Friday Favorites #16! + An exciting update :)

Hey Everyone! TGIFF! Thank Goodness it’s Friday Favorites! Sometimes on a pretty uneventful week I like to include the updates/highlights in a Friday Faves post. Also, Autumn seems to be the time of year when my creative juices (especially in the kitchen dept.) start flowing. I don’t know if it’s the fact that it’s a new season or what, but I always feel the urge to turn over a new leaf 😉

#1. Ezekiel toast with Fage & low sugar strawberry jam mixed/dried apricots/walnuts/stevia. It’s no secret I love my yogurt toast, but I got the idea to mix the yogurt with jam from Kori, and it. is. life. changing.

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#2. Kodiak Power Waffles. I have heard people rave about this brand, but it actually took DJ suggesting trying them out to pull the trigger. They are excellent little waffles! I topped them this morning with Fage, syrup, and vegan chocolate chips before a long run. I can’t wait to try the pancakes next.

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#3. Blooms. Nough’ said!

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#4. Chloe’s Pops. Is there anything better than a fudgesicle? Take that childhood nostalgia and indulge in this yumminess! This week I have been loving one after dinner as a little sweet treat.

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#5: Baked By Melissa. For DJ’s birthday, we got this little sweet treat in the mail from my mom-in-law!!! These are my FAVORITE cupcakes in the world- and although sent for DJ’s bday, he let me snag a few of course 😉 #happywifehappylife. The chocolate chip cookie dough is probably my favorite- but they are all terrific. They are based in NYC if you are ever there- but they make a wonderful gift too!

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#6. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. This show is a hoot and a stinkin’ half. I love it. I’ve only watched the first season, but I blew through it in about a week while writing discussion boards for grad school. I don’t typically like watching comedies alone, but this one is just gold. A must. Also, shoutout to Rach for the suggestion!

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#7: THRILLIST. If y’all don’t use Thrillist, ya neeeeds ta! I love this site. It gives an excellent list of all the great travel, food options, recipes, etc. I particularly love it to find the best food spots around here. I consulted this list big time to make my bucket list too. I get e-mails each week of “must try” restaurants and up and coming spots.

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#8. This Garlic Chicken Cheddar Recipe. This is more like a DJ Friday Fave! I haven’t tried this myself, but DJ loved it. I usually make big meals for him for the week that will last a few days, and this was a hit. Plus it smelled phenomenal while cooking. I also added a drizzle of ranch because I felt it would complement the flavors well (and everything is better with ranch).

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#9. VASANTI. This is the BEST face wash/exfoliating cleanser I have ever tried! It was in my FabFitFun box, and boy oh boy am I glad! My skin has never been better.

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#10. Dancing with Stars. DJ always cracks up at me watching this show because I watch it with the goofiest smile, just happy as a clam, and sometimes I can’t help but try to get up and dance the darn Fox Trot with um’! (what an awful sight to see, lol!). It is the epitome of a feel-good show.. this is the first time I have watched it in two years (motivated by Grocery Store Joe, of course), and I love every second. I so look forward to it every week!. Anyone else watch? I’d love to chat 🙂

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#11. And a bonus Friday Fave….OUR UPSTAIR NEIGHBORS ARE MOVING OUT!!!! YES, you heard (read?) right! So, I talked to one of the ladies from the management team a couple days ago. She said basically they asked our neighbors to move due to the noise, offered them a spot on the second floor (not above anyone else), and they said they were happy to accept because they hate the apartment they are in anyways. WOOHOO! Thank you, Jesus. I cried when she told me I was so happy. The first words I said were, “WHAT! I can sleep again!!!” and gave her an obnoxiously big hug. Thanks y’all for your encouragement and convos with this whole fiasco. They are still here but will be out in the next couple weeks. They are currently vacuuming at 10:45 pm, but I don’t even care because they almost GONE! Boy (and girl), BYE!

