The Best Brunch in SF & Flor De Cafe!

I gotta tell ya what. Spring has not always been my favorite time of year. For years, I have had some pretty intense SAD. So usually by the time Spring rolls around I’m not in the best state, and I feel like I’m mentally/emotionally “defrosting” from a long winter. It is the time of year I usually associate with energy depletion, apathy in full force, and stunted motivation. It traditionally isn’t until Summer that I feel I have my full mojo back. However, since moving to CA, I have grown to just love & relish in the spring time. I love the blooms, the sunshine, and the hope/renewed excitement that accompanies this time of the year. This might be my favorite spring so far too… I am soaking up every last second of living here, and really just trying to be ever present, finding the beauty in every single moment.

I’m still catching up on the recap, but I’m closing in on only being a week behind. We’re making strides here, people, making strides. On Saturday April 13th, I spent the day catching up on blogs/finishing up some school assignments for the semester- same ol’ same ol’. In the evening I made a mix of mixed veggies, lots of Morningstar vegan crumbles, and green goddess dressing. Mmm!

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As I have been trying to use up all our dry goods, I decided to use up a gargantuan bag of black beans that have been sitting in the pantry for a while. I made these black beans brownies from Chocolate Covered Katie and love them!!! You’d never know they were made with black beans. They are also vegan and gluten free! I actually have been eating these some days in the morning with my avocado smoothie instead of my oats. I have such a sweet tooth in the morning some days.

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On April 14th, I woke up around 5:45 am, ran about 7 miles, then headed to Nosh to grab a coffee since I was out of coffee at home.

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Time to drive into the city!!!

This ring I’m wearing below is one of my favorites because it belonged to my Nana. It has such special sentimental value & she had such a spectacular eye for fash-un. It makes me feel close to her whenever I wear her gems <3

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First stop was Brenda’s French Soul Food for some brekky. My SIL and foodie/exploration partner in crime, Amy, joined me. What am I gonna do without her when we move?! I’m seriously trying to convince her to move to Austin with us.

Anywho, Brenda’s is the most frequently reviewed place on YELP in SF and has been one of those places that I “MUST” try before we move.

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I appreciate how they so clearly lay out the “House Rules”. I dropped Amy off to put our name on the list before finding parking, but as I drove around I realized we were in the Tenderloin- probably the most dangerous area in SF. After she put our name on the wait list, I called her and then picked her back up so we could find parking together.

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The wait was not bad at all! Rumor has it that you will wait at least 45 minutes no matter when you come, but we waited maybe 20? It was not bad!

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The interior was amazing. I expected it to be more grungy- but it was clean, fun, upbeat, polished. I forgot to get a pic, but one of the walls were entirely made up of mirrors (you can see them on the YELP page if interested).

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The way they put the silverware in the coffee canister reminded me of Cafe Du Monde! 

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Amy ordered their famous Molasses-Black Walnut Iced Coffee with Whipped Cream!

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To start we ordered beignets.

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Okay y’all. These were out. of. this. world. I am adding these to my list of “must try” dishes in San Francisco. The flight includes one plain, one apple, one Ghirardelli chocolate filled, and one crawfish.

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The Ghirardelli was DJ’s favorite (I brought him back some to try!). I liked it for sure- but it was more of a rich dessert than breakfast item for me.

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My favorite was the crawfish. Not even exaggerating- this is easily one of the best things I have ever eaten.

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My second favorite were the Granny Apple Smith. Oh my gosh, these were phenomenal.

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And even the plain ones held my attention. These were, without any question, the best beignets I have ever had. They were even better than Cafe Du Monde’s in New Orleans (which I did not think lived up to the hype).

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Oh, and you bet we ordered more! Amy tried their Croque Monsieur with baked ham and swiss with bechamel sauce on sliced sourdough. I tried the cheese with the bread and that alone- holllly smoke-a-roonies. I cannot handle- so yummy.

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I ordered the shrimp & grits to take home for DJ. I knew this was a dish he’d enjoy! I tried a little nibble before packaging them up & they were just WOW. Mind blowingly good- although Patty O’s may have them beat!

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I ordered their shrimp & goat cheese omelette with caramelized onions and a tomato relish. I don’t know what the heck made this so good, but it was one of my favorite omelettes I’ve had in my entire life. Also, their potatoes are uniquely delicious & the biscuit was warm, doughy, obnoxiously good.

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They even have a homemade strawberry jam on the table with whole strawberries and a perfect jam on the biscuit.

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One of … no no no, THE best brunch I have had in the Bay. If you have to eat at one place for breakfast while visiting SF, this is your spot!

