Majestic Monterey, CA!

This past week has been a hodge-podge of different events! We spent most of the weekend keeping it low-key. We had a few things on the agenda to knock out to get ready for law school and more house stuff. I am so excited for the house to get finished up so I can share some pictures with you all 🙂

One of the weekend nights we went to Lyfe Kitchen in Downtown Cupertino. We love this eatery. It has all organic, fresh ingredients and it’s great for vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike. They even have fresh herbs growing right in the lobby.

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Main Street Cupertino is a happenin’ place. There are so many new places going up all the time. I can’t wait for Oren’s Hummus Shop to open!

I had been feeling lethargic for a couple days over the weekend. I think the move is finally catching up with me! The adrenaline rush has been helping with the continual discovering, running around, and exploring, but my body wanted a down-day. After having a nice, relaxing weekend, I had an awesome insanity workout with Shaun T. Anyone else do insanity out there? I love it! I have been doing it for six years now.I went through the full schedule twice, but now I just do my favorites about two or three times a week in between running or elliptical days. I can tell when my body has running fatigue, and that’s when I wake it up with an insanity interval!

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Procrastinating with Harry Potter Snapchat filter

One of the nights we felt so lazy we didn’t even want to order takeout. I was determined to find something in our cupboard to whip up. Welp, ya’ll, I’m pretty proud of this one (this was made with all ingredients that traveled all the way from Indiana with us).

Thai Coconut Tofu Bombay soup: Made with extra firm tofu, Amy’s Thai Coconut Soup, and bombay spice chickpeas. I also added a little red curry powder, cayenne, and chili powder for some extra spice and dazzle! DJ LOVED it. I took a picture of his starkly white empty bowl below once he gobbled it all up;).

We haven’t done a ton of grocery shopping since we have been so on-the-go, but we did take a nice walk to our favorite grocery store, Sprouts, to get some essentials. It’s about a mile and a half away, but with this weather, why not walk to the store! We forgot our bags, once again, and had to to the walk of shame with our brown purchased ones.

IMG_7643Something I absolutely cannot keep to myself is this rug that came in the mail. *INSERT HEART-EYES EMOJI*. Most of our apartment is neutral tones, but I couldn’t help add a little pizzazz on our balcony. People that know me know I have always been fascinated with India and Indian culture. This pattern just drew me in and reminded me of the beautiful, bright patterns and colors I witnessed in Chennai and Madurai. Oh, how I miss it. The good news is there is a boundless amount of authentic Indian cuisine spots to choose from within a three mile radius of our apartment. There is also an Indian grocery store. I cannot wait to try cooking Indian food with all the authentic ingredients. I’ll let you all know how that goes! IMG_7717

Now comes the highlight of our week. Our anniversary is August 8th, but that is right around the date DJ begins orientation for law school. In order to avoid weekend traffic we decided to celebrate our anniversary yesterday (Wednesday).

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He knows me well!

We went to Monterey, California for dinner and to stay the night in the most darling little Inn. It is about an hour and a half drive, but we were stuck in some serious traffic making it about a two hour drive. Let me tell ya, I was starvin’ marvin’. THE HANGER WAS REAL. Here is the progression of my snapchat photos to prove it. Gotta’ love the crazy filters.

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The downtown area of Monterey was a typical tourist trap; the type of place I always have sensory-overload-excitement attacks. I loved soaking in the unique shops and window shopping as we drove through the pier.

IMG_7786All we wanted was some phenomenal seafood for our anniversary dinner. What better place to go than this?! DJ booked us a reservation at the Chart House restaurant which overlooks the whimsical bay. We had a blast watching little otters play while we ate. I had a good view across the table from me as well 😉

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For an appetizer we tried the Ssamjang Shrimp (not sure how to pronounce the double “s” there- I just used the point method for that one). This included grilled shrimp with cajun spices, asian and indian dipping sauces, herb-marinated cucumber, red onion and heirloom tomato salad. The diverse flavors made this appetizer come to life. We savored every.single.nibble.

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For dinner we both decided to try Swordfish. We have never had it, but man, was it tasty. DJ had simply grilled with avocado, jalapeño, tomato, cilantro, and lime. I ordered the citrus ginger spiced swordfish with passion fruit sauce, hearts of palm salad, and a tropical fruit salsa. Swordfish resembles chicken pretty closely! It is a thick fish compared to most, and absolutely fantastic.

