Buns, Dumplin’s & Blooms

Hey hey!! How’s it shakin’? I am a touch behind on these updates (what is new?)… but I have a pretty chill weekend where I hope to sit on our balcony with lots of coffee and catch up! Currently I am eating a yogurt with matcha powder, granola, & chocolate chips — mmmm. I can’t wait to share this in a few posts.

This post includes highlights (mostly foodie highlights) from in between studying, work, house chores and watching Ozark in the evening, of course! We only have a couple episodes left in the second season- then I think we are going to start the OA!

Okay, jumping right in- I am trying to use up as many of our “dried goods” items so that we don’t have to take them with us on our move. So, on March 28th, I made fresh spring rolls with rice paper, tofu, sautéed veggies, and fresh cabbage mix.

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I made some homemade peanut sauce with PB2, a touch of soy, and topped with a sprinkle of ginger.

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On March 29th, right before dinner I went on a walk enjoying all Spring has to offer.

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In the evening I made pasta for DJ with different cheeses and pizza sauce we had leftover, topped with parm. Pizza sauce is not quite as good as different marinaras we usually use, but still worked!

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I was craving my rice/fish/roasted veggie combo. This kick is definitely still going strong. Since we are out of Arizona’s Heat sauce I’ve just been using brown mustard- still a great fixin’ for the dish.

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DJ has been making himself overnight oats for breakfast most days, but whenever he runs out make him a standard breakfast of eggs/bacon/toast.

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Below are some pics from my morning walk on March 30th. Usually I use walks as a study break to clear my head, but on Saturdays I like to start my day with them.

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I was notified on Instagram that I won a giveaway for vouchers to Hotel Valencia’s restaurant on Santana Row. I have never been into the actual hotel although I’ve passed it countless times.

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When I went to pick up the vouchers I was blown away by the beauty of the hotel’s interior/restaurant! It overlooks San Jose, and the way it is decorated is just stunning. I am saving these vouchers for when my sister visits, so I’ll be sure to snap pictures then.

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In the evening I was in the mood to cook & try something new. I looked at what we had and decided on Caprese chicken. This was chicken stuffed with buffalo mozzarella & marinated sundried tomatoes from TJ’s.

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I then topped with breadcrumbs and put in the oven. Easy Peasy!

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I decided to roast up some multicolored potatoes and garlic green beans to accompany the dish.

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Oh, and a slice of garlic toast too!

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For myself I made rice, green beans, and tilapia. I also had a bowl of the potatoes. Mmmm mm!

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Sunday March 31st, we woke up early pearly for Church. It was a radiant morning.

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At church they had a build your own yogurt bar & donuts galore!

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After church I worked on school assignments all day then met up with Amy in the City for dinner at Dumpling Time. I love going to the City on Sundays- the traffic is so light & parking is FREE!

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I loved the feel of the restaurant. When going back through my photos I couldn’t help but giggle that this girl was doing the same thing as the people on the screen without even knowing it.

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The whole restaurant had a modern twist on traditional asian cuisine. We decided diet coke sounded so good for some reason. I rarely ever have on anymore, but gosh- it was a refreshing treat and served with the most adorable paper straw.

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As you can tell from these pics, the lighting was subpar. Below are the pork bao buns- one of Amy’s favorites.

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I was peering envyingly at the other side of the restaurant where natural lighting was pouring in. I’m not even kidding- we were sitting in the darkest corner possible.

So what did I do? Did I let social faux pas and normal etiquette stop me from literally walking to the front of the restaurant to get a picture of each dish? Heck to the no! Bring on the questioning stares, the raised eyebrows, and the confused waitress who tried to stop me from taking the dishes out the door (I promised her I was only going to the front to snap a photo of the gems, not to kidnap them- she then smiled and acquiesced- clearly, I’m not the first “food blogger” to have stepped in here). PS. Amy was an absolute trooper, and cheered me on through my whole shameless display.

So, on with the pics, ya?! First up we have their giant soup dumpling called King-Dum. This dumpling is so large it is served with a straw. Truly, exstrawordinary.

