Plants & Face-Plants.

Hey guys!!! I just finished up food prepping for work and am sitting back eating my usual giant summer salad. I’m pretty excited to write this update because there have been some fun happenins the last couple weeks.

April 21st I headed back to work. I forgot my lunch *sad face*, but discovered this gem in our hospital cafeteria instead. I always pack my lunch because we barely have time for our breaks so running to the cafeteria and back doesn’t make sense… plus it’s wayy more cost effective to pack. Anyway, this little gem is from Urban Remedy. Oh me oh my, so delish! If you see this out and about, snatch one! This bowl had quinoa, roasted sweet potatoe, cumin, himalayan pink salt, chickpea croutons, pumpkin seeds, and beets with tahini dressing. Lemme tell ya, a nurses lunch break is the most sacred, best part of the day (if they get it). Haha.

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April 23rd was a little “sandwich” day (a day off shift between a stretch of shifts), so basically my day consisted of sleeping and snacking.

DJ and I have been using Freshly to fill in a couple meals here with the couple codes they have for the first couple boxes. They have a southwestern bowl that I like combining with other foods- this combo was mmm mmm goood. I’m really feeling a quinoa kick lately. It just goes with everything!

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Also, from TJ’s I have started getting pickled beets and dolmas that I love combining with hummus and tofu and a slice of Dave’s Killer bread. The combo itself is killer 😉

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In the afternoon I went on a nice little jog to soak up some beautiful sun & blooms.

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The other kick I’m on is a purple sweet potato stuffed with avocado and Fage yogurt topped with cumin, paprika, Himalayan salt, and cayenne.

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After working the 24th, I came home starvin’ marvin’. I decided to whip up a makeshift pizza with the ingredients we had since all the pizza shops were closed. I made “naan” pizza with tandoori naan, tomato basil pasta sauce, sautéed veggies, and red pepper flakes (with of course some ranch… anyone else like ranch with their za?). My midwest is showing…

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And finally…. a moment to breathe for a bit on April 25th! I slept in and spent the morning cleaning up, catching up on emails, getting requirements done for grad school, yadayadayada. In the afternoon I had garlic and herb shrimp from Freshly over kale.

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On April 26th, I met up with my friend from work, Alexandra, for coffee at Voyager Craft Coffee in San Jose.

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Such an interesting place! I’m surprised I haven’t been here before now.

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The coffee and conversation were fantastic. I’ll definitely be back here for a pick-me-up!

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The sweet potato combo made another debut that afternoon.

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April 27th I woke up early and jogged my standard route and took note at how every single time I run there seem to be new flowers in bloom!

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I spent the day meal prepping again, and then had my standard massive salad for dinner. (carrots/bean burger/hummus/onions/mushrooms/power blend greens/avocado with green goddess dressing).

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The weekend at work was rough, rough, rough. Usually weekends are a respite from the craziness, but for some reason this one was ruthless. Needless to say, I was excited a couple days off. April 30th, I woke up with a twist on my sweet potato creation and instead did put yogurt & avocado over a rice cake.

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The rest of the day was spent getting Mother’s Day gifts, perusing the shops in Los Gatos, & making a bucket list for places to visit, hike, and eat in SF! I am determined to knock a bunch out this summer.

May 1st (how is it May already?!) I met my friend, Kim, at Cafe San Jose for brunchy food. Kim is also a nurse so it’s always a big breath of fresh air talking to someone who just “gets it”, ya know?

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This place is quite eclectic!

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I’ve been wanting to try this breakfast joint for foreeveeer. It had the best Yelp ratings and lived up to, no no surpassssed, the hype.

To start, I ordered an egg white veggie omelette… and oh. my. goodness…. this was the largest omelette I have ever seen. IT WAS HUGE (wait until you see it relative to the rest of the food in a couple pics).

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I also had read that trying their Swedish pancakes with ligonberry was a must. And I saw why… this was perfectly, perfectly cooked. The pancake was light, the buttery and fruity flavor tremendous…. one of the best breakfast morsels of all time. I am taking DJ back here ASAP to try this dish.

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In the afternoon I went for a nice long run.