What is that amazing creation in the middle you ask? Creamed spinach, of course! Ya’ll know our obsession. If a place has it, we are guaranteed to try it. This made it on our “favorites list”. My all-time favorite still to-date is Ben and Jack’s creamed spinach in New York. I also weirdly put the spinach on my rolls to eat it. It was made to go on bread, trust me. I make sure we have plenty of the carby morsels before dinner arrives, or ask for another basket!IMG_7787IMG_7794

After the meal was over, we decided to forgo dessert (although they did look pretty dang good). The ONLY reason we passed it up was because we decided splitting some Ben and Jerry’s half baked froyo in our room sounded too good to pass up. The waitress still brought out a Mississippi mudpie for our anniversary. It was too sweet! The service and foot at Chart house is phenomenal. I highly recommend it to anyone.

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This was jus’ something else. I have never tried Mississippi mudpie before, but it had a coffee flavor to it that I couldn’t resist. But don’t worry we still got our Ben and Jerry’s Froyo!

The views from the Tickle Pink Inn, where we stayed the night, were nothing short of magical. When we arrived in Monterey, there was a dark, somber gray over the water. It was so different than the last four weeks of sunshine we have been experiencing, but a pleasant change. I love gray skies. I think there is something enchanting about the green of foliage surrounded by the deep, billowy clouds. The views around us were simply majestic. I felt as though I was in a storybook.

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The inn greeted us with a lovely bottle of Champagne and a box of chocolates. It’s like they knew I was coming or something 😉 There were also two spoons placed in clear view near our complimentary coffee station; serendipitous considering we needed two spoons for our froyo??! I think so!

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This Inn was the definition of quaint. It was the most perfect place to celebrate an anniversary. (Great choice, Deej!) In the morning we had breakfast while overlooking the somber, peaceful waters.

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Greek yogurt on whole wheat toast with granola and blueberries and a fantastic view

The next week brings DJ’s orientation for law school, me finally doing a full grocery trip and getting back to cooking and studying for the NCLEX.

Wishing you lots of magical moments,

xo <3

Mack

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Marco Island, FL!

After being home for one restful evening, we took an early flight to Florida! We stayed at our parents’ beach house right on the water. The first night we were there we went grocery shopping for the week. I looooOOOOoove grocery stores. So the opportunity to try a new one just tickled my fancy (yes I am 22, and I use that phrase). We hit up the local Winn Dixie and stocked up on fresh watermelon, veggie burgers, the big “SS” (salad supplies), the other big “SS” (snacky-snacks), red wine for myself, chocolate milk for DJ, and of course our favorite: ice cream. I actually tried a frozen yogurt that I had never seen before and it was ah-may-zing. I wish I had written down the name because they probably have it here in a Cupertino grocery store (cause everything food-wise exists around these parts!). The grocery trip was a bit more expensive than our local Aldi in Marion, IN, trip but at least cheaper than eating out for each meal. We didn’t want to spend a lot eating out in Marco, since we did in both Baltimore and New York, so stocking the fridge with the goods was a good way to make sure that happened.

Early on in dating, we had one of the most serious conversations a couple can have:  One’s favorite type of pizza. It says a lot about a person. For example, the cheese-only lover is either picky or easy-going and most likely prefers vanilla ice cream. Then you have the goat cheese/ sundried tomato/ artichoke heart with a basil crust lover that was probably raised on organic brand gerber baby food and soy milk, but is also adventurous and generally open-minded. But the real pizza connoisseur is the lover of pineapple pizza. They know what’s up when it comes to pizza and are also the life of the party. Obviously these descriptions are slightly absurd, and I am slightly bias, but I think we can all agree that pizza is a big deal. Anyways, back to our big conversation: DJ told me pineapple pizza was his favorite after I went on about how much I loved it. That was it for me. I knew he would be the man I would marry. However, a few months into marriage, he would always request margharita pizzas from the store. I knew he liked them but I kind of thought, “hmm this boy never asks for pineapple”. With all my audacity I asked him if he lied to me on that one pivotal day so long ago. With hestiation (just kidding there was no hesitation) he said “yes”; he explained may have exaggerated a bit in the puppy love stage, but margharita pizzas are truly his favorite. 😐 At this moment I realized our whole marriage, our entire relationship, was built on a lie. A lie, I tell you. I let it slide though because he does still like pineapple, and if that’s the worst lie he has ever told me I guess we are in good shape.

Anyways, our first night in Marco we decided pineapple pizzas just fit the scene. Since I like eating most things in a slightly healthier fashion, I made mine on a flatout flatbread, use reduced sodium marinara, vegan daiya cheese and loaded up that pineapple. The night ended with watching the movie Good Will Hunting for the first time. I cannot believe it took us this long to watch such a fantastic classic.

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The next day was a full-on beach day! Nothing beats just laying in the sun. DJ listened to the Orioles on the radio and I raced through my James Patterson book called Invisible while soaking up the ‘rays. The book was impossible to put down. If you are a reader who likes thrill, mystery, and  don’t mind FBI laden books, this is a great, easy beach book with sharp turns at every corner.

