Our Final Days in the Bay!

Hey all! Hope you all have had a nice week thus far. I am in desperate need of some writing time. Writing is the kinda thing I absolutely crave..even if it’s just writing up a recap! I should be studying for my final exam, but I think I’m more productive and clear headed when I take time to get some of my thoughts out on paper- er- WP virtual paper, I suppose.

Our last week was a mad dash to get ready for the move while trying to simultaneously study and get school assignments done….. June 20th I had a long overdue hair appointment at Aveda salon in Willow Glen. I have to say, I am pretty excited to be out of CA when it comes to hair care— the salons around the Bay Area were terribly overpriced. They are way more reasonable in Texas. AND we got a coupon pack from our apartment when we arrived  that included an Aveda coupon in it for a salon nearby- woot woot!

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I’m working on getting those darker roots so I can go longer and longer without getting it touched up. I definitely feel like my hair is back to itself after last summer when it turned pink, lol! Also, Smalls was able to experience the Hair Salon too (nothing like reading about the pathophysiological mechanisms of reactive oxygen species while getting your hair did). At one point he decided to jump off my lap onto the floor- and I swear it rattled the building. That was very much a “You’re killing me Smalls” moment.

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Quick question– has anyone tried Madison Reed? I am considering it because it would save a ton, but I don’t trust myself with hair one bit… curious if anyone has experience with it?

On June 21st I ran some errands on Main Street- I already miss that express Target we had basically out our back door- it was extremely convenient, but also this will force us to be more intentional with grocery shopping and cut out the “fluff”… Savings September is right around the corner, so this is a great temptation to not have near us.

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On June 21st I used up some more of the chicken for DJ making BBQ chicken, wild rice, and a wedge salad with bacon, diced tomatoes and thousand island dressing (DJ’s favorite type of dressing).

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June 22nd was a big day of packing. It feels like this was yesterday, but it was a month and a half ago- never ceases to amaze me how crazy quick time flies!

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To refuel from packing I had a big ole’ Murasaki potato, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, beets, hummus, and Fage. I have this almost everyday- with different variations. Adding jalapenos is my favorite addition lately!

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In the evening I made DJ flank steak with a side of chimchurri sauce, brown rice and a caprese salad.

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On June 23rd we went for our last Date Night ever on Main Street. We decided to go to Rootstock and enjoy their patio. I didn’t take many pics- just soaked up every single moment!

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We passed our giant Apple on the way home for the last time. Since Cupertino is where Apple is headquartered (we could see it from our apartment window) they have a giant apple right on Main Street. People love it as a photo op.

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June 24th I woke up to a luminous sunrise. Sigh. This is turning out to be a quite the nostalgic post for me to write <3

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We consolidated all our belongings into one spot & were mostly all ready to go for the big move! We ordered half our boxes from Amazon and got the other half of the bigger boxes from the Home Depot. The ones from Amazon were pretty cheap and went a long way.

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I woke up with a delicious omelette with tons of veggies, vegan cheese and a slice of toast with butter.

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In the afternoon… I enjoyed…you guessed it…my stuffed murasaki potato..creature of habit over here!

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In the evening we enjoyed salmon topped with artichoke hearts, roasted veggies, and quinoa… only half the veggies actually made it on the plate (the other half makes it into my mouth straight out of the oven, lol).

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I recapped more of my highlights from June 24th to the 28th in my Friday Favorites post! On June 29th I enjoyed one of my last walks around the ‘hood.

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In an effort to try to use up some of the last of our food I made an egg white omelette with artichokes, whatever veggies were in the fridge and a side of grapefruit…. on a Christmas plate. Gotta use whatever you’ve got when moves happen, haha. I guess I was just embracing Christmas in July.

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June 30th was a BIG day! It was DJ’s last day working at the stadium. His coworkers had planned for weeks to send him out with a bang! They arranged to surprise him by having him throw the first pitch as they all lined up behind home plate, plus they made an absolutely heartwarming video of him and his contributions to the team. It was incredible. They so sweetly invited me to be a part of it all! I brought Sara with me to the game so we could have some girl time too before the move <3 (It was Luau night at the stadium as you can probably tell ).

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Here we all are lined up behind the home plate with DJ pitchin’! Tammy took this pic- her and her husband, Ben, went too! I was thankful to see them one last time before we left too.

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Going in for a hug when he realized I was there, hehe.

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They even signed a bat to give him and wrote some of the kindest cards. He will undoubtedly be missed!

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After watching some of the game, Sara and I went to Santana Row to use up my free vouchers I got through Instagram and enjoy one last girls night. The Hotel only requested I take some pics to share- I took the pics, just have yet to share them- so I’ll start here, ha!

The Hotel Valencia was just serene and lovely.

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We used our coupons to get a our pretty drinks & then chatted for what felt like five minutes, but was actually a couple hours, out on their terrace. We also went to look over The Row on the balcony side too.

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I miss Sara sooo much already. It was an emotional goodbye, but could not have been a more perfect last day in the Bay!

When DJ returned from the game he was pretty hungry, so I used the last eggs we had and made him a piece of peanut butter toast. And this was the last dinner ever had in our apartment! Not the most extravagant- but at least we used up all we had left.

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And if you’ve followed my blog for a while you may know I have a little nightly ice cream cone (except for when we travel, of course). But just because we were leaving I wasn’t about to let that stop me from my daily tradition! (I refreeze it after making it, but before eating it, so it doesn’t melt as fast— I know, I’m weirdlyyy particular about my ice cream cone- haha).

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In the next post I’ll recap our trip from CA to TX!

Questions for you:

  • Favorite salad dressing?
  • Do you have any unique daily routines?

xo <3

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I also just want to say before I end this- my heart is so heavy with the shootings that occurred this past weekend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted 😢 💔

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We’re in Trouble!

Semi-sorta-whenever-I-get-around-to-publishing it weekly recap comin’ in hot!! Last Sunday, the 24th, I headed down to SF in the afternoon after church. Something I adore about SF are the murals on every corner. Every time I’m there I notice a new one!

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DJ had to work all afternoon, but I met up with Amy and we decided to hike a few different spots. First up: Corona Heights!

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It’s a park that overlooks the city elevated upon a little hill that you can climb up to see the best views.

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It only took about 15 minutes total to hike up and down- super short hike, but a great way to see the city!

Next stop: Buena Vista Park.

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We actually were on our way to Sutro Heights, but stumbled across this park on the way. We saw a free parking spot & snatched it. It’s located near Haight/Ashbury and is a beautiful walk. We loved the greenery mixed with lovely flowers & glimmers of the Golden Gate were a fun surprise too.

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Right before pulling away, we had a lady with very broken English tap on my car window. I wasn’t sure if I should roll it down (you can never be too careful), but I have a hard time just ignoring someone. I cracked the window, and she held up a blurry black and white picture of a house and asked if I knew where it was located… uh no sorry, lady. I don’t have every house front of SF memorized. And even if I did no way I’d recognize it by that pic! Hah- such a strange experience.

Next stop: Mount Sutro. This one was a bit off the beaten bath. It starts in what feels like an apartment complex and is surrounded by USCF buildings.

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Once we started walking through the woods it had the same effect of hiking The Presidio– The bustle of The City faded away, and it became serenely quiet. There are so many hidden gems in this city – it never ceases to amaze me.

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Before heading home I desperately wanted to try TROUBLE Coffee… a place that has been yelling to be crossed off the bucket list for months.

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This place is so edgy; I love it.

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I ordered a cafe au lait with almond milk & Amy had their mocha. I had to save half of it for the next day because it was too late in the day to have it all- aka hellllur, insomnia. I was so excited when I woke up the next morning with it in the fridge though!

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They have a small menu, but they are known for their toasts– in particular, their cinnamon toast.

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I actually have no words to describe how amazing these toasts are….

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On the heels of that statement I will proceed to try to use words to describe how amazing they are..

I took a bite of the PB & Honey and thought, “There is no way the cinnamon could beat this”…. then I took a bite of the cinnamon… and it did… all the hype around this toast was entirely warranted. To. die. for. It made me nostalgic, because buttered cinnamon toast was something I grew up on. But this was next level. 

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In the evening I came home and tried to get creative with a meal since I was in the mood to cook. I made DJ a “caprese” chicken with buffalo mozzarella, marinated tomatoes from TJs, artichoke hearts and bread crumbs. On the side I made some toasted baguettes with asparagus seasoned with za’atar.

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On Monday the 25th I took a nice little morning walk before getting started on school work for the day.

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Tea has become nearly part of my nightly routine lately. I went through a stage in high school where I loved tea, then didn’t enjoy it for years, but I’m back on that tea train now!

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I spent some time spring cleaning the apartment a bit too!

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On Tuesday the 26th, I finished up some big assignments and then had a delicious lunch I’m excited to share! It had quinoa, sautéed tofu, hummus, artichoke hearts, cabbage slaw, and green goddess dressing from TJs. MMmmmm!

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My mom-in-law and my sister-in-laws (Renee and Amy) were coming to stay with us for the evening. I had been looking forward to this for weeks!! It was sooo much fun having them here even though it was a short time. They were flying to Phoenix the next day for a little getaway. I wish I could have gone so badly, but the school load just wasn’t permitting it. I saw Amy this past Sunday and had her relay every single detail of the trip so I could live vicariously through her!

We went to Lazy Dog on Main Street Cupertino. DJ and I have been a couple times, but not in a while. They changed their menu & it’s so darn eye-catching and pretty now!

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We ordered a couple drinks to start. Stars of the show were the Huckleberry Mule & Rose Elderflower Punch.

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A started app we tried were their deviled eggs- lightly fried, topped with smoked paprika and bacon candy. The “fried” egg was a bit confusing on the palate. We all agreed traditional deviled eggs just can’t be beat! Don’t mess with a good thing, ya know?

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DJ and my MIL both ordered their PB & J burger with a grilled 1/2 lb beef patty, candied bacon, havarti, peanut butter, grape jelly, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle. They were absolutely raving about it! Based on their reactions I would dare say it may be one of the best things on the menu!

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Renee ordered the pot pie- yes, a real pot pie from a restaurant! This had roasted chicken and slow cooked veggies. I love how creative their menu is. It’s a predominantly  American food menu, but with a twist!

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I had their seared ahi tuna salad. My go-to is their ahi tuna over mashed cauliflower, but I was craving something cold. This hit. the. spot. I savored every bite.

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Of course, after dinner we had to get some Somi Somi! This time I tried the ube and matcha mixed with custard in the cone. Gosh, I don’t know if I like nutella or custard better in the cone– they are both insanely good. I think Oreo is still my favorite flavor though! Matcha is a close second.

