Nick’s Next Door & Homemade Wine!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kieu Hoang

Cashmere- Black Magic

La Fantasia 

John’s Grill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions for you:

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

xo <3

 

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Date Night, Nosh & Korean BBQ!

Hey, hey!! Time for a lil’ update, whaddya say?! You know how it goes.. mostly food with a little sprinklin’ of everything else. Hope you are all doing well & enjoying the transition into Spring!

On March 14th after Boys and Girls Club in the afternoon, I made some mahi mahi with Mrs. Dash seasoning, zucchini/squash, and rice for Deej and me.

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We decided to have an absolutely wonderful impromptu date night since the weekend was going to be busy with school work & wedding planning. Sometimes the most spontaneous decisions are the best! We walked to Main Street Cupertino and wondered into Rootstock, one of our favorite little spots.

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Even though we had already had dinner, we decided we still had room to nibble on a charcuterie board. DJ enjoyed some crisp Riesling & I enjoyed a glass of an “Interesting” red blend. Anything with the word “interesting” immediately grabs my attention. It was lovely whatever-the-heck it was! We savored every bite of the cheese board (we ordered a smoked gouda), the bread pieces were deliciously nutty & fruity, and DJ greatly enjoyed the prosciutto. As soon as they set it down I had to say with a straight face, “We are clearly on the prosciutto happiness”. I did get a liiiiiittle chuckle out of him 😉

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Inspired by our charcuterie platter, the next time I went to Trader Joe’s after this I stocked up on meats/cheeses like this for DJ to enjoy at home without breaking the bank. TJs has a really terrific meat tray for a reasonable price.

On March 15th, to shake off the cobwebs from studying, I enjoyed a long walk outside. I shared some of the flower bloom pics in my Friday Favorites post 🙂

March 16th I worked on my sister’s bridal shower invites, blogged, and did some school work during the day. In the afternoon, Deej and I took a walk around… guess where.. Main Street! It was just too darn pleasant outside to resist a little afternoon stroll.

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And this brings us to our first SomiSomi experience that I mentioned in my last post! Little did we know that stepping foot into this little ice cream shop would change our lives (not being dramatic)..that soft serve is a game changer

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In the evening, I made us some cod with roasted asparagus, rice and corn. Easy & delish. I put a little vegan butter & pink Himalayan sea salt all over the whole dish.

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On March 17th after church I whipped up some grilled cheese and some cream of turkey soup with some frozen turkey I defrosted for DJ. While he did graciously finish this up, he so sweetly confessed he is officially sick of turkey haha. Turkey.is.cancelled. (Isn’t that a term the cool kids are using these days?) He really is such a trooper; I promised I won’t feed it to him anymore till Thanksgiving! lol.

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Before running some errands I whipped up some avocado toast to tide me over; I was craving this gem of a snack.

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After a massive trip to TJ’s I was excited to have fresh veggies stocked in the fridge. I made my usual giant salad with Lightlife smart tenders for lunch, my faveee.

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For dinner I made us cod sandwiches with vegan garlic aioli from Sprouts and fresh rolls with gorgonzola crackers.

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On March 18th, I woke up with coffee, avocado smoothie, and protein cookies per usual (this has been on repeat for the last month).

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I shipped out the invites, worked on a few assignments, then took a walk outside. I realized I have been over-running lately (random pain twinges/heavy legs/water retention, etc.), so I have tried to replace some of my runs with a walk twice a week & I’ll tell ya I feel much better/more energized. I also have been trying to do more cross-training, and I can tell my body is positively responding to the variety. Intuitive exercise is so important, just like intuitive eating, but I’d say I struggle with it a bit since it’s how I cope with stress. I’m trying to be better to rest when needed & “read” my body for the type of exercise I should do that day,  if any at all. It has made ALL the difference!

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March 19th I whipped up this concoction for lunch of purple sweet potato, beets, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, hummus, and Fage. I’ve had this on repeat until I ran out of ingredients this week. It’s sooo stinkin’ yummy & satisfying!

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In the afternoon I decided to try out a new coffee shop near us, Nosh. I loved this decor! They even had a perfect study section with a sliding door. I took full advantage.

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I ordered a cafe au lait with almond milk, and was surprised how well they made it since it wasn’t even on the menu!

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In the afternoon I went for a run & loved the gloomy skies. The contrast between the gray skies and foliage was stunning.

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March 20th was a ho-hum day, but I did make DJ some of these Lavash wraps from Sprouts for lunch. He’s been lovin’ them!

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I took my first bath, in ages, that evening. Why don’t I do this more often?! I used the Green Coconut Bath Bomb from Kate, and it was heavenly. I put on a “chill hits” playlist from Spotify, read some Little Fires Everywhere, and, man, I have not appreciated the power of a bath! I understand the hype now!

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The baths were short lived though since on March 21st we didn’t have any hot water. The hot water was lost due to the repairs they are making on that second floor main line break…  I was just thankful we still had water after last time! I worked up a sweat running and immediately showered to try to tolerate the cold. It was frigid, but I was proud of myself for powering through it!

That evening I made a new dinner. This night I tried out the pre-marinated chicken shawarma with rice and tandoori naan for DJ.