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Although I didn’t eat the pork inside, I tried the soup part (so good) and the actual dumpling. It was a treat! If you like pork soup dumplings, I definitely recommend this.

Next up were the Tom Yum Goong dumplings with pork belly, shrimp, and coconut milk, wrapped in a beet skin. Once again, I avoided the pork inside, but the actual dumpling itself was one of my favorites I have ever had! The beet skin was perfectly chewy and incredibly flavorful. The coconut milk was subtle, but added a smoothness to each bite. I would say I liked this even more than the King-Dum.

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Now on to the things I ate in full 😉 The shrimp toast!!! This is one of their famous dishes- people rave about it. There ain’t no way I was about to pass it up. It is made of chinese donut, minced shrimp, and spicy aioli. My first bite I didn’t know what to expect, but felt slightly…. underwhelmed. Then I dipped it in their chili & soy sauce- and HELLO, FLAVOR FIREWORKS. It accompanied the rest of the dishes beautifully. It added a nice crunch among otherwise softer foods.

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Now, for one of the stars of the show: The main lobster siu mai with chives, butter, and white truffle oil. You know if there is truffle it is a MUST try for me. It lived up to all my wildest dreams of what it may taste like. So. much. yumminess.

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Featured below are the vegetarian dumplings with local greens, carrot, mushroom, cilantro, and egg. I didn’t expect much, but man, these were superb. I was blown away by the mix of freshness/flavor/texture. This is the type of dish I could easily eat every single day. Nutritious & delicious!

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I’m struggling to find the words to best describe how scrumptious these little guys below were. The Trio of Buns (green tea and milk, beet and taro, and egg yolk bun) stole my heart. This is the type of dish I would drive the over-an-hour into SF for alone. They were fluffy, warm, creamy- utter perfection. I would put this on my list of “must try” desserts in SF. Our favorite flavor was the egg yolk bun followed in second by the green tea and milk bun.

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Not pictured because I lost my shameless steam- the seafood gyoza with spinach skin, crab, scallops and spice chili butter. I regret not getting a picture of these gems because WOAH—-They were a show stopper. Truly, I would have a hard time deciding between those & the main lobster siu mai.

Overall, Amy and I both preferred Dumpling Time over City View. It was easier to get in (aka no need to chase anyone down and sternly demand your name be put on the list), the food was more flavorful, and the presentation was visually a treat! Plus the service was wonderful. Our waitress was very kind- not something you always encounter in restaurants around here because patrons are often treated like an assembly line with the mass amount of people. But if you want the real deal experience with the carts and all- I still recommend City View at least once.

April 1st nothing exciting happened besides us eating dim sum leftovers all day & studying. On April 2nd I went on a beautiful walk while the sky held back the rain.

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It occasionally sprinkled, but it made for gorgeous dew drop photos.

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I even saw this cute little guy!

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In the evening I made a dinner of almond mozzarella cheese, boca crumbles, dolmas, hummus, and a cabbage mix.

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For DJ, I made stuffed jalapeños with Mexican blend cheese, ground beef crumbles, taco seasoning, and salsa con queso. He really enjoyed them, but somehow a super hot chili pepper snuck its way into the bunch which added a not-so-pleasant surprise mid-meal! We suddenly had flash backs of Pepper Gate 2017!

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April 3rd I parked it at Nosh out of convenience with a yogurt with berries, honey pecan granola, and stevia. I worked on school assignments and spent a couple hours planning my sister’s bridal shower and bachelorette party. Her bachelorette party is in Miami, so if you have any suggestions for games or places to go please share! (Although, I did take notes from Taylor’s recent posts!).

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I made DJ some charcuterie in the evening with roasted chickpeas and mini saltines.

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I had a repeat of the night before, but added some mashed cauliflower this time.

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This is getting far too long, so I’ll say farewell, adieu, to you for now- but I’ll try to get another update published over the weekend.

Questions for you:

  • Any suggestions for bridal shower/bachelorette party games?
  • Have you watched the OA? What’s your current show binge?

xo <3

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Date Night, Nosh & Korean BBQ!