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In the evening I made a Blue Apron meal- Mexico City Chicken Tinga Tostadas. DJ loved them! Can never go wrong with a Blue Apron meal (although I tend to make quite a mess when cooking up a storm).

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May 2nd was the last day off before another stretch of days. The day before going back to work I tend to get pretty down and feel anxious the whole day. (Sunday Scaries some might say…. but it could be any day of the week with a nursing schedule). I usually just meal prep and try to stay preoccupied with cleaning and what not. This day I was feeling extra anxious after such a horrible weekend….I had to do something to get me out of my funk, so I pulled out my SF Bucket List and tried to find something I could knock out in a couple hours. I decided to put the food prep on hold and get myself heck out of the house.

I got in my car, made sure I had enough gas in the tank, opened the sun-roof, rolled down the windows, blasted music teenage style and drove into the city.

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First stop was Twin Peaks. This overlook promises the best views of SF.

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After driving up a winding road, I parked with no problem (which is rare in SF) at the bottom of one of the peaks (there are two next to each other- hence twin peaks).

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It was FREEZING up there and so windy. I thought I was going to fly off the peak, lol. I held onto my hat and made the trek up the stairs.

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It was worth it. It provided a 360 degree view from the top. (and provided sub zero degree temps!) (Ok that’s dramatic, but it was chilly chilly!).

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After appreciating the majesty of the peaks, I headed to my next spot: The Sutro Baths.

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I didn’t think I’d been to the Sutro Baths before, but I actually had… with my friend Annie! There is a fascinating history behind them you can read here. They are situated right next to Lands End, one of my all time favorite hiking spots.

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I popped in my headphones and listened to a podcast while making the SF oasis my playground.

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In this moment when I took this picture, I embraced the warm sun beating down, had this view in front of me, and took a deep breath. I felt peace, just peace. The anxiety of going back to work dissipated for this brief moment in time.

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I came back home, feeling much refreshed, and food prepped with whatever groceries we had leftover. I made a stuffed sweet potato with leftover southwestern bowl and cottage cheese from breakfast at Cafe San Jose.

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I also prepped the second half my omelette with cottage cheese, southwestern bowl, and avocado.

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The next couple work days went well. I needed a bit of a break from the insanity that had been my last few shifts.

And this brings us to May 5th… you know what that means!! CINCO DE MAYO!!! I love an excuse for Mexican food. Can I get an Amen?!

I went on an easy run early in the morning, but suffered a nice little fall. I tripped literally over my own two feet. I fall far too often when I run. Unfortunately, this was not going to be my last tumble for the weekend…. stay tuned…

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I quickly forgot about the horrible fall as I got ready to hang out with two of my favorite people- Amy, DJ’s twin and my friend Sara y’all may remember from several blog posts.

We decided to go to Aqui, basically a Cal-Mex Panera. We had Aqui-perfected Mexican eats and drinks, awesome conversation, and plenty of laughs.

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Their veggie quesadillas were by far my favorite dish I’ve had there (which says a lot because I love all their dishes).

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When we caught the Cavs game on a TV in the restaurant, we glued ourself to the game for the last few minutes. When Lebron made that game winning shot, Amy and I did not hide our excitement. Have to represent the CLE in the CA! GOOO CAVS!

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After an unforgettable time, we went to Target to pick up sweets and went back to our apartment to watch The Sinner to wrap up the evening (woah, this show is twisted, but I love it. It’s giving off major Girl on the Train vibes).

Sunday, May 6th, I woke up bright and early to run a half marathon with Coastal Trail Runs, this one was called the Horseshoe Lake Trail Run. I ran a Coastal Train run last year and it was extraordinarily challenging because you run up a mountain essentially. I love them though because they are a great way to get some phenomenal views and have a nice long run on trails I would never dare to go on my own.

I LOVE races. Nothing puts me in a better mood. The look of pure excited anticipation.

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Now, I have to say…before the race I did think I was going to get murdered. I went on an emotional marathon before the race even began. The GPS took me up a tortuous road on a random mountain. Upon the Alexa-wannabe GPS robo-lady announcing, “you have arrived”, I found myself in the middle of nowhere. No other cars, people, or gu stations were in sight. I didn’t know what to do, especially because I didn’t have cell service.

