Kels & Kenz Take on the Bay- Part One!

***Disclaimer: We are not responsible for any uncontrollable stomach grumbles you may experience nor are we responsible for any cravings that may occur upon reading this post. If you are pregnant, or suspect you may be pregnant, there may be sushi triggers. Enter at your own risk, and we highly recommend bringing a sandwich***

This summer is truly one for the books! One of my greatest friends from college, Kelsey, was able to visit & prance around the city with me for a few days last week. You may recognize her from our wedding, but sadly we haven’t been together much since (she went to Uganda our last semester of college!).

I have never done sooo much in a short period of time (Nor am I sure I have ever ate so much, lol). Kels and I set out to knock off things from both of our bucket lists (This was, after all, her first time in CALIFORNIA, y’all!)

It’s so easy hanging with this chica because she is sooo go with the flow, and down with anything & when we’re together it’s just non-stop laughs mixed with great conversation. My heart is full <3 And sooooo are our stomachs. We also have the exact same taste in food, so we split everything the whole weekend which helped cut down on costs a bunch and allowed us to try a variety of nibbles! (and by nibbles I mean large meals that we are are calling snacks- deal?!).

We made the most of every second, and although she was only here for five days- it may take at LEAST four or five blog posts to recap it all. So let’s get toooo itttt!

We haven’t seen each other since the summer of 2016! She landed at around 12:20 at the Oakland Airport on Friday, July 27th. After exchanging the biggest hugs ever, we drove toward downtown SF to get a week of all time started. (wish Deej could have joined, but he had a homestand basically the whole time she was here, I took notes so I can take him back to these places though!).

img_0993

B Star, a Burmese inspired restaurant, was our first stop. People rave about this spot & swear it is a must try in SF. Their tea leaf salad has been on my foodie bucket list for a while. They also have a sister restaurant- Burma Superstar, that has a similar menu too.

img_0986img_0987

It was a tucked away little place, but the inside was so cute.

img_0988

We ordered the noodle salad, tea leaf salad, and samusa soup.

The noodle salad was light and refreshing- but nothing to write home about.

img_0989

The tea leaf salad brought a flavor that we’d never experienced. It was good, but sooo salty. Like almost too salty to enjoy for me. We ended up mixing the noodle and tea leaf and that combo was delicious; they balanced each other well.

img_0991

Now, the samusa soup was outstanding. This vegetarian soup has falafels, lentils, cabbage, potatoes, and jalapeños. This is, dare I say, the tastiest soup I have ever had. I could eat this everyday for the rest of my life. It was SO good. I am going to take DJ back just to try the soup!

img_0992

Time to see the famous Painted Ladies!! Would ya jus look at um’! Lookin’ dapper as ever, my friends.

img_0996

Everywhereeee you look, everywhere you go, there’s a heart, (there’s a heart)!!!! Ready to feel nostalgic?! You can peep these little ladies in the back of the intro here.

img_0994

LOVE HER!

img_0997img_0998

There is also a cute little park in Alamo Square if you have little ones.

img_0999

I decided since we were so close I would take Kels through Haight-Ashbury. The houses lining the walk down are a sight to witness! The level of meticulous attention & love poured into these front steps is evident. This one was reminiscent of the 16th Avenue Steps we visited about a month ago.

img_1003img_1001img_1002

Time to step back into the 60s!

img_1004img_1006

This is too funny…

img_1005img_6706img_6707

After Haight-Ashbury, we zoomed to Fishermans Wharf to be tourists doing touristy things.

img_1007

We ventured through Fisherman Grotto’s area, passed the sea lions, then into Pier 39’s hub! Kels is left-handed, so I was excited to show her the Lefty store.

img_1633img_1008

And what dooo you know? We were hungry again! Kels loves oysters, and I was trying to love oysters, so we looked up the best oysters in the area. The reviews for Sotto Mare were phenomenal, so we gave the joint a go.

img_1009img_1010

They are known for their world famous cioppino, but we still had a dinner planned, and wanted just some light, refreshing oysters. (But if you do venture here, make sure to try their cioppino! It’s now on my bucket list).

img_0983

We tried 3 East coast & 3 West coast oysters with the bloody mary mix shooters with an oyster in the bottom of the glass. So was it all up to the hype???????……

……………………………

………………………..

……………………..

…………………..

………………..

………………

…………….

………

…..

………..

………………

…………………….

…………………………

……………………………………

……………………………

………………………..

……………………..

…………………..

………………..

………………

…………….

………

…..

………..

………………

…………………….

…………………………

……………………………………

……………………………

………………………..

……………………..

…………………..

………………..

………………

…………….

………

YES!!!!!!!!

^ That was a bit dramatic , huh? Remember when we used to do that in chain mail back in the day? Okay totally digressing…

I started thinking I might be fond of oysters at Sam’s Chowder House, and these even surpassed that! The pairing with the cocktail sauce was a perfect touch too. So…. your girl officially LOVES oysters! Now I just need to get DJ on board.

img_0984

After slurpin’ down the half shell magic, we walked to Ghirardelli Square for our free samples of chocolate (yes, just go into the building and they are always handing out free samples), perused the niche boutiques, and drooled over the olive oil shop options.

img_1456img_1454img_1012

Ricky was on to something!

No matter how many times I am here I can’t help but snag a shot of the Powell & Hyde cable car (you can also see it in the full house intro video if you watch closely 😉 ).

img_1013

We found this interesting little street with books hanging from the wires too in North Beach. I had never noticed this before, and was curious behind the “why”…

img_1014

I found that it is an art installation called Language of the Birds. The books actually light up at night. There are words on the sidewalk too. It’s pretty cool to see the pictures of it at night.. you can find them here!

In the evening, we did the hour trek back to San Jose area and had a hankerin’ for some Bay Area quality sushi. There are cravings, and then there are sushi cravings. And lucky for us, there is a new place that opened recently on Santana Row called Ozumo.

I prayed it would be up to par since we were both walking in blind & I wanted to make sure Kels got some dang yummy sush while she was here (considering it is also her favorite food group).

img_1017

It looked brand spankin’ new! It had the chic, contemporary, Japanese restaurant vibes that are pretty popular in downtown SF, but I haven’t found any restaurants like it here… until now, of course!

img_1018img_1019

We decided to sit right at the sushi bar so we could watch the sushi being made. When I say this was the best dining experience we have ever had, I mean it. The service was impeccable. The atmosphere was light, warm, and fun, but not stuffy (like many of the row restaurants can be), the staff was superbly friendly and attentive, and the sushi was the greatest sushi we have ever had.

img_1020img_1021

The sushi chef gave us complimentary octopus to start our meal (yes complimentary, that was absolutely spectacular)…. we were being treated like royalty. I was like, “are they mistaking us for someone important?!” haha. Kels said that lately she has been on a streak for getting things for free, so we chalked it up to her being our good luck charm 😉

img_1022

I was craving wakame, but they didn’t have plain wakame on the menu. We decided to be adventurous and try their personal take on a seaweed salad- the Kaiso Salad. This included the red & green tosaka seaweed, wood ear mushroom, green onion, sweet chili dressing. I am thankful they didn’t have plain wakame, because it would have been a shame to miss out on this dish! It was perfection. So tasty, so flavorful, and so light.

img_1025

Then for the best part of the meal (which is saying a LOT), we had their shacho roll with tuna, salmon, scallop, crab salad, takuwan wrapped in soy paper, and lobster sauce. Umami flavors for dayyyyyyyyys.

img_1023

BEST SUSHI ROLL OF ALL TIME.

img_1024

And we also split the tremendous tuna tataki with thinly sliced seared black pepper encrusted tuna, truffle oil, ponzu, grated ginger, and micro cilantro. Heaven. Heaven straight on a plate. We ate our food soo slowly because we didn’t want it to end. Every single nibble was savored.

img_1027img_1028

We tried the cheapest red on the menu, and it was a perfect accompaniment with the meal- although a bit too generous of a pour to finish it all up.

img_1026img_1029

Happy Happy Camper with something in her teeth. (Sign of a fab meal- amiright?)

img_1031img_1632

Final touches- the bill being presented in a Thank You card <3

img_1030img_1032

Ozumo, we laud your restaurant & your food! Thank you for an unforgettable dining experience. We will be back!!

We walked around the row for about a couple hours. We even witnessed some random motorcycle show out of the blue.

https://mackmarie.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/img_9292.mov

We decided we weren’t quite ready to turn in for the night. There was one other place on my bucket list to knock off and believe it or not, we decided to do dinner number two at around 10 pm…. whoops! It’s not like we were starving, but we were like, “we could eat!” know what I meaaan?