Hey, hey!! Time for a lil’ update, whaddya say?! You know how it goes.. mostly food with a little sprinklin’ of everything else. Hope you are all doing well & enjoying the transition into Spring!

On March 14th after Boys and Girls Club in the afternoon, I made some mahi mahi with Mrs. Dash seasoning, zucchini/squash, and rice for Deej and me.

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We decided to have an absolutely wonderful impromptu date night since the weekend was going to be busy with school work & wedding planning. Sometimes the most spontaneous decisions are the best! We walked to Main Street Cupertino and wondered into Rootstock, one of our favorite little spots.

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Even though we had already had dinner, we decided we still had room to nibble on a charcuterie board. DJ enjoyed some crisp Riesling & I enjoyed a glass of an “Interesting” red blend. Anything with the word “interesting” immediately grabs my attention. It was lovely whatever-the-heck it was! We savored every bite of the cheese board (we ordered a smoked gouda), the bread pieces were deliciously nutty & fruity, and DJ greatly enjoyed the prosciutto. As soon as they set it down I had to say with a straight face, “We are clearly on the prosciutto happiness”. I did get a liiiiiittle chuckle out of him 😉

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Inspired by our charcuterie platter, the next time I went to Trader Joe’s after this I stocked up on meats/cheeses like this for DJ to enjoy at home without breaking the bank. TJs has a really terrific meat tray for a reasonable price.

On March 15th, to shake off the cobwebs from studying, I enjoyed a long walk outside. I shared some of the flower bloom pics in my Friday Favorites post 🙂

March 16th I worked on my sister’s bridal shower invites, blogged, and did some school work during the day. In the afternoon, Deej and I took a walk around… guess where.. Main Street! It was just too darn pleasant outside to resist a little afternoon stroll.

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And this brings us to our first SomiSomi experience that I mentioned in my last post! Little did we know that stepping foot into this little ice cream shop would change our lives (not being dramatic)..that soft serve is a game changer

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In the evening, I made us some cod with roasted asparagus, rice and corn. Easy & delish. I put a little vegan butter & pink Himalayan sea salt all over the whole dish.

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On March 17th after church I whipped up some grilled cheese and some cream of turkey soup with some frozen turkey I defrosted for DJ. While he did graciously finish this up, he so sweetly confessed he is officially sick of turkey haha. Turkey.is.cancelled. (Isn’t that a term the cool kids are using these days?) He really is such a trooper; I promised I won’t feed it to him anymore till Thanksgiving! lol.

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Before running some errands I whipped up some avocado toast to tide me over; I was craving this gem of a snack.

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After a massive trip to TJ’s I was excited to have fresh veggies stocked in the fridge. I made my usual giant salad with Lightlife smart tenders for lunch, my faveee.

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For dinner I made us cod sandwiches with vegan garlic aioli from Sprouts and fresh rolls with gorgonzola crackers.

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On March 18th, I woke up with coffee, avocado smoothie, and protein cookies per usual (this has been on repeat for the last month).

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I shipped out the invites, worked on a few assignments, then took a walk outside. I realized I have been over-running lately (random pain twinges/heavy legs/water retention, etc.), so I have tried to replace some of my runs with a walk twice a week & I’ll tell ya I feel much better/more energized. I also have been trying to do more cross-training, and I can tell my body is positively responding to the variety. Intuitive exercise is so important, just like intuitive eating, but I’d say I struggle with it a bit since it’s how I cope with stress. I’m trying to be better to rest when needed & “read” my body for the type of exercise I should do that day,  if any at all. It has made ALL the difference!

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March 19th I whipped up this concoction for lunch of purple sweet potato, beets, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, hummus, and Fage. I’ve had this on repeat until I ran out of ingredients this week. It’s sooo stinkin’ yummy & satisfying!

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In the afternoon I decided to try out a new coffee shop near us, Nosh. I loved this decor! They even had a perfect study section with a sliding door. I took full advantage.

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I ordered a cafe au lait with almond milk, and was surprised how well they made it since it wasn’t even on the menu!