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After we went back to Amy’s for a beat, and I got to see my fav little pups- Gravy & Pool Noodle <3

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We then headed to a shoot for the day!

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This shoot was for Flor de Cafe. They reached out to me on Instagram, asking if I would come in for a shoot in exchange for their famous sandwich! I obliged happily 🙂

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This cute little Cafe is owned by a man from Chile & his wife from Southern Columbia. Their story is inspiring & beautiful. She actually does all the artwork for the cafe!

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I met the Chef and owner, Hernan- seriously such a nice guy! He was so welcoming & kind. Time to get to the photo shoot. So the reason this place is oh so special is because they serve the only Lomito sammy in the entire Bay Area. The Bay serves everything so the fact that the Lomito is only served here is a purrrrty big deal.

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This spectacular sandwich is made with two day marinated pork, mayo, avocado, sauerkraut all on ciabatta bread. Y’all know I will eat meat when DJ says something is a must-try or there is something soo good I can’t pass it up. This was one of those times! I took a big bite of that lomito, and let me tell ya- even for someone who doesn’t like meat, this sammy was excellent. I brought home the rest for DJ and he LOVED it.

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So much fun getting taking these pics– Also major thanks to Amy for her help with this shoot- she really has an eye for food photography!

Have a great rest of your week, y’all!

Question for you:

  • What’s your favorite comfort food dish?

xo <3

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**Thank you for the Lomitos & having us in, Tim, Hernan, & Flor De Cafe!**

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Fort Worth, TX Recap!

Hey Ya’ll! Long time no chat! I am so behind on these posts, comments, everyyything- so I apologize but I will get caught up very soon 🙂 I have so many good memories to record and share. I am taking us wayyy back in time to December 15th when I arrived in Fort Worth, Texas. My mom and step dad, Pete, live there and my sister, Halston, flew in as well. DJ had to stay in Cali for work! I already recapped San Antonio, which was a weekend trip, so this post is the bookends of that weekend!

Thursday (12/15)

I woke up in the morning sick as a dog. I definitely caught whatever had been going around. DJ took me to the airport, and we realized this would be the longest we would be apart since we got married. Anyway, I comically lugged my three suitcases through the airport, unable to keep them stacked in a way that I could physically move them in unison. I’d go five steps then *flop* the one would topple over, another five steps then *flop*- I continued dropping the luggage every few feet and certainly was someone’s entertainment for the day. I honestly didn’t care, I just wanted to get through security to my darn gate. I handed off my checked luggage and was finally free from the luggage juggling circus act. Once through security, I started craving soup more than I can ever remember in my whole life. The chills were pretty bad. I walked through the airport strip and had about given up on finding soup and instead started hunting down my gate. When I was close to my gate I saw the San Francisco Soup Company and was never so ecstatic to see a soup place in all my years.

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I ordered their summer corn chowder and it hit.the. spot. It took that achy chill out of my bones and made the rest of the wait bearable!

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On the flight I read the latest issue of the American Journal of Nursing, wrote some Christmas cards, and used the tray table as a pillow. What do you guys do on flights?

After I landed, my family and I exchanged hugs and “Ah! I don’t want to get you sick”(s) and “I don’t care!”(s), then hit the road to head to Keller (a suburb of Fort Worth). On the way we stopped by the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, TX. My sister’s boyfriend, Kevin, was there for one more night and we said he couldn’t leave without seeing this place. It’s quite the spectacle! It’s one large hotel, but they deck it all out for Christmas. You know the saying, “Everything is bigger in Texas”? I’m pretty sure that originated with this hotel. It’s worth a quick walk through if you are ever in the area!

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Cuties!!!! (I was out of commission for pictures; I basically looked like a walking zombie).

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They have an imitation San Antonio Riverwalk on the lower level. It’s even completed with Mexican restaurants all around it. How cool is that!??!

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Once home, I was greeted by my puppy, Jade, that I haven’t seen in so long.

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On Friday (12/16) Kevin left (sad day!), and I had my hair did (insert hand flip emoji) at a Lemongrass Salon by Aveda while my mom and sister shopped. I accidentally missed my appointment that I had scheduled in California (I thought it was 1 but it was 11), so my mom graciously helped me schedule this one. I still was not feeling 100%, so it was a good day to knock this out. Getting your head massaged and roots covered is a sure fire way to make a girl feel better 😉 I swear by Aveda salons for a good blonde!

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Friday night mama Jill whipped up a delicious dinner!!! It was cauliflower Arancini via GreenChef, and we loved it! However, we both agree after using both services that Blue Apron is still the better of the two.

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I liked using the leftover cauliflower bites to dip in hummus. They were even better the next day.

