ALWAYS like that, so you just have to be prepared to be on your dogs for a bit).

img_2647img_2648

Finally- we were allowed to enter into this magical place! It was just the cutest thing I ever did see. It was painted a warm pastel yellow and decorated with a farmhouse feel.

img_2654img_2651

You order everything at the cash register then are seated. I practically salivated on the glass looking at the variety of daily house baked breads.

img_2650img_2652

Now for the good stuff! I ordered the Dungeness Crab Benedict, and me oh my was it delicious! But my favorite part was actually the potatoes. The Salmon Benedict at Bill’s still tops this.

img_2115

Now listen, Linda, after our wait I was very hungry. I decided to try out the cranberry orange walnut french toast that was suggested. I LOVED it. It was the perfect amount of savory, lightness, crunch, and sweetness. And DJ is allergic to walnuts, so I couldn’t share. Darn 😉

img_2136

But I do have to say… the bell of the ball was this Monte Cristo. According to YELP, this is the dish to get here. DJ tried it out, and I had to have a bite. We both agreed this is one of the BEST brunch dishes we have ever tried- and y’all know I don’t care for the taste of meat. This was next level though. I have been raving about it since. If I was going to eat a meat dish, this would be it!

img_2019img_2656

After, we decided to knock out another BL item and see the historic Dutch Windmill!

img_2657

The flowers surrounding it were beautiful.

img_2658img_2659

And that takes us to our most current post. Next stop: Labor Day weekend. Hopefully I can get those up soon. School is pretty darn time consuming, but blogging is always such a nice break 🙂

PS. Neighbors are still being a big ole’ pain. Thank you tons for your love & empathy & ideas in the last post. We finally contacted management, and even called security when they were SUPER loud at 12 am (mgmt said to contact security if they were loud after hours). Still nothing has changed…I don’t even know what they could be doing to make so much noise. I just hope we get used to it because I’m kind of at a loss of what else to do?

Questions for you!

  • Does your hometown have any local gems or hot spots?
  • Any fall plans?

xo <3

mack marie signature

My Bay Area Bucket List

Hey hey!!! Below is my Bay Area Bucket List I made at the beginning of the summer. I’ll be probably adding to it as I find new things to do, places to go, and things to eat (of course!). Please let me know if you have suggestions 🙂

Whenever it comes time to leave the Bay Area, I am thinking of making a “must do/eat” in SF separately of things we have already done and deem essential to a trip here! Anywho, this is my little list that I’ll be using as reference as we knock some things off!

Things to do/Places to Go:

  • Twin Peaks
  • Visit Golden Gate Park (Golden Gate Rose Garden, Spreckels Lake)
  • Ride a Cable Car
  • Go to Mission District
  • Muir Woods National Monument
  • Chinatown
  • Mount Sutro/Corona Heights
  • Fort Point
  • Fat Grape Winery: Free tasting (Wednesday through Sunday) on Treasure Island
  • Garlic Festival- Gilroy
  • Cal Sailing Club- Free sailboat rides 1-4 pm on October 14th, and November 11th
  • 16th Avenue Steps
  • Picnic at Crissy Field
  • Wave Organ
  • Haight-Ashbury 
  • Mystery Spot
  • Bernal Heights for the views
  • Seward Street Slides (bring something to slide down- cardboard?)
  • See Strawberry Hill
  • Japanese Tea Garden: Free every M, W, F before 10 am
  • Clarion Alley Mural
  • The Dutch Windmill 
  • Get a Coffee at Home Cafe
  • Grizzly Peak- Berkeley
  • Visit Point Reyes Lighthouse
  • Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
  • Pizza Antica pizza
  • See the Pulgas Water Temple
  • Half Moon Bay
  • Point Bonita lighthouse
  • Cataract Falls
  • Audium
  • Go to Angel Island
  • Exploratorium at night

Hiking:

  • Hike The Presidio Trails & brunch at Club Presidio
  • Hike Lover’s Lane
  • Nimitz Way Trail at Inspiration Point
  • Hike Dipsea Trail
  • Big Basin Redwoods
  • Hike Mt. Diablo from Mitchell canyon
  • Mori Point
  • Hike Wildcat Canyon Regional Park
  • Marin Headlands
  • Castle Rock State Park
  • Hike Sunol Regional Wilderness
  • Tennessee Valley to Muir Beach
  • Joseph D. Grant County Park
  • Sanborn County Park
  • Henry Coe State Park

Must Try Restaurants:

xo <3

submark

Kels and Kenz Take on the Bay Part 2: Wine Country!