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xo <3

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**There are affiliate links in this post, but only products I 100% stand by and support. All opinions are my own, and I’d never lead ya astray 😉 **

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Dog Surfing, Hot Yoga, & a Celeb Encounter

Now that we are totally caught up from the 5 full days Kelsey visited (yes those 6 posts were over the course of only 5 full days haha), I am excited to catch up on all the between. It will definitely take a few posts to get there, but life is about to get pretty monotonous with school starting (not mad one bit about it though!), so these should keep things fun for a bit.

When Kels left on August 1st, I spent the rest of the day catching up on laundry, squeezing in a run, eating leftovers, blogging a tiny bit and crashing early. I slept until late the next day- the longest I have slept in a while- I never like sleeping past 8 am, but I slept until 10 am this day. My body needed to catch up on the zero sleep from the week before.

On August 2nd-3rd, I opted to a be an antisocial hermit for a couple days. I went to the grocery store, went for a run outside, and published the first of my Michigan posts. I caught up on a ton of e-mails, took care of some housekeeping for grad school, and tried to catch up on other blogs best I could. Despite having a fridge full of groceries I was not in the mood to cook at all. I actually was feeling slightly under the weather. I decided Pho sounded like the perfect remedy! I ordered vegetarian pho from House of Pho and it was phOnomenal. I don’t think I’ve actually had Pho myself (just sampled it), but this will was just perfect.

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Saturday August 4th was a blast. For breakfast I had some delicious oatmeal with PB2, Fage, cinnamon, and shakeology vegan protein powder.

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I drove to Pacifica to meet with my sister-in-law, Amy, and her boyfriend for an event unlike any other- The World Dog Surfing Championship!!!!

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Parking was difficult to find, but we finally found some on a side hill. You can see the mass of people on the beach if you look closely.

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My pictures are a bit grainy, but it was fun to watch these dogs take on the waves!! The pups were actually surfing, and great at it too. They had competitions where they even had two dogs on one board. Only in CA, right? This dog below was my personal fave.

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There were so.many.dogs. on the beach too. I passed this nugget and couldn’t help but grab a picture. I mean, can ya stand it? Would ya Jus’ look at him?!!

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I still wasn’t feeling 100% the rest of the day so I tried to nap, caught up on some easy to-dos, then went to sleep early.

August 5th after church, I went for a long walk outside, and listened to a couple podcasts. I saw that someone left a full bag of bread on this sign, and it broke my heart to be honest.

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How can you just waste good carbs like that? So sad. Should be illegal. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful.

August 6th, I woke up early to do Hot Yoga for the first time. I absolutely loved it! This past year and a half was a very stressful one as you all are probably well aware, and my body took a beating from how much running and cardio I did to cope with the stress. My knees are particularly hurting lately, so I’m trying to do more walks and am going to try to replace a couple runs a week with hot yoga. It’s pretty great and the instructor at the place I went to in SJ was amazing. Now that life is about to be more regimented, I am excited to incorporate this into my weekly routine.

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After, I swung into Trader Joe’s, and made baked Atlantic salmon, roasted veggies, and zucchini pizza boats for a couple days.

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In the evening I went over my friend, Sara’s, house to hangout and have a movie night.

August 7th, I did an Insanity workout, lifted some weights, and then did some house chores for the week.  In the evening, I met up with my friends Tammy and Dani (whom I haven’t seen in FOREVERRRR) to get happy hour at Jack Rose Libation house. Dani just moved back to CA, so we had every single reason to celebrate. I’ve missed her! You may remember her last from us all meeting up last year at Aqui.

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This place is just so dang good. They have such great food, drinks, a fun atmosphere, etc. You cannot go wrong. It’s a local favorite for sure! Dani tried their side of paradise with vodka, house made blackberry jam, fresh lemon, sparkling wine, and lemon verbena.

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Tam went for their summer wind with the botanist gin, foro amaro, venus aquavit, north coast peach berliner weisse, giffard pamplemousse liqueur, and lemon. .( I think!)

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I ordered a boring ole’ glass of white wine, not really picture worthy haha.