That night we went to the movies. I LOVE the movie theaters with the Cafe and Bar areas. We watched Collateral Beauty. I thought it was just OK, but the rest of my family loved it. Either way it was great family time and sparked good conversation. I won’t give a full synopsis- but if anyone has seen it I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Saturday morning (12/17) We left first thing in the morning for San Antonio!!!!!!!! You can read all about our Saturday morning to Sunday evening here.

Monday (12/18) was a chilllllllll day filled with sleeping in, a workout at the local recreation center with my mama, baking Christmas cookies, and sushi for dinner. A perfect day if there ever was any! The last couple times we have been in Fort Worth have been pretty tourist packed, so we decided to take it easy this round and just relax- a word that isn’t really in my vocab too often.

At breakfast, the little stinker put on her sweet begging face. Sorry, Charlie, I like my toast too doggone much to share.

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Christmas Bakin’! I wish I could take credit for any of this, but Mama Jill was the baking wizard all the way. Her coconut macaroons are the BOMB (they are the white morsels). And there is truly something about homemade rice krispy treats!

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Tons of sushi from Kroger with seaweed salad and asian thai salad was on the agenda for dinner. (I know grocery store sushi may not sound super appealing, but I have never been disappointed!).

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After sushi, we went over some family friends’. I met them last spring when I was in town and had a ball with them. I couldn’t wait to hang out again. Their house is the most festively decorated home I have ever seen. I think the said they have eighteen Christmas trees total? Each one is decorated with a specific ornament theme. For example, they have a Christmas tree with only shoe ornaments, another with only wine bottle ornaments, another with only santa ornaments, etc.; it was an actual winter wonderland.

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She has no idea I snapped this, but I snuck a picture of this classy lady!

Also we had carolers stop by, and they were the most precious two little girls in the world.

Tuesday (12/20)

This was lounge day round two! We watched Netflix, home videos, Hulu, and grazed all day long.

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My family hasn’t let me live this clip down for years. This is Halston and I. I was NOT a nice big sister!!! Sorry, Hal!!! Thanks for not holding this against me. Love u!

Here is a picture of my mama’s homemade guac that I mentioned in the San Antonio post!

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For dinner she made roasted onion, butternut squash, brussel sprouts, and cranberries with a maple glaze. YUM!

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Every single night us three girls hot-tubbed, chatted, and sipped on wine. It was perfection. Pete was so sweet to encourage us to have our girl time.

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The neighbors next-door just had a baby, so we dog-sat a couple times in the evenings for them to lighten their load. This video makes me belly laugh every time I watch it. It is of one of the dogs (the most lovable Pitbull in the world) thoroughly enjoying a tummy rub. Yes- that is a dog making that noise. My mom at the end of the video goes, “Why are you crying, Buster?!” *That’s the dog’s name 😉

Wednesday (12/21)

Halston, my mom, and I woke up and did Insanity in the living room. All ya’ gotta do is move a few couches out of the way and you’ve got a nice gym!!

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Followed by shenanigans.

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Jadey baby didn’t feel up for the workout. Also- what a stinking diva. She literally has her bed on the bed. Spoiled pup, I tell ya what.

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After our big family workout, we went to brunch at Another Broken Egg Cafe per my stepdad’s suggestion. I think I thanked him at least ten times for suggesting this place, because it was one of the BEST brunchy places ever. Ugh, I say that every time, but I do mean it!

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They had such a uniquely delicious selection of food, and their coffee was served in handcrafted stone mugs. Doesn’t get much better than that.

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My mom and Pete said we needed to try the Beignet doughnuts. These are like the best-donuts-you’ve-ever-had and then some. SO. GOOOD. And they are served with a honey marmalade. I donut know how I have gone my whole life without them. And I donut know how I have gone so long without making an awful pun. You’re welcome.

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Us girlies tried the skinny omelette which had herbed egg whites with blanched asparagus, roasted red peppers, green onions, goat cheese and roasted garlic cloves with an english muffin and a fruit dish. They seasoned it with the most palatable herbs!!!! My mom and I placed our bets on what they were, and we actually nailed it! Thyme, rosemary, and parsley. If you’ve never tried that on an omelette, DO IT! It’s extraordinary, or shall I say “Egg-straordinary”! Ok, ok, I’m done now 😉

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Pete chose the lemon ricotta pancakes. He graciously offered us all a bite, and obviously I graciously accepted a big ole’ one. My sister gets mad because she says when I “try” something, I end up eating half of it. But, hey, tomat-oh, tomah-toe. You say “try”, I hear “sample half the plate”. Anyways, these were lemony ricotta-ey pancakey perfection.

