Friday Favorites #24!

Happy Friday one and all! Although..maybe Happy Saturday when you read this considering I am writing it Friday evening. I finished up everything I wanted to get done for today, so I figured why not share some favs?!

  1. It’s-It ice cream sandwich! On a podcast I was listening to, the host was raving about how tremendous these are. I have passed by It’s-It brick and mortar shop plenty of times on Interstate 280, but have never thought to pay it a visit.

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This place was established in 1928 and has gained fame in San Francisco with this ice cream sandwich of vanilla ice cream in between two oatmeal cookies that are coated in dark chocolate. I was bummed we were going to miss out on this famous creation considering we wouldn’t have time to try them before we left. BUT.. while at Safeway (local grocery store), I stumbled upon them in the ice cream aisle!!!

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I had high expectations… and it met every bit of them. Highly recommend tracking these down if you are the west coast. It’s unlike any other ice cream sandwich I’ve ever had before. YUMMMAYY.

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2. Peets. I am soaking up every single last moment at Peets. I have gone nearly every day this week to study. The last day I knew I’d see my favorite barista, we exchanged numbers to stay in touch. I’ll miss her!! I gave her my blog name too- so if you are reading this- Hi, Connie! You make the best Cafe Au Laits in all the land! <3

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Connie has been there from the beginning when I studied for my NCLEX before I was even a nurse. It was hard to say goodbye, but I will always be thankful to know her. She rooted us on through so many seasons & continues to do so. Endless learning & growth took place at Peets. It’ll always be way more than a coffee shop to me. (I know it’s sappy, but it’s true).

3. Living minimalistically <– dat a word? We got rid of so much while packing up & since our movers came Tuesday we have been living with the absolute bare minimum. I feel like having so little around really has cleared my head, made me more productive & focused. It makes me want to get rid of even more! (Pictured is my little study spot I made since we have no couches or chairs to sit on right now- hehe).

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4. Tofu Tacos!! Yes, you read that right. When I first made these, I was a bit nervous how DJ would feel considering tofu is a bit spongier than meat. But he loved them! So much so he was still talking about them the next day.

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Roughly estimated recipe: They are super simple to make- just sauté mixed peppers and white or yellow onion in a sauce pan over medium heat with minced garlic. Once caramelized add crumbled extra firm tofu with your choice of vegan (or regular) Mexican cheese. Then add  your decided amount of taco mix (for a batch of taco seasoning : TBSP chili powder, 1 TBSP ground cumin, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika & 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper- sprinkle in as desired). Add a little bit of slice jalapeno for an extra nice kick!

5. Sunsets. The sunsets have been just gorgeous this week. I have tried to take moments away from the busyness to just enjoy a moment in awe of the beauty. God is the ultimate artist.

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I’ll miss these mountains <3

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6 & 7. Sonicare electric tooth brush with extra soft bristles & activated charcoal toothpaste. Okayyy, this combo is a game. changer. It was time for me to upgrade my tooth brush & with all the tea I have been drinking lately I feel like my teeth are staining (weirdly, coffee doesn’t stain them – only tea?). I was a little skeptical about how activated charcoal would work, but WOWZA Mctrowza…. I woke up after using it in the evening and already noticed the stains were disappearing! The toothbrush is awesome too- it feels like it is thoroughly cleaning my mouth, but without any harshness on the gums.

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8. Ok, a bit embarrassing to admit, but guys, I am lovin’ this season of The Bachelorette. I adore Hannah. I think this may be my favorite season yet actually. I don’t know any spoilers either, and I don’t feel like there is a clear front runner. Cannot wait to see what happens these coming weeks! I hear it’s wild…..

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9. Nathanwpylestrangeplanet on Instagram (good luck saying that three times fast)… is my new favorite Instagram account. DJ showed it to me, and it basically is a couple of aliens that make parodies of humans through cartoons. They are ingenious & hilarious.

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10. Always Be My Maybe. Sigh, I just loved this movie (even though it did take me over three weeks to actually finish it, lol). I am not a fan of chick-flicks usually. I typically think they are just so darn predictable… but this one.. this one I loved (even though it was just so darn predictable 🤪). I think it’s because it took place in SF & I loveeed all the local shots & references. I don’t know that I would have enjoyed it as much if we didn’t live in the Bay Area… but it’s so cute nonetheless & anything Ali Wong I am here for.

