All the Cheese Please!!!

Hey everyone! This past week was really solid- just an overall great week. Saturday the 29th, I woke up feeling much better. Still not 100% up to par, but overall better (at least I could move!). It was sooo nice to have DJ home; we just lazed around while I worked on a school project, and DJ worked on apps. The applications are going to be submitted soon- prayers would be greatly appreciated! This decision will affect where we live and just our trajectory in life in general. It’s a biggun’. I never really feel anxious about these “huge” life decisions anymore because God has proven so faithful time and time and time and time again- even things that seem terrifying end up being some of the greatest (and formative) adventures- taking us to people, experiences and places we couldn’t imagine our lives without.

Okay enough sap, time to get to the sub!

I have wanted to try a dutch crunch sammy for a long time… it’s a type of bread that is pretty famous in certain places around the Bay. One of DJ’s favorites is Ike’s! He’s had it several times at work, but I have never tried one before. We had one right down the road and since I wasn’t feeling up for making dinner we decided to head there and knock something off the BL.

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Doesn’t Deej make a cute Ike? Hahah.

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The menu is massive, and they have an abundance of vegan options (so you know I was terribly indecisive).  When we were ordering the cashier asked if I would like sourdough bread, DJ said my eyes got super wide, almost in horror, when I said, “Oh no! Dutch Crunch!”. He said it was the most dramatic bread order ever. He ribbed me about that for quite some time after, haha. Look, I’m serious about my dutch crunch!

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Since I was eager to get home and cozy up in my warm blankets, we decided to take our food back.

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And this is what the lovely dutch crunch looks like!

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I ordered the “Sometimes I’m a Vegetarian” (quite a mouthful, huh) which had grilled mushrooms, marinated artichoke hearts, pesto and vegan provolone.

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It was super yummy- I give the dutch crunch a big ole’ two thumbs up!

DJ ordered his go-to- the Menage a Trois- a popular sandwich here. This has BBQ Sauce, Cheddar, Halal Chicken, Honey Mustard, Pepper Jack, Real Honey, and Swiss.

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In the evening after getting some energy from Ike’s I decided I should try to get some fresh air after being cooped up for a couple days. I went for a short walk around the neighborhood, and saw this Lime scooter. These are everywhere right now. You can use an app on your phone, activate the scooter, ride it anywhere, then just leave it. Welcome to the Silicon Valley!

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In the morning of the 30th, I tried to get up early for church but still wasn’t 100% and we had big plans in the afternoon. DJ said to just sleep a little extra and that sleep made alll the difference. I chugged some vitamin C and echinacea, then got ready for the day. I had a slice of avocado when I woke up then we met back at the apartment around 11.

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Time to represent our home team!! Gooo CLE! DJ’s birthday is this weekend (October 6th), but to celebrate his birthday all he wanted was to go to this game. I gave him the tickets a couple weeks earlier to make sure he didn’t have to work this game day.

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Right before getting to the game at noon(ish), I ate a salad I packed for the road to save on the $15 stadium meals (and since we wanted to get dinner after) & packed a No Cow bar for midday snacking.

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We heeerreeee!

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The energy was just spectacular!!!

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NFL games are such a blast, and we loved every second (despite having a few hot/cold flashes & then witnessing the end when the Browns lost- womp womp). Happy early birthday, Deeeej!

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After the game we were starvin’. Since we were in Oakland, we realized we were close to a place we’ve been wanting to try- a famous mac and cheese spot called Homeroom. What better way to cope with a heartbreaking loss? We put ourselves on the Waitlist on YELP and hungrily headed to the restaurant.

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It’s set up with a school house feel- so cute with many small little touches.

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While DJ was standing in line for the bathroom I couldn’t help but entertain myself.

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And now— for some next level mac and cheese!!!

Like I said, we were hungry— so we ordered three. First, the Gilroy Garlic (with added breadcrumbs). Gilroy is a city near us that is known for their garlic. If you drive through the city you can actually smell the garlic! I couldn’t resist when I saw this on the menu, and it was my favorite of the three (especially after I lathered it with some hot sauce)!

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Next: The Jalapeno Popper! Gosh, this one was great too. This was DJ’s favorite. I loved the spice and flavor combo of this one. It was a close second.

