San Diego Part 1! Cafe 21, Coronado, & CVS

Hey all!! I am so excited to finallllly share our time in San Diego with you 🙂 It’s my favorite city in the US- I just LOVE it. The school load has been pretty intense this week, so I am just now getting out this recap. If you are curious to see our previous San Diego adventures I will link them here: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.  January 17th right before we left I received this beautiful delivery of flowers for my bday! It was so special, and they are stilll in full beautiful bloom today 🙂

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We booked a late evening flight out (around 9:30). The flights to SD are generally pretty cheap & short since it’s within the same state- and this time the best deal was through Alaskan airlines. We love when the cheapest price is through Alaska- it’s one of our favorite airlines (and it’s the best terminal in SF’s airport!). We arrived to the airport obnoxiously early per usual, so Deej and I decided to have a little popcorn shrimp snack & wine and chit-chat about our week since we had been in our own little work/school worlds since Sunday.

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While waiting our gate I was able to catch up on some blogs, my favorite way to pass the time!

We had a bit of a delay getting to the airport & then getting off the tarmac, but the short flight was great- this plane was massive and even had the free movies to choose from. I watched Game Night, but the flight was soo short that it cut off before the movie was over. It was SUCH a good movie, and I’ve got to finish those last ten minutes one of these days haha. Finally around 1 am, we arrived at our Hotel- The Kimpton Palomar. We got a great deal on a room with our Orbitz bucks!

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Our check in concierge was extremely chipper for it being so late, lol. I loved her energy though! She informed us that there was coffee in the lobby in the morning, but if we wanted we could have a Keurig brought to the room. I jumped on the Keurig option, naturally. I love having a warm cup of coffee to accompany me in getting ready in the morning.

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The hotel has a Mexican restaurant right downstairs too called Curardero. We never ventured to it- but it seemed like a fun option!

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The rooms were simple, pretty & clean!

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Okay, it seems silly to take a picture of the soap- but that hand soap was some of the most wonderfully scented doggone soap… the sandalwood particularly came through!

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I took a nice 2 am shower (I always feel the need to shower after being on a plane) & then snooooozeeed.

In the morning after a big cup of steamin’ jo (or two), we walked down the road to Cafe twenty-fun, I mean…. Cafe twenty-yum.. okay okay it’s really called Cafe 21. 😉

I heard about this gem from Kate at LiveintheNautical when she visited SD. Alsoo, when I went to their website I saw you get a free entree if it is your birthday month, so trying it out was a no brainer!

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cah-uuuute.

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The decor! The menu! The food! The ambiance! Even the way they serve the water is too cool. Let’s call it what it is: A millennial/hipster/blogger’s paradise. My mom and Pete texted us that they’d landed, and met us right on time to get some good eats! My mom hasn’t missed a marathon yet, and she was not about to ruin her streak. I say she’s my good luck charm 🙂  You may remember the last Big Sur Marathon (that was such a great weekend!). I was excited Pete was able to join- also it was his bday month too- so we got two free entrees with our meal, what a steal!

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We had to try their Bloody Mary’s which people rave about over YELP. We ordered three off the menu, and decided we would just decide who wanted what once we tried them. We first tried one that had a whole real prawn in it. (it was a bit too cocktail saucey tasting for my liking). But this was Pete’s favorite of the three so he claimed it!

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Next up we tried the “California Greenin'”. Now THIS was my cup of tea. Those grilled cheeses were insanely good too. I could have ate a plate of those alone as my breakfast- mmmmm! Not your traditional bloody, but pretty darn refreshing! It reminded me of those Naked juices, I think the one called the Green Machine?

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My mom opted for the “Ol’ Yello’ Mary with fresh yellow heirloom tomato, horseradish pickled veggies, & the yummy grilled cheese. This was a very close second (in my opinion) to the California Greenin’. It was pretty tasty! I will say though- if you are craving a traditional bloody, this is probably not your place. These are pretty nuanced in flavor & doesn’t give that great hearty tomatoey kick. Kate said that Breakfast Republic had the best bloodies of the ones she tried, and I would totally take her word for it! We tried Breakfast Republic last time we were there, and it was a fantastic breakfast (I need to try a bloody next time though!).

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Food time! Deej had their wonderful pancakes with maple syrup, raspberry and kiwi purees, fresh fruit and seasonal house-made compotes. The mix of jams and the syrup was beyond satiable (I had a bite of course 😉 ). All our meals basically end up as family style- lol.

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Pete ordered this GORGEOUS bananas foster. I mean… can you take it?! MMmmmm!

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My mom and I split their shrimp corn cakes which was probably the most frequently mentioned item on the menu per Yelp reviewers. This had poached eggs, kennebec potato, wild shrimp, sweet corn, mozzarella, cilantro cream sauce, & fried basil. I think this was actually my favorite of all three dishes. I’d say if you come here, this is a must.