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Here is all of us together!!! It was the highlight of my month having them here, even if briefly. It was SO much fun & really helped infuse some fun into the week!

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In the evening we watched the documentary Free Solo. If you haven’t watched it yet, you have to. It’s an extremely well done, gripping, amazing, inspiring documentary.

On Wednesday the 27th, I after dropping off everyone at the airport I came home greeted to this gorgeous rainbow <3

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The rest of the day was same ol’, same ol’. BUT It was my beautiful Momma’s bday which made the day extra special. I wish I could have celebrated with her, but we did from afar <3 Here is the little Facebook excerpt I wrote:

Happiest of all birthdays to you, Mom—truly one of the most incredible women to bless this earth 💕 You demonstrate what it means to live with a zest for life, selflessly love everyone around you, have the most genuine heart, and live out an unshakable faith. I’m constantly amazed by your wisdom, grace, strength, pursuit of adventure and perseverance in any situation. I’m so thankful for you, as are countless others, and today we celebrate beautiful YOU. Happy happy birthday ! I love you! ❤️

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Oh, and she just got a massive promotion at work and destroyed her Dri Tri Championship with Orange Theory! #superwoman

Thursday the 28th I headed to Boys & Girls Club in the afternoon (gosh, guys– I love those kids– I don’t know how I’m gonna leave them 🙁 ). Working with those third graders is one of the highlights of my week every week. The thought of the school year ending makes me want to cry…I am soooo attached..ALSO, I have some hard core baby fever like I’ve never experienced before. We know the timing isn’t right, but I can’t wait for that day!

Anywho-For dinner I made some tilapia with roasted veggies & quinoa topped with mustard. I used a bit too much mustard, but it was still so yummy.

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Let’s wrap it on up here. Hope you all are having a great week! It’s FRIYAY.

Questions for you:

  • Would you be team PB toast or team Cinnamon Toast?
  • Have you seen Free Solo?

xo <3

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All we do is Eat, Eat, Eat no matter what!

Got food on our minds, can never get enough!!

Happy Friday!!! I worked my tush off this week so that I would have today to catch up on blogging for a couple hours 🙂 I am sitting at Peet’s so I don’t have to listen to the upstairs banging at home. Usually during Savings September I won’t buy coffees out, but this warrants it for my own sanity. We will go ahead and classify it as a necessity.  DJ and I don’t have too much planned for the weekend besides school stuff (and him applying for grad school), so we are gonna take it nice and easy. I am going way back to recap our Labor Day weekend- I have been sooo excited to finally have a chance to share this fun weekend with y’all.

On Thursday, August 30th, my mom and stepdad, Pete, arrived around noon from Texas! They came for a wedding in Santa Cruz (and we happen to live so close so it all worked out perfectly to spend the weekend together!).We headed to none other than Bill’s Cafe per their request.

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Pete tried their delicious hash brown skillet

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& My mom and I split their Smoked Salmon Benny- probably my favorite item on the menu (Or the French Garden omelette- depends on the mood, ya know?).

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We also split their Belgium waffle. I don’t usually go for waffles for some reason, but this was just fantastic. I would 100% order this again!

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My mom also surprised me with a bunch of Butterscotch See’s Candies lollipops! Eeek, she knows me well. I am like a child, and I LOVE these lollipops. I just love all candy. Sometimes when I go out for walks I take one with me, load up a podcast and am just happy as a clam. Seriously, I am five.

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****Present moment****In an attempt to lick the foam off the side of my cup I just burnt my chin, that’s a first!

**re-re-re winding it back**.. in the afternoon after settling in, chatting at home, and a tour of Main Street Cupertino we decided to go get some happy hour drinks at Eureka.

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We each tried a glass of white wine. We aren’t picky at all, but my mom and I tried two different types of sauvignon blanc, which actually tasted more like chardonnays, so we weren’t the biggest fans. Pete’s Pinot Gris was actually the best of the three! Eureka is more of a beer & cocktail type place, so I think next time I’ll stick with that. **Re-reading the paragraph…. I guess we sound kinda picky haha**.

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Ahhh I just love um’!

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That evening they went to the rehearsal dinner located in Santa Clara for the wedding. Deej had a late game, so I just did school work until they came back home. For dinner I had some leftover butterfly trout, sweet potato, quinoa, mixed greens, and hummus!

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The next day, Friday August 31st, my mom and I woke up early to do hot yoga at 7:15 am together. This was her first time doing hot yoga and she annihilated it! She did so well- I was thoroughly impressed!! After getting ready for the day and us all nomming down my special avocado toast & eggs, they headed to Henry Cowell State park to see the redwoods and spend time on the Boardwalk and Pier in Santa Cruz before the wedding.

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I went for a nice long walk (with my lollipop), chatted with my grandma and Aunt, then hit the books for the day. DJ had another late day, so in the evening I decided to make myself a flatbread pizza with my “Skip the sandwich wrap” and blog up my Friday Favorites post! But whoooopsies- I took a big ole’ bite of the pizza before thinking of getting a picture— what are ya, new?!

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I snuck in a run in the morning of Saturday, September 1st (where is this year going?!). My mom and Pete returned around noon, and I was ready to have some fun since I finished my school work for the week!

First up- 85C Bakery! This is a chain Chinese Bakery that is super popular around here. I’ve never tried anything from it even though I pass it all the time. Part of the reason I haven’t is their baked goods are massive, so I’d want to share them (DJ isn’t a huge baked goods guy besides donuts and cookies), and there are so many options it’s overwhelming for an indecisive like me.  BUT, luckily, there is no one better to try out bakeries with than Pete- he is always down for a baked goods tasting challenge! I was psyched that he wanted to try this place out.

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First, you get a giant tray with a pair of tongs and just go crazy. People LOAD their trays up. I don’t know where they all put it?! Like I’ll see tiny middle and high school girls meet up there all the time and probably get like 10 items each. It’s pretty cheap, but I am genuinely curious how much of it they eat!

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We tried out several items- their sugared cream cheese brioche, a caramel pastry, and an almond danish (I think).. They were all so good, but I think the sugared cream cheese brioche was the tastiest. These all would be sooo great with coffee too. I’ll need to go back soon to grab something in the morning.

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After, we went to Steins to try out some of their tap beers. I just love Steins, and usually they have great sours on tap, my favorite type of beer.

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We tried a variety of beers, and overall they were just ok. But the company was great, and that’s all  that matters!

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Time to go to DJ’s work! This was the main thing my mom and Pete wanted to do while they were here. And boy oh boy was it fun.

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(If it’s not clear from the pictures we are at Municipal Stadium for a San Jose Giants game 😉 )

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She’s so cute

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We tried some delicious grapefruit beer while watching the game.

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Around the seventh inning we became pretty hungry, so we used our vouchers to get some Turkey Mike’s and of course, the famous garlic fries!!! (The garlic fries are 87.8% of the reason why I go to the games).

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We got a lot of food…. Pete had their pulled pork sammy, and my mom and I enjoyed every nibble of their veggie sub! I swear- is there anything better than stadium food?!?! I could live on those sides- they have some yummy baked beans, and I have zero self control with that coleslaw.

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The whole game the Giants were down, but they came back in the bottom of the ninth with a grand slam. I mean, probably the best game of the season, and we were there to witness it! It was SUCH a fun time. In the next post I will recap our time in SF and Napa!

PS. My prayers are with all my classmates, family, and everyone affected by Hurricane Florence 🙁 SO scary. Please stay safe everyone.

Questions for you:

  • Have you ever been to a minor league baseball game? Do you have a team you cheer for?
  • Favorite stadium food item?

xo <3

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Recent Eats & Recent Things

Hey guys! I am in a fuuunk tonight and won’t be sleeping for like the sixth day in a row. We have new upstairs neighbors and they are making their presence known. They like to assemble furniture very late at night and don’t shy away from hammering and dropping and banging and anything else at 11 pm. OH, and they have a dog that incessantly barks all day long. I’m genuinely sick to my stomach about this situation. We stinking love our apartment, and this is gonna be a serious issue if it continues. A girl needs to sleep! I hope it calms down soon. I did talk to them once and they were aggressive (well the guy was nice, girl not so much) and denied that they were the ones causing the noise (although she greeted me at the door with a screw driver, lol!!!)….. come onn… I was super nice to them and told them I understand moving in is a loud process, but it’d be appreciated if it didn’t take place at 11 pm 🙁 Has anyone else had issues like this? I totally did NOT plan to go into a full on vent sesh.. but there ya have it.

I am gonna do a quick little catch up post of the in-betweens since our anniversary in the city 🙂

On August 10th, we drove back from SF, and I took a nice little walk around the neighborhood. I just love how the blooms change so frequently here- this massive purple tree really caught my eye.

 

 

 

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ohhh.. there they go….. *bang bang bang* like seriously how can someone make so much noise?! humph. I’m investing in noises cancelling headphones.

Back to the post… I am fuming right now.. can you tell?

On August 11th, we met with Alexandra, one of my dear friends from the residency program, and her husband Daniel, (from Denmark) for dinner at Eureka. It was such a blast and we really enjoyed hanging with them. Can’t wait for another chance to all get together. (Also, HIGHLY recommend Eureka’s sweet potato fries- yum!).

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STOMP, STOMP, STOMP. It’s like they are trying to be this loud. My gosh.

Anyyways, August 12th was church and then grabbing some “fill in” groceries from TJ’s for the day. I was honestly a bit tired from eating out which I didn’t know was even possible. I couldn’t wait to just eat at home and cook again! In order to save, I tried to plan our meals for the week around what we mostly had. The TJ’s trip basically was to stock up on just random little ingredients to make the full meals.

August 13th I whipped up some salmon with wild rice and roasted veggies for dinner. A favorite!

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August 14th was pretty uneventful, just house chores, knocking things off the to-do list and a beautiful run in the afternoon. These flowers were spectacular.

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DJ and I watched BIP in the evening. I stole his Oreos teheh. These mixed with Fairlife chocolate milk is an unreal combo.

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On August 15th, I read a bit and then sifted through grad school e-mails. I kept holding my breath every time I logged in- I was so irrationally nervous I wouldn’t be able to start for some unforeseeable reason or i’d be notified my acceptance was a mistake. #imposterssyndrome. It’s like I couldn’t believe I was actually in this program until the first day! And what is paranoia best solved by? Quesadillas with tomato soup, of course! I make mine vegan cheese and DJ’s with regular cheese.