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This was a winner!

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I had my salad with hummus, Lightlife smart tenders, hummus, and balsamic. Mmm mm! Of course, I had some naan on the side 🙂

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On Friday March 22nd we had a day, honayyy. I spoke too soon about being glad we still had water…. it was entirely turned off in our apartment again. Apparently in order to make the repairs they had to turn off all the water lines. Well, we were out for a few days again. They gave us shower vouchers for this community club across the street that has showers. We could only choose one day to shower (lol), so people were trading in the lobby of our apartment to get the day they wanted… one of those moments of, “Is this real life”? Haha. I know this is all going to be resolved soon, and we will definitely laugh about this for a while. I hope this doesn’t come off as ungrateful or as venting- I am sharing this because I honestly find the whole situation comical!. I know we are blessed & recognize even just taking a daily shower is a true luxury.

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I ended up going to my friend Sara’s for the day to shower instead, (also.. so that I’d have access to a working toilet-real talk). I parked out on her couch and worked on school work all day. It was a super productive day! Sometimes just being out of the house can harness that productivity since there aren’t as many other responsibilities vying for your attention at home.

Directly from Sara’s I drove to Milpitas area in the evening. DJ and I met up with the couple who will be the pastors of the church location in Austin at Gen Korean BBQ.

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The interior was an industrial feel, clean and modern. Luckily, we didn’t have a long wait since it was raining and us Californians melt in the rain.

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Although I don’t eat meat I enjoyed the marinated calamari & shrimp. DJ loved the bulgogli! I wouldn’t say it’s our first choice meal given the price, but it was a fun experience & it’s all you can eat. Do not go if you are a vegetarian though- they have very limited options in that regard.

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It was great chatting with the couple & getting to know them a bit better. They’re amazing individuals! It definitely provides some reassurance that we know people where we’ll be moving. The guys are already planning to watch some football games together & we all bonded over our love of Cracker Barrel– Apple butter anyone?! Gosh, I miss that place! It’s been a minute since a peg game has called me an “ignoramus”.

Saturday March 23rd I took a stroll in the morning with coffee in hand. On Saturdays that aren’t too busy this is one of my favorite ways to start off the weekend. It helps me clear my mind before diving into school work for the rest of the day.

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In the evening I made a charcuterie spread with the TJ’s goodies I told ya about, blistered shishito peppers and a mix of breads. I enjoyed the prosciutto peppers & one of my large salads with tons of chopped veggies, Lightlife smart tenders, lotsa hummus, and balsamic; I am on a kick!

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Sunday morning, on March 24th, we were greeted by this gorgeous sky on our way to church.

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Here was the cute little team spread for the day!! Love those mini parfaits.

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Sunday afternoon was a blast in SF…but I’ll save that for the next post 🙂

Questions for you:

  • Favorite type of cheese?
  • Any weekend plans?

xo <3

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One Big Rambling Post!

I started this post a few days ago, but haven’t had the chance to finish it until today- SOoOooo I woke up extra early to get this sun-of-a-gun done once and for all!

Hey y’all! This is my last official catch up post before going back to school tomorrow. I looked over the curriculum, and it looks really intense this semester. I know it will be okay, but I’m pretty anxious to just get started and get back in the groove of things. I have to remind myself these first weeks with “syllabus shock” are always overwhelming. So with a big deep breath I will get us all caught up. Sorry if I am MIA for a little bit here while I adjust back to the crazy study schedule, but know that I will blog and read your blogs whenever time allows. Gonna always need a study break, ya know? 😉

December 29th was a must needed restful Saturday. We did a whole lotta nothing, and it was great! I think I worked on some blogging & for dinner whipped us up some mahi mahi I had in the freezer with veggies for dinner. We watched our Arrested Development in the evening, of coursee.

December 30th we went to church in the morning, and we food was scarce in the apartment at this point since I still hadn’t been to the store since we left. I had some frozen bison taco meat for DJ I had before hand (thank goodness) & I made a hodge-podge for myself of eggs, squash, and hummus for lunch. It weirdly worked!

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I grabbed a See’s candy lollipop & headed to Trader Joe’s to get some real foood.

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And that brings us to NYE- December 31st!! Woohoo! Last year for NYE we were in Texas with my mom and Pete. (PS. WHAT was I thinking with that type of falsies? Someone should have given me a stern talking to, lol!!! What a stage I went through. Oy to the veyyy). Anywho- we just stayed in, and it was so fun & relaxing. I suggested we do that again this year and try to make soufflés since we’ve been talking about doing that together after going to Cafe Jacqueline. We got all our ingredients together and got to work while listening to our ole’ buddy, Frank Sinatra.

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While the soufflé was in the oven we enjoyed some yummy appetizers. Did I go overboard for just two people? Nahhhh, no such thing! Most everything is from TJ’s & I pulled out my homemade hummus. The artisanal bread was wonderful! I also made some roasted carrots & beets. I have never made my own roasted beets before, but it may become a staple- they crisped up so easily like chips & were just delicious!