Happy Sunday! I’m actually writing this late Saturday night, but let’s be real, this will not be published till Sunday (or Monday) by the time I write, re-read, edit, re-re-read, edit edit, re-re-re-read, then publish (and still find countless errors after the publication-tehe).

In Part One, we left off ending Friday night on the Row with one of my best friend’s, Kelsey from Illinois. On July 28th, I woke up at the wee hours to squeeze in a run, then at 730 am we left the apartment, drove an hour into the city, lucked out with some great parking in Union Square, walked about a mile to the Ferry Building, and arrived right on time to start the journey to wine country!!!

Upon walking to the Embarcadero, we saw this fun little massive waterfall art piece that I’ve never noticed before. I’ve been to the city probably at least fifteen times, but how have I missed this giant thing?

img_1911

We signed up for a trip through wine country via Platypus Tours. For those deciding how to visit Napa/Sonoma I want to give great detail about this tour so you can decide if this is a way you would like to tackle wine country! When I found this tour I happily astounded by the price. It was only $110 per person for the entire day, including four wineries, lunch, and discounted tastings and wine tours. (Each winery tasting ended up being about $15 including the winery tour at the first winery, and Kels and I split a couple tastings which also cut down on the cost). The reviews were terrific so we decided to give it a go! This tour required us to be in front of the Ferry Building at 8:45 am to jump on the tour bus that would take us to the wineries.

img_1913

The morning went seamlessly- no traffic, easy parking, and it was a breeze finding our tour bus for the day.

img_1914

Before getting on the bus, we went to the guest services area in the Ferry Building to grab our tickets to take the Ferry back from Vallejo after our tastings (only $14 per person).

We then walked around enjoying the Ferry Market with a few minutes to spare (yes – minutes to spare in the morning! Can ya believe it?!)

img_1912img_1915

We were the first to arrive, so we tested out the seats. The bus was comfortable, a good size for the number of people, and stocked with plenty of water.

img_1916

I had read online that you can request which wineries to visit or make a request to try different wineries than you have already visited. Our wine tour guide, Bob, already had a set agenda for the day- but it worked out because the wineries were VERY unique and none of us had been to any of them before. Bob was knowledgable and worked hard to make sure we had a great day.

Our first stop was Nicholson Ranch.  This is one of the first wineries you encounter when driving into the southern foothills of Sonoma. I remembered passing it when going to wine country for the first time in March with my Mom & Pete!

We all shuffled into the tasting room, and had a glass awaiting us of their Chardonnay.

img_1921

I usually do not like Chardonnays (it’s the oaky finish that I tend to have an aversion to I’ve discovered), but every time I have sampled one in wine country, I have enjoyed them!

img_1917

I love watching their beautiful pours!

img_1918

This is the winery we were given a full tour of the winery… it’s originally $40 a person, but with our tour, it was included in the tasting price of $15. We initially went up a mountain along their vineyard and were greeted with tremendous views and a pretty awesome dumpster. (Never thought I’d ever say that sentence).

img_1919

We then walked down into the actual factory and saw the wine vat. We were given a fantastic educational session that blew our minds with how wine is actually made. I guess you will have to go yourself to find out 😉 Ok, or google. I guess google would work too. But this is way more fun! Lol.

img_1920

We then all took the elevator into the basement. We walked around in the surprisingly humid cellar. I was amazed by the number of barrels. But I was even more shocked by the price of each barrel. Anyone have any guesses?

img_1922img_1923img_1924

Answer: Each barrel costs $2000, and must be replaced every 5 years. Can you imagine?!?! Sheesh!

After our fabulous cellar session, we went to another hidden cellar room containing the oldest wines in the winery. The wine in the forefront of the photo is the VERY first wine ever made by the owner of Nicholson ranch (which was originally started in a garage).

img_1925

And finally, we moved into a gorgeous dining room for our final tasting.

img_1926

Kels and I pulled out our vegan cheese, crackers, sun-dried tomatoes, and hummus that we had packed for the day (it was about 11:30 am at this point and the hunger was starting to kick in!). I love packing cheese and crackers for winery tours, it enhances the experience and helps bring out flavors in the wines (especially the heavier ones). We shared our grub with our new friends we had made on the tour, and they couldn’t believe the cheese was vegan (I’ll share it in a Friday Favorites!).

img_1928

How freaking beautiful is she?!!