But you know what is picture worthy? And aware winning worthy? And just some of the best cheesy goodness I have ever had worthy?! THEIR PIZZA!!!

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We split their artichoke spinach pizza with well, you can guess it- artichoke, spinach, mozzarella, ricotta, green olives, fresh herbs, and grana padano. It was perfection. I hardly ever meet a pizza I don’t like, but this just took it up a few notches.

We also split the hummus plate with chickpeas, garlic, cumin, tahini, smoked paprika, hazelnuts, pizza bread, and veggies.

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After catching up for a looong time that felt like only two minutes, we stopped by Safeway to grab some mochi to share for dessert and settled in at Tammy’s for the premiere of Bachelor in Paradise!

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This summer I have blown up Tammy’s Instagram with mochi pictures, so we just had to try some. I have never had the ice cream type before (only the muffins you may remember). These were my/mo brand, and they were GREAT…. except for the matcha flavor that literally tasted like dill pickles. I am not exaggerating. When I took a bite, I was like, “y’all it taste like pickles”. They thought I maybe was being dramatic, but sure enough they agreed- somehow pickles must have found their way into the matcha batch. Haha.

While enjoying our mochi, we jammed to some new songs of Chris Lane’s before revving up BIP. I posted it to my story and then we glued ourselves to the TV for the night. Such a fun time.

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In the morning of August 8th, as I was getting my day started, I looked down at my phone and saw this….. (yes, I need to actually put a picture for my background, I know I know… I’m too indecisive to decide)…

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Chris Lane stinking A. WATCHED our video, B. COMMENTED on our video, and C. POSTED IT TO HIS OWN STORY. I had to pinch myself give or take ten times to make sure it was real life. This was such a big deal to us and really special because we actually bonded over Chris Lane’s music. The first time the three of us hung out was even at his concert.

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I guess I’ll wrap up here for now. Real quick though- August 8th is actually me and DJ’s anniversary! We weren’t planning on celebrating the actual day of since we had plans in the city for the next day, but with DJ getting off work early it seemed a perfect time to use up a gift-card we had been saving for a special occasion (thanks, Bro!). I will recap in the next post where we ate and what of course, but that requires a fresh page of it’s own 🙂

xo <3

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Home Sweet Second Home: TC Michigan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sista sista

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

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

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And chocolate mousse pie.yumyumyum.

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My Uncle Jeff from Asheville & I. <3

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It was such a lovely evening.

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

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

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

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

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

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My mom and I

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My stepdad, Pete, and Grandpa!

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The gang – just missing Deej

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

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

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Family picture!

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My sister, Uncle Jeff, and I <3

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

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

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

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

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After these special moments, time to eat!!!

A bowl of carbs is just a bowl of happiness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It was an spectacular day, and a stunning evening.

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I will recap part two of the trip soon!

Questions for youuuu!

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

xo <3

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Friday Favorites #13

Uhhhh should I be concerned…..  A Friday Favorites #13 on Friday the 13th?! I best not walk under any ladders today.

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But anywho wowzahs! It has been a while since a FF! I have a lot of things I am just luh-ving lately, so it was hard to narrow them down to just ten. I guess that makes next week even easier to write!

Here we go… !

  1. Have y’all seen the latest Aerie campaign?! For a few years they have been doing Aerie Real, and now they’ve broadened the campaign to include women with disabilities and medical conditions…. it is absolutely beautiful, these women are BEAUTIFUL. It nearly brought me to tears seeing these pictures. <3

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2. Wear This One! To say I’m excited about this would be an understatement!! I mentioned briefly in a previous post that my mom-in-law created a website and app called Wear This One. You know when you cannot decide what to wear for a wedding, work event, just a regular date? This is the solution all of us have been waiting for (men included!). You simply create an account, download the app (or use the site), post pictures of what you are debating between, and then people vote on which they prefer for the event. You can vote on looks too and there is even a “get inspired” page. It’s super easy, and you can also opt to keep it private if you want to create posts only your selected friends can vote on. Check. it. OUT!