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^^ Fun fact: That was all frozen cheese (half regular/half vegan) from when we went to wine country a few months ago. Cheese freezes very well. You just defrost it & it’s good to go. (Just don’t let it melt- I accidentally let the pepperjack/some of the vegan provolone go a tiny bit too long).

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I also saw these champagne gummies I could not help but resist! They were very tasty!

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So when we first took out our soufflé from the oven it hadn’t quite risen all the way, but I think it eliminated the “rise” after we let the cool air in. We cooked it a few minutes longer and it puffed up a bit more and the cheese got all yummy & caramelized on top! (but that’s why there is a divide in it- from when we tried to get a slice the first time around).

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The flavor was spot on- we tried to recreate the corn/ginger/garlic flavor, and it was pretty doggone close! Next time we are going to cook it a little longer & I think I’m going to whip my egg whites a bit more to give it more rise (isn’t that how it works?). It was still so light and airy, we enjoyed every little nibble!!! Once I perfect it I will share the recipe!

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We then plopped on the couch to watch the NYE show. This year looked frigid in the ole’ NYC.

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But ya cannot forget dessert. Believe it or not we still had room for this bad boy below.

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We saw this recipe on Tasty and when is a better time to recreate this monster than NYE? Here’s the thing though- we like every baked good we eat at home severely undercooked- practically asking for salmonella (what’s life without living on the edge). So all cookies, brownies, etc…must only be kissed by the oven! This meant it didn’t all “compact” the way it did in that video and really was just a big glob, but man, was it ever a good glob! SO rich, but goood. (I may or may not have had my slice with some double fudge brownie ice cream too).

^^ haha, it’s so obnoxious.

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Jan 1st was the last day off for DJ before he went back to work, so we just chilled at home, worked on Christmas “thank yous”, enjoyed leftovers throughout the day, and I went on a 12-mile run at some point. I also read a big chunk of The Hate You Give– I can’t wait to finish it- I could do a whole post on how it has challenged my perspectives & opened my eyes. Highly recommend this read to everyone.

The 2nd I spent nearly the entire day posting on Poshmark! LOVE Poshmark.

The 3rd I had a Facetime Dinner date with my best friend from Ohio, Rachel. MISS HER soooo much. My picture I took didn’t turn out, but she got one from her end!

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After, I went to Sara’s to hangout and catch up after our holidays. We had some tea and gabbed away for hours.

Friday, January 4th- January 5th were another two days of just getting things off the to-do list and ready for school and shipping Poshmark sales. In the evening I made these bacon wrapped scallops for DJ since our leftovers were getting low.

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He loved them! Definitely a two-thumbs-up recommendation!

Sunday, January 6th, we went early to church to help on the serving team (I’m so thankful I finally have a schedule that allows me to be a part of that again!). Since DJ “bumps out” (tears down the equipment, venue since it is a rental, etc.) after the 11:30 service we had some time between the two to grab some breakfast/brunch. We went to the table in Willow Glen that I’ve had my eye on for a while. I realized I kinda stalk restaurants- I’ll drive by a few times, look them up on YELP, go into a deep Google review dive, and then finally visit and introduce myself in person.

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Since it was raining outside & somewhat chilly their outdoor seating area was freed up. I had my winter coat on and they had heaters, so we agreed to go ahead and sit out there to weather the storm. The temperature was actually just fine with the heaters! We did walk through the inside of the restaurant to get there- loved the vibe and how it was decorated.

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The menu had such unique options & changes frequently! It was a bit on the pricier side, but it’s all seasonal locally sourced ingredients and everything was wonderful- the service, food, environment.

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The coffee was yummy- but could have been a bit hotter (but that’s what I say everywhere 😉 ).

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DJ tried their lemon ricotta pancakes and they were what lemony dreams were made of!! Sometimes when I order the lemon ricotta pancakes the “lemon” doesn’t quite come through, but the flavor was brilliant in these. Can you tell I snagged a few bites?

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I had their avocado, crab, and egg toast that was considered a “snack”. This was not your average avocado toast- it had Dungeness crab & trout roe on perfectly cooked toast (very slightly burnt). Mmm!

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Monday January 7th I met with my nurse friend Kim in the afternoon for coffee at Orchard Valley in Campbell. I am totally gonna have to come here to study! They had so many tables & it was nice n’ quiet.

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It was lovely to catch up with Kim, I always leave our conversations refreshed and encouraged.

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In the evening I made us Sriracha Shrimp Bowls with eggs & artisanal bread (still left from TJs!). It was a great combo, kinda reminded me of bibimbap!

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We plopped down to watch the train wreck that was the premiere of Colton’s season of The Bachelor. Lemme say, it easily could have been an hour, not three. I’m going to watch every second, but I am beyond tired of the virgin storyline, and quite frankly, I think some of the girls need to check themselves because a couple were downright disrespectful about it. I know I don’t usually get heated up in hurrr, but I could go off! First night favorites: Cassie and Katie. I thought Bri’s entrance was gold (although she looks a lot like Lauren Bushnell which…….. ehhh… that’s all I’ll say). I also didn’t mind Erika’s entrance! I liked that it was simple & a play on her name. Demi’s trouble, but I’m here for it. I’m surprised Jane & Erin got sent home. Would love to hear your thoughts!!