Pizza Antica is always packed out the door, but since it was very late at this point, we were able to get a seat right away.

img_1033img_1035img_1034

We split their fantastic margherita pizza. (Their bread is great too!).  I’ll be bringing DJ back to try this ‘za. He really loves a flatbread margherita. Since we were satisfied after about a piece.5 each, we had leftovers that would be perfect for nibblin’ the rest of the week.

img_1039img_1038

And finally, after eating about seven full meals in one HALF day, we called it a night. Yes, that was all one day folks. I’m not sure whether to be proud or ashamed. I’m going proud, yes definitely proud. It’s an investment in the best of memories, ya know? 😉

Questions:

Oysters- Yay or nay?

Did you watch Full House growing up?

xo <3

submark

The Famous Sleeping Bear Dunes. TC Part II!

Hey hey! Okay, so this may be one of my favorite blog posts ever. I am absolutely thrilled to share one of my favorite places on the entire planet with you guys- the Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan! In 2011, it was voted the #1 Most Beautiful Places in America and then last year voted one of the 25 most beautiful beaches on earth.

The Dunes growing up were our treat of the whole year- we loved (and still love) running down them at full force, getting air as we jump, and taking in the vast views. There is something about them- an energy, yet calmness, in the air that is unlike anywhere I have ever experienced.

We took my Aunt and Uncle’s RV so we could all hang together during the 50-ish minute drive from Sutton’s Bay to the Dunes. Time for pics!

img_0894

Aunt Terry with Stout, her Portuguese water dog <3

img_0912

Restin’ up for the dune climb, lol.

img_0829

The girlies in front of the dunes!!

img_0909

Here they are! *All heart eyes*

img_0910img_0905

They overlook serene Lake Michigan too

img_0907

Climb, climb, climb

img_0914img_0911

Hanging at the top of our first stop!

img_0906

Time to frolic alllll the way down! The best part!

img_0903img_0902

After, we drove to THE large Dune! It’s a famous large Dune with a 450 foot drop. It is the ultimate climb and test of your grit. I couldn’t even capture the bottom from standing at the top — it’s that steep! It takes about 5-10 minutes to run down, and can take upwards two hours to hike up (per the sign). When we were younger it would take us about an hour, now it takes us half the time.

img_0880

It’s so so picturesque here. I cannot even describe, and these pictures do not do it justice.img_0913img_0886img_0891img_0887img_0889img_0908img_0890

At the bottom!

img_0884

Cuties!

img_0888img_0885

Time to climb back up!!

((25 minutes later)) *said in Spongebob voice* come n’ you know you were thinking it.

We made it! We joked that it should be initiation in the family to climb the dune. (Deej had to do it too when we were dating 😉 ).

img_0882

Also, we totally didn’t plan to match. WHOOPS.

img_0881

Momma bear and Pete

img_0892

Time to eat! We headed into the heart of Glen Arbor to get some grub.

img_0877img_0879

Pop? Soda? Soda Pop? Which do you say?!

img_0878img_0915

The little shops and boutiques along the way were so doggone cute!

img_0875img_0876

At the Boone Docks, my mom and I split some fish n’ chips and a yummy salad with the best dried cherries you will ever find.

img_0871img_0873

They also had burgers that the others grabbed!

img_0874

We went back to Aunt Terry & Uncle Pat’s to shower, then headed over to Grandma and Grandpa’s again for dinner.

Cocktail hour first, ya know the drill! My grandma and grandpa make the best Texas Caviar (kind of like salsa with some sweetness), and I dream about this when I get home. *peep the cute Christmas napkins*. Eating this food is seriously like Christmas.

img_0870img_0867

Their backyard is gorgeous and they maintain it so beautifully!

img_0869

We had dinner full of grandpa’s famous chicken wings (my mom and I had our leftover seitan and tofu), coleslaw, rolls, bean salad (yummmmo), and grandma’s potato salad. Not sure my mouth could water any more right now!

img_0866

Had to snag a pic with my Grandpa. <3

img_0865

To conclude the evening we went to Bardon’s, a classic ice cream shop that actually my Aunt even worked at growing up.

Look how cute these two are deciding what to order!!!

img_0862img_0861img_0863img_0864

I couldn’t decide between soft serve or the cherry ice cream. Kevin told me I could have some of his cherry so I ordered the soft serve. Oh. my. GOSH. If you never read my blog ever again- let me leave you with these words of wisdom: GET YO’SELF SOME CHERRY ICE CREAM FROM BARDON’S. This was the BEST ice cream I have EVER had. EVER EVER EVER EVER. So yeah, uh… it was pretty good..

img_0859

This was the best soft serve ice cream I have ever had too. All around Bardon’s is where . it . is. at. okur?

img_0858

Happy Fam <3

img_0857img_0860

Anddd a pretty sunset for a cherry on top. You can see the traces of a rainbow trying to make an appearance too)

img_0856

In the morning of July 23rd, my mom and I grabbed Aroma’s Coffee & Tea. I actually loved this coffee shop from the last time we were here and remember spending a few hours here studying for my NCLEX!

img_0853img_0852

We drove to my Gma and Gpa’s in TC and said our goodbyes to our Uncle who had to head back to NC.

My sister and I went for a nice run, one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was like old times being able to just jog & chat together. Love love loved it.

img_0851

We then went with my Aunt, Mom, Hal & Kevin into downtown TC to window shop and hangout.

img_0843

I just love this downtown. It’s the definition of quaint.

img_0844

Moomers is another famous ice cream spot too! It was a bit chilly- so we didn’t get any (and nothing tops Bardon’s anyway), but gosh it’s also a must! Either this or Kilwin’s if you are in town! And if you like fudge, Kilwin’s has some of the tastiest. My grandparents actually call tourists “Fudgies” because you can spot them based on their box of fudge from Kilwin’s walking around. Haha.

img_0842

And my favorite store in downtown…… Cherry Republic!

img_0850

They have a sundry of free samples in their shop- you could make a meal out of them.. and trust me.. we do!

img_0846img_0848img_0849img_0845

Before Kevin and Hal had to get on the road to head back to Cincinnati, OH, we popped into Espresso Bay… one of the other famous coffee shops in downtown.

img_0841

Worst part of the trip: Dropping my sunglasses into the Espresso Bay toilet. I was bending over to put the paper lining on the toilet and “plop”. Gosh darnit. Good thing they were like $5… so I just tossed them, and then thoroughly scrubbed my hands for like 10 minutes. Sheesh, none of you are gonna wanna shake my hand if we meet based on these posts. Bahah. I swear I’m not that much of a train wreck… just a small train wreck…

Late in the afternoon we came back to Aunt Terry’s where we split some of the MOST INCREDIBLE wine from Napa, munched on crackers & cheese (and vegan cheese- but I bet you can’t spot the difference!), and soaked up these last moments together before heading out in the morning.

img_0839img_0840

Aunt Terry also made calamari from SCRATCH. I have never ever had home prepared calamari- it’s always been from a restaurant. Well, this surpassed any restaurant calamari. This was tremendous, and it was fun to watch her prepare it too!

img_0837img_0836

I craveeee this stuff.

Also how cute are these?!

img_0838

#TRUTHBOMBS

But that’s not all! We’re talking three course meal here. We were even treated to dinner out on their deck overlooking the Bay <3

img_0835

We split some avocado corn salad & perfectly cooked whitefish.

img_0834

Aunt Terry & Bocci boy!

img_0833

Can you tell these two apart? This is Bocci..

img_0831

And this is Stout!

img_0832img_0855

We ended the quintessential summer day & stupendous weekend by watching Bachelor (Thanks for being such a trooper, Uncle Pat 😉 ). I have never laughed so hard during a Bachelorette viewing. The commentary from the peanut gallery had me rolling.

img_0830

This wraps up a memory for all time. Thanks for sharing in it with me .

Question for you:

  • Do you say Pop or Soda?

xo <3

submark

Home Sweet Second Home: TC Michigan

Hey hey! Where to begin?!?! The last few weeks have been non-stop and filled with unforgettable times. I have mentioned this before, but I started this blog as sort of a journal to record special memories, adventures, and moments. These next few posts probably will contain details that seem extraneous, but are momentous to me- so as always feel free to skim where you see fit 🙂 I start graduate school in just a couple weeks so I am soaking up these precious moments of spending time with family and friends before 3.5 years of grinding through the books commences.

I think it is going to take me all of August to recap these adventures, but I am biting at the bit to share all the fun times and a crazy amount of good eats. I can’t wait to catch up on your lives as well!

So let’s begin with my first trip to Traverse City, Michigan to celebrate my Grandpa’s birthday!