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And last, the vegan mac and cheese. I will say- this is a tasty mac and cheese IF you haven’t tried the other two. It’s delicious in its own right- and definitely tastes like cheese- but it has nothing on the garlic and jalapeno.

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You are what you eat— and I am mac(k) & very cheesy #selfawareness. I know- It’s all a bit much to swallow, but also pretty darn grate. I couldn’t brielieve how delicious this meal was. No way you could feel blue after downing some of this goudaness.

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And for dessert- their large oreo!

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We returned home, did some laundry, and watched Dexter the rest of the evening. It’s getting to be a bit much! Season 6 is too disturbing- if it doesn’t settle down soon, we may need to find something else- I find myself covering my eyes and squirming through so much of the episode. I’m hoping it’s just this case they’re working on, we will see. But we just love our Dex! the struggle..

Anyways, it was just a wonderful day!

On Monday October 1st, I read & ran some then met up with my friend Kim from church at Peet’s in Campbell. This was the prettiest Peet’s I have ever been to!

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The rest of the day was more just study, study, discussion boards, papers, Monday night football, then Dancing with The Stars! (A nice thing about being on the West Coast is DJ’s football usually ends right about when the 8:00 pm shows start!). Fall TV is the bestttt.

Tuesday October 2nd, I had some Ezekiel cinnamon toast with toasted coconut vanilla yogurt, apricot, and chopped walnuts with coffee for breakfast.

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I went on a nice run outside and noticed these neighbors added a tree right in front of the street on Floral Row? I have walked this street a thousand times, and never noticed this— I’m 85% sure it’s new. It’s like the tree has a vase?! Lol.

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This house amazes me with their green thumb- every year they have butternut squash that start popping up.

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And the cute little peaches are appearing all over the place now too.

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I finished up some tough assignments for the week this day, so that felt great.

In the evenings of this week, DJ and I have been having a rotation of grilled cheese and tomato soup, stuffed sweet potatoes, and for me- a massive salad. Unfortunately, he is fighting the cold now too, and mine is lingering just a bit. Needless to say, this meal has been hitting the spot. I make mine vegan his with regular cheddar (I even snuck in some leftover mac and cheese one of the nights which added a fun flavor!) too much cheese? nah. Too many carbs? no such thing.

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Yesterday, the 3rd, we just were in work mode all day. I did make a pit stop to get some groceries at TJ’s and Sprouts.

Questions for you!

  • Favorite mac and cheese? (It can totally be homemade too 😉 ).
  • Have an NFL team you love?

xo <3

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An Emotional RoLleR-coAsTer of a Week and So.Many.Updates.

Hey guys! I hope you all had a wonderful and safe Halloween weekend and start to your week! This past week has had so much good with a side of a bit of bad.

Shall we?

Wednesday– I had a rough day. Ya know- one of those hump days- where Wednesday disguises itself as Monday. I couldn’t shake the cobwebs from my head and I felt like I was moving like a snail. Three cups of coffee and counting were NOT doing the trick.

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But once dinner rolled around I got to sample out another Blue Apron meal! If I am having a bad day, usually cooking and having a solid dinner can turn it around for the evening. 

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This was so simple. I think it’s probably the easiest meal I have made yet from this company, and I will definitely be recreating it. The homemade tartar sauce was too good, and I never knew endives could be so tasty?!

Wednesday after dinner we went to our first session of the Winter group meetings through the church. You all know how thankful I am for the people we have met through this church, and if you live in the Bay area and need somewhere to call home PLEASE contact me! God was tugging on my heart to share during one part of the discussion. I was NOT intending to “get deep” on the first night with mostly strangers. But naturally, like He always does, He pushed me out of my darn comfort zone. May I get an Amen?! I know this group is going to be such a blessing, it already is, and I can’t wait to see where it goes!

Thursday– Chores & Such. Totally necessary to waste your time by writing that- huh? OH, I did find out that I passed my nursing exam on this day and received my license in the mail! Thank you a million for all the sweet words on the last post. They seriously touched me <3 <3

Friday– I wanted to Fall. It. UP. Since I had been studying most of October, I didn’t get to go into full on fall mode besides eating massive amounts of candy corn. Which is fine, it’s probably the best part, but regardless, my pumpkin-laced-female-DNA was screaming “get yo self to a pumpkin patch!”