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In the afternoon I went for a run & loved the gloomy skies. The contrast between the gray skies and foliage was stunning.

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March 20th was a ho-hum day, but I did make DJ some of these Lavash wraps from Sprouts for lunch. He’s been lovin’ them!

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I took my first bath, in ages, that evening. Why don’t I do this more often?! I used the Green Coconut Bath Bomb from Kate, and it was heavenly. I put on a “chill hits” playlist from Spotify, read some Little Fires Everywhere, and, man, I have not appreciated the power of a bath! I understand the hype now!

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The baths were short lived though since on March 21st we didn’t have any hot water. The hot water was lost due to the repairs they are making on that second floor main line break…  I was just thankful we still had water after last time! I worked up a sweat running and immediately showered to try to tolerate the cold. It was frigid, but I was proud of myself for powering through it!

That evening I made a new dinner. This night I tried out the pre-marinated chicken shawarma with rice and tandoori naan for DJ.

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This was a winner!

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I had my salad with hummus, Lightlife smart tenders, hummus, and balsamic. Mmm mm! Of course, I had some naan on the side 🙂

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On Friday March 22nd we had a day, honayyy. I spoke too soon about being glad we still had water…. it was entirely turned off in our apartment again. Apparently in order to make the repairs they had to turn off all the water lines. Well, we were out for a few days again. They gave us shower vouchers for this community club across the street that has showers. We could only choose one day to shower (lol), so people were trading in the lobby of our apartment to get the day they wanted… one of those moments of, “Is this real life”? Haha. I know this is all going to be resolved soon, and we will definitely laugh about this for a while. I hope this doesn’t come off as ungrateful or as venting- I am sharing this because I honestly find the whole situation comical!. I know we are blessed & recognize even just taking a daily shower is a true luxury.

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I ended up going to my friend Sara’s for the day to shower instead, (also.. so that I’d have access to a working toilet-real talk). I parked out on her couch and worked on school work all day. It was a super productive day! Sometimes just being out of the house can harness that productivity since there aren’t as many other responsibilities vying for your attention at home.

Directly from Sara’s I drove to Milpitas area in the evening. DJ and I met up with the couple who will be the pastors of the church location in Austin at Gen Korean BBQ.

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The interior was an industrial feel, clean and modern. Luckily, we didn’t have a long wait since it was raining and us Californians melt in the rain.

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Although I don’t eat meat I enjoyed the marinated calamari & shrimp. DJ loved the bulgogli! I wouldn’t say it’s our first choice meal given the price, but it was a fun experience & it’s all you can eat. Do not go if you are a vegetarian though- they have very limited options in that regard.

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It was great chatting with the couple & getting to know them a bit better. They’re amazing individuals! It definitely provides some reassurance that we know people where we’ll be moving. The guys are already planning to watch some football games together & we all bonded over our love of Cracker Barrel– Apple butter anyone?! Gosh, I miss that place! It’s been a minute since a peg game has called me an “ignoramus”.

Saturday March 23rd I took a stroll in the morning with coffee in hand. On Saturdays that aren’t too busy this is one of my favorite ways to start off the weekend. It helps me clear my mind before diving into school work for the rest of the day.

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In the evening I made a charcuterie spread with the TJ’s goodies I told ya about, blistered shishito peppers and a mix of breads. I enjoyed the prosciutto peppers & one of my large salads with tons of chopped veggies, Lightlife smart tenders, lotsa hummus, and balsamic; I am on a kick!

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Sunday morning, on March 24th, we were greeted by this gorgeous sky on our way to church.

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Here was the cute little team spread for the day!! Love those mini parfaits.

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Sunday afternoon was a blast in SF…but I’ll save that for the next post 🙂

Questions for you:

  • Favorite type of cheese?
  • Any weekend plans?

xo <3

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Friday Favorites #9!

Happy Friday, everyone! I know, it’s hard to believe… but I will have officially published three posts in one week- I turned my project in and now have a couple days before I have to start getting serious about prepping for the BIG presentation. To top off the streak here I am doing a Friday Faveeessss! I love them and I love reading yours. If you have one this week please leave it in the comments.