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August 16th I had a weird medley of foods… I started the day with my go-to avocado and egg toast

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After snacking throughout the morning, I decided I wanted carbs… but I wanted veggies too. Solution? I put kale and hummus on a sandwich and it hit the spot. DJ thought it was disgusting hahah.

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Another snack kick I was on this particular week was Fage, peaches, and shakeology powder.

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August 17th, I made an acai bowl with oats, vegan chocolate chips, and peaches! I was just loving these TJ peaches.

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In the evening, I had a Dr. Praeger’s burger that had been sitting in my fridge for a while (SO GOOD), some wilted spinach, cauli rice, roasted sweet potato, and an egg. I felt like this was a very Kori-esque meal, and it was SO delicious!!

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STOMP, STOMP, STOMP.. it is 11:45. GO TO SLEEP! My gooodnesssss.

August 18th, I was so exhausted. It was one of those days where I was just so darn tired and hormonal and UGH. My girls get it! Nothing a cute cat can’t fix. I went to my friend Sara’s and we watched our show while I snuggled with this little fur baby.

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I had some leftover sweet potato and a veggie burger earlier on in the evening, but when around 9:30 pm rolled around I had a massive pizza craving (Like BAD). I ordered DJ and I some pies from Round Table. I had the baby pineapple with mushroom pizza and ordered DJ the large sausage. We rarely ever order pizza- I think we have maybe once in the past year, but gosh this hit the spot!

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In the morning of August 19th, I woke up with a sore throat. I decided to stay home from Church and watch the sermon online. DJ had to go to work this morning. The rest of the day I took it pretty easy just trying to recoup.

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August 20th, I felt a bit better when I woke up. I started the day with the standard avo & egg toast, and then went on a nice long walk to shake off the cobwebs.

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In the evening we watched Bachelor in Paradise, of course!

August 21-24th was just a whole lot of running errands, doing things on the to-do list like getting the oil changed, attending online orientation for school at 5 am (since I’m on pacific time lol), deep cleaning in the house, and some blogging in between while DJ worked a homestand.

August 25th I met up with my friend Alexandra for some scrumptious coffee from Voyager Craft Coffee. They have some of the best coffee- but it’s pricy, so I only go when meeting up with friends. It was a treat catching up with her and enjoying this coffee!

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In the afternoon I was craving something warm and comforting- I made up an oatmeal bowl with acai, cashews, and chocolate chips. Have y’all ever tried acai warmed in your oats?! It’s tasty!!

Ohhhh.. there goes the dog yapping. It is the yappiest little thing. hum bug.

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As we are trying to limit the groceries we buy and just use food from home (minus the pizza indulgence), I made DJ up these Special K Flatbreads we had in the freezer for breakfast. He loved them!

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We ran out of avocado, but determined to only use what we had in the fridge, I put some hummus on toast and egg over and called it breakfast. (Oh something I don’t picture but have nearly every day with breakfast is half or whole protein bar.. it keeps me full through the morning).

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August 26th I wrapped up all loose ends, got my ducks in a row with my books, finished laundry and read for pleasure for a bit because I was going to school the next day!! (and in undergrad the last thing I wanted to do was read for pleasure!).

August 27th was my first day of grad school! I started the day with a clear head by going to hot yoga around 7 am.

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I grabbed this new yoga mat at TJ Maxx for $7.99!! Way cheaper than anything I could even find on Amazon Prime.

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I made a turmeric latte at home to start the day and got started on the next 3.5 years of my life!

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I dedicated the rest of the day to school work. I am loving it, y’all! It’s a lot of work, a massive amount of reading, and a ton of discussion- but I have been anticipating this, and it feels great to be back in an academic setting.

My days basically are all the same now, which I love. I have missed routine! I haven’t had routine since 2016. I’ve been waking up around 8, have a massive breakfast, do some sort of workout whether it’s a run, insanity, or hot yoga, then work all day on school work, and then go on a walk to clear my head before cooking dinner. I then use the evenings to spend time with DJ, read, watch my guilty pleasure TV, and unwind with maybe a littttle bit more school work mixed in (Well… unwind best I can since the neighbors took over the apt. building, lol!).

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On repeat last week we had butterfly trout with roasted zucchini, forbidden rice, and greens.

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I changed it up a couple times with a veggie burger instead.

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The next couple posts I will recap our Labor Day! I am sooo psyched to share those.

Oh, one more thing! The month of September DJ, and I call “Saving September” every year. We go all out to try to save after a summer full of traveling and eating out. Basically we just keep to necessities- no eating out, no extra expenses (like those darn ICEs I am obsessed with), no shopping, etc. etc.  I always think it’s fun because it’s like a challenge to try to find new ways to make meals with what we have, get in better habits of not buying gum every time I’m at a checkout counter, forces us to just drink so much water that isn’t laden with chemicals, and get creative with clothes too! We put it off basically until this week because my parents were in town, but now we are all in 🙂 I’m eager to share how it goes!!

Also exciting- DJ is DONE with games until next season! That means his schedule goes back to a more 9-5 now. He’s super excited about that as am I.

Any meals/food items/etc. you have been loving lately?

xo <3

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A (F)untraditional Christmas!

Hello beautiful people!!! I am typing up this post from the air heading to Dallas, TX! Woohoo!!! So much has happened since my last recap, and I’m excited to fill ya in! To be honest… this holiday season I have been a bit of a Grinch. Not outwardly, in my conversations or by my actions…but certainly when reflecting on my own thoughts. I’ve known for a couple months now that I was going to have to work on the 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 27th. This only left one day for celebrations (the 26th)… and any time I work three in a row I have a difficult time opening my eyes the next day, nonetheless try to throw together a Christmas celebration on my “Sammy day” as we say (sandwich day in between work days).

I begged DJ to fly back to Ohio to be with family. After all, I would be at work majority of the time and when I was not I would be, well, .. A. exhausted and B. an actual B. Catch my drift? It’s just reality. I turn into a MONSTER by day three. Like Wicked Witch of the West meets Ursula. But, alas, the sweet hubby refused to leave me.

If ya know me, I have more “basic” tendencies than not…a la CHRISTMAS OBSESSED. Yet this whole season I didn’t feel inclined to blast Christmas music, baking cookies, or watching Christmas movies when I felt there would be no real culmination celebration with family and friends to celebrate our Savior’s birth. Ya knowww?

BUT there were till some fun happenings that didn’t allow me to avoid the season entirely.

On December 16th, One of DJ’s coworkers held a beautiful Christmas party in her home. It was incredibly elegant with charcuterie galore, hors devours, caviar, an omelette station, a plethora of salads, biscuits and gravy, mini parfaits, etc. etc. Not to mention the most satiating dessert bar. It was delicious and fabulous! I had a ball getting to know Dj’s coworkers better too.

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For the 17th and 18th we both worked hard and then the next few days I tried to round up most of my research project. It’s due the 8th of January so we are ticking down to the last few days!!! Y’all I am PUMPED about it. I cannot CANNOT wait to share it!

On the 19th, Sara, Tammy, and I all headed out for some bday celebrations for Sara’s bday!

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We had drinks and cheered to another year of our Sara over salted caramel popcorn complete with peanuts, bacon, and rosemary (it sounds like an interesting combo, but it is an interesting combo that WORKS!).

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I savored their irresistible pan seared salmon with sauvignon blanc sautéed salmon, asparagus, zucchini, red onion, red pepper, fennel, roasted beets, avocado, arugula, and lemon vinaigrette.

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Tammy tried their butcher’s flat iron dip with carmalized onions, fresno chiles, mustard aioli, Havarti, and au jus.

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Sara opted for their cowboy burger with shoestring onion rings, bacon, cheddar, and beer barbecue sauce.

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We finished off with a complementary birthday Sundae for Sara. It was way too fun and nothing beats some good girl time. These two have kept my spirits afloat this year. I don’t know what I’d do without the two of them.

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When I went home, I was greeted by some decadent truffles from another client of DJ’s. I am a sucker for truffles. I cannot get enough. You all know I love a good cliché, and does it get more cliché than Christmas truffles? I think not, and if loving this cliché is wrong I do not want to be right.

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The 23rd-25th were work days. Guys, so much happens during my day on our crazy neuro floor and I have so many stories that I’d like to share (protecting all anonymity of course)…. But sometimes there is just too much to say and explain that I avoid sharing anything all together. These days were filled with my first patient fall, rushing a patient to surgery to prevent paralysis, and a few tears. The thing is…..each day I have worked has a story, a situation that would make you gasp, cringe, squirm, or cry tears of joy and sadness. I am afraid to share these stories because I don’t want to do an injustice to the experience, to the fact that these are real lives, real person’s & family’s reality. However, for 2018, I am considering sharing a story, maybe once a week or every couple of weeks before I forget them. I have learned more about humanity, vulnerability, compassion, patience, and love in this past year through neurosurgery. I’d love to share these lessons and stories that have left a footprint on my soul. So stay tuned for how that all plays out.

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Our coworkers are so encouraging, and I’m thankful that we all have each other’s backs in the chaos.

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Also, one of the nurses brought in this HOMEMADE cake. HOW?!?

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The 26thDJ and I had our day to celebrate our Christmas. I kept telling him the 25th was our Christmas Eve. He played along like a trooper (even though I’d snap at him every time he mentioned Christmas being on the 25th… “NO HUN, IT’S CHRISTMAS EEEEVVVVVEEEEE”.

On our faux Christmas Day we slept until the cows came home and then had “Christmosas”, cinnamon rolls, an omelette, and I even made some turkey bacon for Deej. I love whipping up big meals, but now-a-days I feel like I have such little time to cook like I prefer to. This morning was a treat for me.

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Deej figured out how to get a fireplace to play through our TV. I just love love love ! Thank gosh he knows how to work technology. I swear I am from the stone ages when it comes to working a remote control.

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Christmosas: Dry champagne/ Martinelli’s grape juice/ granny smith apply slices/ pomegranate seeds.

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We then blasted our Christmas music, put on our now traditional Christmas onesies and opened presents on the ground like a couple of children. It was obnoxiously fun, and I want to say a massive thank you to all who sent the most beautiful gifts and stockings to our house to give us a real Christmas. It really did feel like Christmas, and I am so thankful DJ played along with me. Jesus wasn’t actually born on the 25th, right?!

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In the afternoon I laced up the new pair of Adidas Boosts DJ gifted me and headed out for  Christmas run… a Jingle Jog if you will! The weather was perfect, I had the sugar from the cinnamon rolls rushing through my veins- I was zooooming. Talk about a runner’s high! I felt like I could have ran forever. It was one of the most glorious runs I have ever had.

