All the Carbs, Please!!

Hey, Hi, Hellur! I worked my tush off this week promising myself I could blog a bit tonight if I could get “x” number of assignments done! Annnd here we are! Wooohooo!!! The last week and a half was stuffed to the brim with soo many fun things. I cannot wait to share!

Sunday October 28th we went to church in the morning. I came home and whipped up a stuffed purple sweet potato with some leftover crab from my giant sushi burrito, avocado, and fage.

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It hit the spot! In the afternoon I worked on a massive school assignment that is due at the end of November while DJ worked on grad school schtuff. For a little break I ran to TJ’s.

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^These pumpkin biscottis were mighty tasty with some coffee!!!

img_1275  On my way home I received this text from my mom- in case anyone has a Boarshead near ya I thought you’d appreciate me passing it on 😉 How good does this sound?! Has anyone tried any dessert hummus?

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When I came home from our massive haul I whipped DJ and me up a Margherita Pizza.

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The way it bubbles gets me every time 🤤

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Monday October 29th all my new assignments were released. I worked, worked, worked as did DJ. For dinner I made him Bison Tacos per his request (I swear he never gets sick of these things haha), and I made myself a giant garden salad.

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October 30th was the same ole’ as the day before. Except for dinner I used some mini raviolis I found at Trader Joe’s to make mac n’ cheese ravioli.

I also tossed in a little tomato sauce and a bit of parm on top. I love the texture of parm on top of any pasta- always the perfect finishing touch!

img_1235I had a tiny bit with my favorite salad, and DJ pretty much destroyed the rest 😉

In the evening I perused through Food & Wine magazine to get ideas brewing for Thanksgiving. I am PSYCHED to cook up a storm this year.

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In the morning of October 31st (Happy Halloweeeen!), I had a nice long run outside greeted by a beautiful day. The sky said summer, but the leaves were begging for fall. Welcome to California autumn, haha. I am LIVING for all of your autumn pictures you guys have been posting. It’s so different here. I still love the weather, don’t get me wrong- but I do miss the gray skies, chill and smell of “fall” in the air.

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I worked all day on assignments, and then headed into the city to meet up with my friend, Cynthia, from my residency cohort! I haven’t seen her since we graduated from the program in March. I’ve missed her! We have stayed in touch, but haven’t had a chance to get together. As I drove into the city a beautiful palette of colors greeted me along the skyline.

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Of course, pictures never do justice 😉

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We went to her favorite local pizza joint, Ardiana’s. We have similar taste buds, so we decided to split a couple dishes. First up was the roasted Brazillian broccolini, white anchovies, chili oil, preserved lemon, and pecorino romano. It was beyond delightful. Oh my! I don’t know the last time I’ve had anchovies- but I’m allll about um’ now! The combo was perfection.

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We followed this dish with a pizza with funghi, caramelized onions, thyme, fontina, and moltinero truffled pecorino. The truffled flavor is something I have dreamt about ever since. This was easily one of the tastiest pizzas I have ever tried. Better than Pizza Antica even! I dare say it was even better than Jack Rose Libation House which before stood as my favorite.

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I stayed at my SIL, Amy’s, apartment for the evening since I was a bit nervous driving all the way home late on Halloween evening. I slept so well and woke up to this gorgeous view on the morning of November 1st.… I just love this city <3 Not a bad way to start the month 🙂

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At around 7:30 I headed toward the Embarcadero to squeeze in a run before heading home. I have been craving a run on the Embarcadero lately. Do you all remember when Annie lived here? I used to love staying at her apartment and getting up early to sneak in a run on the water. It is the bestttt.

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After my run, I decided I still had time before I wanted to head back to Cupertino. I was loving loving loving being in the city. I went back to the car, grabbed my laptop and school materials then headed to Peet’s in the Ferry Building.

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I grabbed a quest bar for breakfast and had to see what this vegan eggplant “bacon” was all about. It wasn’t too bad, but way too expensive for what it tasted like. I actually prefer my homemade eggplant strips to this!

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I was happy as a stinking clam. I just missed Kate because this is the Peet’s where we first met in person! I sent her a little snap of the table we sat and chatted at.

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I was surprisingly productive for being so giddy. I knocked out one solid assignment and decided to head home to eat up some groceries rather than spend more money eating out.

On Friday November 2nd, I had a gala for Boys & Girls Clubs. Okay, I haven’t really mentioned this on the blog yet…. but this has been a big part of my life for the last couple months. This also probably explains why I haven’t been able to get out my posts in a timely manner, haha. First, I help third graders with their homework on Thursdays. I just adore these kiddos and always get the cutest little drawings haha. Yes, I have one eye in the middle one 😉

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It has been one of the most rewarding, lovely, amazing experiences. Truly a highlight of my week! Next, I have been mentoring a high school girl and helping her get ready to compete in something called “Youth of the Year” (YOY). They choose three outstanding high schoolers from the program, they each write a speech about what the club has done for them, and then compete for a scholarship. I have grown close to the girl I’m mentoring, and when the opportunity came to volunteer for the gala I eagerly signed up since it meant I could see her give her speech!