Going from reality TV back to reality, I told DJ something I wanted to try this year was one recipe per week of his request to get me out of my own cooking comfort zone. One of his favorite soups is cream of veg from the Dixie Stampede. I made it a long time ago (probably four years), and he requested it to be his recipe of the week. I made it on Tuesday the 8th, and it was crazy easy, but he kept raving about how much he loved it.

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Yesterday, the 9th, I started school. I don’t know why, but I was suffering from some severe anxiety that made it hard to even get through even a paragraph of reading. I thought I got it all under control after my residency ended, but it’s creeping back up. I think seeing the massive load of assignments we have this semester plus some big life changes (more on that to come) just felt overwhelming to think about (although it’s all great stress to have). And I know the anxiety is disproportional… I submitted an assignment and forgot to indent and space in a couple spots, and it nearly sent me into a full blown panic attack. I couldn’t stop thinking about it the rest of the day (It was a TWO point introduce yourself post). Coo-koo, I tell ya what! Maybe it’s hormones… is it a full moon?! I bet it’s a full moon. Nope, it’s not a full moon, I just checked. Scratch that. Hmm idk. I’m just gonna ride this wave out. I read some scripture in the evening which really helped put me at ease, and I already feel better refreshed this AM. Okay enough rambling- gotta get back to work. I get to see my third graders today too at B+G club that I haven’t seen since mid-December, so I have that to look forward to this afternoon!

Question for you:

  • Any recipes you’ve tried lately that you love?
  • Best book you’ve ever read? (I’m making my 2019 reading list now!)

xo <3

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Sears Fine Food & The Wave Organ!

Let’s just drive right in- shall we?!

Sunday September 9th, DJ and I woke up early, had breakfast, and headed to SF to go to Church with his twin sister, and my SIL Amy!

Before leaving I had avocado “toast”, but we were out of bread… so in light of Savings September I used leftover rice cakes that have been sitting in the pantry.

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We went to the 9:30 service at our SF location, then after went to a bucket list place- Sears Fine Food!

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This place is located right across the street from the Sir Francis Drake hotel where Kels and I stayed when she visited. I have had my eye on this gem for a while- especially because they have famous Swedish pancakes.

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I lol-ed when I saw this written on the menu under Melons “We thump each and every one” haha. I just thought it was funny they included it.

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DJ got the eighteen (yes, eighteen!) pancakes so we all could try a couple. They were sooo good, you guys. We agreed they are probably the best pancakes we’ve had in the Bay so far (especially with the lingonberry jam on them- holy cannoli guaca-freaking-mole).

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Amy and I both had omelettes!

img_4326I even think the omelette and hash-browns were some of the tastiest I have had in the Bay. I usually don’t frequent a place twice because there is such a wealth of restaurants to try out- but I would go here again in a heartbeat. I think this might be my #1 breakfast spot I’d recommend to people visiting the City!

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Even the wait staff was super friendly. They brought Amy and I coins to use in their slot machine on the way out.

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We didn’t win anything- but it was so fun, and reminded me of when I was a child and would ask my Dad or Mom for quarters to play the “claw” game at some family owned ma-and-pa joints back in the midwest.

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We decided we still had a tiny bit of time left after to knock out one more thing on the list! We headed toward the golden gate and Crissy Fields area to see the Wave Organ.

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The organ is built into the jetty and in the water. It makes music with the waves. We didn’t hear anything when we were there, but it may be because we weren’t there at high tide.

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Still pretty cool to see!

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Love this picture of DJ and Amy

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In the afternoon, I went on a nice long run outside before buckling down to do school work for the evening.

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On Monday September 10th, I received a whole new round of assignments for the week. You know what this calls for? Peets!

I woke up early, walked on the treadmill as I read my chapters and then walked to Peets to gear down and watch lectures.

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I packed some snacks to take along like a no cow bar and a yogurt and then at about 4 pm in the afternoon headed home.

I went for a nice walk to clear my head then made dinner.

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In the morning of September 11th, I had Fage yogurt and frozen grapes to start the day (thank you, Kori, for this combo!). I did Insanity, then buckled down on more schoolwork.

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I had the same ole’, same ole’ snacks and food through the day, but in the evening I got a second hungry wind, craving something salty. I decided to make some sweet potato fries- they hit the spot!

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In the morning of Wednesday September 12th, I had Ezekiel bread, yogurt, raisins, and nuts with my coffee to start the day. (I found some Ezekiel bread I forgot was in the freezer! Woohoo!)

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I went for a run in the morning and saw the first signs of fall!

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Look at this beautiful lil’ guy!

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In the afternoon I got my hair did. As much as I love my bright blonde, it’s hard to keep up with. I decided to go back shorter and a more natural balayage so I can go a longer time without getting my roots touched up. Even though we are in Savings September, I consider this an investment since I won’t have to bother with my hair for a long time after this!

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When she finished it was REALLY dark. Like too dark for what I’m used to. I asked if there was anyway to brighten it up just a touch- cause I didn’t want it to be 100% brown (I have some blonde naturally).. so she washed out the color and then toned it. It was the longest I have ever been in a salon- 6 hours. SIX. I thought I was gonna pass out from hunger. Good thing I took my study materials with me.