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3. San Pedro Square Public Market. Honestly- I am baffled how I haven’t been here yet. It is now, in my opinion, the best place to eat in San Jose from an atmosphere perspective. DJ, Amy (SIL), and I went here a couple days ago. I was shocked by the number of food options alone.

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We grabbed our food (I tried some fresh to death sashimi from Blush) then found a spot outside to enjoy the live music. We will definitely be back!

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4. Plain Fage. I have been living for just some plain Fage with either Shakeology protein powder, maybe on toast, with oatmeal or with some fruit. I love how thick it is in consistency. I used to love the flavored Dannons, but this just keeps me full much longer with a bangin’ 18g of protein.

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5. TJ’s Spray Sunscreen. This is wayy cheaper than what you will find in the drug store and works very well! No sunburn yet for me this summer!

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6. R + Co Detangler. I have been attempting to keep my hair nice and healthy, but one of my issues has been finding a good detangler. My hair gets too knotted, so usually I end up having to use an absurd amount of detangler and then have greasy hair (no. bueno.). This stuff is like magic. Just a tiny little bit works SO well.

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7. GOOD SEED Hempseed Burgers!!! These are dang yummy. Maybe one of my favorite vegan burgers out there. The thing I particularly love about this burger is the unique flavor- it reminds me of stuffing at thanksgiving- mmm mmm!

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8. So you may remember back when I went on the cruise with Rachel, we made some good friends. Tiffany, pictured below was one of them! We met on an excursion and I hard core encouraged her to start a blog, raving about how amazing blogging is and how great the community is. Well y’all, she started one and it is magnificent!!! I hope you will give it a look over at www.justkeepbreathing.org ! 🙂 She is one of the most genuine, kind, warm, encouraging, and inspirational people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting!

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9. The Staircase. Oh. my. lanta. Y’all- DJ and I haven’t finished this yet because we are watching it together so naturally it will take us at least another couple months haha, BUT we are a few episodes in and it is gripping.

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10. Reading Chillout Playlist. This is my new favorite chill playlist on Spotify for reading. I love a little white noise and this is reading perfection!

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What are some of your weekly Favorites?!

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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SF Tourin’ & Big Basin Hikin’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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DJ had their house burger.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Take a look at this bee hive!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xo <3 submark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m beginning to actually feel like myself again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The boutique was immaculate, quiet, and adorably decorated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Yum, yum!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xo <3

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Celebrations & A Half Moon Bay Day Trip :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was an unforgettable day with great memories and friends.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I’m on an strong avocado kick right now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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We wondered along downtown hand in hand, soaking up the lazy afternoon, peeking into family owned shops, and letting our conversations wonder aimlessly as we were.

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With the bitter chill in the air (lol, I’m so dramatic), I was craving a hot coffee. We stopped by The Cafe Society, a quaint little coffee shop/jazz bar- how fun is that?! I grabbed an americano with steamed almond milk, then we headed back into the tundra. Baha.

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The colors just popped, each storefront was lovingly decorated with intricate details.

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We passed a Tom & Pete’s- I realized I’d seen this place before but couldn’t remember where exactly… then it hit me! It was the truck located at the pumpkin patch we went to a couple years ago.

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We also noticed this Jail that was built in 1911. It looked like there was a tour going on. The jail pushed up against the mountains looked like something out of a storybook.

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Before heading back, we were not about to miss an opportunity to go to Sam’s Chowder House!

 

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I saw they had a seaweed salad on the menu, and it sounded just perfectly refreshing! Love my seaweed.

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I opted to try their raw oyster bar- with 2 oysters, 2 clams, and 2 shrimp. When I ordered it DJ goes, “You don’t even like oysters”… and I longingly said, “But I wannnnt to like them”. And guess what! I really enjoyed these oysters! I actually enjoyed them even more then the clams, which says something, cause I love clams.

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DJ of course had their lobster roll (their go-to menu item that is just insanely delicious), and I snuck more than a few bites.

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Still convinced this is one of the best restaurants the Bay has to offer. If you want ridiculously fresh seafood- this is it.