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What is one of your favorites from this week? Any new food items, songs, TV shows, etc.?

xo <3

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**There are affiliate links in this post, but all opinions are my own!**

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Home Sweet Second Home: TC Michigan

Hey hey! Where to begin?!?! The last few weeks have been non-stop and filled with unforgettable times. I have mentioned this before, but I started this blog as sort of a journal to record special memories, adventures, and moments. These next few posts probably will contain details that seem extraneous, but are momentous to me- so as always feel free to skim where you see fit 🙂 I start graduate school in just a couple weeks so I am soaking up these precious moments of spending time with family and friends before 3.5 years of grinding through the books commences.

I think it is going to take me all of August to recap these adventures, but I am biting at the bit to share all the fun times and a crazy amount of good eats. I can’t wait to catch up on your lives as well!

So let’s begin with my first trip to Traverse City, Michigan to celebrate my Grandpa’s birthday!

Traverse City, Michigan is known as the Cherry Capitol of the World, but to me it is much more. It is the place growing up where I spent many weeks of the summer on the water, and many winters on the slopes. My grandparents live there (as do my Aunt and Uncle now too!). My mom’s side of the family all grew up there so it is home to a big chunk of the fam.

Unfortunately, DJ couldn’t go with work, but he was very missed. To prepare to return to my second home, I packed a ton of food for the airplane.  I packed boom chica pop, a sweet potato with a black bean chipotle burger and hummus, tomatoes, carrots, grapefruit, an apple, almonds, and a ton of protein bars. (I put the perishables in my lunch box that I once included in my Friday Faves). I hate spending an arm and a leg in airports, so this was perfect! I ended up spending $15 total for the trip all on liquids- a coffee, a vitamin water, and a regular water.

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I headed out on July 19th. After going through TSA, I found an outlet friendly seat and blogged a bit while sipping on my cafe au lait & munchin’ on my protein bar.

Everything went super smoothly (initially). I even did a free trial of CLEAR through TSA- which was effortless! If I traveled more often I would totally do it permanently. Highly recommend.

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You will get a kick out of this. I had been desperately trying to finish the fourth book of HP (as you probably know)….. welll, I literally did not have five extra seconds to finish the dang thing so I quickly screen shotted each page so I could finish it while traveling. The ending was a page turner! (below is the screen shotted frame of all my individual screen shots on my camera roll, lol). So, yes— I am officially done with The Goblet of Fire- ya proud?!

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Anyways, while sitting on the Tarmac for over 30 minutes, the pilot finally said in that pilot’s voice “Uhhhhhh folks, if you have a connection, uhhhhhhh, you may want to make other arrangements.  Uhhhhhh looks like we won’t be getting off the tarmac for a while. Uhhhhh”. He said we were free to get off the plane at that time. I figured I would just grab a hotel near O’Hare’s airport rather than rescheduling my whole trip. While waiting, I was so grateful for all my snacks! I feel like I ate the whole flight.

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As we were getting close to landing in Chicago, I thought, “I could really still make this connecting flight!!” The connection was set to leave by 9:30 pm. Boarding ended at 9:00 pm. The pilot said to make sure to let those with connections into the aisle right away. My neighbors were SO friendly, and were cheering my on to make my connection. I sprinted, legs burning, through the airport. I was that person- bags flying, limbs flailing… you know, that person.

I arrived to the gate at 9:12 pm (the terminal was totally on the other side of where we landed). Womp womp. I missed it by literally 12 minutes and could see my plane sitting on the tarmac. Sadly, I missed it by O’Hare…..

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I waited with all the others who missed their connections in the customer service line, absolutely sure that I was going to have to stay overnight. I was slightly excited to stay the night in Chicago, but also bummed that I wouldn’t make it sooner to see my family.

When I made it to the front finally, the customer service rep said there was one seat left on the American flight they would comp for free, but it was about to board. I hustled ran like a crazy maniac once again through the airport and arrived to H1B with one minute to spare. “Boards in 1 minute” displayed on the screen sent a wave of relief through me. I made it!