Finally, a car slowly approached my isolated destination and I could make out a mid thirties guy with a neon shirt on, snacking on what looked like trailmix- I put my bet on the fact that he was a runner. I mean I had to be close to the start, right? I waved him down from my driver’s side and he rolled his window down. I asked if he was going to the race. In a British accent, he confirmed he was and told me to follow him but warned me the following road was treacherous. We started on a dirt road that was narrow, and I’m pretty confident would not allow two cars going in both directions. What if another car comes? I thought to myself. One wrong move, you are over the mountain. After ten minutes I found myself deeper and deeper into the mountain, the fog thickening, and my personal plot thickening. Christmas tree farms were on either side, with their Christmas decor still on full display. The smiling dirt dusted snowmen didn’t fill me with joy, but rather terror. This was the stuff of horror films.

At this point I was confident that this man was just leading my back to some obscure location to be murdered. I tried calling DJ, but the call immediately dropped. I didn’t know what to do, then he finally pulled over to the side of the road. I barely cracked my window as he got out of his car and ran back to me. He said, “You should be OK now, just take this road straight for another 20 minutes, I’m going to step on it so I’m not late”.

Another 20 minutes?! It was already 7:20…. the race started at 8:00. What the….. ? I thanked him, and he took off and left me literally in the dust. I drove at a more legal speed down the road, and finally, at 7:50 arrived at Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve, the starting point. They may want to update their online directions. Baha.

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After racing to the porta-potties, I sprinted to the start as the gun went off.

The race was horribly bottle-necked for the first couple miles, but evened out after a bit. I was awe-struck by the views, worth the 1800 feet ascent.

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I did have another fall at about mile 9. Whoooops! I can’t seem to stay on my own two feet. At the finish as DJ greeted me with a big hug, he just said, “Again?!” as he surveyed my dirt covered face, hands, and knees. Lol.

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And the best part of races….. the post race snacks!

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When I say I ate dirt, I literally ate dirt. I caught my body with my face. Haha.. I knocked the wind out of myself, so my chest still kinda hurts when I cough or turn in weird directions too. I find the whole thing pretty hilarious. Before this weekend I had gone quite a while without falling, so I was due for a good tumble.

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**WARNING: Graphic image to follow**

My knee is struggling though for sure…. not sure how I’m gonna be on it for 12 hours tomorrow.

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I ended up in 4th in my age group. After the race, DJ and I headed to Bill’s Cafe (our favorite), that now has a location within walking distance of our apartment. WOOHOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

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I had a massive breakfast of my go-to French Garden omelette and a Bill’s Mimosa.

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DJ had their scrumptious crab Benedict. (Their home-fries and potatoes are the besttttt around too).

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Last evening, we headed to DJ’s family’s for some yummy grilled food & great chats. We also started a documentary called Wild Wild Country on Netflix. It’s already super fascinating after one episode. Has anyone watched it?!? Thanks for hanging in there for this looooooong post. How are you?!

xo <3

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Filling in the Gaps…

Hellllo and how the heck are ya?  I have a few fun little nuggets I really want to log from before and after the vacay. Let’s go way back.

When I say we’re going back, I mean.. we going wayyy-ay-ay-ay back.

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**Warning**- this post is pretty sappy & reflective. It’s more a journaling time for me, but you are more than welcome into my thoughts & stream of consciousness!

On March 16th, I received the most delish & yummy chocolate covered strawberries from my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew for graduation. I miss them all too stinking much. My sibs don’t always pop up in the blog as much as I wish simply because we are an entire coast apart… but I just want to mention how thankful I am for them. I especially hate being this far away from my niece and nephew. One of my main priorities this summer is making a trip to see them. <3

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On March 19th after working a few rough days, I was running outside and had a moment. One of those moments where you reminisce and are overcome with reflection. This flower below literally stopped me in my tracks.