Yesterday I was able to go back to Church for the first time in a while, and it was soooo nice. I then caught up with my friend Tammy after at Cafe San Jose.

I’m putting together a master summer bucket list for the SJ/SF/Oakland area- so if you have been PLEASE share with me your favorite place to eat, things to do, etc. (No worries, Kate, Capo’s is on the list hehe!).

Have a fabulous week, everyone 🙂

xo <3

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Eating Our Way Through Portland Part Three!

Hey y’all!! Oh man, I am getting these posts up at a snail’s pace. Ever since we’ve came back from Portland things have just been go go go! But alas, I finally bring us to our last installment of our Portland trip. Here are part one and part two.

We started out the last day of our trip venturing into Blue Star Donuts. Now, most people have heard that Voodoo donuts is the place to go when in Portland- but there is an ongoing debate among locals whether Blue Star or Voodoo is better. Jay insisted that we had to try Blue Star, and we were not about to argue with a local Portland donut savant.

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The flavors to choose from are the most unusual donut flavors I have ever seen….

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Donut you just want to try them all?!

I sampled the blueberry bourbon basil, lemon poppyseed, and the peanut butter and jelly.

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My favorite was either the lemon poppyseed- best lemon poppy ever, but the stellar unique deliciousness of the blueberry bourbon basil was unlike any donut I’ve ever had. It is a MUST try. The PB & J was excellent too- but I did prefer the other two more.

Deej tried the chocolate, blueberry cake, and glazed original. Not on bite was left! Jay had a maple bacon, one of their staples.

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But the ultimate question is- did you even go to Portland if you didn’t get a picture of the Keep Portland Weird sign?! Voodoo donuts is located right across the street, and it looked like a zoo. The line was wrapped entirely around the building, and we all agreed me made the right choice by hitting up Blue Star instead. (Next time we will try Voodoo to compare 😉 ).

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PAUL BUNYAN ALL!

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While stopping by the PB statue, I noticed a bunch of tents popping up and my farmer’s market senses were tingling. I cannot resist a Farmer’s market walk by. The boys graciously stopped by with me.

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CHANNEL THE FLANNEL Y’ALL! There was a local school parade we happened to watch going through the Farmer’s market. We laughed because we were probably the only one’s there that early in the morning that didn’t know a single person in the parade.

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I won this Yerba Mate at one of the cute little stands with a spin the wheel for a prize.

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After, we decided to head to Cascade Brewing House– the House of Sour! Sour Beer is my and DJ’s favorite- so naturally we had to try this place.

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After the yum of the pretzel from Deschutes, we all agreed we were up to split another!

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It wasn’t on the same level as Deschutes, and we didn’t prefer many of the beers. Maybe we didn’t get the right ones, but definitely would suggest going to Deschutes before Cascade.

We walked around downtown after near the Pioneer Courthouse and some side streets.

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We were pretty hungry again so we went to the ultimate food truck destination! Here is the address: 1207 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214. It’s a non-negosh if you go to Portland– you have to try one of these food trucks!

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They had asian fusion, Egyptian, BBQ, pizza, Mexican, and the one we opted for…

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Drummmmroolllll

Potato champion! An actual meal served over fries.

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So, I didn’t realize every single thing on the menu was over fries. I ordered the palak paneer fries and then the veggie korma thinking the korma was a wrap for some reason. In reality I had just walked up and confidently ordered two large orders of fries. The guy was probably like, “oook you do you boo booo…” The guys ordered the poutine fries and a burger to split from a nearby truck.

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Fries on fries on the sun’s in my eyeeees. This was the first time the sun came out, and I think it was a sign. The beams of light came through the clouds, illuminating this meal like it was sacred. Amen amen. (ok that’s a bit dramatic, but you can’t judge until you’ve tried this heavenly goodness).

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Gosh, did I mention these fries were good 😉 It was one of those times that I was like, no way I’m gonna make a dent in all this… but it was addictively delicious “Just one last bite” for about fifty more bites. Tehe.