For dinner, we had a second round of pineapple pizzas. I honestly think I could live on the stuff. That night we slept with the kind of deep slumber that only vacation brings with it.

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We are working on the “keeping eyes open during pictures” thing.

The next morning I ran on the main strip a couple of miles away to meet DJ at the sweetest little diner called Doreen’s cup of Joe at 8 am. I have a hard time sleeping in on vacation (I know, I know- that is what they are for), but I love seizing the day. I also love getting runs in before slamming a huge breakfast. It always tastes so good and satisfying after working up that morning appetite, and it was nice to beat the heat. At this diner they have the most unique and delicious breakfast menu; the minute you step inside it feels like you walked into a pinterest board. We ordered the most darling little cinnamon and powdered sugar donuts. I had swiss chilled oatmeal (which was absolutely to die for) and DJ had their pancakes. I ran back after and we did the exact same thing we did the day before: relaxed.

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The rest of our days there were about the same. However, there was a scare of a snake trying to hang out in the pool with us. We also walked to the touristy side of the beaches with all the hotels. It was about a 3-mile walk, and we both left with blisters and dehydration. It was still fun wading through the sandbars and cooling off in the ocean. We always have the best conversations on walks too, which was my favorite part of the mini hike.

One night we discovered the exquisite steakhouse Marco Prime for our nice night out we had been planning. It was one of those places that anything you ordered on the menu was guaranteed to be amazing. We started with the grilled spanish octopus and a juicy shrimp cocktail. The octopus was one of the most delectable foods I have ever tried.

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We then ordered sea scallops and DJ had the sea bass. It all surpassed our expectations.

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IMG_6494IMG_6487One of the nights we watched the CAVS dominate in game five with our ice cream and frozen yogurt in hand. The morning of our last full day we arose at the crack of dawn to witness the sunrise from kayaks. We may have been attacked by mosquitoes and forgot the bug spray, but regardless it was an awe-inspiring experience. Nothing can top sitting on such still water in the coolness of the beachy morning, feeling that you are awake before the rest of the world, and sharing it with your favorite person. It is a mix between feeling like you are trespassing in nature, but also as though this moment was beckoning for you the whole time.

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After being beach bums for several days we printed out our boarding passes and headed back for one last stop in Ohio before driving back to Indiana. Then our grand adventure began across the country!

Wishing you lots of perrrrtty sunsets,

xo <3

Mack

New York, New York!

Following the Baltimore trip we decided to hit up one of the greatest cities in America. I have never been to New York, so before we did the big move, we thought it was pretty essential. DJ was a trooper and drove the whole time in his GMC Canyon (pickup truck). He did great, besides getting stuck in the intersection one time. The cars just swerved around him like a rock in a stream without getting upset, like, “Oh there is an Ohioan driving his pickup truck in New York, we won’t even get mad”. We stayed in the beautiful Grand Hyatt right by Grand Central Terminal. It was great to be able to walk among the hustle and bustle of the city as soon as we stepped out our door. I LOVED the fast pace of the city. In the mornings I would walk to Starbucks after my morning workout and get breakfast for DJ and I. I was right among the commuters. For a people-watcher, like myself, New York City is a gold mine.

 

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^ I have a tendency to stand awkward in most photos.

We also spent quite a bit of time in Times Square. I was obsessed. I loved all the hubbub, places to eat, and unique shops. The first evening we were there it absolutely downpoured on us. We stomped through the puddles like a couple of midwesterners while the rest of the people were huddled under canopies, glued to the buildings. Okay we aren’t that good- we may have purchased umbrellas for $5. When we were passing Grand Central we hopped in and grabbed some delicious goodies from a bakery right near the entrance. DJ ordered a flourless chocolate cake and I ordered cheesecake. We may or may not (meaning most definitely) have gotten another cheesecake in the lobby, because the one from Financier just seemed too small to share. We agreed the cheesecake from the Hyett lobby store was actually better. We took them back to the room to watch the Cavs battle it out in game 5. Do not get me started on how proud we are of Bron’ Bron’ and our city. #CLE.

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The next day we made our way to Central Park. OK- call me crazy but I imagined Central Park to literally be a small park including only the area in Home Alone. Man, was I ever wrong. Central Park is MASSIVE and very scenic.

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We found Balto!