I will post a pic soon!

It’s taking some getting used to, but DJ says he prefers it to my bright blonde, which makes me feel better <3

But like I said- I was SO hungry. I decided to make my favorite massive go-to salad: a kale blend with tomatoes, red onion, beets, peppers, multi-colored carrots, mushrooms, hummus, and a Morningstar black bean burger (slightly overcooked so it tastes like croutons 😉 ) topped off with balsamic vinegar. I literally ate massive carrots as I was making the salad and bites of a protein bar and probably some Smartfood popcorn, lol. It’s a wonder and a half that I stopped to grab a picture!

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This is getting a bit long so I’ll stop here for now before recapping the weekend 🙂

xo <3

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V. Sattui Winery & Labor Day!

Slowly but surely we are catching up!! Sadly, this is the last installment of Labor Day weekend- but it was a couple of days that did not disappoint!

After our awesome first few days together and the first three wineries (post one, two, and three), we headed to the last one of the day- V. Sattui. It is a family owned and operated winery since 1885 and was voted the winery of the year for 2018 by the Winemaker Challenge for the second year in a row.

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This is definitely more of a tourist trap winery than the others we went to- it has a giant gift shop, a deli, a park where you can eat, stands that sell gelato, among a number of other to-dos.

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Now, I have to put on the disclaimer that our experience may have been slightly negatively skewed considering we went over Labor Day weekend- but I am going to give an honest (but brutal) account of our time here.

First, upon arriving we couldn’t find parking. Like- nooo parking anywhere. Finally we found somewhere about 3/4ths a mile away and walked in 90 degree heat to get there. Fine- it’s labor day weekend, I get it. But in Napa, usually parking isn’t an issue.

Second, we got our tickets for our reservations. I had the whole day mapped out to a “T” including our dinner reservation after- so there wasn’t a ton of wiggle room. Yet, when we got our ticket, basically it was entrance to a room where you have to fight tooth and nail for a spot at their wine bar.

img_3640I will say the grounds are just stunning. img_3642img_3643img_3647-1img_3639img_3644img_3638img_3637img_4479-1

Y’all know I am not a complainer- but I gottttaaa vent a bit.

Rant time (beware): Once inside and all three of us separating to see if we could find any open areas among the mass of people, I finally found a spot on the very end of a bar for our “reservation”. We all squeezed in and were greeted by the most crotchety and condescending lady to pour our wines. For the tasting, their list is extensive so we asked for some guidance in which to choose. She basically said they were all good and that it’s an impossible question to answer (she answered as though that was the most absurd question I could ask). Okayyy. So then I asked what their most popular wine is. She said they are all popular. Okayyy. Then I finally ask what her favorite is- and she said depends on the mood. Throwing our hands up in defeat, we basically just chose whatever. Oh, and at one point we ordered a Bordeux blend, but she brought out a cab. She poured it and we asked how it was a Bordeux blend if it’s a cab and she said, “Oh it’s a cab- we don’t have the Bordeux”… but rather than telling us they didn’t have it, she just poured us something random. Hahah. Like, what?! Come the very last wine to choose, we were going to try dessert wines- and she goes, “Oh you don’t wanna try the blah blah blah (some bold red) wine?” And we all three looked at each other like, Are you kidding me?! This is what we were trying to ask her the whole time… like we asked for your help to choose best ones from the get go, now you scold us for not trying the right ones?! It was a hot mess and she was so rude through the whole thing. We will not be returning. There are hundreds of wineries in Napa- do not waste your time here! I recognize how silly and minute this issue was- I just wanted it to be perfect for momma Jill and Pete, so I got a bit heated. Also, I wouldn’t even have cared about the busyness or fighting for a spot if our lady just treated us like human beings. Just be nice, why is that so hard for people to grasp?!

After I grabbed this adorable shot of them…

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Tried to get a selfie best we could haha

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And to decompress for the madness we went to downtown Napa for a wonderful dinner at Ristorante Allegria!

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It gives off the warm ambiance of a Macaroni Grill I’d say! (One of my favorite restaurants from back in Ohio).

We eagerly dived into their bread with a delightful bruschetta dip.

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For an appetizer, we split calamari… I forgot to snatch a picture before, but I remembered when I had one little squiddy left. Hehe.

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Pete ordered their Caesar salad that was super tasty. He was kind enough to share some with us even though my mom and I also split a house salad.

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Pete also had their vitello piccata with pan seared veal scaloppini, on garlic-mashed potatoes sauteed spinach, and lemon capers white wine sauce. I had a bite of the spinach and mashed potatoes and it was all heavenly.

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My mom and I split their pappardelle allo zafferano with fresh homemade saffron pasta, jumbo prawns, wild mushrooms, finished with roasted shrimp bisque. This hit the spot!! I love the idea of using bisque on top of noodles too- I may need to try that at home sometime. One of my favorite parts of eating out is seeing different ways you can assemble different ingredients for a tasty meal.