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I chatted with her and the other two YOY contestants before, we ran through their speeches, and then just all hung out trying to calm their nerves. I then went to help out at the raffle table when the event began.

Oh, and if you are a fan of Happy Days or Holes, you may recognize Henry Winkler, the guest speaker for the evening. He was great and entertaining!

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I wasn’t planning on taking pictures for the evening, but since I was tucked away in the corner at the raffle with no one around me for dinner time (except a couple third grade twins I was watching for the evening) I decided to sneak in a few shots 🙂 I had the butternut squash ravioli. It was tasty but unfortunately a bit cold when it came out- that’s whatchya get with banquet food sometimes! I know, I worked in the banquet industry. Difficult to keep all that food warm for sure.

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For dessert they brought out a raspberry mousse stuffed cookie. This was just incredibly delicious. I savored every little bit of this thing!

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Here are all the awe-inspiring, amazing students lined up!

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She didn’t win, but to say I was SO proud of her would be an understatement. I was bursting with pride watching her speak so eloquently and confidently. She vulnerably shared parts of her life and demonstrated a courage that amazed me. It was a wonderful night. I hope to continue to mentor her in some way even though this event is over. DJ attended our church gala, and although I was sad I couldn’t be in two places at once he shared every detail with me! I will save that for the next post.  Oh, and next recap is a travel post- yeeehaw! 🙂 **I don’t have time to edit this post because we want to watch Haunting of Hill House, so please excuse errors that I will cringe at when I find them tomorrow, lol. Goodnight one and all!**

Questions for you:

  • Favorite pizza toppings?
  • Pizza or pasta? I know, I know.. cruel to make you even choose!

xo <3

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Apparently… I Eat a lot of Green Cuisine!

Hey y’all– time for a little update, whaddya say? On Monday September 17th, I woke up early, looked at my new round of assignments for the week, headed to Peets and did school work with my packed snacks all day long. Obnoxiously large salad for dinner. Dexter in the evening. Same ole’ same ole’.

Tuesday September 18th, I woke up and immediately inhaled a buncha coffee and noshed down on a rice cake with Dannon’s vanilla yogurt, a sliced dried apricot, a couple raisins, and a chopped up walnut. Mmmm!

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I went for a nice run in the morning (I prefer long runs on Tuesdays because it’s when all the new episodes for the podcasts I listen to are released!).

There are so many fruit trees in this neighborhood. I just loved how this apricot tree was cascading over this fence. 🍑

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After making a dent in my schoolwork for the day and downing my massive salad, I decided to get creative with a dinner for DJ. I had tomato sauce, chicken, eggs, cheese, and leftover crackers.

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I crushed up our cracker crumbs to make bread crumbs, basted the chicken in some eggs and then put the cracker crumbs on top. I baked it in the tomato sauce and put cheese on top too. I told DJ I made chicken parm, since that’s what it most resembled. It felt good to use up those cracker crumbs that probably would have gone stale sitting in the pantry otherwise.

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I wasn’t home when he had it because I had already headed to SF to see A Simple Favor with my sister in Law, Amy. I was so excited when he said he loved the dish- it was definitely a shot in the dark without following any recipe.

I enjoyed a beautiful drive into the city. SF never gets old. I love the pastel colored apartments and the character on every street corner.

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The sunset was stunning too with contrast of the clouds. Hard to capture, but I gave it a go!

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I know I mentioned it in my FF post, but A Simple Favor was soo good. It’s a must see. Never have I ever seen anything quite like it.

Wednesday September 19th, I reverted back to my summer go-to of rice cake with avocado toast and hummus. And here we have green food #1.

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I had an interview in the afternoon for a new organization I’ll be volunteering with then made DJ ground turkey tacos for dinner! He’s not sick of the different takes on tacos just yet! Haha.

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I packaged them up so they would be ready for him when he got home.

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Thursday the 20th and Friday the 21st included more just cranking out school work, grabbing fill in groceries from TJ’s, and of course, cranking out more Dexter episodes right before going to sleep. However, we did have a wonderful date night on Friday night. We tried for the first time ….. GEORGIAN FOOD. Yes, food from the country of Georgia!

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This restaurant is called Bevri located in downtown Palo Alto. It has a large menu- although it’s quite a challenge pronouncing anything on it!

Luckily, it has black boards across the restaurant explaining what everything means,  what the menu items are, and how to eat them.

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They also have crayons on each table so you can draw on their paper tablecloths. Unfortunately, when we sat down we didn’t have any crayons. I was so tempted to steal some from another table- but our table was kinda small and we had to have a ton of room for all our food. ha! Anyways, if I had to give an overall definition of Georgian food I would say it is combined Chinese and Mediterranean food.

We started with eggplant rolls. They were pretty good! They are stuffed with a nutty spinach combo. I felt it could use a bit more flavor, but they were still refreshing.

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And the presentation was beautiful!

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I also had to try the khinkali with mushrooms. These are a lot like dumplings- and gosh freakin’ dang- they are delish! I have craved these since I tried them. Green food #2.

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Now for the star of the show- DJ ordered their must try Adjaruli which is a boat shaped bread boat with cheese, butter, and an egg. It’s freaking phenomenal. It’s like pizza… but even better. (Which I didn’t think was possible to say, because pizza is forever one of the greatest things on earth).