  1. This spoon from one of my best friends from college. It is perfection! I found a perfect match on Amazon. Jump on it if you know any nurses who love to cook!

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2. COD. For some reason, hubby and I have been LOVING seasoned cod lately for dinner with okra and brown rice. I usually grab salmon or tilapia, but hot dang this cod is terrific. Who knew! Also, one of my patients owns a bakery and gave us this amazing cheesy pesto bread (and a TON of other bread too) to go along with it!

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3. My guitar <3 I finalllllyyyyy had my guitar repaired. It’s been about three years since I’ve really played. I used to play in high school a ton, and I have about eight original songs (I didn’t say they were quality original songs- but they are original, lol!). I started missing it terribly when nursing school was over and FINALLY had it fixed up/repaired by the nearby Starving Musician. Stay tuned.. (literally).. maybe one day I’ll share a song if I gather up the courage. Buuuuut probably not. haha

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4. This travel map!!! It’s no secret we LOVE traveling. For Christmas, DJ found this map for us. If you look closely, there are little blue pins that we place on every city we have visited together. It is very clear that we are from the midwest and now live in California, haha. I want to book a trip every time I pass it in our hallway!

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5. TRADER JOE’S!!!! Ok. It’s alsooo no secret that Trader Joe’s is amazing. But I’ve only been a couple times in my life, and never since we’ve lived here. WHY NOT!?!?? I KNOW, I ask myself that everyday now. Why have I not been?! It’s like adult Disneyland. It is the freaking greatest place on Earth. I’m obsessed. I could EASILY name 10 items to make Friday Favorites from Trader Joe’s alone. I’m sure it will be a frequent visitor on this segment, so watch for new fun products!

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For instance, this King Salmon Jerky… a bit salty (but that never deters me), and so stinking good. It’s a pescetarian dream. Especially because in my past meat-eating life I loooooved me some beef jerky.

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& This Arugula Pizza was too delish. My willpower was at a big fat zero with this in front of my face. Let’s just say, this did not last long at ALL between the two of us!

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6. Avocado Toast Tank from Deej for my bday. Anything more perfect for a Cali girl?

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7. Shakeology oats. I am embarrassed to mention Shakeology honestly–… I’m always a bit of a skeptic of health formulary protein stuff (except my No Cow/Quest bars)…. I’d just rather eat my protein than drink it I guess. Anywho, lately I have LOVED making a big ole bowl of oats for breakfast with vegan Shakeology powder on top and stevia (maybe even a little whip cream). It’s like dessert!

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8. Impress Nails by Kiss!!! I adore these stick/glue on nails. As a nurse, I can’t really wear nail polish (it comes right off and chips with the hand sanitizer). This is such a great alternative and quicker than painting and waiting for my nails to dry. If I only have a day or two where I need nice nails, I loveeeee these!

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I wore some purple ones in San Diego.

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9. Lulus!!! Lulus is a new online shop I am OBSESSED with!!! Their style is totally my cup of tea. They have free shipping over $50 and free return shipping within 30 days. Their customer service is amazing, and selection is tremendous. Some of you asked where the dress was from in my first San Diego post, here is the link!

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10. SUPER BOWL time! I will be working during the Super Bowl, probably my favorite sporting event of the year (except when Cavs are in the finals)…..BUT we love these recipes below if you need some healthy ideas for your party…..and I’ll be making them regardless if I have to celebrate a day late 😉 !!

Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

Vegan Tacos

Loaded Vegan Nachos

xo <3

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Life Lately: Skating into 2017 with a Few Laughs & Vegan Eats!

Well whaddya say? Time for an update?!? I haven’t done one in the New Year, so I probably should get on thatttt before it’s 2018.