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For dinner, I whipped up scallop and crab stuffed sole (from Omaha Steaks- thank you Aunt Terry and Uncle Pat), asparagus, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, cauliflower mashed potatoes, roasted veggies with tofu, and grand’s flaky biscuits. We savored every bite over some nice white Pinot Grigio and a Charlie Brown Christmas.

img_4979-1img_4978-1img_5007-1img_5011-1We finished the night with some GLORIOUS Moser Roth truffles (THE best truffles on planet earth- their strawberry rhubarb is a must-try) and our classic Chocolate Chip cookies.

For being an untraditional Christmas, we both agreed it was one of the best. This was certainly a year I will treasure forever. I loved celebrating with my patients and my husband. Sometimes different is not so bad.

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I had to head back to work the 27th, it was a difficult shift..

I’m tired, y’all. So very tired. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Our project will soon be submitted and I will have a minute to breathe…. Maybe… we’ll see! I’m learning to just enjoy the small moments, take deep breaths, and count my blessings because there are so very many- this blog and all of you being one of them. This has been the hardest year of my life (besides the year I lost my Dad). But I would not trade it for the world.

This morning (28th) was filled with early morning wake up call, stuffing myself with some toast, a full on pat down going through security (I was basically stripped to my breeches in the airport), and now a minute to sit back and relax on the plane. We are heading to Dallas and are munching on nuts, a salad for me, and a burger for DJ. I am working on my thank you cards from Christmas (I am one of those odd birds that genuinely loves writing thank you cards). I cannot wait to see my momma and step dad, Pete, and of course, my little pooch, Jade.

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I don’t usually make New Years Resolutions. But this year I have one…

I have learned an enormous amount this past year and one of those lessons is that there is freedom in vulnerability. I have things I want to share but have not yet had the courage to. I have slowly showed you all my heart in certain situations, but I hope in 2018 I can dive deeper, share more of my heart, and be honest about parts of my story that I have never shared before.

Thank you for sharing in our life, for supporting and encouraging us on our journey. I am thankful, I am so thankful for each of you.

xo <3

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Pool Days and Study Daze

Top a’ the mornin’ to ya! Holy smokes… over two weeks have passed since an update post. I have a feeling this may be the single most random update post I do too. Plus I have some semi-monumental, semi-ambiguous updates for ya’ll regarding our future!

So, I’m sitting here this Saturday morning nomming down on some yogurt toast, drinking coffee, and have some old NYC Housewives playing in the background. I feel guilty though because I should totally be studying.

Yep! You heard that right- I am currently cramming for the GRE because I am hoping to go back to grad school next year to continue on in pursuing my dream of becoming a nurse practitioner. (I’ll talk more about this decision in another post sometime!). I have spent every little ounce of my free time (besides the moments I share here today), studying parabolas and words like “promulgate”. After the last 48 hours of the intensive neuro-close observation room, I am treating myself to a solid morning of blogging and horrible, no good, melt my brain television.

Rewinding (zrrrrr) back to Saturday, September 23rd. I went to a girls’ pool day with some of my great friends from Church. We snacked and chatted and fully relaxed. It was wonderful.

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In the evening, DJ and I headed to Eureka for a date night!!! WOOHOOO!!!

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I had their protein chopped salad with romaine//kale//quinoa medley//roasted beets//red onion//carrot//bean trio//feta//sunflower seeds//and red wine vinaigrette.

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DJ had their Bison Burger with bacon-infused jalapeno jam//charbroiled tri-color peppers//grilled onion//and smoked mozzarella.

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We left dinner with more than satisfied tums and walked around Main Street. I love their flowers and trees elegantly lit with lights year round.

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Sunday, September 24th after church I had an unexpected encounter and experience that would dance in my mind for the days to come. Then I came back after a long run and studied, studied, studied while DJ watched football. I love LOVE studying on the couch while football plays in the background and fall candles are lit. It reminds me of our first year of marriage back in our Indiana Toho, bring on the nostalgic feels!

Monday/Tuesday 25th-26th we both worked. Those were two of the hardest shifts I have ever had. I won’t get into it, but it resulted in my hiding behind a pyxis machine hyperventilating and covering the floor in tears. (We can’t leave the NCOR room, so I literally was trying to hide from my patients so they couldn’t see me cry). But then I had a few great shifts later in the week that made up from them. Rollaaa costa! (Ohio Players reference, anyone?!)

On another note, my hair has lost it’s umph lately. I think the stress of this year is taking quite a toll on me physically, especially lately. Naturally, I have to add to the stress by trying to apply to grad schools and study for a massive entrance exam while working on my neurosurg. research project. (eye roll). Lol. I feel like I’m epically failing at life right now- the other day I realized we were out of toilet paper, and I started crying (there’s a tear trend here) because when you hit the level where you can’t even keep on top of the TP stock at home are you doing anything right?!

Anyway- I needed some serious hair help. One of my coworkers recommended a place called Limon Salon in San Jose. I have had a hard time finding a great hair place here, but I think I finally have a winner!

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On Wednesday September 27th, I decided to go for more of an ash blonde for the fall with a balayage to the roots. This way I can go longer without having to get the highlights redone and nurse my hair back to health! (Maybe not “nurse” it back isn’t the correct word.. since I’m pretty sure nursing is what sucked the life out of it… harharhar). I sat in the chair and studied vocab while getting this bird’s nest taken care of, and was super happy with the results!

img_2049img_1890-7In the evenings lately, the weather has been the perfect temperature outside for a late night run. After work, I need to run to cope with the day. Having DJ tag along has been wonderful because it allows us to catch up and still get that stress out.

With the change of seasons comes the change in cravings! For breakfast most of last week and this week I have been alternating between sweet potatoes, avocado, spinach and an egg or my toast and yogurt combo. I actually don’t like the yolk of eggs very much at all, but for some reason I have been craving them lately. Anyone know why this is? (I think it might be the sulfites or something- I know I have some nutritionists out there!) So strange.

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I vegan meal prepped on Thursday September 28th for the week with roasted veggies (eggplant, carrots, onion, mushrooms, and peppers in garlic olive oil), roasted butternut squash, cauliflower vegan mashed potatoes, and quinoa. For lunch or dinner I mix up a combo of all the fixings with either salad, a bean burger, or meatless crumbles, hummus, and pita bread. I can’t wait to re-prep all this for the next week to come. It’s all such yummy autumn comfort food, but super(food) healthy.

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September 29th– Study study study.

September 30th- October 1st– Work.

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October 2-4th: Study, Study, Study BUT………

October 4th, I had an amazing friend come in town! You may remember Dani from when her, Tammy, and I went to LA all together! You can check out those posts here and here.

She moved to Arizona as a traveling occupational therapist, but made a pit stop back here for a couple days! Gosh, I missed her something horrible. I took an Uber to Campbell to the local Aqui to meet them. It was SO crazy because the guy picked me up in a BLUE TACOMA! Blue Tacoma was one of the songs Russel Dickerson premiered on the very first time the three of us hung out. SERENDIPITOUS. We could not let this moment pass without a picture.

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We headed into the epic Aqui (once again, how did I just find out about this place?!) and ordered drinks and apps. Dani tried their Tito’s Strawberry swirl, I tried the carlitos cadillac margarita, and Tammy also tried a mini margarita. Their drinks are fabulous. It’s what they’re known for, and they never disappoint!

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We also all split the appetizer platter with avocado Dip, Hummus and Black Bean Dip with chips. #Addictive.

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After, we headed over to Flights, a new restaurant in Campbell! DJ and I actually went here a few months ago when it was a different place, called the Socialite!

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How it works: EVERYTHING is a flight on the menu from the drinks to the food. And every single item looked too darn delicious too.

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We finally settled on their mac and cheese flight after drooling over the whole menu. It was SUCH fun and I can’t wait to go back to try more of their items.

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It’s such a genius idea for a restaurant.

Last night, DJ and I went out for his birthday!!! I will include a post separately to talk about where we went 🙂

I hope you all are having a wonderful start to your Autumn! I am back to hitting the books now. I apologize to all my friends and family for being super MIA this past few weeks and being the worst at returning texts and calls. I’m also so sorry (and in some serious withdrawal) since I haven’t been able to catch up on ya’lls blogs in a while too. I’d much rather be keeping in touch and seeing what everyone is up to rather than trying to figure out this high school geometry and memorizing the circumference of a circle. BUT it will be my reward to catch up when this is all over! LOVE YOU ALL.

xo <3

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Sister’s 21st Birthday and Best of the Bay

Woooowww. Long time, no talk! HOW ARE YOU ALL?!! I am totally blog-deprived.

I know I say this repeatedly, but this is truly the most challenging and busiest time of my life. How people do this residency program with kiddos is beyond me. I finally have a day off, and I have ZERO plans but to blog, catch up on my to-do list, and eat Smoked Gouda Triscuits and gruyere cheese (hello heaven). DJ is at work, so additionally I fully intend to spend the whole day in my PJ’s, unless I go to the store for cookies for bachelorette night, but then, and ONLY THEN, will I put a bra on. Catch my drift? Ok- let’s get to it.

Since my last recap (which was about the end of April), all I have done is work, cry, meal prep, cook, cry, run, laundry, and cry…. so yes.. (I do plan on making a post about how all that is progressing soon enough, but for now let’s share ALL the gooooood!).

My sister, Halston, and her boyfriend, Kevin, came in town last week, and they left me with some awesome memories that I am one eager beaver to share!

I started out last Friday (5/19) by having my new obsession for breakfast (avocado smoothies) with homemade breakfast cookies (yeah, those recipes will be posted eventualllllly). I love sitting in my egg basket swing from Target and soaking up the sunrise with my Bible while sipping up my avocado smoothie and breakfast chocolate chip cookies. Does not get better than that, folks! My outdoor area is my “feng shui playground”.

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Since I had that Friday off, I food prepped to have at least a couple options for my sister and her boyfriend and my hubby for the week! I made roasted veggies, eggplant parmesan, tons of shredded chicken, roasted parmesan multicolored potatoes, and vegan joes (my sister is also pescetarian, but loves vegan foods too!).

I also cleaned the heck outta’ the house, which felt gloooorious!

When I picked up Kevin and Halston from the airport, they unpacked a bit, and then I had to show them around Main Street Cupertino, naturally. We had tons of avocajoes for dinner and I had to hit the hay early for work.

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While I worked the whole weekend, Kevin and Halston went to an SJ Giants game with DJ and then Church Sunday too. Even though I couldn’t participate in the weekend festivities, I’m glad they had such a blast!