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We headed home for the evening, but my mom gave me this when we got back- A candle from Rombauer <3 <3 So sweet. AND it is made out of a wine bottle!

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Monday September 3rd, Labor Day, my mom and I woke up early to go to Orange Theory to get our workout on.

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It was partner day so it was extra fun because we worked together 🙂

After, we refueled with our avocado toasts per usual.

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Unfortunately, yo girl had to “go to school” the whole day, so my mom and Pete went to do some prospecting of malls in the area (it’s part of my mom’s job).

In the evening, my mom and I went on a nice long walk to clear our noggins. It was one of my favorite parts of the weekend.

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I’m just rocking that “I’ve literally been studying and reading every second of the day” look.

After a hard days’ work for all of us, I whipped everyone up tacos!!! Bison tacos are DJ’s favorite of the meals I make, so I made bison tacos for the men and my vegan tacos for my mom and I. Can you tell the difference? 😉

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Momma Jill made us all her famous skinny margs. Gosh, they are the best!!

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we ended the evening by watching Bachelor in Paradise and eating caramel blossoms with ice cream!

On Tuesday September 4th they left super early to head back to Texas. It was an unforgettable weekend- I always say that- but truly nothing tops time with family and friends.

Questions for you!

  • Let’s taco bout this- you a crunchy shell or a soft shell kinda person?
  • Cilantro- yay or nay? Apparently some people think it tastes like soap!

xo <3

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All we do is Eat, Eat, Eat no matter what!

Got food on our minds, can never get enough!!

Happy Friday!!! I worked my tush off this week so that I would have today to catch up on blogging for a couple hours 🙂 I am sitting at Peet’s so I don’t have to listen to the upstairs banging at home. Usually during Savings September I won’t buy coffees out, but this warrants it for my own sanity. We will go ahead and classify it as a necessity.  DJ and I don’t have too much planned for the weekend besides school stuff (and him applying for grad school), so we are gonna take it nice and easy. I am going way back to recap our Labor Day weekend- I have been sooo excited to finally have a chance to share this fun weekend with y’all.

On Thursday, August 30th, my mom and stepdad, Pete, arrived around noon from Texas! They came for a wedding in Santa Cruz (and we happen to live so close so it all worked out perfectly to spend the weekend together!).We headed to none other than Bill’s Cafe per their request.

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Pete tried their delicious hash brown skillet

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& My mom and I split their Smoked Salmon Benny- probably my favorite item on the menu (Or the French Garden omelette- depends on the mood, ya know?).

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We also split their Belgium waffle. I don’t usually go for waffles for some reason, but this was just fantastic. I would 100% order this again!

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My mom also surprised me with a bunch of Butterscotch See’s Candies lollipops! Eeek, she knows me well. I am like a child, and I LOVE these lollipops. I just love all candy. Sometimes when I go out for walks I take one with me, load up a podcast and am just happy as a clam. Seriously, I am five.

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****Present moment****In an attempt to lick the foam off the side of my cup I just burnt my chin, that’s a first!

**re-re-re winding it back**.. in the afternoon after settling in, chatting at home, and a tour of Main Street Cupertino we decided to go get some happy hour drinks at Eureka.

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We each tried a glass of white wine. We aren’t picky at all, but my mom and I tried two different types of sauvignon blanc, which actually tasted more like chardonnays, so we weren’t the biggest fans. Pete’s Pinot Gris was actually the best of the three! Eureka is more of a beer & cocktail type place, so I think next time I’ll stick with that. **Re-reading the paragraph…. I guess we sound kinda picky haha**.

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Ahhh I just love um’!

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That evening they went to the rehearsal dinner located in Santa Clara for the wedding. Deej had a late game, so I just did school work until they came back home. For dinner I had some leftover butterfly trout, sweet potato, quinoa, mixed greens, and hummus!

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The next day, Friday August 31st, my mom and I woke up early to do hot yoga at 7:15 am together. This was her first time doing hot yoga and she annihilated it! She did so well- I was thoroughly impressed!! After getting ready for the day and us all nomming down my special avocado toast & eggs, they headed to Henry Cowell State park to see the redwoods and spend time on the Boardwalk and Pier in Santa Cruz before the wedding.

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I went for a nice long walk (with my lollipop), chatted with my grandma and Aunt, then hit the books for the day. DJ had another late day, so in the evening I decided to make myself a flatbread pizza with my “Skip the sandwich wrap” and blog up my Friday Favorites post! But whoooopsies- I took a big ole’ bite of the pizza before thinking of getting a picture— what are ya, new?!

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I snuck in a run in the morning of Saturday, September 1st (where is this year going?!). My mom and Pete returned around noon, and I was ready to have some fun since I finished my school work for the week!

First up- 85C Bakery! This is a chain Chinese Bakery that is super popular around here. I’ve never tried anything from it even though I pass it all the time. Part of the reason I haven’t is their baked goods are massive, so I’d want to share them (DJ isn’t a huge baked goods guy besides donuts and cookies), and there are so many options it’s overwhelming for an indecisive like me.  BUT, luckily, there is no one better to try out bakeries with than Pete- he is always down for a baked goods tasting challenge! I was psyched that he wanted to try this place out.