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Now this burger, from Bottle Rocket, was burger perfection, simply amoozing. Wow, I am in rare form today. 😉  DJ was raving so much about it that I had to try it. Holy. stinking. smokes. I don’t know if I’ve ever tried a better burger. With the sun shinin’, the awesome energy, the upbeat yet relaxed atmosphere…this little pitstop is a great place to Ketchup with some friends.

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We went back to the hotel, took a long nap, then got ready for dinner.

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Diva Shot.

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DJ and I had a bit of time to kill before dinner and if we opted for the “Green clean” (so no housekeeping), we received a 15 dollar credit to use for room service or at Urban Farmer, the other restaurant within our hotel.

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These are pictures from the gorgeous sitting area you pass through to get to Urban Farmer.

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I absolutely adored the decor at Urban Farmer. It was rustic, chic, and soft. It was the perfect ambiance. To my CLE fam- there is one in Cleveland!! There are also locations in Philly and Denver.

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DJ and I tried Oysters one time and weren’t huge fans. But like with anything- you have to give something a few goes before you make a final decision on whether you like them. We decided to order a few. They were fine, but we both agreed we would just rather have a shrimp cocktail or another appetizer over oysters.

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We walked a couple blocks to meet up with Jay and Carly (Jay’s girlfriend) for dinner at Portland City Grill!

Gotta Keep Portland Weird, ya know!?

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Portland City Grill is on the 30th floor (chant with me.. views, views, views!!!)

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It was a beautiful evening, so we were able to see the mountains clearly!

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Portland City Grill is pretty darn expensive, but on Sundays they have a happy hour menu alll day. This means we were able to try a few dishes at half the price- they were just exquisite.

We started with some house salads and then the crab cakes. *insert drooling emoji here*.

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Then the asian spring rolls…mmm! I haven’t had these in a while. I used to make them all the time, and this inspired me to whip out my personal recipe to start making them this summer.

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Next on deck, fish n’ chips. Best . fish n’ chips. ever.

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We didn’t skip out on desserts. And we had a sweeet tooth! This beauty below is a lemon chiffon cake with layers of Lemon Chiffon Cake & Raspberry Gelée, Candied Almonds, Limoncello & Poppy Seed Ice Cream.

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And this magic morsel… the marbled black forest cheesecake with poached cherries, a chocolate cookie crust, and whipped cream. I don’t even need to mention how fantastic this was.

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The crew! (and a photo bomber)

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In the morning we headed straight to the airport, saying goodbye to an unforgettable few days filled with amazing memories.

Really quick… for travel posts I like to give super honest reviews of where we stay. If we had to recommend The Nines to someone we agreed we probably would not recommend it. I know this is shocking considering how beautiful and centrally located it is. It was very nice, but a few things fell a bit subpar for the cost. There was no coffee in the room- only out in the lobby (coffee in the room is a must for me, that darn mini coffee maker in most hotels is usually my favorite part of a stay, lol), the bartender at Urban Farmer was the rudest human being we have ever interacted with (we were flabbergasted at the interaction we had, absurdity at its finest), we never ended up getting that $15 dollar comp that we were promised (And never received housekeeping because of that, which is fine- but we were looking forward to getting the oysters comped), there is no pool/hot-tub, we were awoken by our neighbors at three in the morning and had a hard time sleeping with how loud they were, and the cost for what it is just wasn’t worth it in our opinion. We have had just as great if not better stays at places that cost way less. If you visit Portland, I’d recommend visiting the hotel, maybe going to Departure for some great views or Urban Farmer for the ambiance (just don’t sit at the bar in case you get that bartender haha), but don’t stay.

When we arrived at the airport I had to try the famous Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Their coffee was so strong, a bit bitter, a bit too much for me but I see how people would like it!

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Byyyyyeeee Portland <3 Thanks for the memories! Until next time!

xo <3

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Eating Our Way Through Portland Part Two!