After exploring Central Park, we walked around the city a little bit. We went down Sak’s Fifth avenue and down some side streets. Highlights from walking around included:

  • Finding Lindt store. Lindor truffle balls are our obsession. I particularly like their dark chocolate or white chocolate and DJ prefers the milk. When we saw all the flavors, we could not control ourselves. We decided to each get one flavor we have never tried. I am having a hard time remembering what we chose, but I think I got a cookies and cream and DJ tried white finally.
  • We found Carlos’ Bakery. It is not the original, but we HAD to try the famous cannoli and eclair. THEY WERE LIFE CHANGING.
  • More Time Square…Can’t get enough.
  • The following day we decided to do the Empire State Building tour. It was fun to try to find certain landmarks from way up high.

After our adventures of the day, we had worked up an appetite. We found a scrumptious steakhouse. Even though I do not eat meat, I love steakhouses. Mainly because usually they have amazing seafood options and sides. I ordered tuna tartare and DJ got steak (duh). We shared the lobster mac and cheese and creamed spinach to boot. If you are a creamed spinach lover, try putting it on your bread. It is 10291498x better on bread. I do not know why, but it is!   Ben and Jack’s was the name of this delicious jackpot. We ordered dessert consisting of coconut cream pie and more flourless chocolate cake. It was delicious and I highly recommend it if you are looking for a nice night out in New York.

The rest of the night we spent in the room to watch Bachelorette. Yes, yes, I know it is pathetic. We were whipped by this point, and while we probably could have found something to do (It’s New York, hello), cozying up with a glass of wine, our stock pile of desserts, and watching our bae JoJo slayyy sounded so inviting.

The next day we decided to walk to South Manhattan. It was about a 10 mile walk roundtrip. I also stopped us every few miles to reapply sunscreen- WEAR YOUR SUNSCREEN BOYS AND GIRLS. We saw the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, and the Brooklyn Bridge (sort of).

Story time.

Once upon a time Mack and DJ had plans to go to Broadway to see Wicked. They did not have a hotel for said night of Wicked and had to carry around their clothes with them all day before the show. This bookbag contained not only Mack’s favorite dress and DJ’s favorite pants, but a new watch DJ had gotten Mack for her birthday, all Mack’s makeup, and her passport. Yes, passport. They stopped at a small little convenient store to grab snacks and use the restroom (which is tricky  to find in New York!). They casually walked all along Wall Street and then headed to the notorious Brooklyn Bridge. While entering Brooklyn Bridge, Mack looked to DJ and realized there was no precious bookbag upon her hubby’s shoulders. “Where is the book bag, sweet husband”, she said calmly (NOT). “Gone” hubby replied. (Really- that is how he responded, in a monotone voice). *INSERT MACK HAVING A MAJOR TEMPER TANTRUM*. They did not fully complete the Brooklyn Bridge but turned back and between the tears and angry outburst and each realization of what was in this bag, they brainstormed where the bag could possibly be. After retracing their steps they found that darn little convenient store and sure enough- right in the chair they had been in- was their precious little bag. (This is crazy considering there were five times more people there than when they were there about two hours prior). Mack has never felt such great relief in her whole life. DJ was still glad to have his life. The happy, relieved couple maneuvered New York happily ever after after that.

**Side note: I felt horrible about freaking out to such an extreme. Many apologies were exchanged after. Good learning experience, am I right? We just said it will be an excuse to go back to New York in the future so we can actually complete the Brooklyn Bridge.

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We tried to get a picture with the famous Lady, but no luck. Also just realized there is something in my tooth lol.
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Lady Liberty looking mighty fine

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Incredibly relieved after finding the bag

I also have to mention the profound experience we had at Ground Zero. Seeing the memorial opened my eyes to the exponential number of people personally touched. I know it affected our entire country, but when you see each of those names, it pulls on the depths of your heart. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with those that lost loved ones.

After the New York walk, we went to a delicious burger joint called the Counter. GOSH DARNIT, we got caught in the chain trap. Once again we did not know this was a chain either, but holy moly was it good. The way The Counter works is you design your burger. They have endless options of breads, toppings, sauces, etc. We discovered it was chain when we saw one right down the road from us in Cupertino. LOLZ. I ordered the most epic vegan patty burger with smoked gouda and tons of veggies. DJ had the famous burger with a fried egg. Lastly, we split their perfectly made coleslaw and delved into their heavenly sweet potato fries. Oh and their milkshakes are to.die.for.

Now it was time to get ready for Broadway. We went to a little cafe where I ordered a decaf coffee just so we could use their restroom. There was not much I could do about the hair situation, so we just bunned it hardcore. Broadway blew us away. The talent was indescribable. Wicked will keep you fascinated and enchanted for the entire length of the production. If you find yourself in New York, make sure you carve out a chunk of time to see it.

Next stop: HOME.

Wishing you lots of juicy burgers,

xo <3

Mack