Traverse City, Michigan is known as the Cherry Capitol of the World, but to me it is much more. It is the place growing up where I spent many weeks of the summer on the water, and many winters on the slopes. My grandparents live there (as do my Aunt and Uncle now too!). My mom’s side of the family all grew up there so it is home to a big chunk of the fam.

Unfortunately, DJ couldn’t go with work, but he was very missed. To prepare to return to my second home, I packed a ton of food for the airplane.  I packed boom chica pop, a sweet potato with a black bean chipotle burger and hummus, tomatoes, carrots, grapefruit, an apple, almonds, and a ton of protein bars. (I put the perishables in my lunch box that I once included in my Friday Faves). I hate spending an arm and a leg in airports, so this was perfect! I ended up spending $15 total for the trip all on liquids- a coffee, a vitamin water, and a regular water.

img_8989

I headed out on July 19th. After going through TSA, I found an outlet friendly seat and blogged a bit while sipping on my cafe au lait & munchin’ on my protein bar.

Everything went super smoothly (initially). I even did a free trial of CLEAR through TSA- which was effortless! If I traveled more often I would totally do it permanently. Highly recommend.

img_8990

You will get a kick out of this. I had been desperately trying to finish the fourth book of HP (as you probably know)….. welll, I literally did not have five extra seconds to finish the dang thing so I quickly screen shotted each page so I could finish it while traveling. The ending was a page turner! (below is the screen shotted frame of all my individual screen shots on my camera roll, lol). So, yes— I am officially done with The Goblet of Fire- ya proud?!

img_9050

Anyways, while sitting on the Tarmac for over 30 minutes, the pilot finally said in that pilot’s voice “Uhhhhhh folks, if you have a connection, uhhhhhhh, you may want to make other arrangements.  Uhhhhhh looks like we won’t be getting off the tarmac for a while. Uhhhhh”. He said we were free to get off the plane at that time. I figured I would just grab a hotel near O’Hare’s airport rather than rescheduling my whole trip. While waiting, I was so grateful for all my snacks! I feel like I ate the whole flight.

img_8991

As we were getting close to landing in Chicago, I thought, “I could really still make this connecting flight!!” The connection was set to leave by 9:30 pm. Boarding ended at 9:00 pm. The pilot said to make sure to let those with connections into the aisle right away. My neighbors were SO friendly, and were cheering my on to make my connection. I sprinted, legs burning, through the airport. I was that person- bags flying, limbs flailing… you know, that person.

I arrived to the gate at 9:12 pm (the terminal was totally on the other side of where we landed). Womp womp. I missed it by literally 12 minutes and could see my plane sitting on the tarmac. Sadly, I missed it by O’Hare…..

img_8992

I waited with all the others who missed their connections in the customer service line, absolutely sure that I was going to have to stay overnight. I was slightly excited to stay the night in Chicago, but also bummed that I wouldn’t make it sooner to see my family.

When I made it to the front finally, the customer service rep said there was one seat left on the American flight they would comp for free, but it was about to board. I hustled ran like a crazy maniac once again through the airport and arrived to H1B with one minute to spare. “Boards in 1 minute” displayed on the screen sent a wave of relief through me. I made it!

img_8993

Once I arrived finally at 12:30 pm, my momma took me to the 24-7 Meijer to get necessities that I wouldn’t have since my luggage was going to be a day late. It was one of those memories I will treasure, just the two of us in the quiet Meijer grabbing essentials while catching up while the rest of the town was asleep. I just love hanging with her- any time or place! After stocking up, we drove to my Aunt’s in Sutton’s Bay where we were staying for the week.

In the morning I had avocado toast on Dave’s bread with hummus and avocado & the BEST Tim Horton’s coffee. Someone knows me well and had the fridge stocked 😉

img_8994

After working out on Saturday the 20th, Momma bear and I went to Grand Traverse Bay Company to pick up a pie for my Grandpa’s B-day party.

img_8997img_8996img_9093-1

Once back to my Aunt Terry’s house, we got ready for dinner and soaked in the calming, gorgeous views. It feels like staying at a resort! (Oh also fun fact- this is where DJ purposed to me  & you may also remember one of my VERY first blog posts was a trip here).

img_9001img_9003

We then went from Sutton’s Bay to Traverse City where my grandparents live (and truly my second home through my childhood).

We greeted one another with tons of hugs and then finished getting ready for dinner.

img_9007

But always before dinner is cocktail hour at Gma’s and Gpa’s- which includes your drink of choice and grandma spoiled us with her famous cheesy crab english muffins and pretzels with cream dip. The cheese crab english muffins are pure magic, and I wish I could share them with you!

img_9008

And ALWAYS ALWAYS a blue cheese stuffed olive from grandpa. Any other blue cheese stuffed olive fans in the house?!

img_9005

We all went out to the deck to enjoy our drinks and apps.

img_9006

This is Halston (my sister) and Kevin (her boyfriend). Can ya stand it? Tooo cute.

img_9013

Sista sista

img_9010

For dinner there were ribs, refreshing coleslaw, my grandma’s famous three bean salad, and mashed potatoes. My mom made her and I seitan ribs since we don’t eat meat- it was PHENOMENAL.

img_9009

And of course- dessert. Key lime pie…. (yummers)

img_9012

And chocolate mousse pie.yumyumyum.

img_9011

My Uncle Jeff from Asheville & I. <3

img_8279

It was such a lovely evening.

In the morning of July 21st I used Aunt Terry’s gym to do a nice 6ish mile run while reading Sharp Objects. Gosh, Gillian Flynn is a truly adroit writer. The book is undeniably dark, but goodness the storyline is tremendous & well written.

img_8999

We all got ready for the BIG day- my Grandpa’s bday party. Get a load of this living room. *heart eyes*

img_9014img_9016

The food was on another level. I mean this would out-do most restaurants. The smoked salmon is something I still dream about.

img_9018img_9021

Time for photos! I took an asinine amount, so I kindly narrowed them down to just a few, haha.

My sister, Halston, and her bf Kevin. <3 My favorite couple

img_9017

My mom and I

img_9015img_9023

My stepdad, Pete, and Grandpa!

img_9027

The gang – just missing Deej

img_9024

The girlies! My mom, me, Halston, Aunt Terry (Left to Right).  Can ya tell we’re related? Haha.

img_9020

And the man of the hour with our Grandma surrounded by all their good friends <3. These two role model what it means to have a beautiful marriage and relationship.

img_9030

Family picture!

img_9026

My sister, Uncle Jeff, and I <3

img_9028

Me, Halston, Aunt Terry and Uncle Jeff & Kevin (LOL). This picture kills me every time.

img_9031img_0814

They had such a lovely little bar area & set up for the party too.

img_9035img_9036

My Aunt even made cucumber lemon water. She so effortlessly hosts the best parties!

img_9040

Before eating we said a prayer all together, and I read a poem to my Grandpa for his birthday. It was easy to write because he is one of the best individuals I have ever known, along with my grandma <3

img_9092img_9088

After these special moments, time to eat!!!

A bowl of carbs is just a bowl of happiness

img_9033

Below is an avocado salad my momma made that was one of the most refreshing, delicious, tasty concoctions ever. SO good.

img_9037

Annnnd it wouldn’t be a party without my Grandma’s famous potato salad. Good lawwwd.

img_9034

My Uncle Pat went above and beyond with this steak. I didn’t try any since I don’t eat meat- but it looked pretty darn perfect!

img_9039img_9038

LOVED this cake <3 My grandpa loves to mow the lawn, so this was just perfect. Haha.

img_9042

These two . CAN. YOU. STAND. IT. ?!

img_9049

We finished the evening with the delicious key lime pie from Grand Traverse Bay company. Seriously the best key lime pie I have ever had.

img_9041

It was an spectacular day, and a stunning evening.

img_9043img_9045

I will recap part two of the trip soon!

Questions for youuuu!

  • Blue cheese stuffed olive fan?! Yay or nay?
  • Where is your “Second home”?
  • Have you been to TC, Michigan?

xo <3

mack marie signature

Bowling, Buns, & Boba Fun!

Heyy yaaa heyyyyy yaaa! (anyone set it to the tune I did?). I have a short, teeny tiny recap to wrap up loose ends before taking off for MI tomorrow. My type A angel (or devil) on my shoulder would be severely bothered with smushing (apparently smushing isn’t a word?) this recap in with my Michigan one a week from now… soooo here. we. goooo!

^^ Was that not the most scattered, rambling intro you ever did see?