Hey hey! I just had such a productive day, feelin’ like buzzing bee day where I saw my to-do list just dissolve before my very eyes. (edit: I was feeling that way two days ago when I started this post, no longer do I feel that way!). Lol. Anywayyyyys, we are NOT here to talk about today, we are here to talk about.. well quite a few days ago…. aka over a week ago….

SO let’s get to it, eh?!

Part One Portland is here in case you missed it.

We left off nomming down on Pine State Biscuits. After finishing up the breakfast of the century, we headed to Multnomah Falls.

The drive alone provided breath taking views. We cruised along the Columbia River Gorge taking in the deep green vastness, practically illuminated against the charcoal skies.

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We were planning on doing the hike up to Multnomah Falls, but the entry to the hike (a few miles past the viewing area) was closed due to the awful fire that happened last year. One of my patients actually warned me about this before going, and he was right! It was still a bit of a mess.

We turned the car around to head back to the viewing point. To our nice surprise at the turnoff, we were greeted by a portion of the Historic Oregon Trail! Love it when detours turn into destinations.

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We found a place we could snag some pictures in front of the falls without doing the hike. It worked out pretty beautifully that the hike was closed off because we were able to fit in so much more the rest of the day than we even planned.

One path closes, another one opens!

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The boyssss.

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The Majestic Multnomah Falls!!! The pictures can’t do them even a bit of justice.

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After hitting up the Falls we went to the Vista House overlook. There is a pretty cool history you can read about here for all you history buffs.

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These views!

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Contemplative…

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But not for long!

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After taking the views in at the Vista House, we headed to Washington Park.

We drove down a long winding road to find the park. It was like a scene from Alice in Wonderland, with roses accompanying each turn of the drive.

Something I didn’t expect, but adored, were the pastel colored homes ascending up the hill. It reminded me of a more spaced out SF. Squish in about fifty more houses, and we’d feel right at home!

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And time for the blooms in the Rose Garden! They weren’t even “in season” and yet everything still was gorgeous!

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After touring the Gardens, we went to downtown Portland to explore the Pearl District- a cultured, artsy, and heavily foodie laden area!

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We grabbed some coffee at Caffe Umbria, then continued exploring. This little coffee shop was so doggone cute.

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One of the places I had been dying to see was Powell’s Books- the largest Used & New bookstore in the world.

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It was MASSIVE. I could have spent hours upon hours in there. Gosh, I loveddd it!

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After Powell’s we walked around a bit more then passed through Providence Park.

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I couldn’t believe how large and PACKED the stadium was.

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And again.. the art never ceased to amuse!

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Since we were in a place known for their Breweries, one of the bullet points on our list was a “good Brewery”….. good thing Jay is a local and doesn’t know just a good brewery, but the best brewery!

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Deshutes had a long wait in the middle of the afternoon— and reason being- it’s amazing.

We started with a pretzel and it was the single greatest soft pretzel maybe I’ve ever had (except I’m forever a sucker of Auntie Anne’s). But this is just different, ya know?

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And we tried some fantastic beers to go along with it. DJ and I aren’t big “beer” people, but when in Rome. With the pretzel and the atmosphere, it all was fun to sample and actually pick up on the different flavors.

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Jay took us to a “locals” spot up a mountain to get panoramic views of the city! I couldn’t capture them with my phone, but gosh, they were awesome. It reminded me of the Twin Peaks in SF.

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On this little stone structure there are plaques that whichever plaque you stand in front of, if you look into the distance, that is the exact mountain you are viewing. Pahrettty neat!

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Believe it or not… at this point in the afternoon we definitely had worked up a real appetite. We decided to have a “snack”… aka a large 3:00 pm afternoon meal that we are calling a snack because in lieu of how much we ate on this trip, it really was just a snack. We went to a food truck stop that had a food truck for absolutely anyone- Indian to Vegan to Mediterranean to American to Mexican cuisine to etc. etc.- EVERYTHING.

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A place on my list was Viking Soul Food. When researching must have food trucks, this was on the list! It is Scandinavian food, which I have never even heard of before.