img_1927img_1929img_1930

After Nicholson ranch, we headed to Kieu Hoang winery. This is actually a winery that was originally a Mondavi winery (which is a pretty popular wine you may recognize in your local grocery store). I love the Robert Mondavi Cabernet you can just buy at Target!

img_1932img_1933img_1934img_1935

This winery was absolutely the most contemporary designed winery I have ever seen. Everything was immaculate and punctiliously designed. Yet, it clings onto the traditional Napa ambiance when you step onto their quaint porch.

img_1937img_1936img_1939

And these were the views..

img_1938img_1943img_1941img_1949

img_1940img_1944

The woman serving was slow & less than knowledgable about the wine, but when we tried the zin we knew we had stumbled upon something special. Goodness. It was soooo good- the only Zin I have had that maybe is better is the one from Rombauer (to this day, I am still convinced Rombauer has the best wines!). Anyways, if you buy a bottle, they waive the tasting fee, so this bottle was essentially $10. How can you pass that up?! We grabbed a bottle to take home and enjoyed a small tasting with our lunch!

img_1946img_1945

https://mackmarie.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/img_9483.mov

img_1950

This was one of the first wineries we have been able to actually go the actual vineyards. It was charming, delightful, scenic and all things “vineyard”. We decided to do a little photo shoot because wine not?!

img_1947img_1948

Winery numero tres, Bouchaine Vineyards! This one probably left the least impression of all four, but was wonderful nonetheless.

img_1953img_1968

This winery was much tinier than the other two we had visited, but was quiet, relaxing, and had phenomenal wines.

img_1967img_1952

Surrounded by their gorgeous gardens (Somewhat reminding me of Frog’s Leap) we enjoyed perhaps the best Chardonnary we have ever had- although I did LOVE the one we tried at Ledson. It left a  buttery note. I finally understood what people meant by “buttery” by trying this wine. I should have taken a picture of the list so I could tell you which it was, but I failed! I should know butter by now! 😉

img_1951img_1966

anddd maybe the most FUN of the whole trip- we ventured to our fourth winery… The Runway- Trending Wine Bar.

img_1954img_1955

Initially when they said our fourth winery was at an airport I was skeptical. An airport? Really? That doesn’t exactly scream “Wine Country” to me. Did another winery fall through? I was soooo cynical going into it, but not rightly so. Ohhh so not rightly so! It may have been our favorite part of the day.

We arrived at the winery and were greeted by Jason, the ultimate wine entrepreneur. He created a brand of wine around the hashtag, and actually owns the #besties, #bromance, and #selfie. (yes, the actual #). All millennials are #impressed right now.

img_2003

Everything is centered around the #… down to the logo on the wine glasses! Tell me you have never seen a more brilliant marketing idea!

img_2004

Every single wine was delicious, and Jason had us rolling- the whole time we were laughing and enjoying the very Grammy-esque backdrop for a photo shoot!

img_1956img_9602

I was flattered when this was posted on Trending Wine’s Instagram! Taking a selfie with the #selfie wine.

img_0188

Never have I ever been more basic, errrr, I mean awesome, right?

After, we went our to the tarmac to witness the planes taking off & coming in, waiting for a celebrity to disembark one. Celebrities frequent this airport, and we were keeping our eyes peeled for Matthew McConaughey sightings. (no such luck, but regardless we had a great time).

img_1958

We ended the fab trip by getting a photo all together.

img_1959

Time for the Ferry ride back!!

img_1970

Just keeping baby Zin nice and safe <3

img_2005

And we back!!! The ride back was about 45 minutes. It was so relaxing, but unfortunately the fog was so thick (dangit, Karl!) that we didn’t get the best of views.

img_1960

Annnnd that caps our day until about 6 pm. I will pick up in our next post to recap our evening. It will definitely require a post of it’s own!

And to quickly give a synopsis on pros/cons for those that are considering this tour!

Pros: This was a very friendly & accommodating company- immediately when I booked they called us to clarify our dietary preferences to make sure lunch had options for both of us. Price is phenomenal for included transportation, four wineries, a delicious lunch included. You get to see & do wineries you may not venture out to do on your own. Water bottles are included. You make friends and meet people from all over the world. It’s stress free, ya just show up and have a great time!