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Why? Because the last time I saw this flower I was facing some seriously significant obstacles. I was in a tumultuous place emotionally, and I had nearly an entire year of challenges in my wake. I was defeated and nearly about to give up, although I was fighting tooth and nail to stay positive. I saw this flower, and with a rush of memories & emotions I was reminded of what exactly I had overcome. Seeing this flower felt more official than graduation in affirming that I made it through, but not on my own. It was God’s reminder and promise fulfilled that He would carry me through, that in His power we can do all things (Philippians 4:13). The same flower is blooming again. As cheesy as it is, this flower represents to me my personal growth & blooming in this beautiful, terrifying, wonderful career. As I stated in this post  where I saw this flower for the first time, “I need this stage to blossom”. God’s creation is a powerful thing <3

On March 21st, I presented our neurosurgical research for the last time. The research council seemed to love it. They even said maybe we could stay in touch moving forward!

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The rest of the week was work, work, work, work, work.

On March 24th, DJ and I saw DJ’s younger sister perform in the ultimate cheer competition! She is growing up far too fast for my liking, but it’s such a joy to watch her! She is incredibly talented, and I am amazed at her poise. (She is at the top of the group in the picture below). Ohhhh, and they won NATIONALS! YES, nationals! After this competition we had the most incredible dinner at LB Steakhouse with the fam after. <3 (Saturdays that we can get everyone together are rare, so this night will always be treasured!). (PS. Their bread popovers are what dreams are made of!).

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I know I’ve said it before, but one of the greatest blessings I have experienced in this life is DJ & DJ’s family. I think about often how I don’t know why God thought I was worthy enough to have not only the perfect husband for me, but also the greatest family. It made a bit more sense this year, because I think God knew I needed them. The encouragement from DJ & his parents and their unwavering faith in me is part of the reason I made it. I wouldn’t have even applied for this residency program in the first place if my Dad-in-law hadn’t suggested it. I didn’t think I stood a chance at getting in the program, but seeing his confidence in me, coming from one of the men I respect the most, gave me that motivation to even fill out an application. <3 I think all the time about how that one simple conversation with him changed the trajectory of my life and opened up doors that I didn’t even know existed.

Beginning March 25th kicked off my PTO streak for my full two week vacation! After Church we went to another couple’s house that lives nearby for salmon & to hangout. Mmmm mmm!

The rest of the week I basically spent getting ready for the cruise, running errands, cleaning, packing, and making sure Deej had food available. (I also ordered Freshly! I will do more of a thorough review in the future- but we LOVED it. We are still using up our promo codes, but the price for the ease of making such nutrilicious foods makes it worth it thus far!!!!).

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Is running errands anyone else’s happy place? I just relish in facing the day with a to-do list and knocking out everything with head to toe athleisure, headphones in, and podcast on.

Monday night of March 26th, I whipped up one of our favorite, easy, but tasty meals of scallops with cojita corn & brown rice.

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March 27th was a monumental day. Not only was it my beautiful Momma’s birthday, but I found out that I was accepted into Duke’s DNP program!!!! Previously, I knew I was accepted into the Masters program, but the DNP was a pipe dream in my mind. I cried when I saw the acceptance update on my profile and re-read it about ten times before finally calling DJ. Here’s to the next 3.5 years of studying & the academia grind. I start in August 🙂 I still can’t believe it, I don’t know if it’s sunk in yet!

During the day on March 28th, I had my hair brightened up a bit at Limon Salon! I just missed the bright blondeWhen I get my hair done, I like to get the Olaplex treatment. It has hands down made a mighty difference in keeping my hair healthy and my blonde bright. Hair treatments can be ridiculously damaging, but this mitigates the harm.

The night of March 28th, I was FINALLY able to see DJ play basketball! I usually have to work the next day or am working the nights he has games so I haven’t been able to make any. It was a blast seeing him do his thang (number 88)!

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These team names crack me up. Deej is with the Enginerds. Unfortunately, one of the players tore his achilles tendon during the game, so they continued to play 4 on 5. But they held their own!