Sunday night, my fave duo surprised us by also cooking some additional food for the week (we flew through all the food I made!)- Kevin whipped up some scrumptious fettuccini chicken alfredo for him and DJ, and Halston made the most delish tofu lettuce wraps for us. They spoiled us!

Monday I had off, although DJ had to work, but the three of us decided to go to Santa Cruz! This was their first time EVER in California, so I had to give them the authentic beachy town experience.

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First we stopped by a coffee shop that carried the famous Marianne’s Ice Cream to grab a cone for Kevin. DJ and I have had it before and the ice cream is velvety smooth and creamy and dreammmmyyyy.

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And I am still steadily making my way through HP, ya’ll! Just in case you are just popping in for the first time, my dream is to read through all of Harry Potter then go to HP world. Big bucket list dreams right here.

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After soaking up all the sunny rays ….and Halston aggressively avoiding getting any sand actually on her towel (or herself) — (anyone else like that? Hahaha)—….. we decided to go grab a late lunch/early dinner on the pier.

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I personally think Stagnaro Bros. is the best place for half price apps. I went here with Rachel last summer and it did not disappoint one bit.

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Halston ordered their appetizer sampler platter (clam strips, shrimp, etc.), Kevin tried their lobster quesadilla, and I jumped on their smoked salmon bites.

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It was all tremendous. I am truly salivating right now at the thought. Their tarter sauce was delish with the sampler platter, the lobster quesadilla was phenYUMenal, and the salmon bites seriously reminded us of eating hearty meat like smoked ham or steak bites. Whatever sauce they use may contain illegal substances, because they were addictive. SO GOOD.

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Halston was a bit cold on the way back to the car. I think I wear emotions on my face pretty clearly; she is a walking emoji! Ha!

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Whenever there is a crowd gathered by the edge of the pier, you can bet you will find a bunch of little sea lions providing the daily entertainment.

We zoomed back home just in time for Bachelorette to begin!!! I was stoked to have company to view the Bachelorette with. DJ and I used to have massive parties back in Indiana for bach. nights and now it’s usually just the two of us. It felt good to get ALLL the goods out, have multiple people’s input, and the hum of a full living room.

Anyone else watching? Thoughts? I just adore Rachel. This show gets goofier by the season, but I truly hope she finds her happy ending.

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Monday night at midnight Halston and Kevin went to Yardhouse on Santana Row so Halston could get her first legal drink. She got her favorite, a pina colada, and a pizza to wash it down! 😉

I had to work the rest of the week Tuesday through Thursday. Halston would get up early with me before work (yes, at 4:30), have breakfast with me, and drop me off at work so her and Kevin could use the car for the day. I just ubered home after. I treasured those mornings together and this coming week I know I will be feeling a bit sad horribly depressed without her here with me!

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Tuesday was her TWENTY FIRST birthday!!! How is my little sis this old?!

I need to take a moment and just brag on this incredible human. My sister is without debate one of the greatest individuals to grace this planet. She’s my younger sister, yet she is my role model. She doesn’t care what people think of her, yet everyone loves her. She has her priorities straight with a level head, a strong faith and a selfless love for others. She exudes a zest for life that surpasses most and embodies the most gentle spirit. She is also ridiculously fun to hangout with and is always a guarantee for the most wonderful memories with tons of laughs. She pursues adventure whenever there is a free second, but works harder than most people I know. She is the greatest listener, has wisdom beyond her years, and both an emotional and physical strength that allows her to dominate whatever life throws her way. HAPPY 21st again, seeeester. I love you more than words!!!

We started the epic birthday with avocado smoothies and while DJ and I were at work, Kevin and her spent the day exploring SJ (going to Crossfit and Bill’s Cafe- hollllaaaa!) and had a beautiful dinner at the ethereal Grandview restaurant after!

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You can read about our previous Grandview Experiences here and here. HINT:  Their cheesecake is to die for.

This restaurant is like you are sitting in a little part of Heaven. The views are indescribable. It’s all terribly romantic, stunning, and the whole experience is absolutely spectacular. I would not want anything less for Halston on her big 2-1!

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The beautiful birthday princess and her amor had the most wonderful evening. Aren’t they gorg?! I’m so thankful Kevin was able to come on this trip! He treats my sister like an absolute queen and the two are a perfect pair.

On my way home from work I ubered past Coldstone Creamery to pick up a Peanut Butter Playground cake for Hal, her fave. I fell asleep before they came home, but the missing slices in the morning told me they enjoyed it! (Also, I totally forgot to snap a picture; thank you internet for coming in in the clutch).

peanut butter playground.jpgWednesday, Halston and Kevin went into downtown SF to meet up with Kevin’s future roommate. He is attending Dental school in Pennsylvania- Hal and Kevin both went to University of Cincy where they met. Hal has one year left, but is studying abroad in Columbia this fall. After undergrad she plans to go to law school. Got it? (There is a quiz on this post after 😉 ).

They loved exploring the city, and graciously shared their pictures with me! They went to Pier 39 (essential), and then made their way to Japan town to meet the roommate. Hal had some Boba on the way. I honestly didn’t even know Japan town existed… I thought there was only China town. Hal and Kevin said the food was insanely good at this place though. DJ and I will definitely be back-pocketing the name for a date night! She didn’t get any pictures of the food though- I haven’t trained her well enough in Blogger ways, lol.

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Thursday they spent the day resting up at home and when I came back from work, we all went to Kula!!!! DJ and I used to be obsessed when we first moved here, but there is plenty else to explore, hence we haven’t been in a while. If you want to read about the conveyor-belt sushi experience, I have a pretty thorough review here.

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My personal favorite roll is the Kula roll with lemon juice sprinkled over ahi tuna.

When DJ came home from work late that night, Hal made us all pina coladas (cause now she can officially have them!), and we played Cards *mumbles* againsthumanity… I know the game is probs not something I should promote, but goodness gracious it’s too much fun. The game inevitably leaves you with inside jokes and belly laughs.

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Friday morning, Hal and I decided to go to Tony Look trail for a nice run (that heckuvah trail that I always take our guests on- here, here, and here). Usually I just hike it with people, but I convinced Halston to run it with me. Haha – she was a trooper.

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WE SURVIVED! Even though we were annihilated by overgrown weeds and were convinced we were going to be plowed over by an off-roading car at one point (long story). Once again- Halston’s face says it all! BUT— No mountain lions today! Woohoo!

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When we made it back home we scarfed down some grub and got ready to go back into SF for more bday celebrations with all four of us!

Deej took us down Lombard street and Filbert street (The steepest road in SF). You can’t even see over the car into the road below when you are on the very top. It’s trippy and feels more like a rollercoaster than a road!

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We parked near Ghiradelli square and perused around here before heading to the Golden Gate.

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I realized I had never had my second cup of joe for the day and was crashing. Luckily, Le Marais Bakery came to the rescue. It was no Peet’s, but it did the trick!

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Cuties <3 ^

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Coffee <3 ^

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Crew <3 ^

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We then ubered the bridge to the other side to grab some photos with the world renowned bridge (which just celebrated it’s 80th anniversary! Thank you, Kate, I had no idea!). Very enlightening!!!

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After enjoying our time at the Bridge we headed to the Ferry Building to explore and grab some food to tide us over.

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Halston and Kevin were dying to try the empanadas. DJ and I still haven’t tried the little guys, but they said they were tasty!

We also stopped at the SF Fish Company where we grabbed the famous chowder! It was super good- not as good as the one’s I sampled with my mom in Monterey, but dang close!

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We killed time by walking around SF and then stopping to get bandaids for a horrible blister on my foot. #heels. #beautyispain.

Our reservation was at 8:00 for Venticello Restaurant on Nob Hill. We arrived early, but got light drinks at the bar and just relaxed a bit before our table was ready.

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This restaurant is the definition of “quaint”. It is tucked away, easy to miss, but once you step inside the scents of wood oven pizza, baking Italian herbs, and romantic lighting embraces you. The service was excellent and, although a bit chilly by the windows, the warmth from the real burning wood stove was a perfect touch.

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We all agreed that wherever we went for dinner, pre-meal complimentary bread was essential.

We also ordered their margharita pizza for an appetizer. The pizza looked satiating, but no one wanted to order it for their main course, so dubbing it an appetizer worked out well. They also had other amazing options as appetizers- we will be back. The pizza was fantastic, but I and DJ prefer when the ingredients are more visible in a margharita- like the mozzarella is still obviously buffalo slices and the tomatoes are sliced. The flavor was still tremendous- it just tasted more like a basic cheese pizza!

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For my dinner I tried the scallops. Holy Italian cannoli- the flavors were out of this world! It had a pesto sauce along with artichoke heart puree. Still, Farallon’s scallops take home the W, but these were pretty doggone good!

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Taking pictures was a bit hard since the lighting was quite dim, but Halston ordered the gnocci with gorgonzola and mushroom cream sauce, Kevin ordered their spaghetti carbonara with pancetta, english peas, and farm cream sauce, and DJ tried their fettuccini with house-made spicy pork fennel sausage and tomato cream sauce (pictured below). We all loved our entrees and I don’t think there was a bite left on any of our plates!

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But you better believe we left room for dessert. After scavenging YELP to find a place that sounded like the golden ticket, we headed to SIFT which promised milkshakes, macaroons, and ice cream sandwiches. When we arrived, the options were pretty limited. Luckily, across the street was Smitten! We decided to give it a go and it was one COOL experience! It’s all organic and the flavors are uniquely delicious like brown sugar with cinnamon shortbread, dough my goodness sundaes, and almond coconut macaroon to name a few. It took us forever to decide what we wanted because it literally all ridiculously yummy.

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Halston and DJ had the dough my goodness sundae, Kevin had their vanilla with strawberry prosecco sauce, and I had their cold brrrew with cookie dough pieces pretzel pieces, and brown sugar caramel sauce on top. It was tremendous. The coffee flavor was strong, but the sweetness of everything else provided the perfect balance!

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For the evening, we decided to try out a Gatsby themed exclusive nightclub. It’s supposed to take place during the prohibition era, so all of the information is super obscure online and you receive the place the day of the event. I received an e-mail saying “Your appointment to get your watch fixed it scheduled at 11:00 pm at this location”. I was confused for a second and then realized it was all part of the underground, secretive experience. We still had time before 11, so we tried to find somewhere to go dancing. The place we tried out had hardly anyone there yet, so we got stamped and decided to go back later. When we arrived at the Gatsby location, it was a bit….. different than expected. It was a crowd quite a bit older than us, the room was pretty small, and there was no music playing as it said on the website. We didn’t stay long but it was worth the try and we also had the most interesting uber ride of all time- let’s just say SF is like a box of chocolates— you never know what you’re gonna get!