On Saturday the 14th, I attended the big bowling bash of the year for DJ’s work. It was such a great time, and a fun way to get to know his coworkers a bit better too!

img_8057

Deej and I shared a lane and alternated turns. We did horribly the first round, but didn’t do too bad the second. Guess it was the practice we had earlier in the week?! (nah, for me it was just dumb luck, lol). (We are “D” on the screen).

img_7996

Once we finally came home around 11:30 pm, we binged The Staircase and were up wayyy past each of our bedtimes.

On Sunday the 15th, I went to Church while DJ unfortunately had to go to work bright and early. After Church I met my friend, Tammy, downtown in San Jose for some vegan eats!

img_7998

I grow more and more fond of downtown San Jose every time I visit!

img_8001

I actually discovered this place through a fellow San Francisco blogger! I saw the Buddha bun in her post and couldn’t get it out of my head.

img_8002

This place is in an obscure spot in downtown, pretty easy to miss, but one you won’t want to! The inside decor is alll about that hippie life with earthly tones, calm music, and overall a general ode to nature.

img_8003

The moment of truth finally fell upon us… *pause for dramatic effect*. This magic bun cost less than $4 which is a STEAL in these parts. It’s pretty big too (there is a picture later on for reference). It is a rice flour bun (Bao) stuffed with sautéed mushrooms, tofu, cabbage, jicama, peas, and carrots. Served with a house sweet savory sauce.

img_7949In enthusiastic Kate mode I feel like there is only one way to express my excitement over this bun….

Guys!

Guys!!!

Guys!!!!!!

This is one of my FAVORITE morsels of food I have tried since moving to the Bay Area. Since EVER. Not sure what they use in this “house” sauce, but I would sell a kidney for the recipe. I told Tammy I want this for my birthday, and she joked they would just put a candle in it (My hopes are officially up 😉 ).

I have never had bao before then, and I loved it. I’ve never tried Dim Sum, but I have a feeling it would be a new favorite thing! *Cue Whole New World*

I also tried the sampler platter with Thai yellow curry, Jamaican jerk “chicken” and spicy basil tofu with quinoa. I brought back leftovers for DJ and he loved them too.

img_8005

Tam had their jackfruit pulled “pork” tacos, and let me try a nibble. They were phenomenal. I might get these next time!!

img_8058

We also split a local cider (with a fascinating history) & a rose lemonade.

img_8004

The rose lemonade was the definition of refreshing. And the cider was the greatest ale/cider/beer equivalent I have ever tasted. I want to take DJ back just to try this!

img_7952

We finished the whole smorgasbord with a piece of delicious vegan pumpkin pie over a chocolate crust.

img_8006

When I say I can’t stop thinking about this meal… I seriously cannot stop thinking about this meal! Winner winner chicken vegan dinner.

Next, Tammy noticed Tea Alley was across the street which is a place in SJ that sells boba in lightbulbs (leave it to the Bay Area to channel our inner Thomas Jefferson).

Tam made me laugh when she looked them up and exclaimed, “I just really want to drink out of a lightbulb!”. #overheardinSanJose

img_8007

It was a neat little place with super cute decor!

The moment of truth….

img_8060

It was adorable, but unfortunately luke warm- liiiiiike WHO DRINKS BOBA LUKE WARM?! Fun experience, and tam got her lightbulb. Lol. <3

This week has been more communicating with grad school trying to make sure all my classes are going to be scheduled okay, tons of cleaning, working on a present for my Grandpa’s birthday, laundry, and food prep since I’ll be gone! Per DJ’s request I whipped up the bison tacos again.

img_8048

I have one chapter of Harry Potter left- are y’all proud?! One more to gooo!

Any big weekend plans coming up?!

xo <3

submark

A Corgi & A Cat Fight

Hey y’allll! I am hardcore putting on the “y’all” draaaawwwwn out in a southernly manner because I have Southern Charm on in the background and it only seems appropriate. I have finally jumped onto the bandwagon. Man, this drama just cracks me up. But I do love the peek into the Southern way of life! Any other watchers?

So let us begin this riveting recap, starting with Saturday July 7th. I woke up early and ran a breezy four miles before driving to San Jose to meet up with my sweet friend Julie from church.

We decided on Academic Coffee, and it’s maybe some of the best local coffee I have tried yet!

img_7884img_7775img_7776

It’s such a cute little unassuming place, but is bright, clean, and welcoming!

img_7777

Over some great conversation, Julie and I shared the matcha muffin and the mochi muffin that they sell from Third Culture Bakery in Oakland.

img_7778

The matcha muffin was just aiiight, but the Mochi muffin was out. of. this. world. It is the yummiest, most satisfying muffin I have had with coffee. I am on a real mochi kick, and I don’t see it settling down any time soon! (thanks for that, Tam!).

img_7780

The rest of the day Saturday I did some deep cleaning in the apartment, finished up some laundry (I feel like every day is laundry day), and then started a new book- Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. It’s fascinating so far, but pretty dark, so I have had to be in the mood to read it, ya know? And noooo, I still haven’t finished the fourth book in the HP series (1.5 years later….). Next week I will finish it- hold me to it!

On Sunday morning, the 8th, DJ had a little bit of time before work to grab breakfast, but not quite enough time to go to Church. We decided to scarf some grub down together since we hadn’t seen each other in over a week since Ohio. I figured I could catch the sermon next day on the podcast at least!

We tried out a new spot in SJ called The Breakfast Club at Midtown. We have heard tremendous things about this place, and it certainly lived up to the hype.

img_7783

I was craving (and I mean CRAVING) lemon ricotta pancakes, and thankfully they had them. I started salivating like a dog when they placed them in front of me. These are my favorite pancakes we have tried in the Bay Area so far. Not even a question. (DJ’s favorite are from Sweet Maple SF).

img_7453

Deej had their famous chicken and waffles. Isn’t it so cute how they serve it with a little watermelon wedge? It’s the little things. And I guess it’s the big things- because if they didn’t have those cakes…….

img_7471

I did Insanity in the afternoon and had plans with a friend to hike in the afternoon that fell through. Oh well! I ended up just resting, reading, and stocking up on groceries for the week (Trader Joe’s! Trader Joe’s!).

On Monday the 9th, I went on a nice long run in the AM and continued to blog in the morning while enjoying a poached egg over avocado toast.

img_7865img_7880img_7781

I worked on stuff for grad school scheduling the rest of the day then DJ came home right on time to view Bachelorette since they didn’t have a game! Woot woot! Naturally I whipped up our cookies (and one Mega cookie) to enjoy with the show. I prefer Mega, DJ goes with the smaller ones. (peep the pronoun because Mega is a member of the family).

img_2898

We so severely undercook our cookies, it’s a surprise we haven’t gotten salmonella yet.

After throwing a fit about Becca’s reaction to Colton’s “news” (What the heck, Becca?!?!), we called it a night. Other Bachelorette watchers- let us discuss.

Tuesday the 10th, DJ had the day off!!! WOOOHOO! We had a nice lazy morning, I made breakfast for us and then did Insanity. I read on the couch while he played video games for a couple hours, and it was so nice… we haven’t had just a lounge day together in SO LONG. In the evening, we met up with Amy, his twin sister to get in some bowling. We haven’t been bowling in forever, but it was wayy too hot outside to do anything out in the wild, so we decided to go with something a bit cooler.

This bowling alley is within walking distance from our house, and we have never been! Time to finally try it out!

img_7864

This was the COOLEST bowling alley we have ever been to. It was super nice, clean, did not reek of cigarettes (I feel like most usually do?), had a huge arcade, and even had a gorgeous full bar. I couldn’t get over the decor!

img_7874img_7875

We concluded that bowling is not our sport, hung up the bowling shoes, and headed to dinner.

We went to San Pedro Square as I mentioned in my Friday Favorites. Gosh, I love love loved this place!

img_7873

I’d briefly been to B2 Coffee which is connected to the Public Market, but have never explored. This place is like one massive food court, with everything you can imagine. Italian? You got it! Chinese? You bet! Good burgers? Mmmhmm! Indian? Always! Mexican? Sushi? Potato Bar? The darn sky is the limit!

img_7879

I decided on some sashimi from Blush Ice Bar. It took me way too long to decide on what to order, and honestly this whole place is just one big black hole for the indecisive.

img_7871img_7878

We grabbed our grub and headed outside. That sashimi hit the spot on the hot hot summer day, and I could seriously eat seaweed salad for days on end. Never gets old.

img_7877

DJ had the chicken tikka masala from Urban Momo…. I tried some of the sauce, and we both agreed it is the best masala we have ever tried. It was sooo dang creamy.

img_7870

After dinner, we decided to grab a glass of wine at Rootstock on Main Street Cupertino. Amy brought her Instagram famous corgi, Pool Noodle, along. He is such a hoot– if you like Corgi’s, or you’re a normal human being that likes furry things and witty captions, his handle is poolnoodlethecorgi .

img_7869img_7868

On Wednesday the morning of the 11th, I received a nice surprise in the mail— A replacement pair of Brooks Ghost 10s. It’s Christmas I tell ya, Christmas! I haven’t replaced my shoes since February and am loooong overdue. My knees have been aching and my shin splints are coming back- tell tale sign that I needed new ones. Feels like running on a cloud.

img_7881img_7866

I have also been going on a ton of walks lately in the evenings after dinner. With DJ being at work most nights, it gives me a way to preoccupy my time. I turn up a podcast and take in the beautiful views of the sun setting!

img_7867

This one took my breath away.

img_7863

Thursday the 12th, I worked on grad school prep. I tell ya what- I have discovered I am bad bad bad at technology (well I’ve already known this, but now it is reaffirmed). This whole online thing is definitely gonna be a learning curve!