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And- can you believe it- on March 29th, I actually got my nails done?! (Not just the Walgreens glue-on ones, haha). DJ said they were “aggressive”. LOL. I cannot remember the last time I had my nails done- I think maybe for Clair’s wedding, but even then it was a light polish because I had to go straight back to work. I think before that it had been a year, right before starting nursing!

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The evening of March 29th, DJ and I did an impromptu date night! We strolled through whole foods and grabbed some grub from their deli. Whole foods selections are ahhh-mazing. It’s the ultimate Sophie’s choice for the indecisive veg-heads.

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I also LOVE their olive bar. It’s the most massive olive bar I have ever seen. *Heart eyes on heart eyes*

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I made a massive salad which basically included every item from the cold bar (and some from the hot bar), and DJ tried dosa!

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Dosa is a southern Indian dish. Think a light fluffy crepe usually stuffed with potato and served with different chutneys. I joke that I knew DJ was the one when he was willing to partake in Indian cuisine with me 😉

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Then I jotted in the AM for the airport!!! That brings us to my last three travels posts from March 30th to April 5th! (Isn’t it crazy how much can happen in a few days?!)

Part One . Part TwoPart Three.

Annnd heading to the airport is where I left off in Part Three. We had a bit of a sad mishap with the airport. To get from the boat to the airport, Rach and I took a Lyft. We were taking two separate airlines out so we had to be dropped off at different spots. We agreed we would meet back inside after going through our siloed security stations. Once we both made it through we texted each other to figure out where the other was…. welll …. turns out we were in entirely different terminals and BUILDINGS. We were so sad we didn’t get to hangout those next few hours together and never actually said goodbye. 🙁 Good thing I’ll be seeing her in a couple months for a wedding, but it was too sad. We just kept texting each other and sending pictures (keep scrolling) of what we decided on for lunch since we weren’t actually together to have lunch. Wahhhhhhhhh.

I parked it at a PJ’s Coffee and read my book to pass some time. PJ’s was pretty delish, but still not my Peet’s <3

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For lunch I decided on one last hurrah for a NOLA meal at Ye Olde College Inn. I was craving some comfort food as our trip was at an end, and I was isolated from my best friend by a gosh darn wall.

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I pulled out my book, enjoyed the live jazz they had playing and ordered some gulf fish & smoked gouda grits (FANTASTIC!).

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I just read my book while savoring every bite.

The flight back was the scariest flight I have ever been on. There was an insane amount of turbulence, I really did think we were going down several times. I don’t think I’ve ever shed turbulence tears, but they were streaming this time. I love flying, but I can definitely get anxious when things aren’t smooth sailing, or smooth flying if you will. I couldn’t wait to get my feet back on the ground.

When I saw DJ pull up to the curb to pick me up from the airport I felt like I could finally take a sigh of relief. We headed to one of our favorites- Stein’s– for dinner. We had our two favorites, the quinoa butternut squash salad for me and the fried chicken sliders for Deej.

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We munched away while I told DJ every exhaustive detail of the trip and every. single. picture. He has the patience of a saint.

On April 6th & 7th I slept until the cows came home and then did laundry from the trip. I had a hankerin’ for Thai Food on Saturday evening. We ordered from Amarin Thai in San Jose. I actually had to reorder from Olarn (my go-to Thai place about a minute away), because my curry tasted thairrible. I’m refraining from going on a thairaid about it… I’m not picky, but I truly couldn’t eat it. I will say their Roti was the best roti I’ve ever had though, I’ll give them that.

DJ said their Pad Thai was fine (at least it was edible). I ended up getting the Red Curry from Olarn, a thaid and true <3 <3 <3.

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Stop with the thai puns you say?! I’ll thai.

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On April 8th, we attended a lovely Sunday Service then I ran errands in the afternoon to get ready for the work week. I have a funny story for y’all. So when my mom visited for graduation she ordered a sampler platter and brought back the leftovers to help me out with some food prep for the week! When I tried “Oren’s Eggplant” I had a moment of, “this is maybe one of the tastiest things I have ever had in my life”. I texted my mom, “Are you sure this is vegetarian? It is so savory!”. She was pretty sure the menu didn’t mention meat. I was curious what made it so good so I looked it up online and it listed, a puree of fried eggplant, spices, caramelized onion, and hard boiled egg. Well naturally, anything fried, with egg, and caramelized onion is going to be phenomenal. So this Sunday when I returned home, I decided to grab hummus, baba-ganoush, Oren’s eggplant, and pita for the week!