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The rest of the evening the four of us danced and then headed back home. It was overall a super fun, yet bizarre in many ways, night!

On Saturday, Halston and Kevin had a late flight back to Ohio. We had one place left on the list that was essential for them to try before leaving: In n Out. Confession: This was my first time trying it too.

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The boys ordered the burgers and animal style fries & a shake. Us girls nibbled on their fries and tried the shake. It was all good, but I still prefer Swenson’s back in Akron. If you are from Akron, you would understand.

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Halston and I were craving Boba tea as well. We jumped over to Tea Chansii on Main Street to try it out. I had their jasmine green tea with boba and Hal tried their smoothie. We ended the night by finishing up random foods in the fridge- I made Hal my loaded vegan sweet potato, the men quesadillas, and finished up the leftover tofu wraps Hal made earlier in the week (I crave them!).

We took them to the airport in the evening and said our goodbyes. I have had a hard time since they left. I was looking forward to the visit for such a long time, and I can’t believe it’s already over. I will treasure these memories forever.

I also want to take a moment to say thank you to those that have served and serve our country. I know I can fully never understand that sacrifice, but with a somber and thankful heart- thank you. And to the families and friends of those who have lost someone dearly, my thoughts and prayers are with you today.

To my WordPress fam, as always, thank you for being endlessly supportive as I swim upstream through this stage of my life. I send ya’ll all my love.

xo <3

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Monterey, CA- Big Sur Marathon! 

I am beyond pumped to share this post about the epic marathon weekend! I didn’t mention the marathon too much on my blog leading up to it because I didn’t know if I would be able to run the race with the new job’s schedule (we work a ton of weekends). BUT I was able to get race day off and lemme tell ya, I’m forever grateful for the beautiful memories that elapsed in that small time frame. I needed this weekend too- as ya’ll know I’ve never been more exhausted or stressed physically and emotionally than this last month-so this was pure therapy.

Last minute my mom (Momma Jill) arranged to fly in for the weekend since DJ couldn’t go to the marathon with his work schedule. However, the day before she flew out she was in the hospital diagnosed with a fractured foot. I insisted  that I would be fine going alone, but I’m selfishly pretty darn glad she was adamant about coming! After all, she is my good luck charm at races! She is one tough cookie, I tell ya what. (shhhhh she isn’t wearing her boot in a lot of pictures- I may not have been the best nurse by allowing that one).

When she arrived Friday evening we headed to Rootstock Wine Bar on Main Street Cupertino.

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We ordered some bruschetta to share and a couple glasses of wine. The last time she was here, Main Street Cupertino was still entirely under construction. She was blown away by how much it had evolved! We stopped into 85-degree bakery to visually digest the exotic, massive, and drool-worthy desserts before heading back to the apartment. I will try the calamari ink roll one of these days!

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We were both pooped and fell asleep pretty early (after some ice cream, of course). DJ had some time in the morning before he had to head into work so we went to Bill’s. Surprise, surprise! It’s basically becoming a weekly tradition. You can read all my reviews about it here, here, or here.

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After a fantastic breakfast, DJ zipped to work and we began our trek to Monterey for the marathon!!!! (I kept thinking back to my and DJ’s our anniversary celebration and it made me miss him lots! During the actual race I passed the place we stayed which was pretty fun).

 

One of my favorite parts about races is the Expo! There is always an exorbitant amount of energy and excitement (plus the SWAG is pretty great too).

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This expo was pretty small, held at the Portola Hotel and Spa. There were limited vendors, but with the expo’s location there was plenty to enjoy outside anyway. I laughed because in typical Northern California style they had wine samples rather than the CLIF Bar samples you would see at most! For those that want to run this marathon in the future, make sure you stop by the Expo to pick up your Bib #, a bus ticket for the hotel you are staying to the race starting line (there is no access otherwise), and your T-shirt, of course!

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After strolling the expo, my mom and I walked around downtown Old Monterey. This town is so sleepy and quaint, even with all the commotion of the race.

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We decided to follow this sign to go to the water. We were quickly drawn into the downtown boardwalk with colorful storefronts, tourist landmarks, and each passing restaurant passing out samples of their individualized “claim-to-fame” recipe of clam chowder. My mom and I sampled all of them and were shocked at, first, how delicious they all were, and second, how different each one tasted!

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I hadn’t seen the show Big Little Lies at this point, but my friend, Kelsey, is obsessed. I started watching it this week with a free month HBO trial and cannot stop. It’s so good.

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They call me ‘The Bird Whisperer’ in these parts

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Around 3 pm we were able to check into the hotel we were staying for the evening- Monterey Tides. I found this place pretty last minute (with not being SURtain if I could make the race) and chose it because it was one of the cheapest I could find on a booking site. We were blown away by how gorgeous this place was- I kept thinking there was some mix up because this honestly underpriced!

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The hotel attendant said that it may be a couple minutes, so we decided to enjoy some drinks while overlooking the sparkling Monterey waters. My mom and I even saw our first whale!!! It was quite SURendipitious that we were staying at this majestic place!

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The room was super nice with a beachy feel- Definitely what you would expect from a place named “Monterey Tides”.

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After dropping our stuff off it was time to head to dinner. In order to not fight driving and parking, we decided to uber to the famous Mediterranean Oasis, Epsilon.

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From the decor, to the friendly staff, to the unbeatable Greek cuisine- this place was superb on every.single. level.

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ATTENTION ALL CARB LOVERS: You need to hear this. I was fascinated with their bread and dip combo. The waitress explained the way they make their dip is by actually putting sourdough bread into a food processor with olive oil, garlic, and salt (perhaps a few other secret ingredients too). Right before she walked away she said, “Just dip that bread into that bread!”. I may have to try making this at home. Talk about a fantastic pre-race carb-load meal!

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And their hummus…. hands down, no questions asked- the BEST hummus I have ever had. My mom took the first bite and I could tell by the look on her face that it was going to be just that. It was smooth and creamy- absolute perfection.

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And whenever there is octopus on the menu……

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Marco Prime’s is still forever my favorite, but this was satiating. It had a grilled flavor and almost tasted like steak. MMMM mm.

We also had to delve into their greek salad, because duh

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My mom and I split the vegetarian combo plate. Combo plates were created for the indecisive individuals in this world, like myself, so I was ecstatic to see everything we were wanting to try coming on one plate. It had imam byaldi (the “priest fainted” vegetarian eggplant dish), falafel, and dolmadakia (stuffed grape leaves with rice and herbs). It all surpassed any greek food I have ever had, but the eggplant dish was particularly out of this world!

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And one can never end a mediterranean feast without baklava. Ya’ll know I am a strong believer on having a sugar-laden dessert the night before a race. Good Heavens, I can’t even explain…

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We headed back to the hotel to watch the peaceful, perfect sunset.

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We were in bed by 8:30 pm and fell asleep almost instantly.

3:30 AM my alarm went off and it was time to race! I was giddy and energized. I downed a cup of coffee and grabbed my No-Cow bar and Boom Chicka pop bag for the bus ride to the race. My mom drove me to the drop off point to pick up the bus shuttle at Embassy Suites (only a couple miles from Monterey Tides).

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The bus ride was about forty-five minutes- 30 miles south from Embassy Suites to the starting line. The race was a straight shot back north for 26.2 miles. I made some friends during the ride, everyone swapped race stories, goal times, jobs, and hometowns. The camaraderie of the Big Sur runners was unlike other races I have been. We laughed about the fact that this bus ride felt super long and yet we were about to be retracing the trek in just a couple hours. The scenery was kept secret by the dark nightly veil of mother nature, so even if you tried to get a peak of the views out the bus window all you could see was piercing black.

When we finally arrived, we still had about a mile and a half walk to the start. I had no clue where I was, but I just followed the masses of people as they unloaded off the buses.

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Finally! The starting line came into view.

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It was crowded. I get it- the forest isn’t exactly conducive to ten-million porta-potties and 4,000 people, but holy smokes, I really felt like a sardine!

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People lined the paths with coffee in one hand and a banana in the other. I love races for the people too- racing brings together all types. #peoplewatching

They provided fruit, coffee, tea, and water at varying stations around the starting line. They also have a truck for you to drop your bag with warm up clothes or anything else you need before the race that they then drive to the finish line. I loved this system!!! You just put a sticker provided with your bib number in the bag. After the race it was clear where to pick up your belongings and overall a super smooth process.

Now, if you are a runner, you know the STRUGGLE of trying to time the bathroom appropriately with the start time. You don’t want to go too early, but you don’t want to be anxiously waiting too long when everyone else is lined up at the start.

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And then it was time to begin!!! My heart swelled with excitement, my stomach filled with butterflies, and after taking the last couple days off running I was biting at the bit to get going. Considering I hadn’t trained much for this one compared to my other marathons I was hoping to at least finish without an injury.

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We started out in three separate waves, I ran in the second; the weather was pleasantly cool and the air smelled like pine and cinnamon. If there wasn’t enough adrenaline already, Highway One greeted us with the most intoxicating views at every turn. Each picturesque scene of the landscape had a way of taking your breath away while simultaneously giving you a second wind.

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I’m quite SURtain this is one of the most magnificent places that exists on planet earth.

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During these races is when I feel most myself, where I feel that all is right in the world, and all my cares dissipate with every step.

We embarked the renowned Big Sur bridge at the halfway mark .

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They even had a pianist playing whimsical tunes dressed in full performance garb!

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Around mile 15 I like to start using Gu Gel (they provide it twice during the race). I have half a packet at about mile 15, 18, 22, and then 24. It works!

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To avoid the head winds, I drafted a few different people throughout the race. Drafting works well, but you have to be pretty secretive about it, or you’ll creep the person you are following the heck out. Let’s chat if you’ve never heard of this. It’s essential for this race and saves SO much energy!

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YesSUR!

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At mile 23 they handed out the best strawberries I have ever had. It was similar to eating pure sugar! I wish I had snagged a picture!

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All done!

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Thank you, Aunt Terry, for the congratulatory beads all the way from New Orleans!!!!

Race Results!

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This was far off my PR of 3:38, but they say to add 20 minutes to your PR time with how challenging the course is (13th most challenging in the world), so I’ll take it. Plus without training for it and the stops for photo ops, I was happy to break 4 hours!