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Once I arrived finally at 12:30 pm, my momma took me to the 24-7 Meijer to get necessities that I wouldn’t have since my luggage was going to be a day late. It was one of those memories I will treasure, just the two of us in the quiet Meijer grabbing essentials while catching up while the rest of the town was asleep. I just love hanging with her- any time or place! After stocking up, we drove to my Aunt’s in Sutton’s Bay where we were staying for the week.

In the morning I had avocado toast on Dave’s bread with hummus and avocado & the BEST Tim Horton’s coffee. Someone knows me well and had the fridge stocked 😉

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After working out on Saturday the 20th, Momma bear and I went to Grand Traverse Bay Company to pick up a pie for my Grandpa’s B-day party.

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Once back to my Aunt Terry’s house, we got ready for dinner and soaked in the calming, gorgeous views. It feels like staying at a resort! (Oh also fun fact- this is where DJ purposed to me  & you may also remember one of my VERY first blog posts was a trip here).

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We then went from Sutton’s Bay to Traverse City where my grandparents live (and truly my second home through my childhood).

We greeted one another with tons of hugs and then finished getting ready for dinner.

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But always before dinner is cocktail hour at Gma’s and Gpa’s- which includes your drink of choice and grandma spoiled us with her famous cheesy crab english muffins and pretzels with cream dip. The cheese crab english muffins are pure magic, and I wish I could share them with you!

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And ALWAYS ALWAYS a blue cheese stuffed olive from grandpa. Any other blue cheese stuffed olive fans in the house?!

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We all went out to the deck to enjoy our drinks and apps.

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This is Halston (my sister) and Kevin (her boyfriend). Can ya stand it? Tooo cute.

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Sista sista

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For dinner there were ribs, refreshing coleslaw, my grandma’s famous three bean salad, and mashed potatoes. My mom made her and I seitan ribs since we don’t eat meat- it was PHENOMENAL.

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And of course- dessert. Key lime pie…. (yummers)

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And chocolate mousse pie.yumyumyum.

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My Uncle Jeff from Asheville & I. <3

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It was such a lovely evening.

In the morning of July 21st I used Aunt Terry’s gym to do a nice 6ish mile run while reading Sharp Objects. Gosh, Gillian Flynn is a truly adroit writer. The book is undeniably dark, but goodness the storyline is tremendous & well written.

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We all got ready for the BIG day- my Grandpa’s bday party. Get a load of this living room. *heart eyes*

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The food was on another level. I mean this would out-do most restaurants. The smoked salmon is something I still dream about.

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Time for photos! I took an asinine amount, so I kindly narrowed them down to just a few, haha.

My sister, Halston, and her bf Kevin. <3 My favorite couple

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My mom and I

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My stepdad, Pete, and Grandpa!

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The gang – just missing Deej

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The girlies! My mom, me, Halston, Aunt Terry (Left to Right).  Can ya tell we’re related? Haha.

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And the man of the hour with our Grandma surrounded by all their good friends <3. These two role model what it means to have a beautiful marriage and relationship.

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Family picture!

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My sister, Uncle Jeff, and I <3

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Me, Halston, Aunt Terry and Uncle Jeff & Kevin (LOL). This picture kills me every time.

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They had such a lovely little bar area & set up for the party too.

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My Aunt even made cucumber lemon water. She so effortlessly hosts the best parties!

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Before eating we said a prayer all together, and I read a poem to my Grandpa for his birthday. It was easy to write because he is one of the best individuals I have ever known, along with my grandma <3

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After these special moments, time to eat!!!

A bowl of carbs is just a bowl of happiness

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Below is an avocado salad my momma made that was one of the most refreshing, delicious, tasty concoctions ever. SO good.

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Annnnd it wouldn’t be a party without my Grandma’s famous potato salad. Good lawwwd.

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My Uncle Pat went above and beyond with this steak. I didn’t try any since I don’t eat meat- but it looked pretty darn perfect!

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LOVED this cake <3 My grandpa loves to mow the lawn, so this was just perfect. Haha.

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These two . CAN. YOU. STAND. IT. ?!

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We finished the evening with the delicious key lime pie from Grand Traverse Bay company. Seriously the best key lime pie I have ever had.

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It was an spectacular day, and a stunning evening.

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I will recap part two of the trip soon!

Questions for youuuu!

  • Blue cheese stuffed olive fan?! Yay or nay?
  • Where is your “Second home”?
  • Have you been to TC, Michigan?

xo <3

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