First though- THANK YOU to everyone who stopped by the Birthday Meet & Greet! Ah, it was so fun making new friends, chatting with old ones, and hearing some super interesting birthday tales too! I hope you all had fun 🙂

Also- I have been a SLACKER lately on responding to blogging awards. Man oh man, I can’t tell you how much they mean to me. I have been meaning to sit down and respond to them, but I am a little big time behind now. I would love to do something special in the future though 😉 Wheels are turning! But for those I haven’t yet thanked yet:

Thank you to Chrissey, my sassy sista with the best taste in cupcakes over at UnabridgedSass and sweet, Diam, the ultimate travel bug, for their nomination for the Liebster Award!!!!

Thank you to the amazing Chiara, who will enthrall you with every post from travels to advice, for the Blogger Recognition Award!

Thank you Meg, who is a role model mother and an instant friend to anyone, for the nomination for the Mystery Blogger Award!

Lastly, thank you to the encouraging Hangry Runner, who genuinely shares her journey through fitness with a sprinkle of real life that all can relate to along the way, for the Versatile Blogger Award.

^^^GO check them out now… don’t even read the rest of this, their stuff is more interesting anyway! 😉

Also lastly, thank you to EVERYONE who left the sweetest, most encouraging words on one of my last posts. WOW. I can’t tell you how much you all lifted my spirits, helped me find new perspective, and encouraged me beyond words! I’m so thankful for you all.

Time for an update! 

SO. Let’s see here. Welp, I made a post last week about the Daniel Fast that DJ and I are doing with our Church. I ended up putting it back in drafts for now because I want to be able to link the recipes for all the meals with the post! So I promise that will be going back up soon 🙂 He is all in on it, 100%, I’m doing a modified version, and won’t chat too much about it, but if you are wondering why our diet looks slightly different (*cough cough*, no sushi), that is why!

Here is a quick little snapshot of the week’s eats!

The first week back from traveling I ran all around town to stock up on groceries, necessities, organized for the New Year, cleaned out house, watched football (DJ more than I), and wrote thank you cards!

We also finally took down our Christmas tree last Sunday :(. It was time. *Sigh* Also, our apartment has a regulation that it had to be down by last week, so I milked that time frame for all it was worth. Otherwise I would have tried to keep the critter alive until Christmas in July.

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RIP, BB. I bet he was just pining to be with others like himself. I promise that is the first and last pun I will use this post! 😉

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I have been applying for jobs, going to hiring events, working on 5 behavioral interview questions per day, and I even went shopping for big girl interview clothes.

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Think I can fool them? I came home after this hiring event and put on the TV, which happened to have the news on. I started chopping vegetables up for dinner and I had a moment of epiphany.

I am my mother

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But in alllll seriousness,  I always said I would be honored to turn into you one day, Mother Dear

Reflecting, the event went well, but they had far too many candidates to do all the interviews in one day. They collected our resumes and said they would be giving calls back soon! *FINGERS CROSSED*.

Segue without a segue:  I’ve tried lifting more weights since the New Year! So far, I’ve lifted.. *thinks to self* one….two…….. TWICE for about 15 minutes, so…. progress, yah?

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I also FINALLY ordered new running shoes and inserts. Yes, yes, I know you are supposed to swap them out every 300-500 miles, and I haven’t changed them since last May. Big whoops. Better late than never?! I HIGHLY recommend trying out these shoes if you have shin splints. However, everyone has a different step/stride/foot, so go to an expert at a running store to fit you for your personal needs! These little guys are Brook’s Ghosts with Berry Inserts. When I was in high school I had horrible shin splints to the point where I had bruises on my shin bone. It was painful to even walk. Once I started using these with the inserts, they went away and have not returned!

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DJ also got me these for Christmas for cross training, and I am in love. They are Nike Zoom Elite 8. I love them for cross training because they offer tons of support, but are also pretty light!

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Although coffee is not technically “DF” approved, I’m doing a modified version, and still having a cup each day as I go through behavioral questions. Especially in nursing, behavioral questions (situation, action, outcome/result) are HUGE in interviews. It’s been a good time for me to reflect on my previous clinical experiences, read through old clinical journals, and remind myself why I love this profession so dearly.
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THIS IS NOT MY ULTRASOUND before anyone has a heart attack. Hahah. I won’t pull another “Our family is growing” on ya. But I did want to share this little peanut up here. One of my best friends since middle school, Clair, is pregnant and having this little bundle of joy in July. She calls me “Mo” so when I received a call from her a few months ago saying, “How do you feel about being Aunt Mo?” I was ecstatic. I asked her if I could share this with you all and she was happy to! She is having her big gender reveal on the 29th which I am devastated I won’t be able to make, but at the same time I am super sure it’s a boy, so I don’t think a reveal is entirely necessary 😉 I am ADAMANT that baby is a boy. What is your guess?!?