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The main thing they are known for is their lefse which is a Norwegian style potato flatbread, handmade daily. It is like a crepe, yet more savory. Hellooooo deliciousnesss.

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I tried their “Ocean Booty” with shrimp, aioli, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and almonds wrapped in the lefse. It was delicious, and perfectly light for the afternoon.

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DJ and Jay decided to try Herb’s Mac & Cheese. Jay had their Pulled Pork and DJ had their jalapeno mac and cheese.

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I had a bite of this magic and goodness gracious- it was maybe some of the best macaroni I have ever tasted. My mouth is watering looking at this picture again!

img_4596Time for one of the biggest HIGHLIGHTS of the weekend!!!

After we came back, we had a couple hours before we had dinner (yes, dinner, yet another meal so soon) planned with Jay and his girlfriend. On a total whim, I messaged Rossy from ayrgalaxy to see if she was maybe able to meet up. She was able to stop by with her husband Alex and her adorable, seriously cutest little man in the world, Ciel, to visit for a few minutes.

Y’all. Ok, where to begin? Rossy is the kindest, most down to earth, and beautiful person! Seriously- I know this will be hard to believe, but she is even more gorgeous in person! DJ and I had such a blast talking with her and Alex. They both are just the easiest people to talk to. Oh, and Ciel is just the most precious, gooodnesss gracious! Seeing Rossy interact with him and hold him gave me baby fever- she is such a good momma. I was so thankful they took the time out of their day (and go so out of their way) to stop by, it was the sweetest and seriously made the weekend.

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When walking with DJ to dinner after I kept saying, “Ugh! I wish we all lived closer so we could hangout more!”. But I am brainwashing them to visit SF for a double date, soooo stay tuned.

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We arrived at Masu sushi on foot after about only 10 minutes.

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Best. Sushi. Of. Our. Lives.

This is a must try if you go to Portland. Everything from the PERFECT ambiance, to the presentation of the food, to the TASTE (the most important).

Of course, I will simply adamantly suggest what to order so you have the most wonderful experience.

First, they bring you out complimentary edamame, sooooo yum!

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You have to start with the calamari. We savored every bit of the calamari. It isn’t the traditional fried calamari, but rather lightly breaded, but the calamari pieces are thick rather than stringy. The calamari was so juicy and without all the fried breading the flavor made quite the statement.

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Next, the Pearl with shrimp tempura, avocado, and crab topped with spicy tuna and sweet chili sauce is up. We also had a couple pieces of Kani Dungess crab to share.

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Next up was the Japanista– spicy crab, spicy tuna and kawaire with seared hamachi, cilantro and red jalapeno on top served with our hana and sweet chili sauce. YUM.

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And the best of all- St. Helen’s Volcano– whitefish, crab, scallops, shrimp and avocado baked with our volcano cream sauce, eel sauce and smoked bonito. It was flame. Literally.

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Jay, DJ, and I had been talking earlier that day about how we’d never been to Melting Pot. Jay surprised us by taking us here for dessert.

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The guys split a dish, and the gals split a dish. Y’all. How have I never had this magic before?!? My sweet tooth was terribly satisfied, and yet- I felt like I could have polished off a whole other plate. It was too dang good- the oreo crusted marshmallow and the brownies were my favorite.

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We parted ways with Jay and Carly (Jay’s girlfriend) after, excited to meet up again the next day. DJ and I headed to Departure, one of the restaurants in our hotel. We soaked up the views and just enjoyed one another’s company for a few minutes. It actually reminded us quite a bit of San Diego. We didn’t last long after getting up so early, so we headed to sleep fairly quickly.

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This was an unforgettable day. All the fun with great friends and great food- two of lives true treasures. Believe it or not there will be a part Three… one day probably next week, Haha. Y’all know I suck at blogging in a timely manner. Too late for new years resolutions (maybe I’ll just call it an early resolution and say I’m ahead of the game 😉 )?

Also- if you’ve ever been to Portland I’d love to hear your suggestions, favorite memories, anything at all!

xo <3

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