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After eating it for about a week, I looked at the list of ingredients on the label for the first time, noting their was more there than the menu had. What else was in it? Chicken fat. LOL. I had accidentally been eating meat for a week. I’m really holding down this pescatarian life well.

April 9th it was time to go back to work. I was terrified to go back. I usually get anxious after three days being away, so after having two weeks off my heart was racing out of my chest. It all went just fine and I did not forget how to be a nurse in just two weeks. Haha.

April 10th, I took a nice long run outside and soaked up alllll the beautiful blooms!

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Thursday April 12th, I went to Opening Night for the SJ Giants! DJ has been working  hard in the off season, and I was excited to be there for the big opening day!

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I just love these games. I couldn’t find anyone to go with, but I definitely don’t mind going on my own. The environment is jovial as can me, nothing beats stadium food, and it was exciting to see all of Deej’s diligent work come to fruition!

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When waiting in line at Turkey Mike’s for a veggie burger, two gentlemen in front of me asked me if I liked pickles. I was a bit taken aback, and a bit unsure of how to respond to this random inquiry. They explained that they are one of the sponsors and they were selling their pickles at the cash register. Bahaha. When cashing out they bought me one. So, if y’all go to a SJ Giants game, keep an eye out for the Buck’s Vineyard pickles. (maybe the weirdest paragraph ever written on my blog?!).

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This is where my loyalty lies: GORDON BIERSCH GARLIC FRIES.

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I may have gone a bit overboard on the food, but I ran eleven miles earlier and was ravenous! (The pickle was okay– I’m a salt fanatic and it wasn’t salty enough for me. I’ll stick to my Vlasic. Sorry, Buck’s!).

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I plopped down with my food, bundled up in a winter jacket (It was FREEEZING that evening), and contentedly sat back to watch the game. Literally, no one was sitting by me. I was laughing at how hilarious this whole situation much have looked. Just a girl alone, eating her garlic fries, cheering her favorite team on. (The guy speaking in the background of the video reflects my sentiment). “Here we are! We made it!”

I didn’t last the whole game because my Raynaud’s started acting up, and I couldn’t feel my toes. I and my numb feet ran over to give DJ a hug goodbye and then warmed up back home.

We both worked all through the weekend. Now that the season has started DJ and I are a bit of ships passing in the night again. I don’t think I’ve seen him for about three days now. But we soak up the little time we do have together! Our date nights are sporadic and often last minute, but we grab them when we can.

Last Monday the night of April 16th, I made us pizzas, and Amy’s Margherita Pizza (One of DJ’s favorites) and I tried the Cauliflower pizza, which I loved and included in a Friday Faves!

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On April 17th, Deej and I had an impromptu date night! WOOT WOOT!

We hit up Historic Murphy Avenue in Sunnyvale for some good Mexican Grub. We just adore this strip, but haven’t made it over much lately. The last time we were here was March 2017 for St. Patrick’s Day!

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We hit Roberto’s Cantina for the best veggie fajitas and beef tacos!

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On April 18th, I hit up Trader Joe’s to meal prep and stock up on some fun new eats for the week!

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I sauteed veggies & Tofu to make stuffed purple sweet potatoes with hummus for lunches.

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And here’s what the lunches and snacks for the next couple days looked like.

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I worked on the 19th and 20th with a couple emotionally strenuous shifts.. But now I am sitting here being a lazy bum, thoroughly enjoying finishing up this blog post sipping my cups of coffee. I go back tomorrow, and only have today off. DJ is doing a seven day home stand, hence we haven’t seen each other since our date night and probably won’t see one another again until next week. Tis’ the baseball season. I’m beyond proud of him though. His creativity in his role amazes me & he is one of the hardest working individuals I know. Well, this post was obnoxiously long, but at least my OCD side feels like I am now caught up. Have a fabulous week everyone!

xo <3

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