We started the day in San Pedro Square at the Farmer’s Market. I love Farmers’ markets, and every time we pass this one I say I want to go. Finally! I love all the fresh food, produce, unique gift ideas, and general atmosphere of a good Farmers’ market. This isn’t necessarily DJ’s idea of fun, but one of those things he will do with me because he knows it makes me happy. San Pedro Square is a happenin’ place and a foodie’s paradise. We wouldn’t know any foodies, now would we? 😉 DJ and I have exhausted Main Street Cupertino and Santana Row, so I think this will may be our new Friday Night date place for a while!

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That afternoon we saw a vibrantly contrasting rainbow against a gray backdrop outside the window of our apartment. I haven’t seen a rainbow in a while, so naturally, I had to snag a picture of it.

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We also headed to pickup our box springs for our bed for the master bedroom! It’s coming along! While we were waiting for the pickup we messed around on Snapchat.

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** Side note: DJ gave me permission to announce he is no longer doing law school. He was originally doing the JD-MBA combined track, but now is just sticking to the MBA which starts this Spring. I am truly proud of him for doing what he knows is best for him. Plus it means I get to see my man more often!

Friday night I got out all my pumpkin patch wiggles. This place had abounding options for the average pumpkin picker. There were pumpkins here like I have never seen before!

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Fun fact: My step dad’s name is Pete, and his best friend is Tom… Mom- can you show him this? I bet he will get a kick out of it. So cute, so corny. Had to share. I tried picture messaging it, but my service is  glitchy- as you know.

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Friday night we decided to take it easy. I whipped up some Blue Apron meals. For myself I had Roasted Acorn Squash with Couscous Salad and Dressed Pea shoots. This and the coconut curry catfish are my two favorite meals so far from Blue Apron.

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For DJ, I made the Spiced Pork Burgers with a “side” of coleslaw. The “side” took two leftover large Tupperware to fit it all. But I don’t mind- we love us some ‘slaw!

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After dinner I received a call from the credit card company that my purse had been found at the pumpkin patch. I went into full on panic mode. While carrying my pumpkin from the patch, I must have dropped my purse on the way out. I called the cell number of the people who had found it (and currently had it). They were the SWEETEST couple in the world. I thanked them profusely for their integrity and kindness. I heard a little, young voice in the background go, “Is that Mackenzieee?!”. “I want to talk to Mackenzieee!”. The mother put the cutest little girl on the phone and she innocently, but matter-of-factly, inquires, “Hi Mackenzie- why did you leave your purse at a pumpkin patch?” Through nearly previous tears I started laughing and replied, “Great question! I think I was just too excited to carry my pumpkin and get home to carve it, so I dropped it without noticing!”.

We planned on a public meeting spot (Peet’s because where else?!), and I ran out the door with DJ. We tried offering them compensation for their troubles, but they refused. They said they just wanted to do the right thing. Then the husband asked, surprising us, “Are you believers?”. We quickly exchanged information about which churches we attend and a bit more small talk. Then we parted, perhaps never to see them again (well not never again 😉 ). What started as a traumatizing, panic ridden moment turned into an heart-warming experience. I still have no idea what led them to ask us if we were also believers, but how stinking cool. She messaged me that night to let me know her sweet daughter had prayed that I wouldn’t leave my purse at the pumpkin patch next time! Lol.

After this crazy day, DJ and I decided one thing was necessary: Cookies.

Break and bakes to be specific: What is your favorite brand/type?!? DJ loves the Pillsbury Chocolate chip ones and I love the Pillsbury S’mores (but they are hard to find). I firmly believe in cooking 1 minute under the recommended cooking time. We decided to save the Pumpkin Carving for another day.

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DJ is the chocolate milk KING. Like he knowwws his chocolate milk. One time we had a blind taste test of about six different brands of milk. He nailed each one of them. He has a list of tiers on his phone where he rates the best of the best. Shamrock Farms is at the top! DJ probably would be embarrassed if he knew I wrote this… so quick read it before he makes me delete it!  Anyone else love a certain brand? Milk and cookie discussions are paramount to life.