At the end of the race they handed out boxes of muffins, pretzels, cookies, minestrone soup and Sierra Nevada Beer. After races I’m not very hungry for about an hour- so we walked around a bit, basked in the sun, and then decided to head out. At this point I decided I was starting to feel my stomach growl. Warning: Once the post-marathon hunger begins, it’s insatiable for about three days!

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My mom suggested we go back to the hotel we stayed at the night before for Brunch (it was only about 11 am at this point!). She had breakfast there in the morning after doing yoga and said they had a great menu.

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She did not lead us astray! Multigrain avocado toast with poached eggs and a watermelon feta salad helped refuel the carbs, protein, and was still light enough to not upset my somewhat turbulent stomach.

And of course, mimosas are necessary after every long race.

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We headed back to the apartment and eagerly awaited DJ to come home so we could go out for a Mother’s Day dinner, since we wouldn’t actually be able to celebrate on the day of!

I was SURprised that I was actually feeling pretty decent after the race. I usually am zonked out for about two days after, but I had that adrenaline still running through my veins!

We decided to go to LB Steakhouse on the Row. I had never been, but DJ said it was delish. We looked over the menu and both agreed it looked like a great place to dine!

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I’ve walked past LB a trillion times while on the row, and their faux cow skin lined chairs always grab my eyes!

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Isn’t she lovely?!

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My love <3

We started with their Spanish octopus, which seemed harmless, until Mama J took a big bite of that pepper right on top…

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Her face went from surprise to a twisted, tortured expression in seconds. She was not just startled by the spiciness of the pepper, but rather in literal pain. I was confused by her reaction because she loves spicy food and can tolerate spice more than most people. (We ask for the “hot” food at Indian restaurants- if that gives you an idea). She flagged down the waiter and could barely talk. She reached for anything on the table to calm the fire overwhelming her mouth. He brought out milk and she said it was helping. I felt horrible, and jokingly said, “Happy Mother’s Day!”. I was also so confused how something they could serve could be that horrendously spicy. I picked up what was left of the pepper and out of curiosity touched it to my tongue. The small portion that I had touched to my tongue felt as though it blistered my tongue (and she ate the ENTIRE pepper). I can do spice with the rest of them, and this was not edible. It turned out there was a mix up- the restaurant meant to order the sweet haberneros, but rather served one of the hottest variations in the world. Let’s just say, this was something we laughed and literally cried about. I think I will forever have trust issues with peppers after this experience.

But the rest of the octopus was great! It sorta reminded me of pasta salad!

DJ ordered lobster bisque- not our favorite (‘Cause naturally I stole a couple sips), but it was still good.

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My mom ordered the seared scallops with misty artichokes and sweet harvest orange butter. I swapped her some of my salmon for a scallop (we classy), and not kidding- one of the greatest scallops ever. I think the only ones I have personally had that has topped it were Farallon’s!

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Steak and appropriately spicy pepper for Deeeej.

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Salmon for me. This really hit the spot. The salmon was perfection and nearly melted in my mouth.

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After dinner, well I guess more during dinner, we decided Cheesecake Factory’s cheesecake sounded like a perfect finish to a great weekend. We headed across the street and all put in our orders for cheesecake to go- Original for Mama J., Oreo Dream Xtreme for DJ, and Chocolate Hazelnut for myself. I was feeling adventurous and for some reason this flavor sounded so good. I can officially say it may be my new favorite. I can’t believe it doesn’t get more love! It has such a nice moosey texture mixed with the fudgey chocolate and sprinkles of coated hazelnut. I will be getting this one again!

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After savoring our Cheesecake, we headed to sleep. Monday, Mom J. had to leave at 4 am for the airport, and I was up at 5 for work. I was supposed to have Tuesday off (which I was looking forward to rest my legs), but I ended up having to work Monday-Wednesday. I think it’s by the grace of God I SURvived because I do not know how I made it through those shifts at work!

But I do have to mention- I worked with lumbar drains this week and it was one of my favorite days yet. I am getting more in the groove of actually being a neuroSURgical nurse, and while the learning curve is steeper than the hills of Big Sur, I am feeling more competent. I also passed the EKG exam I have been studying for the last couple weeks!!!! Hence, I was able to care for my first tele patient this week and loved it! This also means I am officially done studying in all my free time and I can catch up on your blogs- watch out- I’m about to blow up ya’lls notifications and I cannot wait… I can’t thank you all for your encouragement through this crazy adjustment in life.

Last- if anyone has any questions about the race feel free to leave a comment or contact me. I know lots of you are runners!

Oh, oh, oh! AND major congratulations to my other blog ladies- Tara at Runandlivehappy and Taralynn at SimplyTaralynn for both annihilating their half marathons!!!! <3

Blog Birthdays in May:

Kimberlee at anotetohugette

Katy at katyslifestory

I absolutely adore these two lovely ladies. Their writing and stories are inspirational, and they have the kindest hearts. I hope you two have wonderful birthdays this month!

xo <3

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Hanging on by a Med

GOOOOD MORNING!!! 

Pull up a chair, let’s have a quick chat over some morning toast and coffee!

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Yes, yes- quite different from my strawberries and cream toast I have each morning. Instead of strawberries I used bananas since I was having calf cramps last night and added Evoke muesli for a little crunchy pizzzazzz.

Currently, I am sitting at a Starbucks before work trying to finish up this post (it’s a classroom day so I slept in until 5:30!). Unfortunately, I had to betray Peet’s because it’s further than the Bucks. Buttt you all know where my loyalty resides.

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I also cracked up how they spelled my name. He didn’t even attempt the ending. He just gave up. LOL

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Also…… Sprouts has another bag….

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I haven’t pulled the trigger yet. What do you guys think? DJ says I have far too many grocery bags already…. but…….. I don’t have THIS bag. Help me justify it, please!

So let’s see…. last week I worked Wednesday- Sunday every day. It was the first time I worked all through the weekend and it was a bit trippy! (When I was off Mon/Tues, everyone else was heading back to work!).

DJ had off and spent time with his family over the weekend. I’m so glad he had that time but also quite jealous- I miss everyone so much!! Thursday was technically “off” and since I was not required to actually go to the hospital, I stayed cozied up in my home and got a ton of studying done for EKGs (with the occasion Fine Cooking skimmin’ break- gotta whet those cooking ideas!).

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I do have to mention Saturday though- I had a legitimate anxiety attack at work. I have only had maybe three full on attacks in my life- and this was one of the worst. It was around 1:30 in the afternoon and I hadn’t had a chance to take my lunch, so I bet low blood sugar catapulted the issue. I think it was just a rough moment too.. I am thoroughly convinced this is the most difficult/stressful time of my life, perhaps ever, but the support is phenomenal so I know (I hope) I can make it through. Some people drop out of the program at the six month program- I am just praying I make it through. I will give it my all. God wouldn’t call me here if he didn’t have plans.

Also- although It was a rough day, but the next day was 100% better. I’m finding that for every bad day there will be a good day. My preceptor told me I am right where I need to be- I am just unfairly hard on myself and I don’t forgive myself very easily (even for the smallest mistakes). This whole journey is bringing some serious self-reflection to the surface. I come home, even from good days, and the wheels just turn, turn, turn. I can’t turn my mind off. I wake up in hot sweats and start thinking about things I may have forgot to chart, conversations, teaching I may have accidentally omitted, etc. I have a system that works, and my to-do lists, but as a new grad, it’s hard to cover every single base (hence the preceptorship). I’ll be find one moment and then my heart is racing over these thoughts that creep up. I feel better once I’m in the hospital though… it’s the down time- I drive myself nuts!

But in those moments I try to celebrate the small victories: The family who thanked me, the patient who told me I was their favorite nurse (seriously melted my heart), advocating for my patient and the doctor taking my thoughts into account, becoming more comfortable with my skills….. there are victories and rather than focusing so much on my mistakes and failures, I have to choose to celebrate the victories.

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I pray, I breathe, I am reminded that this is normal.

I actually didn’t intend to share that. But sometimes ya just start writing and things come out!

Anywho, this week was a tapering week for running, so I had some nice, easy leisure runs outside. When I get stressed out I like to run, run, run……hence, tapering this week was hard for me!!! I was craving long runs- but had to limit myself. However, the weather was GORGEOUS, and those short spurts outside helped elevate my spirits for sure!

img_4069-1img_4076-1img_4075-1img_4061-1DJ and I both had Monday off. I studied most of the day and DJ caught up on some MUCH needed sleep. We deemed Monday night a date night! I was craving sushi- needing some serious comfort food!

We decided to try Pacific Catch in Campbell.

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^^ I love incorporating parts of my “business casual” shopping into my everyday outfits, like these heels!

When we sat down, our waitress was a doll and brought us out samples of Hawaiian Poke! I don’t think I’ve ever had poke, but it was very tasty!

DJ ordered their fish tacos and said they were pretty decent!

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I tried their inside out roll (spicy tuna over California roll). It was ok- it was fine enough, but there is WAY better sushi in other places in the area. But overall, it was a fun place and still a tasty experience.

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I also loved how themed-out the restaurant was. They had these “sea glass” bottles as water serving bottles—–it was funny though because DJ and I thought everyone was drinking Grey Goose vodka when we walked in, lol.

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They even used the bottles as hanging light fixtures!

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We then went to Santana Row, walked around a while, and then stopped by Safeway for the necessities for a good, chill date night! (Ice cream was already at home, of course ;)). Also- this wine was on sale and I’ve never tried it before. It’s called BV Coastal Estates and man oh man- it is good!

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I was feeling pretty stressed out on Tuesday. I went for a run in the morning and DJ said he was craving some good pancakes. After some research, he found that Uncle-John’s Pancake House in Campbell was supposed to be some of the best! We decided to give it a go!

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We both LOVED the whole ambiance- very 50/60s diner-esque feel (which makes sense considering they started the restaurant chain in 1958!!!!). I’m sure it’s been renovated since- it was pristinely clean and the staff were jovial and welcoming!

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Their coffee was the BOMB!

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I ordered their egg white veggie omelette (yum!), and DJ, of course, ordered their pancakes with a side of eggs and bacon.

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The verdict: Very good pancakes, but not the best. Now, if you like somewhat fluffier pancakes, you would love them! DJ loves the thin with the crispy buttery-caramelized outside. (He claims The Bellagio in Las Vegas are setting the standard).

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The rest of the day I studied my EKGs and prepped for the rest of the meals for the week. From monopoly, I had $2.00 off a large deli roasted chicken, so I grabbed that for DJ. I also made some calrose rice, broccoli, and bread that he could throw onto a plate in the evenings (if he was back for dinner). I stocked up on sweet potato and salad ingredients, as well as this cauliflower lemon piccata which I have been craving lately! It has cauliflower steak, capers, shallots, lemon juice, and is cooked in white wine. I add a bit of basil on top because I think it complements the lemon well!