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After our scrumptious brunch we headed back to the hotel to change into some beach-easy clothes.

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Before hitting the sand, we all decided to take a peak at the rooftop pool. It was such a fun little set up! If it was warmer out we would have taken advantage of it, but it was a bit too chilly for that.

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Time to drive over the bridge to Coronado! It’s always pretty exciting to see all the massive ships & fleets of boats.

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Ah I just love Coronado <3 It has so much character and such a peaceful vibe.

img_8429img_8430We found the same place we parked last time and walked to Hotel Coronado to hang out at the beach there.

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Even if you aren’t staying at the hotel, you can still enjoy much of what it has to offer for free.

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We walked around the grounds a bit, enjoying the historical odes at every turn.

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Inside we spotted this old elevator that is still operational- I don’t know how we missed it last time!

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I’ll never forget our INSANE brunch we had here last time! We walked around the shops attached to the perimeter of the hotel, and of course, had to stop at the ice cream shop.

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Their flavors are too fun!!!

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Time to soak up some San Diego rays! My mom and Pete took a long walk on the beach & I read some articles for school. DJ listened to his podcast and lounged next to me too.

We even had a little visitor. Linda, I felt like you getting these shots! 🙂

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It started getting a bit chilly in the afternoon, so we went to the restaurants outside the hotel to have a glass of red wine to warm us up & enjoyed a vibrant quintessential Californian sunset <3

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While we were sitting outside we noticed a man at the table next to us that was sporting my school of nursing’s shirt from 2018. I had to say something! I hopped over, introduced myself, and turns out he and one of the women at the table were professors. They were there for a nursing conference with the rest of the school of nursing. They were super friendly & we chatted for a few minutes- turns out I may even have them as profs near the end of my program! I wrote their names down in my notepad, so I won’t forget haha. Small world. Too fun!

img_8490img_8491On the way back we stopped at a CVS to stock up on carby breakfast items for before the race. I grabbed some mini wheats & DJ got a box of cereal too (Can’t remember what). Once back to the hotel, we got ready to hit the town! I’m excited to share our evening, but I’ll save that for next post 🙂

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Questions for you:

  • Are you watching the Bachelor tonight? Let’s discuss.
  • Favorite cereal? I’m alll about them mini wheats- I love the chocolate & regular. Mmmmmmm!

xo <3

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Our Family Is Growing

I’m giving our moms a heart attack as they read this title. NO- I’m not pregnant. Haha- sorry 😝. Don’t worry- I would not announce it on my blog before telling you guys 😘. But we do have a new addition to the family that I will be announcing later on. OH THE SUSPENSE.

First things first- I just want to say a TREMENDOUS thank you to Afrilly for the sweet, sweet words on her blog as well as Cyranny. Truly- I am blown away by the sincerity and kindness of this community. Also thank you to Theveggiecooker for her nomination for the One Lovely Blog award. I am beyond honored. At this time I don’t quite have the time to thoughtfully nominate others and respond to the award, but the nomination was incredibly appreciated.

Well, ya’ll ready for our hodge-podge of the last week and a half or so?

After the last post we had some zucchini leftover so we made zucchini pizzas, the more “normal” way. This is one of DJ’s favorites. I saved the inner parts that you scrape out for a recipe I share later on! I love that the grocery store has so many vegan options for the toppings. They have vegan pepperoni and vegan bacon.

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I am on a new breakfast kick. I ate oatmeal for breakfast for about five years straight. I even carried a big ole’ thing of Quaker oats in my car with me when I traveled. They became famous among my friends and we called them the “Traveling Oats”. Anyway- the last few months I have been changing it up with fruit and granola parfaits, and now I am changing it up once again. I have been loving putting Siggi’s yogurt on Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel bread with homemade cinnamon apple chips. I wake up craving this. Siggi’s yogurt is awe-some. It has an insane amount of protein and is low fat. It is made with all wholesome ingredients and acts almost like a cream cheese. It’s perfect in the morning with a cuppa joe!

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Now on to other happenings. It’s FALL!!! Finally. This time is dangerous for our pocket books if we are honest with ourselves (Ladies- can I get an AMEN?!). I can’t walk into a store without feeling wonderfully overwhelmed by the beautiful, beautiful madness. Oh the pumpkin everything, the candles, the smells, the foods, the SWEATER WEATHER.

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Oh brother. One of my favorite parts is scanning the shelves at grocery stores for new fall foods. Kids have it good these days- look at these cereal options. (Side note: Pumpkin Spice Mini Wheats are revolutionary!)

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DJ came home from class one day last week and I guiltily admitted that I made an impulsive buy. I saw this little pumpkin pillow while I was out and about and could not leave without. OH how I tried to resist. That’s a lie- I did not try very hard.