Cons: Limited flexibility in choosing of the wineries. If you are a newbie, this is a great way to do it because you have no expectations of what to expect/nothing to compare it to. We did feel rushed at times because we were on a specific time schedule to catch the Ferry back. When you go on your own, you can take your good ole’ time at each winery as you please. There is a $15/$20 tasting fee at each winery if you choose to do that (but with the tour we were given the lowest possible price).

Let me know if you have any questions or need recommendations for wine country! I have a bunch.

Questions for you!

  • Have you ever been to Wine Country? Any all time favorites or must do wineries?
  • If you like wine, which type is your favorite?

xo <3

submark

Friday Faves # I’m not sure, I’m running late for work and want to get this published!

Happiest of ALL Fridays, to youuuuu! I woke up a FULL five minutes extra this AM to try to whip out a Friday Faves post with just a few things I have been loving this week!

  1. ONE Bars. Since No Cow and I are having a bit of strife, I decided to give these little sons of a guns a go. And hot DANG. They are so tasty. The birthday cake, lemon, or MAPLE DONUT will not let you down. I’m eating one literally as we speak (aka I type). You can buy them at Amazon or the big protein shops like Vitamin Shoppe/GNC.

img_8901

2. I knowwww quotes are A. Pretty cheesy and B. Pretty Basic, but you C… I’m both those (at least I’m self aware), but naturally I love them. I saw this quote in a little boutique I strolled into this week. It hit home with me, especially with how this past year has been. I would not have had any strength to make it through without the support of DJ, friends, family, and y’all. Then with the second part, the reason I go into nursing everyday is to love people. It is ultimately the reward to love and to show love that is the driving force and fuels me with courage every day I step foot on the floor.

img_8891

3. Ok, SnarkyNurses may be my favorite nurse Instagram account. It is the perfect amount of sarcasm, a bucket of truth, and has those gems of, “We all think it, but no one says it”. Gosh, I LOVE it.

img_8907

4. Lately I have been loving the Chill Hits station on Spotify. I decided to just put it on while cleaning one day and cannot get enough. I always avoided it while working out and whatnot because it didn’t seem the right fit, but I was so wrong. It is absolutely my new favorite workout playlist. I also like listening to it at night when I’m reading.

img_8903

5. Dis Eggplant Hummus from Trader Joe’s doe. Baba or hummus?! How about both! My new obsession (overused word, but I mean it here… ooooob to the sessssssssed).

img_8910

6. Pink Himalayan Salt. I found this little guy in TJ Maxx, and love love love. I used to live and breathe sea salt, but this is next level. Plus, it has quite a few health benefits  (Ps. I don’t know if that’s a reputable source, but we’ll go with it)! Needless to say, I am so-dium pleased with it…. *crickets* …

img_8913

7. While we are talking all things Himalayan, because that’s just your standard run of the mill convo, DJ and I are OBSESSED (gosh dang it, stop overusing that) with Himalayan Kitchen… a tremendous Indian food joint we found in Sunnyvale. Indian food is my faveeee, and I was having a massive craving the other night. HK has the BEST curry dishes, and they are spicy to the point where it is ALMOST too spicy,  but not quite which is exactly right. DJ goes for the Chicken Tikka Masala, and I ventured away from my usual Palak Paneer and tried their Shrimp Curry. And Naan… Heaven, just heaven. I have a theory that naan was the mana God sent down from Heaven.

img_8911

8. the Skimm! If you don’t read anything else on this post READ THIS!!!!!! the Skimm is my lifesaver. There are so many current events happening it’s hard to keep up and read everything. the Skimm is a free e-mail service that send you the skimmed version of all news M-F. It breaks it all down in an easy to understand, and fun to read format. Use the  link below to subscribe! I have been using this since the middle of college, and have it to thank for my somewhat elementary understanding of what is happening up in here.

SUBSCRIBE TO the SKIMM

img_8909

9. Baked By Melissa Cupcakes. Shoot I was supposed to leave for work two minutes ago. Ah! We had these sweet goodies delivered for Valentine’s Day and holy maloly cupcakes… these are the cutest little cupcakes with the most massive embodiment of flavor. SERIOUSLY the best cupcakes I think I’ve ever had.

img_8916img_8918img_8915

10. Last but not least, I can’t believe I haven’t shared with y’all that I finally have a running watch, the Vivoactive Garmin! I used to have the Forerunner, but I lost it a few months after we moved out here (the black hole of California). I LOVE this watch, it’s super easy to use for a technology novice like myself, and has everything I could want in a watch. It links with an app on the phone for accurate tracking too.

img_8908

(There are probably a ton of typos up in here right now… don’t mind them. Ok time to go run around like a chicken with its head cut off for 12 hours! Seeeee yaaaaa!)

xo <3

signature-1

Friday Favorites #8 (I think?!)!