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The last two nights DJ was home earlier than expected! I was super happy I could get a hug in before hitting the hay.

Wednesday until now has been a non-stop whirlwind. BUT tonight my mom flies in TONIGHT for the marathon on Sunday! WOOHOO!!!!! I can hardly wait.

Oh and below is a snap shot of a breath-taking view I had on the way to work. It’s hard getting up at 4 or 5 almost everyday, but the fact that the sun is coming up earlier and setting later has been helping immensely!

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Blog Birthdays: 

Happy Birthday to Sijo from Sijo Punathil Photography on April 30th!

He has some of the most enthralling, captivating photography I have ever seen (I hyperlinked one of my favorites above!). I hope your birthday is spectacular, Sijo!

Hope everyone has the best weekend…. and before I go I just must remind you…..

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If you don’t get the reference, I’m probably too old.

xo <3

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The Last Couple Weeks…

Last night after a 12- hour shift I pulled into our apartment complex, parked the car, took the elevator up to our floor and walked into our home.

“How was it?”

That was all it took. The tears just flowed. And flowed some more.

DJ jumped up from the couch and just held me.

The end of my first week of in-hospital nursing came to a close. With it came feelings of incompetence like none I have ever experienced. Those feelings of inadequacy slowly chipped away at my confidence, as though carving out pieces of my soul. After three shifts, I was broken.

I knew this was coming, mentally. I have heard it from countless other new nurses before. I won’t let that happen, I lied to myself.

Yes, this past week was perhaps one of the most emotionally draining of my life. I knew orientation would be a challenge- but I truly don’t know how I’m going to finish everything by the deadline of April 19th. We have countless skills we have to perform in-hospital, but when caring for patients, it’s hard enough to find a bathroom break, let alone demonstrate how to set up a chest tube, how to clean a tracheostomy, how to insert an NG tube, how to change a CVC dressing, set up a lumbar drain, etc.

On top of that is the physical exhaustion- the 4:30 wake up calls, the intense modules to complete on my “day off”, the desire to keep a home running for DJ and I to live in, including keeping groceries stocked and the laundry done.

But perhaps one of the most challenging aspects right now stems from the deep love I have for the people I am caring for. All that above, it’s hard to do, but oh man, it is so worth it when I can care for someone so intimately and make a difference in their lives. But out of this love I have for caring for my patients comes a desire to be freaking good at caring for them. And I’m not. I have no idea what I’m doing right now, and I am beyond frustrated with myself. One of our educators told us multiple times that we have to be forgiving with ourselves. Now I totally understand what she meant.

I forget to chart so many things. I lay awake panicking because I can’t remember if I did A, B, AND C, or if I only did A and B. I drive to work nauseas because I’m so terrified.

But it’s normal, they say.

Do I regret this choice or decision? No.

Do I wonder if I have what it takes? Yes.

Do I have to remind myself multiple times a day that God has a specific plan for me here? Yes.

Is this the first chapter of my story that has a beautiful ending where I can confidently say that I am a good nurse? I really hope so.

Ya’ll know that I’m pretty candid around here. Yes, I LOVE to make the world’s-worst jokes, and I LOVE to laugh-but I will let you know when it’s been tough tough tough. When things get stressful, I tend to go into hermit mode and cut myself off from the world. But in this past couple weeks I have worked up a serious appetite to blog. I feel like it always helps me put things back into perspective. When you can write about a situation, it gives it a tangibility and control at your finger tips. You decide what is highlighted, and ultimately you decide the perspective you have and the learning you gain from the experience. That’s what writing does for me, and it’s cathartic and healing in an essence of its own.

And although this week was so hard, I know that it will get better. I am in a learning season, and sometimes learning is one of the most trying obstacles we can face in life. Why? Because learning requires a stretch of our will, minds, energy, patience, and that is usually uncomfortable. But the awesome truth about the trials of learning is the accompaniment of growth. Lessons aren’t learned in complacency, but rather in tribulation. As is growth. So for that growth I am thankful, I need this stage to help me blossom. I need it to refine me and my character. I need it to meet new friends, lead people to Jesus, and carry out a purpose for which I have been called. One day this stage will allow me to encourage others that walk through it too.

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(Romans 5:3) Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

And in the mean time, I refuse to solely survive. I want to live, I want to thrive. I want to learn as much as I can and not let every negative, exhausting, emotionally draining situation define me or my perspective.

I also don’t write this for pity or anything- it’s simply to have a baseline for myself moving forward so I can see that growth that takes place! I know things will get better, and I hate to be negative, but it’s also important for me to be candid about these things for my own reflection! 

Hope I didn’t give anyone an extra case of the Monday blues! 🙈

Sooo, without further adieu. I would love to share some highlights of our week…

I am officially running the Big Sur Marathon!!! I haven’t officially announced it here because I didn’t know if my work schedule would allow it. To be honest, I haven’t trained much, so it may be a bit rough. If anything, I will see some spectacular views! I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself to get a great time or even finish it if my body says, “heck nah”, so we will see. I did complete an 18-miler with two minor breaks on Friday while studying on the treadmill, so that’s not too bad! This weekend I don’t work Saturday, so I might go for a 22-miler while I study! Anywho…. here are my nature-y pics from other runs during the week!

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DJ and I still haven’t seen each other much during the week. Baseball season is gearing up, so he has been at work till about 10/11 pm every evening including many weekend nights. However, Saturday March 25th, he had a lunch break (where he could actually leave the office). We met at Bill’s because where else?! He ordered the french toast croissant and I ordered the greek omelette again because I’m addicted. We missed ya, Mom and Gordie! (If you missed our awesome weekend and the full review of Bill’s Cafe, check it out here).

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For dinner these past couple weeks, I have done crockpot ribs and a combination of Hello Fresh/Blue Apron, and salads. Blue Apron > Hello Fresh by a LANDSLIDE. I used Hello Fresh because we had a promo giftcard. It was promo no-no. I mean the stuff wasn’t horrible, but it was not Blue Apron. Blue Apron makes me feel like this in the kitchen…

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NOTHING ELSE DOES THAT! 

Oh, and here are the ribs. Made with none other than the SJ Giants BBQ sauce 😉 #REPRESENT

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This meal below was easily one of my favorite Blue Apron meals of all time!!! It was a mozzarella pizza with fresh oregano, spinach, and green bell peppers. YUM. The dough was perfection too.

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Traditionally, spring has been my least favorite season. But these California blooms are poppin’!

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BEST part of the day right here. Circa 5 am. Time with Jesus, coffee, Ezekiel bread/yogurt/strawberries.

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Oh hey look it’s a nurse! Don’t let the uniform fool you. My only recommendation for anything currently is to eat chocolate and take a Tylenol.

***Unless you have liver issues. Do not take more than 4g in a 24 hour period.***

Have to protect my butt now that I have a thing called a license.

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I’ve tried to change the scenery of my study areas and resorted to hanging out in our apartment’s community area. It’s so cute, I don’t know why I haven’t done this more in the past. And I’m lovin’ those pillows.

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On one of my days “off” (there is ALWAYS something to study and do or a class to attend on our days “off”, hence the quotations), I returned a ton of the business casual clothes I didn’t end up wearing for our two big business cas. weeks of orientation. I decided to take a quick stroll around Santana Row just to be outside for a bit. So many amazing memories here. There’s this memory and this memory and this memory……. It made me happy and nostalgic all at the same time.

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Thursday night we had our church group. This is the first time I have been able to make one since the group started up three weeks ago. DJ actually was able to request to leave early and led the group for the evening. Such a stud. My good friend Danielle (from that insane hike), made Lamingtons- a traditional Australian dessert. Holy Maloly they were so good. I can’t even explain. All good things come from Australia.

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She also made Vegemite/Veggie/Bacon and cheese scrolls- Which are seriously manna from heaven, and all people need to try these before they die. Danielle is also one of the greatest bakers ever, and I think Jesus blessed me a little extra with her as a friend.

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Last night was the first date night DJ and I had since my last post (at the Socialight on March 24th). I came home from work around 8 pm emotionally exhausted and hangry as mentioned above. ***I also have to make a side note that DJ cleaned the whole house, did dishes and laundry on his first day off in a couple weeks. He is amazing.***

Anyways, there was a very specific meal I was craving- and that was Lazy Dog’s Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna over Cauliflower mashed potatoes in a curry coconut cream sauce. Luckily, DJ hadn’t ate a huge dinner so we headed over to Main Street for a late one. (Also what better place to go post 12-hour work day than Lazy Dog?)

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This was the highlight of my week. Just spending these precious, small moments with DJ. (He doesn’t like me taking his picture, so I sneak them and then post them on the internet while he’s not looking 😉 ). And then he’ll read this and I’ll get a lecture. It’s like clockwork.

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And forever, the PEET’s mug will host our Sunday mornings.

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So, today was PALM SUNDAY!!!! I needed my church family badly. They encouraged me greatly. Also, in this worship service today, I felt so wrapped in love. There is a specific reason for this… it’s amazing the way God works.

Going back a few years… the day after my dad passed away in high school, I went to church. I felt like going through the “normal” motions was just how I coped. I remember the first song that played in our worship service was “Hosanna”. I couldn’t choke out the words but my heart was singing them. It was laden with emotion and has been for me ever sense. It’s weird though, it doesn’t bring with it feelings of immense sadness and loss necessarily. It brings back the reminder that the Lord is my comfort in my darkest moments. Our church that DJ and I attend now has their own worship music from C3 Church’s elevation worship- they rarely play more “mainstream” worship that most churches know. However, this morning, while I was feeling downcast and perhaps more stressed than I have in my life, the worship team started playing this song. It just brought me such comfort- reminding me that God is my place of rest, my Prince of Peace. I felt like Jesus was reminding me that He will be with me through all of this.

DJ had to work today, but was back home for dinner (officially an anomaly).

For dinner tonight I had some leftover Seared Sesame Ahi tuna from leftover’s last night in my salad with tons of avocado and white cheddar puff pastries from Blue Apron. DJ wanted his leftover ribs.

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I spent the rest of today studying and basically trying to get organized (contrary to what the picture might say).

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The work week starts again bright and early at 5:00 am (which now feels like sleeping in compared to my hospital days). I have modules and classroom work the beginning of the week and 12-hour shifts starting Thursday.

I am so very sad that blogging has been put on the big ole’ back burner. Once orientation is over the load should lighten up a bit. I send ya’ll so much love.

xo <3

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