In the evening I worked on my Friday Favorites post so I could have it posted in a timely manner (‘magine that!).

Friday the 13th (wooooooooOOOooOOooo), I did a master clean out of the rest of our clothes, and I took some to Plato’s Closet and then posted the rest on Poshmark.

In the evening, I made a giant veggie salad for myself and bison tacos for DJ for when he came home. He usually gets home around 10:45/11 (sometimes later), but he’s always starving for dinner. I try to have something in the fridge waiting for him- it’s sometimes a makeshift meal, but he said these were “Soooo goood”. His words, not mine 😉

img_7860img_7861

Yesterday, Saturday the 14th, was a pretty great day! All my friends were booked for the day, but I was itching to get out and about. I decided to try out the Los Altos Food and Wine Festival. Sometimes solo dates can be so enjoyable!

img_7857

This was the most sprawling arts festival I think I’ve ever been to! The energy was tremendous, and I was perfectly content just bouncing from tent to tent seeing the unique creations.

img_7853img_7852img_7855img_7854

If you did opt to try the wine, all you had to do was pay a flat rate for the glass, then go to each different winery tent to sample.

img_7851img_7850

I decided instead to try Garrett’s Lemonade and it hit the spot on this sweltering summer day.

img_7883

To occasionally seek respite from the heat, I would pop into the side stores. DJ is ADAMANT that we will never ever get a cat (he genuinely hates them, hahah).

But when I saw this little face in a pet store I almost forgot the loud resounding “NO” to bringing a kitty home. hehe.

img_7856

I couldn’t convince him, but I gave it my best shot! (I have his permission to post this)

img_7947

Womp Woooomp. Ya win some, ya lose some in marriage y’all! Once we have stable enough schedules we WILL be getting a pup 🙂 Now that we can agree on!

After the festival, I came home and had a giant veggie salad with half a mushroom burger. Then, I went to DJ’s bowling work event. I will recap last night and today (Sunday) in my next post.

img_7848

Do you guys ever go on solo dates?!

Are you a cat or a dog person? Both?

xo <3

submark

There’s No Place Like Home: Part Two

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

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

img_7284

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

img_7281

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

img_7282

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

img_7280img_7278

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

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

img_7277img_7276

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

img_7273

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

img_7272

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

img_7271

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

img_7270

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

img_7363

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

img_7267

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

img_7268img_7269

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

img_7266

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

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

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

I seriously hope I am half the parents they are!

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

img_7264

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

img_7265

Kate loooved my sunnies.

img_7258

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

img_7257

Time for sparklers!!!

img_7255

BE STILL MY SOUL. This face <3

img_7254

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

img_7253img_7252img_7251

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

img_7249img_7250img_7410

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

xo <3

submark

There’s No Place Like Home: Part One

Heyyyya!!! I am splitting my Ohio trip into two parts so I don’t crash Rossy’s laptop, lol 😉 We took off for Ohio last Friday the 29th. I woke up around 4:45 am to squeeze in a few miles on the tready. Our flight was around 11: 45 am, and I had worked up quite the appetite by the time we had to go. I quickly grabbed a three bean salad and mixed green salad from Klein’s on the airport and ate a No Cow bar on the plane too for some extra protein. (still bitter they changed their formula, but they still keep me nice and full).

img_7378

Oh and of course had to snag a Cafe au Lait with almond milk from Dog Patch!

img_7377img_7379img_7380

Home! 🏡

We caught up with DJ’s mom at the kitchen table like we always have since high school <3 One of the best parts of coming home! We ended the night by watching the latest Bachelorette all together.

In the morning I got up early pearly to get ready for the wedding. The time change always messes with me and after getting up at 4:45 am the day before, I was gonna need a lot of coffee! Mom B even stocked up my favorite Dave’s Killer bread and had some perfectly ripe avocados. She knows me well! That avocado toast tasted so good. Food and coffee alwayyys tase better at this house.

img_7376

I brought my press on, jankey nails since mine are so darn short and I didn’t want to paint them. Welp, epic fail when I was short two nails! Haha.

img_7372

I whipped into the nearest CVS and grabbed a new pack. They are so long, but I didn’t want to mess with clipping them because I’d do a horrible job. Gotta just let the claws live sometimes, ya know?

img_7373

I deliberated which dress to wear and settled on this one (you can catch my options on my MIL’s new website and App Wear This One– I will explain more about this soon!).

img_7365

We went to a beautiful wedding after picking up my girl Rachel. Remember our cruise together?! We never got to say goodbye after accidentally separating at the airport so when we saw each other it was like “Goodbye! Hello!”.

On the car ride over we imagined worst case scenarios for if one of my nails were to pop off (the little press ons aren’t necessarily the strongest little suckers). We decided it would either be when shaking someone’s hand or at the reception and then the bride slipping on it. Totally normal convos to have on the way to a wedding, right?

As the send off, we all let off balloons outside the church. In San Francisco you would be beheaded if you dared let off balloons into the environment, haha. DJ and I were like, “Is this really happening?!”

In between the wedding, we picked up my sister from a local subway where she was meeting with a friend. Her poor car wasn’t starting, but my brother was able to come in the clutch for a repair. (Y’all it’s like the olden days- fam and friends within arms reach when ya need them, just loved it!).

We went to lunch at Burntwood Tavern, the favorite spot in town.

img_7370

Deej had their chicken sliders

img_7368

Rachel had their tater tots- and HOLY CANNOLI RAVIOLI, these are the best darn tater tots I have ever had. If I had to create a last meal these would be included.

img_7369

I went for their hummus and pita platter. It was a fantastic tide-me-over!

img_7367

So nice to see these two below. I haven’t seen Hal, my sister (In the middle) in over a year. I was ecstatic when I heard she was going to be in town for a couple days (She lives in Cincy).

img_7080img_7079img_7366

The food at the wedding was some of the best wedding food I have ever had!!! I had the macadamia salmon and DJ had their filet. Everyone raved about how wonderful the filet was (it’s hard to get a great meat cut at a wedding too!). And those potatoes- goodness gracious alive- I could live on those things.

img_7364

My two besties in one picture. Rachel in the middle, Clair on the right. Ya might remember Clair from her own wedding last November <3

img_7081img_7082

We all danced our little hearts out all together. DJ cut a rug!

Here is the gorgeous bride, Ali. Ali and I were SUPER close in high school. It’s one of those relationships where we can easily just pick up where we left off.

img_7360

Here is a video I grabbed of us dancing, but the sound isn’t working for some reason?!!! Ugh, snapchat, come n’!

Late in the evening they had pizza, is there anything better?! Rach and I were quite excited.

img_7083img_7361

In the morning of the 30th, DJ had to return to Cali for work around 7 am.

I went for a nice sixish mile jog and then Rach, Rachel’s Mom, MC, and I went to Cuyahoga Valley Church. This was the church we used to go to when we lived in Ohio. It was SO nice, gosh I miss that place.

I miss the simplicity of living in Ohio badly. When talking to my mom I was telling her how much I missed certain parts of living in OH (I wrote about some differences in my last post). She made a valid point- she said she was homesick the most when she was home. So true.