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In light of how random and non-sequential this post is… next topic….

The rain here has been NON.STOP. I swear we take the bad weather with us wherever we go! But Cali needed it, so I guess it’s a good thing!! I also don’t mind rainy days, especially when I have a decent amount to work on inside… or when I want to be incredible lazy (so basically one end of the spectrum or the other). I savored working through my interview prep most of the week in Peet’s with a cafe au lait and the rain falling outside.

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BIRTHDAY WEEKEND RECAP

Friday

Time to dive right into this past weekend’s birthday recap! WOW. It was a lot of fun, but unconventional from usual bday celebrations (which traditionally include Indian food). I spent the morning enjoying a nice, long run outside in the SUNSHINE! It was the first time the sun shined in a couple weeks like that, so I took full advantage.

With the fast we had to get creative for a “birthday dinner” and also for the rest of the weekends festivities. BUT we figured it out— with a little fasting compromise 😉 I was a tiny teensy bit emotional, missing my friends and family from back home horribly, but I was thankful I had Deej by my side. My friends out here and I are planning on doing something big in February to celebrate a few of our birthdays after the fast is over!

First, we went to Santana Row in San Jose to walk around, peaked in a few stores, and ate dinner.

Real quick, I just have to mention this experience at Urban Outfitters. I’ve gotta say, I know I’m not always in on the latest and greatest styles- but some of these men’s clothes now-a-days confuse me…  Like this….

I call this one, “Pay 35 dollars for someone who accidentally used bleach in their laundry” Or “I wanna be tie-dye, but I’m not sure”

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This is my next personal fave… now, you can actually purchase farmer Joe’s beat up overalls with a beat up hat, and it’s all the rage 😉 Don’t try this at home though kids, make sure you pay and arm and a leg for it… like this mannequin.
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Oh wait, I lied, this is my personal favorite… the guy who borrowed his sister’s skinny jeans, and the giant GUESS logo on their shirt. Okay, okay.. I know that “GUESS” is a brand, I’m not that fashionably inept, but this man may confuse some old ladies out there… I can hear them now, *In cute Granny voice* “Johnny, what is it I am supposed to Guess? I’m gonna guess that you stole your sister’s pants and that your jacket is an interesting color green and two sizes too small”…..

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OPE! We found the sister. Johnny should really give her the pants back, not a good look in public. Then again we do live in Cali where anything seems to go..

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But in all reality- I’m sure whoever buys those clothes pull them off well! I don’t know the first thing about men’s fashion, so please do not be offended by my… bewildered evaluation, shall we say.

Next stop: VeggieGrill! Oh how I loved this place!

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EVERYTHING on their menu is vegan. How great is that?! It *almost* fit into the Daniel Fast.

DJ ordered the Seoul Bowl with chargrilled veggie-“steak”, korean super grain + rice mix, gochujang sauce, carrots, house red onions, cabbage, arugula, scallions, sesame seeds. I had a bite and it was so good! Not sure it could pass as a real steak, but it certainly gave that savory meat flavor. DJ thoroughly enjoyed it!

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We also shared “Buffalo Wings” served with celery and vegan ranch dressing. They were out of this world. I haven’t had a chicken wing since my freshman year of college and these really gave me a wing fix. SO GOOD.

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For my salad, I ordered the Banh Mi with glazed tofu (although it came breaded, which I wasn’t expecting, but still tasty), chargrilled eggplant, carrots, white cabbage, cucumbers, daikon, fresh jalapenos, basil, cilantro, mint, and kale. I ordered the sauce on the side AND a “crab” cake which was also 100% vegan, but you could have fooled me! The thing I miss the most on the daniel fast is probably fish, so I was surprised (and excited) at how well this imitated it!