NOW: Here is the meat and potatoes of this post!!!! To celebrate the NCLEX, I wanted to do something CRAYYY! So I looked up “Haunted places in the Bay area”. I don’t believe in “haunted”, but still in lieu of this time of year I thought this would just be interesting… I want to say “fun” or “festive”, but when you hear what happened to lead to this story, those words do not seem to fit. We contemplated touring the Winchester house, but I recently went through it, and it takes a while for the tour. We decided to save that for another time. I found a haunted road, Marsh Rd., and a haunted restaurant, The GrandView, that were within twenty minutes of one another. I made reservations at the restaurant and planned out so we would have enough time to explore the road.

Time for the spooOOooky stories:

Marsh Rd: “It’s become almost a rite of passage for Milpitas high school kids to seek out the ghost of murder victim Marcy Conrad, who was killed by her boyfriend on Marsh Road. Unlike the back stories of most urban legends, this murder was real and well-documented.” – SanJose.com

They actually had to close the road for a while because it was getting a bit out of hand with people going to the bridge and ravine where the ghost supposedly wanders.

While DJ and I were driving down this road, all we could talk about was how stunning the mountains and scenery were. It was probably one of the most charming places I have been since living in California. And yet, still it felt strangely unsettling. Now, knowing the background of the story and what actually occurred here, my heart was beating a tad faster than it should have been. I think the fact that we felt so isolated was what made the drive eerie more than anything. There was no one in sight. Nothing in sight. Then all of a sudden something stepped out into the road. My breath caught in my throat. A big pitbull-terrier mix type dog was giving us an ominous stare down with eyes outlined by dark circles. DJ slammed on the brakes, and we waited for it to get out the way. My breath started coming back to me slowly and my heart rate slowed. I calmed myself down. DJ laughed at my reaction, and we kept going, further and further down the road. Finally we came to the bridge and ravine… My stomach knotted thinking about the story surrounding this place. We turned the car around after taking a quick look around and began driving back up the road.

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As we drove back up the road, DJ made some quick remark about the puppy coming after us. As soon as he said this, the same dog ran out into the road again, way further along than where we originally saw the beast. He stopped and stared at us just like before with large, dark knowing eyes. I was like, “Ok that’s it, let’s get out of here!”

Next stop: GrandView Restaurant.

The GrandView: “The lights have been known to flicker or even come on by themselves at this restaurant, even when no one is in the building. Also, the ghost of a young girl has been reported standing on the balcony that looks out over Silicon Valley.” – Hauntedplaces.org

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Okay, despite the stories, and the alleged “haunting” of this venue, I felt like it was nothing but magical. Even the bartender that greeted us laughed at the notion of it being haunted. The view of Silicon Valley was ….. well even now… it’s leaving me speechless. We came at the perfect time to witness one of the most incredible sunsets. It was beyond romantic and DJ and I dined over delectable halibut and lobster carbonara. I probably do not even need to describe the flavor. Ya’ll need to come and experience it yourself.

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I felt like we were dining in heaven. It was surreal. I could not have imagined celebrating any differently. Also–I begin applying for jobs next week- YEEK! 🙂

Sunday was a bit of a whirlwind, in the best way! We have have begun volunteering at church in the mornings, so we get there around 7:15 (DJ) and 8:00 (myself). It has only enhanced my whole feeling of belonging, relationship with Christ, and perspective of the body of Christ. Right before the first service, I received a message from a friend I went to college with. DJ and I have been wanting to get together him and his wife for a while, and I suggested they come to our church sometime. They have plans to move back to Indiana, but I recommended they swing before they did! Sure enough, they said they were on their way for the 11:30 service! I was both shocked that they were coming, but also thrilled. They drove two hours to us from Modesto and we grabbed lunch at the Farmer’s Union together afterwards. It was fantastic to catch up with them and see how God is moving in their lives. They said they felt like the message was tailored for them- it even led them to make some pretty big life decisions.

Because my blog tends to just run on food fuel as much as we do, and this post is a lengthy one, it needs a snack! A smoked Mozzarella & Cabbage Pizza with a Romaine and Apple Salad should do the trick… (And ya’ll didn’t think I could get any dorkier).