After church, we went for a scrumptious brunch in Cleveland. Since we are older now, I would like to go back and actually explore Cleveland. We never did growing up- we just stayed in our little town. DJ and I vowed we would do some more exploring next time we are there together!

anyway- I digress…the three of us decided on the Market Garden Brewery for brunchy perfection.

img_7359

I loved the decor- it’s industrial chic if I’ve ever seen it!

img_7358img_7357img_7356

MC tried their Bloody Mary (I snagged a sip! Mmmm mmm!).

img_7354

Rach and I savored their very generous in size mimosa flight! The flavors were fantastic- white peach, passion fruit, blood orange, & blackberry.

img_7351

I enjoyed their yummy avocado toast. I had a size of their potatoes and a poached egg to plop on top of it.

img_7355

MC and Rach split their Brisket Omelette with adobo braised short rib, fingerling potato, fresh avocado, queso fresco, fried pickled onions, cilantro. They said it needed a bit more umph of flavor, but the potatoes were awesome!

img_7350

They preferred the carnitas Benedict with 2 scratch english muffin, MGB progress pilsner braised pork carnitas, 2 soft poached eggs, salsa verde hollandaise, pickled red onions, cotija cheese, cilantro served with breakfast potatoes.

img_7349

After rolling ourselves out of the restaurant, we headed over to West Side Market. In alll my years of living in Ohio, I had never been here. Can ya believe it?!

It was HUGE- with seriously anything you can imagine. If when we move back here one day I am going to live at this place.

img_7300img_7347

Feels like home <3

img_7348

When I say they have everything, I mean everything..

img_7346

After purchasing some fudge and continuing to nurse our food comas, we went to a friend of Rachel’s who had a sweet little new puppy. Cutest little puppy ever!!

img_7299

In the afternoon, I headed over to my brother’s house to spend some time with my niece and nephew <3 <3 Gosh I miss them. I hate that I’m the “far away” Aunt- but it makes me treasure truly every single second. They amaze me and I can’t believe I have the honor to call myself their Aunt.

This here is little Miss Baby Kate. Jack, my nephew, was running around and I didn’t have a chance to snag a picture, but next post I have some cute ones of him <3 (I know I need to chill on the heart usage but I can’t help myself).

facetune_05-07-2018-06-55-16img_7298

The Aunts with their girl! Can ya tell we’re all related?

Maura, my sister in law, made these TASTY vegan buddha bowls. I recreated them immediately when I came home the best I could because they were so doggone delicious!!!

img_7297

After chillin’ with my family, giving the kids a bath and reading a bedtime story, we all hit the hay. Those little moments make my heart beat. I couldn’t love those two more than I already do.

In the morning I had the honor of putting little pigtails on this one and then seeing where the kiddos go for summer daycare/school.

img_7291

After, I drove to the local gym I used to attend and cranked out a few miles. I then went to Clair’s house for more baby snuggles with her little one, Jacob. He turned one this past week!

CAN. YOU. STAND. IT.

img_7290

We hung out, caught up, and kept a close eye on the rambunctious little booger above. We were going to do something outside, but it was in the nineties and promising rain. We ended up going to Target to try to find some clothes for Clair. It felt like middle school again….. except a baby in tow, tehe. It’s strange when you move away and then return how much feels the same, but so different all at once.

Once Clair’s husband Robby came home we went out for a nice dinner at …. guess where? Burntwood Tavern 😉

Clair opted for their Moscow Mule and I had a glass of Cab. Shocker, huh?

img_7289

Naturally, we had to split their taters again. I’m telling you— best darn tots I’ve ever tried. Napoleon Dynamite would have a field day.

img_7288

Clair had their delectable cedar plank salmon.

img_7286

With it being scorching hot out I decided on their salmon salad. I could eat this for every meal.

img_7285

We settled in for the evening with some wine to watch Bachelorette. It was a perfect day <3

img_7287img_7283

I will do part 2 soon with all our 4th of July Festivities & lotsa great grub!

xo <3

mack marie signature

SF Tourin’ & Big Basin Hikin’

Heyyy yaa! This post is going to be heavily picture laden- but not as heavy on the words (at least as much as usual 😉 ). This week has been busy running around getting ready to go back to Ohio this weekend, BUT I am going to try to squeeze this post out before we take off!

Soooo where did we leave off? I believe it was Thursday the 22nd… DJ and I headed to BW3 (Buffalo Wild Wings) in the evening to meet up with his coworkers. It was a blast, and I can’t wait to see them all again for another get together mid July.

Friday the 23rd kicked off a tremendous weekend. I started the morning (as I have every morning) with some avocado toast using Oren’s Hummus Shop whole wheat pita, hummus, and mashed avocado with pink Himalayan salt & pepper. I can’t get enough of this.

img_6732

After an Insanity workout, DJ and I headed to Santana Row to do some shopping for him. I was thankful I didn’t have to look for anything for myself because I am overrrrr it! But I always love going with DJ just to tag along & have an excuse to find a cup a jo’ somewhere.

img_6752

In the evening we drove into SF to attend our Church’s annual conference called If Not For the Hand of God at the Regency Ballroom. We had Mack Brock in the house & a ton of phenomenal speakers over the weekend. Every second was incredible. My notebook is filled with pages and pages of wisdom and conviction from these Pastors.

img_6734

I also loved getting to see my sweet friend, Tammy, if only briefly Friday night!

img_6735

DJ and I woke up around 6 am on Saturday morning, the 23rd. We decided we had enough time to try to squeeze in an awesome breakfast before a busy jam-packed day.

img_6737

I have wanted to try Kitchen Story for a while- it’s one of those well known “Must try” brunch places in SF.

img_6738

We were seated immediately since it was only 8 am on a Saturday (give it 2 hours and you are looking at least an hour wait).

img_6739

DJ tried their millionaire bacon. The last time he had the bacon was at Sweet Maple. We had to see how this stacked up.

img_6740

I had the Primavera with egg whites, spinach, mushrooms, and blistered tomatoes, a croissant, and rainbow potatoes. Such a wonderful start to the day!

img_6743

DJ had their ricotta pancakes and said they were some of the best he’s had in the city.

img_6742img_6745-1img_6747

Overall, we both agreed we still liked Sweet Maple better… but it was a fantastic breakfast nonetheless.

We attended the first session of conference at 9:30 am, then during the lunch break we scarfed down a couple complimentary sandwiches and decided to explore.

img_6731

We stumbled across Japantown, a destination in the city we have never been before.

img_6749

I’d love to come back and try some of these restaurants.

img_6748

After the afternoon session, we decided to go to the 16th Avenue Tiled steps- a tourist spot we have never explored.

img_6721img_6725img_6728img_6726img_6724img_6339

Apparently there was a lady stealing plants from the steps, and they had a picture “shaming” her for stealing. It seemed both ridiculous and hilarious.

After the steps we went to Twin Peaks. You may remember I went on my own a couple months back, and I knew DJ would love the views.

img_6722img_6720img_6715img_6714

He had no clue I was taking these pictures of him, sorry deej! Hehe.

img_6711img_6727img_6718

Last on the list for the day was Haight-Ashbury street… a step back in time to the 60s. It is known for being the origin of the hippie culture.

img_6706img_6707

We decided to stop and grab a quick bite to eat to tide us over before heading home. We went to the first place we saw- Magnolia.

img_6710

DJ had their house burger.

img_6709

I decided to just have the house salad- I wasn’t super hungry since I had been nibbling on snacks I had in my purse all day- any other grandmas in the house?! I have food on me at ALL times.

img_6708

Haight-Ashbury is also known for the Piedmont Boutique with the flailing-out-the-window-legs. What a hoot.

img_6705img_6704img_6701

It truly felt like a step back in time… one of the craziest streets I’ve ever been on. Everyone was exceptionally friendly though- I will say that..

Sunday morning, the 24th, Tammy and I went on a loooong hike at Big Basin in the Santa Cruz mountains!

img_6673

I’ve been wanting to do this hike for a while and finally a good time we both could go!

I have never seen Redwoods in person before and was BLOWN away. I have never seen anything so gargantuan in my whole life.

img_6697img_6698

We had an hearty laugh over this form we had to put on our dashboard. This just instilled allll the confidence in us!

img_6699

We set out to do the longest hike the Berry Creek Falls- Skyline to the Sea-Sunset loop.

img_6676img_6677img_6693

Take a look at this bee hive!!!

img_6696img_6692img_6691

The falls were stunning, located about five miles deep into the hike. The pictures cannot do them justice.

img_6689

Whoever said “Don’t go chasing waterfalls” was just plain wrong.

img_6688

Is it a Black Bear? Nope, it’s a MACK bear.

img_6686img_6750img_6685img_6684img_6683img_6682img_6751img_6679img_6678

We hiked from about 10:45 am to 4:00 pm. It was a phenomenal and strenuous hike (the sign did not lie). The weather was perfect and the views were breathtaking. No greater therapy than nature.

