V. Sattui Winery & Labor Day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After I grabbed this adorable shot of them…

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Tried to get a selfie best we could haha

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After, we refueled with our avocado toasts per usual.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions for you!

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

xo <3

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The Famous Sleeping Bear Dunes. TC Part II!

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

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

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

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Aunt Terry with Stout, her Portuguese water dog <3

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Restin’ up for the dune climb, lol.

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The girlies in front of the dunes!!

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Here they are! *All heart eyes*

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They overlook serene Lake Michigan too

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Climb, climb, climb

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Hanging at the top of our first stop!

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

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

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

At the bottom!

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Cuties!

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Time to climb back up!!

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

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

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

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Momma bear and Pete

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

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

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

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

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They also had burgers that the others grabbed!

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

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

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Their backyard is gorgeous and they maintain it so beautifully!

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

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Had to snag a pic with my Grandpa. <3

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

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

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

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

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Happy Fam <3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And my favorite store in downtown…… Cherry Republic!

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

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

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

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

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

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I craveeee this stuff.

Also how cute are these?!

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#TRUTHBOMBS

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

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We split some avocado corn salad & perfectly cooked whitefish.

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Aunt Terry & Bocci boy!

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

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And this is Stout!

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

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

Question for you:

  • Do you say Pop or Soda?

xo <3

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Forth Worth, TX!

Happy Tuesday!!!! Boy, do I have a treat for you! I slowly have been recapping our travels on our cross country trip in between present day California updates. It’s like one of those super confusing movies where they flip back and forth between past and present, and sometimes you can’t figure out which one it is, ya feel? Anyways, after our amazing Hot Rolls experience in Ozark, MO, we headed south to the good ole’ state of Texas! My parents moved there a couple years ago. When I was planning our wedding last summer (2015), before my trip to India, I spent the entire month in Fort Worth. I just fell in love with the area. Everyone is incredibly friendly, and if anyone knows you are from out of town, you will get a big smile and a “Welcome to Texas!” guaranteed. The energy in the city is contagious. We wanted to stop and say hello to our parents before continuing on and we managed to squeeze a decent amount of activity in our twenty-four hour period!

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After a long day of driving, we arrived in the evening and definitely needed some R and R (can you tell?) No better place to relax than Mama’s back patio. She has it decorated so gosh-darn cute.

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When my family gets together (even if it’s a small get- together) it’s about guaranteed that there is going to be some kind of cocktail/appetizer hour followed by  dinner… AKA two dinners. For our apps we had baked brie with granny smith apple slices and sushi. It was a delicious, and I wish I had taken a picture! As usual, I gobbled it all up before the thought crossed my mind! Dinner consisted of delicious chicken (at least I heard it was delicious 😉 ), russet potatoes, and a vegetable platter from Texas Bleu. Look ya’ll, if you ever go to Fort Worth/Keller area, you MUST go to Texas Bleu. It is one of the best steakhouses of yo life!

We went to sleep pretty early on because we were whooped! The next day my mom and I started the day early by going to the local gym together. Lately she has really prioritized exercise and gets up most days before 5 am to go to the gym. (Go mom!) After exercising, we went to the local Farmer’s Market and tried watermelon juice from one of the cute little stands. It was insanely refreshing after that workout! We then went back to the house, picked up DJ and relaxed at the local watering hole (or Keller’s Recreational Pool). I haven’t gone into a lazy river in years. It was so nice to float around and around and chat about just anything and everything.We were so on-the-go that I hardly have any pictures of the first half of the day’s festivities!

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We got ready and hit the city!!! First we went to the Fort Worth Water Gardens. I have never been anywhere like this. This “downtown oasis” consists of uniquely architected structures that each have a specific characteristic. There was a wedding and a quinceanera going on while we were there. My mom thought it was especially fascinating, and she chased around the quinceanera group to get pictures. You would have thought she was one of the kid’s parents. No shame. She did end up getting her picture that she wanted so badly!

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Aren’t they the cutest?!
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Looks like we had the parental paparazzi on us!
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Pete likes to make fun of how we put our hands on our hips, the stinker
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For dinner we went to one of the BEST steakhouses ever (like I said-come to Texas for a great steakhouse!). While we waited, we hung out in their boutique. They had the cutest Texan turquoise purse I have ever seen, until I saw the price tag. That made it a little less cute!

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Here is what our selections looked like for dinner. *** All pictures from Reata’s website:

Appetizers:

  • Presenting the most incredible Bacon wrapped crab stuffed jalapeños. I don’t even eat meat, so I took off the bacon (some of you are cringing hearing me say that), and they were still TO.DIE.FOR. Truly one of the greatest things I have ever tried at a restaurant. The side of jalapeño cheddar grits will transform your meaning of “grits”, I promise!

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  • Fried Calamari with Cowboy Cocktail Sauce– Yes, it was as good as it sounds!

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Mains

  • The main course part of meals is incredibly stressful for me. It all looks so goooood! I can never decide on a main entree and usually end up ordering something, then changing it by the time everyone else has ordered. To help with this indecisiveness, my mom and I usually choose two meals we both think sound good and split them half-and-half. This time we split the Mahi-Mahi with Lobster Florentine (pictured below- no explanation needed) and the Jalapeno Cilantro Crusted Red Fish (hello, taste bud explosion!).

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  • The men each ordered the Pan Seared Crusted Tenderloin with Port Wine sauce. They said it was good, and I am willing to bet they ain’t lying!