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First, you get a giant tray with a pair of tongs and just go crazy. People LOAD their trays up. I don’t know where they all put it?! Like I’ll see tiny middle and high school girls meet up there all the time and probably get like 10 items each. It’s pretty cheap, but I am genuinely curious how much of it they eat!

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We tried out several items- their sugared cream cheese brioche, a caramel pastry, and an almond danish (I think).. They were all so good, but I think the sugared cream cheese brioche was the tastiest. These all would be sooo great with coffee too. I’ll need to go back soon to grab something in the morning.

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After, we went to Steins to try out some of their tap beers. I just love Steins, and usually they have great sours on tap, my favorite type of beer.

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We tried a variety of beers, and overall they were just ok. But the company was great, and that’s all  that matters!

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Time to go to DJ’s work! This was the main thing my mom and Pete wanted to do while they were here. And boy oh boy was it fun.

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(If it’s not clear from the pictures we are at Municipal Stadium for a San Jose Giants game 😉 )

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She’s so cute

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We tried some delicious grapefruit beer while watching the game.

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Around the seventh inning we became pretty hungry, so we used our vouchers to get some Turkey Mike’s and of course, the famous garlic fries!!! (The garlic fries are 87.8% of the reason why I go to the games).

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We got a lot of food…. Pete had their pulled pork sammy, and my mom and I enjoyed every nibble of their veggie sub! I swear- is there anything better than stadium food?!?! I could live on those sides- they have some yummy baked beans, and I have zero self control with that coleslaw.

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The whole game the Giants were down, but they came back in the bottom of the ninth with a grand slam. I mean, probably the best game of the season, and we were there to witness it! It was SUCH a fun time. In the next post I will recap our time in SF and Napa!

PS. My prayers are with all my classmates, family, and everyone affected by Hurricane Florence 🙁 SO scary. Please stay safe everyone.

Questions for you:

  • Have you ever been to a minor league baseball game? Do you have a team you cheer for?
  • Favorite stadium food item?

xo <3

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Kels & Kenz Take on the Bay: Part 3!

Hey ya!! Welcome to our third Installment of Kels & Kenz Take on the Bay! If you missed the other posts, you can find Part One and Part Two in these links. So far we have only covered 1 entire full day in those two posts, and it truly may take until the end of September to recap it all, haha.

Let’s just jump in shalllz we? After we hopped off the Ferry, Kels and I needed something to wake us up a bit from the lull of the boat. We decided there was no time like the present to grab Peet’s! We both got Half- caff almond milk cafe au laits. Unfortunately, the barista didn’t do a great job with the milk, so it was flat and subpar compared to usual. I was disappointed for Kels that it was her first Peet’s experience, but at least she was able to try it! And the caffeine did the trick!

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We still were a bit chilly walking outside and hungryyyyy! We had dinner reservations at 9:15 pm, so we decided to get a little appetizer (it was about 6 pm at this point). We headed to a BL (bucket list) location- Boudin Bakery! I had never tried their bread, but they are famous for the freshest and greatest sourdough.

On our way we stumbled across a Ben and Jerry’s carnival. I just love how there is always something going on in the city!

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Kels did the truffle toss and won! woot woot!

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We happily munched down our little free ice cream samples (YUM) then continued along Embarcadero to Boudin.

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Finally- made it!!! Check out these fun shapes made from the bread…

img_1964-1img_2040**waiting a half hour to get a seat** This place is poppin’!

And finally finally– time for the famous sourdough bread bowl with clam chowder! It was PHENOMENAL. It was the perfect snack to warm us up after weaving through the thick San Franciscan fog. (aka Karl, someone named our fog. Haha).

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So we were a leeeetle bit nervous when we were eating our sourdough bowl because Kels’ phone was dead, mine had 1% remaining, and our emergency charger broke. We were at least 4 miles from our hotel and were planning on Ubering or Lyfting back…. we both had blisters from walking in our heeled shoes all day and were freezing in our light clothes we worn to wine country. Once we finished up the grub, I called the Lyft with the 1% I had left and we got the pickup JUST in time before my phone died. Thaaaank you, Lord! That would have been a brutal 4 mile walk (it felt like it was in the low 40s by this point).

We arrived to our hotel for the evening! We decided to stay in the city since our reservations were super late and DJ had a late game anyways . Also, we found a reservation at the Sir Francis Drake at a wonderful deal! The hotel was named after the Elizabethan era sea captain and was founded in 1928. It has quite the stunning history- you can read here if interested (or if you may find yourself staying at this historic landmark someday).

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At any time, there is a greeter dressed in the archetypal costume standing out front the hotel.

The lobby was spectacular- a true historical feel, yet also feeling anything but antiquated.

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The room was so fun! It had bright reds, large 16th century inspired paintings, and was clean as can be for being such an “old” hotel. The ONLY issue we had during the stay was the slowness of the elevator. It was crazy slow – like a snail’s pace + molasses. But they did have signs all over asking for our patience while they remodeled/updated their elevators, so we couldn’t be too upset about it.