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Monday was a SAD day. DJ gently woke me up to tell me that our dear, beloved Spanky had died. Guys- I was a mess. I loved that freaking fish so much. And it was just a fish?! How could such a little guy take up such a big piece of my heart?! DJ was also certainly upset himself. We were both pretty down the entire day. Cyranny certainly helped me feel better with her helpful blog counseling, hehe. She is a GEM. Anyway, we just kept busy, as you will see. We don’t have any idea how this happened, but we hypothesize it had to do with the water. We followed what the people at the pet store told us to a T, but I think they very clearly missed some instructions (no I’m not pointing the finger, OK maybe I am, I am a mother in mourning!). When we looked online they said they should have at least a 5 gallon tank, it should be 1/3rd original water, and it should be 78-82 degrees. They told us it was fine with the tank I bought and recommended to keep the water at room temp.

Our other guess precipitating the tragic event is Clinton or Trump took him out because they caught onto our #SpankyTomforPresident hashtag. I don’t know which it was, but gosh dangggg it was rough. People with beta fish- care to share some tips?! Anyways, I was going to do an update post about Spanky- how he was becoming more brave and spending less time in his barrel, how he loved me more than DJ (but DJ says Spanky was warming up to him), how we joked that he was too good for us….Perhaps he was and that’s why he went to fishy heaven.

We may get another in the future… but for now.. we are certainly not emotionally ready </3. (yes, I have a fancy for the melodramatic).

Naturally, I did what any normal girl would do to feel better: Retail therapy. Usually I don’t care for shopping all that much, only when the shopping bug really bites, but I always loooove thrifting. I went to a thrift store on Monday and went in for sweaters, but came out instead with this gem. I actually do not have a big purse, so this was great and had a Kate Spade-esque look to it! It was only $22 and it’s a Kenneth Cole Reaction. I think that’s a good deal?! I know I have some fashionistas out there- is this a good deal?

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Had to share this beet hummus because it’s super unique and you just can’t beet it!

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Once again, I attempted my pumpkin cheesecake with an oatmeal crust. I seriously love it, but it’s not quite perfect yet to share. No worries- third time is a charm. I am determined to per-fect this little boogar. I also plan on making my Pumpkin French Toast this weekend- and so stay posted for that sometime next week!

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Monday night DJ and I decided to carve pumpkins. Keeping with theme of the night, I made a pumpkin pie. *The crowd all groans*.

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I also tribed, I mean tried, my hand at chief Wahoo. Please don’t remind me how that one ended 🙁

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DJ’s pumpkin was being stubborn. We won’t talk about it. 😉

Pumpkin seeds are always a must. I made cinnamon sugar, ranch, barbecue, and plain salt and pepper.

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Tuesday morning I went running on my favorite trail- San Antonio Open Preserve. Due to the recent rainfall in this area, Thank Jesus, the trails have such whimsical beauty about them. Moss climbs the trees, the rivers are purring again, and the dampness of the mud adds a little spring to each step. It was an incredible run. Each breath was deliciously filled with the taste of nature and it reminded me greatly of Ohio.

Ohio:

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California:

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Tuesday night I whipped up a grilled cheese with mild cheddar&muenster cheese for DJ with tomato soup and cilantro (I try to make things “normal” but it’s just so hard when there are so many herbs- OK?!), and then I made a giant garden salad for myself to finish up the produce.

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Today (Wednesday), I met with a friend for Lunch and we had the MOST wonderful conversation. Later, DJ and I watched the game with the fam. 🙁 🙁 :(. If you are a Cubs fan, I am glad that billy goat curse is broken, just not at our expense!

Also- did you guys see that tweet?

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Like come on. That’s freaking crazy. We were losing our minds over it!!!! It predicted exactly what happened… Minus the apocalypse. Lol.

On another note, it’s November already- can you believe it?! We have family coming in town tomorrow, and we are PUMPED!!!! Hope you all are doing so well. I’m thankful for this community and although I began this blog to update fam and friends and have a place to write down our memories, I treasure each one of you here and the friendships that are forming along the way <3

Wishing you a weekend CARVED with joy

xo <3

Mack