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Sides

  • I require of you, if you go here, you MUST try the Bourbon Creamed Corn. it was one of my favorite parts of the whole meal! (Dip some of their corn bread in the creamed corn if you like all good things food).
  • Butter Roasted Mushrooms– Yes, I am currently drooling all over my laptop, how kind of you to notice.

Dessert

  • We couldn’t decide on one dessert, so naturally we ordered three. That’s normal, right?
  • First we tried the West Texas Pecan Pie. Can Pecan pie ever be bad? NO.
  • We then tried the banana pudding– it was “eh”. I’m not picky about desserts, if it has enough sugar than it really can’t be bad. This was just missing that banana punch, hate to say it.
  • However, we finished up with the Dutch Oven Apple Crisp with Cajeta. Not sure what Cajeta is, but I really like it!

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  • Next time we go, we all agreed we have to try their Chocolate Bread Pudding Tamale. I mean, just look at the things! We didn’t order them because the banana pudding sounded so light and tasty, but this is what the waiter recommended. There is your lesson for the day, boys and girls, always take the waiter’s recommendations!

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After dinner we walked around downtown Fort Worth for a while. I was surprised at how nice everything was. It did not feel like a downtown, but rather like a large scale suburban shopping center. For our evening entertainment, we went to Four Day Weekend Comedy Show. I love a good IMPROV show, and this one surpassed all expectations. The way this show works is the audience writes sentences or phrases on a piece of paper and place it on a board near the stage before the show starts. During the show they randomly pick off words/phrases and use them in their skits. It’s too much to handle. We were roaring.

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Well, we gave it our best effort

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We wrapped up the night by sight-seeing the rest of sparkling Downtown, sitting at a patio and enjoying the warm breeze while sipping on some light beverages, and debating wayy too long about what type of bush was planted next to our table. We then headed off to the Grand Canyon in the morning! More to come on that adventure!

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Wishing you the opportunity to try a bacon wrapped crab stuffed jalapeño,

xo <3

Mack

Let’s take it from the top

Beginning a blog is hard. I am not truly sure where to begin! So… let’s take it way back. DJ and I began dating the summer of my freshman year of high school and summer of his sophomore year. We became exclusive January 2010. Maybe one day I will blog about our journey. I believe with my whole heart that God led us to each other. Anyways, we finally got hitched last August (2015). We are coming up on one year and I reflect remembering the absolute best memories of my life. I am bursting with a thankful heart for this man and this first year. When DJ graduated from college I still had one year left to receive my nursing degree. He graciously stayed in a little town in Indiana with me while I received my BSN. He decided during that time that he would like to pursue law school. I do not remember specifically coming to the actual decision that “Yes- we are moving to California”. I think it was more of a general consensus that we both were down with taking on a new challenge, a new place, and a new life. This is full on cheese, but I sincerely feel I can face anything if I have him by my side. So here we are. Yes- it is new, crazy, foreign, and it is FUN. In a week of being here I have learned a ton. For example:

  •  In California (or at least the Bay area), you are green whether you wanna be or not. Good thing I am a recycling junkie. At stores they will charge you for bags, so you best bring your own. The first time we were at a cash register, and I realized everyone had bags but us, I said, “Oh no Hun, we forgot our bags again” to DJ. I think the cashier bought that, yes, we just simply forgot our bags, although we did not own a single one- and I think I’m a comedian. Also ALL bags are paper. But I’m cool wittt it.We did do a Bucca di Beppo order out and about fell on the floor when we received a plastic bag. No worries though: WE FINALLY HAVE BAGS! 
  • U-turns galore. Do not turn right on red before checking if someone is making a U-ey. Yep- we learned that from experience. By experience I mean headlights in your eyeballs type close calls. But we are alive and well and never actually got in a crash… yet.
  • Don’t drive from the hours of 8:00 am to 10:00 am. Or from 3:00 to 6:30 pm on the highways. You will regret it.
  • Want to start a company? Come to the promise land of start-ups. I am constantly thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?”- There is a great deal of diversity, and I love it. I am always fascinated by other cultures and have a desire to explore the unique aspects of each. People in the area are generally so friendly and courteous- even if you can’t understand what the other is saying. At least I think they are being friendly..
  •  In our area in Cupertino everyone is genius. Nope, I am not exaggerating. Everyone even sounds smart. You know what I mean? Like using the hardest SAT vocab words in everyday lingo. <— Note the fragment- I do not fit in. You just get this vibe that everyone is, I don’t know, about to do a Rubik’s cube with their eyes closed or on the brink of curing cancer. I walked by an apartment and I think a three-year-old was multiplying triple digits out loud. And here I am,  just trying to figure out how to assemble our TV console.*EYE ROLL*. Time to bring out my word of the day calendar.
    – Potatoes aren’t a thing here apparently?! For example- one night went to a vietnamese restaurant in Mountain View (which was AMAZING), and the waitress said the reason the peppercorn beef was her favorite dish was because of potatoes. We laughed so hard- that is such a midwest staple that the thought of it “making” the dish blew our minds.
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image**SIDE NOTE: If you have never had Vietnamese food, you need to. We went to a place called Xanh that we found on zomato. We ordered calamari, that peppercorn beef (WITH POTATOES!) for da hubs, and shrimp rolls for myself. Also a side of garlic noodles which I am convinced were shipped down from heaven. Good Lord, was it tasty. I should have taken pictures, but I was too darn hungry to think of that.

This is a few of the things I have experienced in my week and a half of living in Cupertino, CA. I love it. I have told DJ I have never been happier, more excited, or more elated about a stage of life and I mean it. Well, I better get back to that TV Console for now.

Wishing you lots of love, joy, and coffee.
<3 xo
Mack