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Wednesday night we had the Candlelight celebration at church. It worked out perfectly because this was our “faux” Christmas Eve. Although we couldn’t celebrate actual Christmas day all together, the fact that we could go to this candlelight service definitely made it feel like a true Christmas Eve celebration. It was moving, and I love seeing the sanctuary lit up by candlelight.

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When we came home we had apps while we finished up cooking dinner! The cheese was a mix of vegan and regular. I truly could not tell the difference between which one was vegan and which one was not. Usually good vegan cheeses are hard to come by, but this stuff was a facsimile; it blew my mind! We could not get enough!

Fun tip: If you need a fancy, yet incredibly easy, appetizer- try doing pita crackers + hummus + roasted red pepper + roasted onion + a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

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Although DJ wasn’t able to actually be with us, we still hung his stocking!!!

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It was nice to sit around and enjoy our apps around the gorgeous tree. It’s these moments that define the word “content” for me.

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Dinner started with goat cheese “croutons” atop a salad with pears, pecans, and mixed greens. THIS. This is going to be a tradition.

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Momma made ribs for Pete… yes, that whole thing was for Pete considering none of us eat meat. LOL. The girls had a sesame crusted tuna. I forgot to take a picture because I was a bit ravenous!

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Dessert followed with my mom’s marveeeeelous Christmas cookies and my step dad’s famous pumpkin crunch which I am beyond bummed that I don’t have a picture of. We gobbled that thing up so quick! It’s one of our favorite parts of Christmas. It’s truly something I look forward to year round.

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We ended the night with a dip in the hot-tub per usual.

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On Thursday (11/22) we had our “faux” Christmas Day!!!!! It was a magical morning followed by a breakfast of eggs, toast, and BEER JELLY! I found these on UncommonGoods for Pete. We had fun sampling all of them! Uncommon Goods is an AMAZING site for unique gifts for the family. I find most of my gifts here each year!

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Annnnnd my stocking, as well as Halston’s, was stocked with five gum, NO COW bars (lemon meringue- the best), and Quest bars. We may have a bit of an obsession to say the least…

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After opening gifts and having breakfast, I went for a nice long run. Unfortunately, the sun didn’t want to peak through too much, but it was still enjoyable. I lived in Texas in the Summer of 2015 before traveling to India, so the familiarity feels like home, even down to the running trails.

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In the afternoon I ran a couple errands with Mama Jill

You know you are in Texas when…

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That afternoon we had apps round two!

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For our “Christmas day” dinner, we started with pear salads with goat cheese, toasted almonds, cranberries, and mixed greens. I made my cauliflower mashed potatoes! I promise I will post those at some point! They were a big hit.

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We also had stuffed vegan acorn squash with fresh cranberries!

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My mom also made regular meatballs for Pete

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And we cannot forget my most favorite dish of the season: Sweet potato praline . YUHHHHMMM.

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And what is any holiday meal without green bean casserole? She made it healthier too by substituting the cream of mushroom for light and low sodium. We could not even tell the difference!

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This perfect Christmas dinner was followed by more hot tub & wine!

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Friday (11/23) I woke up early to go to the local recreation center in Keller to get a workout in before getting ready to head to the airport. My sister had a different flight than me (a much earlier one), so she was landing in Ohio as I was taking off. This is how I caught up on reading everyone else’s blogs from the week! People probably think I’m such a crazy ellipticallyng (spelling?) with a laptop, but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do!

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When my mom got back from the airport, I finished packing up and then we decided we had time for one last lunch before heading out. She recommended a favorite of her’s and Pete’s in town, Devivo Bros. Eatery. It is considered rustic comfort food, but has an Italian flare! So essentially all the good things..

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We split the Kale salad with fresh kale, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, crispy tortilla strips and candied almonds tossed in a jalapeño ranch dressing as well as the white bean tomato basil soup.

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It all hit the spot perfectly, and I was so thankful for this small chunk of time we could treasure before my flight.

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Isn’t she darling?!

Time to head back to OH-IO.
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I will recap that soon! Since DJ couldn’t join us on our fort worth adventures this year I figured why not include a few from last year?!? 🙂

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This is from when we visited the Fort Worth Stockyards. Such a fun place if you ever get the chance! Next time I go back to Fort Worth I am going to do a travel post about them.

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And a trip wouldn’t have been complete without absurd amounts of sushi.

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Thanks for hanging in there with me through this crazy long post!

I will do a quick holiday post recap once I am back 🙂 DJ and I have are currently waiting for our 6 am flight and have been up since 3 am! EEEK!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year,

xo <3

Mack