Monday I cleaned up the house, did a load of laundry, and ran some errands. In the evening I made butternut squash pasta with lemon, garlic, and olive oil topped with sprinkled parmesan, a quinoa medley, and I also decided to make stuffed jalapeños for DJ (with Monterey cheese blend, white onion, and bacon).

img_6672img_6671

Tammy came over to watch the Bachelorette and we snacked and chatted. So thankful for the time we were able to have together this weekend! As the show started, I had this giant salad that I’ve been eating on repeat this week with a black bean burger, tons of veggies, hummus, and balsamic vinegar.

img_6669

Yesterday, the 26th, I spent the day getting together packages to ship that I sold on Ebay and Poshmark. I also went for a nice long eight-miler. It’s so funny around here- I swear we have two springs… the flowers go into full bloom early in spring then die then all of a sudden bam.. have a full bloom again. Not mad one bit about it.

img_6668img_6667

Today, the 27th, I knocked out a little bit of the remainder of my to-do, meal prepped for when I’m gone next week but DJ is home, and started packing for Ohio! Anyone have any fun weekend plans you’re looking forward to?!

xo <3 submark

Finding my [[ Center ]] & Fighting Self Care Guilt

Happy Friday Eve, everyone! I have been spending the last couple weeks finding my center per the title. *Cue the yoga mudra*. This sounds like some serious Californian crap, but ohhh well, it’s trueeee.

Leaving off from the last post, I entered into the next week determined to do some serious self care.

Self care is difficult for me because I tend to feel like I have to be dying on my sword, exhausted in every way before I allow myself to take a darn bubble bath. But that’s what these couple of months are for before diving back into the deep end in August. I am struggling though because if I’m rested, calm, and moving less than the pace of a tornado- am I doing something wrong?! The guilt has been knocking at the door… but I had to remind myself of the beautiful lesson I learned about seasons/transition times when I moved here, and I am going to soak up these next few weeks best I can. After all, I have to be rested before I can give my all, right?

My sister, Andi, and I chatted on the phone on Father’s Day reminiscing about our Dad and life in general. I told her how I’m feeling a bit strange not being busy busy busy. She said the awesome thing about these phases and seasons is that you are available- truly available for whatever God might have for you.

Case and point- I was on a run today and saw a debit card on the sidewalk. In all my busyness previously, I honestly may have just left it, not bothering myself with it. But since I had the time, I was able to run the card to the nearest Police Station- It felt good being able to just do something that I selfishly probably wouldn’t have if I was in one of my busy seasons. The police called back and said the man was incredibly grateful. I also feel like I’ve just been able to be there for my friends and family a bit more this last couple weeks. Usually, I just keep my phone on “Do not Disturb” because when I was at work I obviously couldn’t answer, and when I wasn’t at work I was running around getting ready for work or trying to sleep. It resulted in a endless games of phone tags and a full voicemail box. Now, I actually have my phone on and am able to chat with my friends and family who are going through some tough stuff right now. I’m so glad I can be there to just listen.

So what does this self care look like? Well first, I have allowed myself to sleep without an alarm (which is a challenge when usually I set an alarm even when I don’t need one). My body has been thanking me though- I am breathing easier and feel like my feet are actually on the ground. My circadian rhythm is resetting- and not only physically- but emotionally too.

I’m beginning to actually feel like myself again.

Second- I am cutting out the artificial sweetener drinks and sticking to water. I love those ICE drinks and Vitamin Water Zero- but I have decided to try to just drink pure water. I have noticed the difference in two things- bloating & energy. I love my flavored wa’ (pronounced wah), but time to hydrate the old fashioned way.

Next, this past year in nursing I have severely damaged my back, actually more than I realized. I am working on doing more stretching and some yoga to help it, but DJ suggested I get a massage. I decided Monday June 11th to get one at Elements Massage in Los Gatos with a coupon. Although the masseuse  talked the entire time and we ended up talking about her family’s medical issues, it was still enjoyable. A nurse is never really off duty ;). Haha.

img_6022

Monday during The Bachelor(ette) season is my favorite night of the week! I love that DJ watches with me because he has the most hilarious commentary. We took a nice lazy walk on Sunday night on Main Street and passed Rootstock Wine Bar. We decided we would hop in there the next night for a glass of wine before the Bachelorette.

img_6023img_6024img_6025

It’s pretty expensive, but sooo delish, and a nice date place every once in a while. They always have some of the best wine. I also love the whole ambiance- it’s rustic, yet chic, and comfortable. On some nights they have live music playing. We sat out on the patio and enjoyed our glass of wine before walking home to eat our Tollhouse  chocolate chip cookies and watch maybe the silliest shows on television. (Although.. it does look like it could win an Oscar next to the Proposal- ew, that show– awful. Do not even get me started!).

Tuesday morning, the 12th, I tried my first Orange Theory class!!! I thoroughly enjoyed it. I used the arm band for the first one, so I don’t think it was accurate- but it a fantastic workout. I don’t think I’ll stick to the courses because it’s very similar to Insanity (with the HITT routine) that I already do. But every once in a while with some friends it would be fun!

img_6026

Almost every night this last couple weeks (That DJ doesn’t have a game of course), Deej and I have been going on evening walks after dinner. This has been one of my favorite parts of the day. We used to take walks often when we lived in Indiana, but have just been so on the go since moving here. It’s been great to have that time together to chat, unwind, and reconnect.

img_6027

Wednesday, the 13th,  I did Insanity then realized a new Handmaid Tale episode was out on Hulu. To Peet’s we go with popcorn in tow!

img_6028img_6029

After, I rounded up our groceries for the week from TJ’s and did some meal prep the rest of the day. In afternoon I started the book, “Behind Closed Doors”. It’s a difficult read from a content perspective, but goodness I could not put it down. Has anyone read it?

Thursday morning, the 14th, I made the same avocado toast that I’ve been having every morning while enjoying it out on my balcony. It has a slice of seeded bread, 2 TBSP hummus, 1/2 avocado, and pink himalayan salt and pepper. I think I’ll be on this kick for a while.

img_5959

I went for a run, although somehow I think a sweat bee got caught in my mouth and stung me or something. I was okay, but it was a bit of a shock and hurt! I don’t even know how that happened, lol, but the bee season is in full swing right now. I then was proceeded to be chased by killer crows on the last rung of my run. They followed me about 1/4 mile even when I changed direction and then started flying in front of my face. It was so scary!!! I dove across four lanes of traffic and finally lost them. (A few days later, I heard on the radio this is a thing in Canada!). Mack vs. Nature- 0-2.

img_5958

I then caught up on e-mails, laundry, etc.

One of the meals I meal prepped for the week was salmon, broccoli, wild black rice, and ciabatta bread from Trader Joe’s! We gobbled this up for dinner.

img_6030

Friday I headed to my first Bar experience!! I had heard about Barre3 from Kori, and when my friend invited me to try The Bar Method, I jumped on it. I think there are some differences between those two- but generally the same idea.

img_5956

The boutique was immaculate, quiet, and adorably decorated.

img_5954img_5955

So my thoughts on bar: I’m such a cardio junkie- so this was a fantastic new challenge for me! I loved how much they focused on strength through micro-movements. It was a workout unlike anything I’d ever done before. I still don’t know that I can totally depart from my cardio- but I would love to incorporate the idea of focusing on such specific muscles into my normal workout regimen more. No wonder Kori & Kaci (Kori’s twin) have the most perfectly toned arms!!

The rest of the day Sara, my friend, and I went back to her house to binge watch our show & snack.

In the evening I headed to Harry Potter Night to watch the San Jose Giants play!

img_5946img_5945

They went alll out for this! When you enter the gates, they give you a ticket and sort you into a house. Despite the long debate DJ and I had in our kitchen about which house we would be in, I was sorted into Gryffindor! (The sorting hat at Warner Bros said Gryffindor too, sooooo).

img_5952img_5950

If I had to sort myself I think I’d be in Ravenclaw. Which house are you?!

They even sold Butterbeer from a local brewery (It was basically cream soda, mmm mm!).

img_5953img_5951img_6033img_5948

I just LOVE minor league games, especially at Muni. The food is irresistible and the environment is pure fun and excitement.

I recorded on video the House Race on broomsticks, and this poor little man ate it. I felt bad, but I couldn’t help from laughing.

Saturday morning, the 16th, I was craving a soft boiled egg over my toast. I went through FIVE eggs to try to get one that didn’t break right when I was taking off the shell. Well…..

img_5941img_6031

I overcooked it when I finally thought I had it right. Haha. What are your tricks for a perfect soft boiled egg that’s a bit runny?!

I ended up just going with a normal over medium fried egg.

img_5942

Yum, yum!