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On Thursday of last week we were running low on groceries. I had to get real creative ya’ll because we were going to be gone for the weekend, and I didn’t want to restock groceries yet. I had the leftover inner portion of the zucchini from our zucchini pizzas, eggs, and some Palak’s Tikki Masala curry. I figured that eggplant is used as a base in a lot of Indian/Thai dishes, so why not give zucchini a go?! I also remembered the eggs that were on top of the dish DJ had at Oren’s, and decided that maybe I would throw those on top too. And  of course, alllll the spices. I also had some roti sitting in the freezer (because that’s normal for a basic American girl). I love making roti because it puffs up as you make it. And its fun to say “roe-tee”.

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DJ said this was one of his favorites that I’ve made. He said we needed to make it a staple- A STAPLE! I laughed at how much he loved my scrap together meal.

On Friday through Sunday we spent time watching DJ’s sisters and some family friends’ children. (Four kids total). Since DJ was studying all weekend intensely for midterms, I joked that I went from a studying, unemployed, newlywed to a single mother of four overnight.

Friday night was an adventure around dinner time. I wasn’t quite familiar with how to use the stove and while I thought I turned on the oven I actually turned on the stove that was hidden by a cover on top of the stove. I turn around to put a pizza in and the stove is smoking. Look, when you are responsible for four children and can’t turn on an oven it takes a deep hit to your maternal confidence. The girls came by to help me out and showed me how to use it properly. By that point everyone was pretty hungry so waiting thirty plus minutes for the oven to preheat and to cook the pizza seemed out of the question. I threw together a few other random bites of anytizzers, stovetop chicken a la vodka pasta, and mahi mahi salad from the fridge for myself, and while not my proudest cooking endeavor at least everyone got fed- right?

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Saturday was so.much.fun. I was still able to squeeze in studying here and there but spending that time with the girls gave me a new boost of energy and provided a much needed break from the books. Naturally, we went to LUSH first. Once again- the cult-like following of all things fall is everywhere. Their fall products are way too fun. I tried out the goth fairy and magic wand. Super obsessed with both. You really cannot go wrong here with any of their products.

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Saturday night the girls did the sweetest thing for DJ and me. When I came inside from studying they said they had a surprise for us that night. Then we received a text that read, “To the Mr. and Mrs., tonight we have prepared a special night for the two of you. Tonight you will be enjoying a delicious dinner, music, and surprises! Please join us in the dining room at about 6:15. We hope to see you there soon!” Love the B.A.M girls (abbreviation for their names).

I actually teared up when I saw what they had set up for us. They had romantic music playing and made a bouquet (they actually made it with flowers they found outside), candles, the whole deal. They each played waitress and came out offering us either “Sparkling water” or “Citrus sparking water”. They proceeded to tell us that they would begin serving whenever we were ready. We were eager to see what they had prepared and they brought out a delicious fettuccini with homemade alfredo sauce with parmasean to sprinkle on top. I cannot explain how impressed I was with them. The food and service was superb!

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For dessert they made an apple pie. Seriously, come on- do we have the greatest sisters or what?! DJ and I went back for seconds.

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Later that night we may have had a tiny mishap with the dishwasher. There was no powder detergent and the packets of cascade were a bit too big. I, brilliantly, thought just a small dash of dishwasher soap would be a good idea. WARNING: do not try that at home. After about five minute of it going I hear the girls yelling- “It’s overflowing! It’s overflowing!” I look and soap suds are seeping out of the cracks, under, and around the darn dishwasher. Good going, Mack. #FakeMomFail .

Sunday one of the girls had a basketball tournament. It felt like a Starbucks kind of morning. I stopped by and picked up the girls their favorite double chocolate chip frappacinos and a chocolate croissant. I guess the Pokemon go is still going strong!

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Speaking of Coffee: Today is national Coffee Day!!!!! BIG DEAL!!!!!! This is personally one of my favorite holidays. I hope you guys are all properly caffeinated. I am at a Pete’s and about three minutes ago I went to sit down and spilled my coffee all over the place. That is either a sign that I need more or have had too much? Luckily the lap top was spared but I so ungracefully, in very characteristic me-fashion, made a big ole’ mess. I’m really killing it this week aren’t I?

I have been camping out at Peet’s this whole week and know all the baristas by name now. They cheer me on as I take a million practice exams, memorize a million lab values, and drink way too much of their coffee.

I also used to be a barista so what better time to share some of my “artwork” than now?! Below are a few of my favorites.

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Back to the week in review:

Sunday night when we got home, once again no groceries. And we were far too drained to go out and buy some. I did have some veggies leftover and of course eggs and roti. I made an western egg scramble in roti burritos with a side of sriracha hot sauce.