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Ok… ok. Totally breaking all the fast rules here, but it is sorta birthday tradition to get one slice of cheesecake from cheesecake factory (I’ll add a day to the fast 😉 ). DJ did not indulge, just to clarify. I tried the white chocolate macademia nut for the first time and it was OUT of this world. Anyone have a favorite flavor? The one I still want to try desperately is the lemon meringue, but this night I was craving caramel (which is in the macademia nut). Any one have the lemon meringue? Worth it? I could talk Cheesecake Factory all day long ya’ll..

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Friday night we had plans to go to a Comedy show in San Jose. We went to the location, walked in and up to our reserved seats, and people were sitting in them. Oh, here we go, I thought. Gotta’ give them the boot. I showed them our tickets and then realized our tickets were for Saturday night, not that night. With a few extra apologies thrown in for the inconvenience, we booked it out there, laughed about the mix-up, and watched Netflix the rest of the evening (We are moving through Dexter quite quickly!). We decided to give it a go again the next night for when the tickets were actually valid!

Saturday

So, we’ve been wanting to go ice skating for a while, but when we tried to go in Union Square, it looked like it was “kids only” hour, so we vouched out of that. We had heard from a friend that Winter Lodge in Palo Alto was a great place to go, so we tried it out. Once again, SWARMED with youngins. Oh well, we were there, and we were determined to get our skating fix (ok, maybe it was more my skating fix, and DJ was just a trooper along for the ride).

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^^Fun fact: The mirror in the guest room accidentally became a guest book, so we just kinda left it that way. Not sure what we’ll do when it’s all filled up- it’s an awfully large guest book to store. Ha!

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We didn’t fall once. I can hardly believe it. If nothing else, the weekend was a success simply for that reason alone!

After skating, we walked around downtown PA for a little bit and worked up quite an appetite. We decided to try a place right on one of the downtown strips called Nola. I had heard of this place before from several others, and then another SF blogger, KB, did a write up on it. I noticed they had a vegan jumbalaya that appeared to be DF approved, so we decided to try it out!

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(They have a huge mardigras party every year, hence all the beads)

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I LOVED the ecclectic, cultural fusion that this place vibed. It is unlike any restaurant I have ever been to. It’s menu has just about anything you can imagine from chicken and waffles to gourmet skirt steak. You could classify it as mostly Cajun/New Orleans cuisine. It was fantastic. We will definitely be going back to explore more of their menu. Plus the service was OUTSTANDING.

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We split their vegan jumbalaya with the sauce on the side and savored every nibble. This had roasted confetti cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and butternut squash, procini & button mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, crushed garlic, cajun spices, and scallion rice. We ordered the sauce on the side. It was perfect for a slightly chilly day and filled us right up, even with splitting it.

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We also split their Garlic Sauteed Green Beans (they were ok- I think a bit al dante for our liking). We also split their steamed vegetables which were super yummy.

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We headed back home for a short while to watch some football, then headed to Stage 4 Improv in San Jose. We actually had the date and time right this time 😉 Unfortunately, we were comparing it to Four Day Weekend in Fort Worth, so this didn’t really hold it’s own. But it did warrant a few giggles. Improv can be tricky too depending on the type of night the comedians are having… I would give the show a second chance, as they did receive five stars on Yelp!

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Sunday I got sick, AGAIN (like the cold kind)

Tonight is BACHELOR! Ya’ll know where we will from 8-10 pm tonight. Except, I can’t wait till we can start up the tradition of wine, cookies and chocolate milk, and ice cream for bachelor nights again in about a week!

(I’m starting a new thing where I’m gonna include blog birthdays at the end of my recaps)

Blog Family Birthdays this Week: 

Lacey  on Jan. 11 (A little belated, but better late than never 😉 )

Kristin on Jan. 16 (I know you don’t have a blog Kristin, but I still wanted to say a BIG Happy Bday today!)

Happy MLK Jr. Day!

xo <3

Mack