I went for a calming long walk, listened to a podcast, chatted on the phone, and then during my mid-stride bliss, I was pooped on by a bird. Not the first time this has happened, probably not the last. After taking a THOROUGH shower and washing all my clothes, I then got to work posting tons of things on Poshmark and Ebay that I’ve been wanting to post for a while.

img_5943

These are all the clothes I have left (minus workout clothes/pants that are in my dresser). I feel lighter having narrowed it down to clothes I actually wear (considering I wear the same like five outfits in rotation- ha). DJ had to work the weekend, but was home Saturday night for dinner.

img_5944

We improvised with the little bit of salmon we had left, rice, and them a tomato soup from trader Joe’s with tortilla strips.

img_5939

Sunday the 17th was Father’s Day. It was a hard day- just missing my Dad and DJ had to be at work so I did feel a bit lonely. I went on a long walk in the afternoon and called my step dad, Pete, and my grandpa which turned my mood right around. I’m so excited to see them in about a month! I continued to spend the rest of the day spring cleaning and posting to Ebay/Poshmark.

Monday the 18th- Wednesday the 20th I spent the days shopping. Ok, that probably sounds wonderful to most of you, but not for me! I hate shopping (especially when I need something). I get in the mood maybe once a year for like five minutes when I actually want to shop. This was not one of those times. I needed to find a dress for a wedding we have next weekend and also was hoping to find something to wear for fourth of July. I struck out everywhere, leaving each place empty handed.

img_6018

^ I mean, this is what I’m working with… (although the dress alone is pretty cute!).

I did enjoy seeing the massive gorgeous Anthropologie at Stanford Mall.

img_6020img_6017img_6019

Since I couldn’t find a single thing, to online shopping we go (I must clarify- I do LOVEEE online shopping! I’m still a female, ya know?).

Tuesday evening, the 19th, we headed to DJ’s Dad’s to celebrate Father’s Day and to say goodbye (They are moving back to Ohio). It was bittersweet, but I’m glad we had one last hurrah before we saw them go.

Yesterday morning the 20th, I had the best cosmetologist (in my book) at Limon Salon work some serious magic on my damaged hair (part 2)… part one is in the previous recap where she had to work my hair out of the awful highlights.

img_6014img_6013

Last evening, I made a big crockpot chicken and veggie slow cooked meal that made the house smell magical. I am going to try to make meals in the next couple weeks that we can freeze for when things pick up here soon.

img_6021

I’m now sitting at Peet’s (imagine that) and then heading to a work dinner with DJ’s coworkers tonight. Woohoo!

How are your weeks going? If you know how to make a soft boiled egg, please help your girl out!

xo <3

submark

Celebrations & A Half Moon Bay Day Trip :)

Hello all mack-mareaders (see what I did there?!). Right off the bat I want to say a heartfelt thank you for your response to my last post. I can’t tell you how encouraging this community is- you all have lifted my spirits through this grueling past year, and I am deeply thankful for each of you <3

Once again I have left myself with a good deal of catch up! Starting with us arriving back from Portland. You may remember the travel map DJ gifted me for Christmas…. we were able to add a Portland pin to it! Cause if you liked it then you shoulda put a pin on it. 

img_4417

When we returned, we worked hard through the rest of the week then into that weekend (May 26-27), my last weekend on this unit :(. While I am SO excited to finally have my Sundays back with my Church family- I had developed another family. Our weekend crew was the same every weekend so we all grew super close. I especially had a special bond with my work moms. There were two ladies who took me under their wing, mentored me unofficially, and helped me figure out the next step when I thought I was at a dead end. I didn’t expect to get too emotional until the very last day, but as I was telling one of my work moms- Mia (I called her Momma Mia) we both started crying. Ah, I will miss them, I already do. We had a cute little weekend potluck that Sunday.

img_5499

I spent the next few days catching up on house chores, laundry, etc. from our Portland trip and recapping the trip on the blog. On Wednesday I went to Trader Joe’s to stock up on goodies for my last day to take in to thank everyone for all their help this year. I seriously wish I had known about the magic of TJ for all these years….. they just have EVERYTHING. And we have cut down significantly on our shopping budget since shopping there!

img_5301

And then June 1st… my last day came… <3 It was hard to believe this was the last time (for now) that I’d be walking through these doors.

img_5300img_5501

When I came home, DJ was still at work, but this was waiting for me on the counter..

img_5297-1

It warmed my heart- so thoughtful! He left the sweetest card and a compass path candle. He’s a good one, I’ll tell ya what….

Saturday, June 2nd, I woke up early to get some hair did. Guys.. my roots were SO bad. They have never been this bad before. I’d include a picture of the before but I think I’d scare you.

Needless to say… I was pretty excited once those sons of a guns were touched up. (For my blondies out there- I started doing balayage last year instead of highlights. It lasts way longer and looks more natural. Well, the last time I had my hair done before the cruise, my regular stylist wasn’t available so I took whoever was available- she insisted on re-highlighting my hair, but I recognized the roots way sooner and missed the natural balayage feel. <– That sentence was about as long of a run on as my roots were). What is your preference? Highlights? Balayage?

 

 

In the evening, my friend Sara came over to celebrate my completion of the program and starting this new journey with school. We pulled out all. the. snacks.

img_5291

We watched a new show and paused intermittently to chat at times. Love girl time!

On Sunday the 3rd, we had an eventful day! DJ had a busy morning at the stadium and then we whipped down to Oracle for Game 2 of the Finals!

img_5292img_5288

Goooo Cavs!!!! Our blatant support of the Cavs caused quite the ruckus. No worries friends & fam- we held down the fort.

img_5290img_5287img_5286

After, we crossed over the Bay bridge into SF to get dinner with a couple of our friends.

I can’t actually remember crossing the Bay Bridge before, and oh myyyy was it ever beautiful all lit up!

img_5284img_5285

The sun set added such a warmth to the evening. I had never been in SF on a weekday night (well, going into a weekday night), and the quietness of the city mixed with the setting sun and twinkling lights was almost romantic. It gave me a new appreciation for my already favorite city <3

It was an unforgettable day with great memories and friends.

On the following Monday the 4th, I was running errands near DJ’s stadium, and he said he was heading to lunch if I wanted to join. It was fun to have the freedom to pop in and even though I’d already eaten it was fun to just sit and recount the game with him spur of the moment.

img_5283

DJ loved the habit burger and says their chocolate malts are one of his favorites.

img_5281img_5282

In the evening, we watched Bachelorette together. Anyone watch? Any thoughts? I was excited for this season, but so far I feel like it’s a bit of a snooze fest (I guess they always are in the beginning, aren’t they?).

Tuesday the morning of the 5th,  I grabbed breakfast with my friend Danielle whom I haven’t seen in FOREVER.

We met in downtown San Jose on South First at Social Policy.

img_5273img_5274img_5271

As I walked around, I found a new appreciation for downtown San Jose… it was looking extra colorful and bright this morning. It’s funny how sometimes we can forget to be a tourist in our own town. I’m going to make a more concerted effort to explore SJ this summer.

img_5272img_5270

The line for SoPo was out the door even on a Tuesday morning. It was well worth the wait!

img_5267img_5498img_5268img_5269

I had a cafe au lait with their house-made almond milk and their avocado smash (best avocado toast I’ve ever had).

img_5265img_5264img_5263

I’m on an strong avocado kick right now.

The rest of the day I spent cleaning up my e-mails, making a giant to-do list for the summer, enjoying a nice run outside, then meal prepping.

Wednesday, oh our dear Wednesday, the 6th, we watched the Cavs lose in the Finals 🙁 But we had some spicy sriracha green beans from The Habit to help mitigate the pain.

img_5260

Thursday, the 7th, I spent the day running, reading, blogging and sipping a cafe au lait at Peet’s while watching some Hulu… I may have also taken the popcorn with me in a ziplock container to Peet’s… people probably were slightly confused, but Peet’s is my second home after all.

img_5454img_5233

Friday the 8th, I pulled the trigger on an idea I’ve had for a while. OK, this is so silly, but I have so many food pictures from this blog that I wanted to compile into one place. I figured why not create an Instagram where I can just store them (and use puns to my heart’s content)? I always want to post them on my personal insta, but I feel like I would just be spamming all my friends and fam.. This is going to be my little creative outlet (besides this blog of course).

img_5503

Please leave your Instagram handle below so I can follow you there!

Saturday, the 9th, we went to Half Moon Bay for my first time (DJ had been once before).

It was chilly out- in the low 60s- and for me that’s winter, hence the winter jacket. Yes, I know, we have grown soft. Our midwest skins would be disappointed in us.

Half Moon Bay is a sleepy little beach town, so quiet, serene, and surprisingly full of history.

img_5456img_5457

We walked along the beach for a while, then the coastal trail.

img_5458