Hey Y’allll! I am doing a combo post- a recap mixed with Friday faves. Knockin’ out two calling birds with one snowball.

This past few weeks since the wedding has been filled with finishing up the research project (it’s due in less than a month!) & DJ has been working super hard too with the holiday community events. We had his company Christmas party last week which was a lot of fun!

Anywayyyyyyzzzz, what better time to share a few favorite things than the most wonderful time of the yeaaaarrr!

Ok. Let us begin!

  1. Donut Wheel Donuts- Nough’ said?! For some reason this holiday season makes us crave some donuts. We grabbed these little guys the day after we returned from the wedding.

img_4391img_4392img_4393

2. Pieology. This was one of the last places for us to try on Main Street Cupertino! I think I even prefer it over Mod Pizza… which I didn’t think was possible . DJ demolished their Margherita Da Vinci, and I savored their vegan pizza with all the toppings. The only thing I will say is there largest size is a bit small. DJ was still a bit hungry after his.

img_4395img_4443img_4397img_4398

3. Our Church’s Christmas Creative. Every year our Church tells the Christmas story in a festive, creative way displaying the wide array of talents those in our Church possess! It blows me away every year.

img_4399

Below is just a sampling of our Children’s group who opened the show! Come on, how cute are they?!

4. This is super random, but I have to include it a la “recap” style… Spotting wildlife! I saw an actual Jack Rabbit for the first time in real life last week. Those ears are HUGE.

img_4401img_4403img_4402

5. VitaFusion Biotin!!!!! I don’t why in the fuji apple it has taken me this long to jump on the biotin train. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’d know I’ve been exceedingly frustrated as of late with my hair. The stress of this year has caused my hair to be brittle, thin, and dry. Even my go-to cure-all shampoos weren’t doing the trick. I started using biotin and have seen ALL the difference. Even my nails are remarkably stronger.

img_4425img_4095img_4446

6. The Giver! Sooo this is one of those novels that most find on their grade school mandated reading list.. but for some reason I never was required to read this classic. It has been sitting around my mini library for a long time (we’re talking years on years). I walked past it the other day and emphatically (and randomly) decided to give it a go. I flew through it in a couple days. I was a little perturbed at the ending. I feel like there could have been a part two. But overall I’m a sucker for the dystopian fiction. Orwell and Huxley were most definitely on that required reading 😉

img_4441img_4406

7. Cassie’s Cookery! One of my favorite bloggers, and good friends, Cassie, over at Cassie’s Cookery created her first cookbook. OK, these recipes are INCREDIBLE. I cannot wait to dive in. She is one of the first people that brought to light how scrumptious sweet potatoes are for breakfast. Check out her amazing blog right NOW!

img_4424

8. Beyond Meat: The Beyond Burger!!!                  (pause for dramatic effect)…. DJ asks me to snatch these from the store every time I go. That says a lot considering he is a meat eater through and through. These are uncannily good and even bleed like real burgers (from beet juice). I dare you, all you vegan skeptics, to give this a go! The way it sizzles, tastes, and smells is the equivalent of a juicy burger. I wouldn’t lie to you now would I?!

img_4457-1img_4413

9. Beautiful Anonymous Podcast. I don’t know why I haven’t included this before in a FF. I feel like maybe I did, but I don’t remember expounding on it. Anywho- This is one of my ALL time favorite podcasts. For one hour flat Chris Gethard talks to an anonymous stranger (who calls in when he tweets out the number) about anything and EVERYTHING. They are entirely anonymous (ya don’t say?) so the stories people share are fascinating. There are no “holds barred” in the words of Chris.

img_4462

10. All things Christmas!!!! I did an “all things Fall” Friday Faves last time, so what the heck, I’m sticking with the seasonal fave. We were late to the game this year getting our tree and decor up. But we finally did this past Monday!

img_4435img_4440img_4436img_4438We wanted to continue our tradition of going out and chopping down a tree, but this time around none of our days off lined up, so we settled with finding one at a tree farm.

img_4405

We saw this little guy instantly and knew it was the one!

img_4407img_4408

Happy Holidays, y’all. I’ll be working the 23, 24, and 25th, so please eat some extra helpings for me <3

img_4412

What’s YOUR Friday Favorite?!

xo <3

signature-1