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We changed super fast after checking in. Check in took about 30 minutes, and by the time we were in the room it was about 8:45 pm. We had literally 15 minutes to change and get out the door to make our rezzy on time. We slapped on some touch up makeup, I used my “cruise” lip color that I haven’t used in a while, and we hit the road!

**middle school mirror pic** haha

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But in order to hit the road… we first had to run down 18 floors to make it to our Lyft ride on time (the elevator was not budging, so we resorted to whipping down the hotel’s staircase hoping he wouldn’t leave without us!).

We found our Lyft ride out of breath and practically sweating. The driver was so kind and understood about the elevator issue. We headed to another BL item for the evening. The ultimate ultimate BL item I have had on my list in bolds and italics (one day soon I will actually share the list here!). I knew Kels would appreciate it too! Drum roll please….. Foreign Cinema. 

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The entrance is easy to miss, it is very tucked away in the shadows in the Mission District, but the minute you step through the doors you are in another world!

This restaurant is not your standard restaurant. It is a restaurant that takes you to Paris, under twinkling lights in the great outdoors. There are heaters to keep you nice and cozy and a foreign film to accompany your meal. It’s like being at a fancy drive in, dressed up, and eating superb nomz.

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We started with their Patio Spritzes. Kels had their strawberry infused lillet blanc & I tried their pamplemousse one. They were delicious- refreshing and light- exactly what we were craving.

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For an appetizer we shared their oysters- the most stupendous oysters of the trip. Every oyster throughout the weekend we tried was wonderful, but these were hands down the absolute best. I keep telling DJ I want to go here again just so he can try these!

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We then split the tuna tartare for our meal. It was magnificent. Bursting flavors. You cannot go wrong here!

img_2047Kels and I are both guilty people-watchers, so we quietly evaluated and tried to figure out the groups and couples around us. Humans are fascinating. It was too fun, and I think we missed our callings as psychologists (or psychopaths).

Time to turn in for the evening after a super fun night!

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In the morning of July 29th, we got up around 8:00 am and then drove back to Cupertino. We had some avocado toast then hit the road to make the 11:30 service for Church!

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I was excited to take Kelsey to our home church, Vive! It’s one of my favorite parts about living here, and I am always stoked when company stays over through a Sunday so we can go together, and I can introduce them to my church fam.

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Afterwards we went to none-other than the most ubiquitously mentioned restaurant on this blog… can ya guess it?

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Tammy met up with us and the three of us ordered all the classics to share. Starting with my fave- the French Garden omelette (with egg whites!). It has goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms, and basil! It’s just too good. And their country potatoes are the also the best around (Although Los Gato’s Cafe’s potatoes  do vy for first place).

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Next, we had their tremendous crab cake benedict (although I have found a better one I will be sharing in a few posts 😉 ).

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And perhaps one of my favorite brunch dishes ever… the salmon benedict.

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& A side of their blueberry pancake

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Time to go hiking!!! We drove to the Redwoods in the Big Basin. The drive is treacherous and I was white knuckling the whole way down, but we made it! (if these look familiar it’s because I was here just a couple months ago with Tammy 🙂 ).

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Kelsey had never seen Redwoods before, so this was a must for her trip here!

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It ended up being SWELTERINGLY HOT- in the nineties I believe, but we made it to the top!

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Jus’ hanging around

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We were parched when we returned. This water was liquid gold to us!

Our big simba baby water bottle . *Cue Circle of Life*

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On our way back we pulled off to the side of the road to an overlook and saw the most breathtaking view!

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We headed home, and quickly became aware of how hungry we were!

We decided to knock off a third BL item and go to Palo Alto’s downtown to try sushirrito! (yep- a sushi burrito!).

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These were truly rawesome. We tried Geisha’s Kiss and the Latin Ninja. Holy cannoli guacamole- I am craving another. I need to try their Sumo Crunch wrap soon which is their famous one.

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To end the evening we walked around Main Street Cupertino, made a pit stop into Target for some sweets, and then decided to do dinner number 2!

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And where better than the revolving sushi bar, Kura?! You may remember “Kula” from the beginning of the blog when DJ and I went allll the time, but they recently changed the name to Kura. You can read how it works in this post if you are interested!

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It’s not the highest quality sushi, but it is always a fun experience!!! I loved watching Kels’ expression as the conveyor belt of sushi glided past us. We had our fill then called it a night to get a great night sleep before a big beach day!

Question for you!

  • Favorite brunch dish/ brunch restaurant?

xo <3

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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!

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

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

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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!).

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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.

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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).

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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…….

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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.

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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).

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 .

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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.

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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!

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This one took my breath away.

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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 😉

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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Do you guys ever go on solo dates?!

Are you a cat or a dog person? Both?

xo <3

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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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?!

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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!

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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.

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

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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!

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

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Kate loooved my sunnies.

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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.

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Time for sparklers!!!

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BE STILL MY SOUL. This face <3

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

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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.

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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

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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).

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

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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!).

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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.

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Deej had their chicken sliders

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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.

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

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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).

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Feels like home <3

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

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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!!

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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).

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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!!!

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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Clair had their delectable cedar plank salmon.

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

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

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

xo <3

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