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Monday was an essential grocery/cleaning day. I tried to study, but I couldn’t focus with so much on my to-do list. I knocked out the grocery shopping in the morning and cleaned all day, did some laundry, and prepared dinner. Also I did watch the Presidential Debate (just a day late on Hulu). I don’t want to get political, so I’ll keep my views to myself- you all get enough of that from other social media platforms.

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Pumpkin nutmeg candle <3
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Sprouts is hands-down my favorite grocery store. I don’t shop there for everything because it can be a bit expensive (not as expensive as Whole Foods), but I do love looking for specialty items. They have the best selection of pumpkin/fall foods. I told the cashier that I was going to limit myself to just one specialty pumpkin item each grocery trip. Jokes on me- As I was walking out of the store I saw the Harvest Pumpkin Tortilla Chips with Pumpkin Salsa. I walked right back up to the cashier and said I took back what I said about one pumpkin item per trip.

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We also got our delivery of Graze this week! I have wanted to try this out for forever, well since the beginning of college, and I found a Groupon for it! Graze is excellent because it is perfectly custom designed to your snacking needs. They have a protein box, a calorie count box, a dessert box, etc. I have liked everything, but I definitely have some favorites:

  • Deconstructed Carrot Cake
  • Peachy Orchard
  • Sweet Rhubarb Jam
  • White Chocolate with Wild Blueberry Toast
  • Salted Caramel Fudge

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This week I decided to try out a Mustard Char Glazed Salmon from my Fine Cooking magazines. It was ridiculously easy to make and had a flavor like nothing I have ever tried.

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Our house has a LEEK!!!!!!!! 
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This week we are in hard core study mode (per usual). I am rounding down the home stretch to my studying. I am hoping to take my NCLEX by late October. DJ has midterms on Friday.

Okay- time for the big unveiling. So DJ has been a bit down this week in the study blues, as I mentioned last post. I thought to myself- what can I do to cheer his up? LIGHTBULB, buy Spanky Tom! Buy a what?  Spanky Tom is our fish that we have talked about getting for years, since early college days. No idea where we got that name. Truly no clue. But I knew this was the time. What can cheer someone up more than a fish?! I threw in the study towel early and headed to PetSmart.

Side story: I do have a track record of spontaneously buying fish. When I got my first paycheck ever in high school, I decided that very day that I wanted to spend it on a little fish. I went to the store and looked for the ugliest fish I could find. I always want the ugliest pet because they are the least likely to get adopted. (Like my dream of adopting a three legged ugly dog from the pound and naming it Beans). I found a Black Moore with bulging eyeballs and named it Sunshine. I’m a fan of irony. Sunshine was the best darn fish to ever swim the planet. When Sunshine was about two years old my family went away for a vacation. I bought a “self releasing fish feeder”. FALSE. It did not release the food. Sunshine was in a dire state when I came home. It’s little gills were barely moving. I did what everyone does in a state of panic and horror: I googled. I tried everything. I changed the tank’s water, put my dear little sunshine in cold water, in warm water (I probably shocked her), I tried CPR on the dang fish, I fed it corn (not sure where I got that one), but poor Sunshine was lost to fishy heaven. I cried. At eighteen years old I cried over my dead pet fish. That really forced me to reevaluate my life.

Anyway- back to Spanky. I was giddy with excitement. DJ doesn’t quite share in my enthusiasm of buying ugly animals, so I decided to get a pretty Spanky. I spent about fifteen minutes staring at all the fish to see which one had the most spunk. I finally chose this precious little male Beta. It’s hard to tell in the picture but here is me and Spanky T’s first picture together.

When DJ got home this was our conversation:

Me: Guess what

DJ: What

Me: I bought Spanky Tom

DJ: *Laughing* did you really just go out and buy a fish again?

I walked over to show him the tank. Deej was pretty excited- at least it got a smile out of him! Our little family is growing! I told him I chose Spanky because he seemed the most energetic of all the fish. We both looked down at Spanky T just sitting in his barrel, barely moving, and DJ observed, “Yeah, looks like it”.😂

Now, is this not the photogenic fish you have ever seen?! ST loves the little barrel and that’s where he spends most of the time. It’s his favorite part of his tiny playground.

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Sorry about the title mothers. Simply click bait. GET IT?!

#SpankyTomforPresident

For dinner I made Jennie O turkey burgers for Deej, a Morningstar Quinoa and Garlic Vegan burger for myself and homemade sweet potato fries with a homemade healthy cinnamon butter.

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Tomorrow is Friday! Woohoo! That means date night. Especially after a torturous week leading up to midterms I am excited for DJ to have a night off studying (at at least mostly off).

Wishing you a swimmingly pleasant weekend,

xo <3

Mack