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Overall, it was a fantastic meal. The only thing I would say is if you go make sure to order all items to be delivered at the same time. I ordered essentially two appetizers as my full meal, but they were brought over a half an hour before DJ’s food came. My dumplings were a bit cold (but still good) by the time DJ got his food— although he did insist I didn’t wait on him– but I insisted right back that I would be sad when my food was gone and I would have to just watch him eat, so I waited. Anyone else just sad when you finish your food before the other person? Haha.

Saturday September 22nd both DJ and I had a run in the morning, but different lengths. DJ has been running a ton lately too!

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We walked out to the starting point together, but I decided a coffee sounded better than running for the time being. I found my SB cardholder card from 2014 (yes, four years ago) and discovered it still had a $10 balance on it. I decided to make it a goal to use this up before buying anymore Peet’s, even though that’s where my loyalty lies (lays? lie?). He went off on his run and I grabbed a coffee and walked for a couple miles before starting my run.

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It was also the massive garage sale weekend in Cupertino. I had to stop by even though I wasn’t planning on grabbing anything. It was still fun to poke about though! I think I stopped by about 4 garage sales on my walk.

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In the afternoon I was having a hankerin’ for a stuffed sweet potato. I nommed on a purple one with Fage, avocado, morning star vegan crumbles, and Daiya vegan cheese. I’ve been eating this on repeat this past week.

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Sunday September 23rd DJ left for a business trip to Des Moines, Iowa. After dropping him off at 5:30 at the airport, I ran about nine miles, went to church, and then hit up Ozumo again with my friend Tammy for some yummy brunch!

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I was ready to chow down.

First, we ordered jasmine tea to share. I tried to capture mid-pour with portrait.

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But I spilled in the process, lol! Smoooooth.

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Speaking of smooth- this tea was so smooth. I am not a huge tea guy- I really gotta be in the mood. But this was just so satisfying and delicious- it didn’t require any sweetener or anything (I usually will put a touch of sugar or stevia in tea).

We started with the Ozumo roll with salmon, cucumber, jalapeno, mango, yuzu sauce, and micro shiso. Their sushi is the definition of fresh. You cannot go wrong here!

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This was followed by the Ozumo scramble with onions, bell pepper, sweet potato, kale, cauliflower, eggs and micro wasabi. I don’t know how they roasted these stinking veggies, but they were so full of flavor and complimented the eggs perfectly. I also loved the touch of green onion- this is something I’ll have to try to make at home.

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And last, but certainly not least, we had the matcha pancakes with whipped cream, red bean, raspberries and matcha powdered sugar. The red bean was a nice touch!!! Green food #3.

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I dare say they are the best pancakes I’ve ever had. It helps that I’m a matcha freak, but I also love thin pancakes that are nice and crisp. These. were. everything. I need to take DJ back to try them since he is the pancake king after all.

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I cozied up on the couch in the afternoon to get some school work done.

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The rest of the day was just the same- study, snack, dinner, blog a bit and then hit the hay!

Monday September 24th I ran on the treadmill reading a couple chapters for the week.

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I hunkered down to “go to school”, but I was craving some roasted veggies, so I whipped up roasted eggplant to munch on with hummus while watching lectures.

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I kept coming back for more pieces throughout the day and by the end of the day there were none left. Didn’t think it was possible to eat an entire eggplant in one day? I am here to tell you it is! 😂

Another snack I loved that day was a purple sweet potato with Fage and cinnamon. This is one of my favorite snacks in the autumn.

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I’ll recap the rest of the week in my next post since this is getting a bit lengthy 🙂

Oh, and for those that are curious… here is a sound bite of our upstairs neighbors. Listen about seven seconds or so in, and you will start hearing it. We’re still trying to work things out, but all parties are in communication and aware of how frustrating this issue is- so we’ll see in the next few weeks what our solution will be. Management has been attentive and helpful as they can be.

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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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Kels and Kenz Take on the Bay: Part 6!

Aaaand finally- we are at our final post in the Kels & Kenz take the Bay series nearly a month later. Yes, part 6. You read right. This is the longest series recap I’ve ever done- but you can’t say we don’t seize the day! Carpe stinkin’ diem! If you want to catch up on the other parts here they are….

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

I am sad this is the last post in the series, but I’m thankful I can immortalize these memories forever (and ever and ever and ever). Cause the Internet IS forever, kids.

After our incredible day at Facebook Headquarters, we left to see the wondrous Golden Gate bridge… cause did you actually visit San Francisco without a picture with the Golden Gate?

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Unfortunately, Karl was out to play per usual, BUT we did find a part near the bridge to snag pictures that you can somewhat make out the kinda famous big red bridge.

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Also, I’ll consider this a PSA- if you’ve never been to SF and decide to visit, bring LAYERS on LAYERS… anywhere within a 10-15 mile radius of the city, it can be nearly 80 degrees, but as soon as you get deep into the city, the temp can drop rapidly due to the microclimate on the Bay. Don’t expect sunny and 75 if you are staying in the city- especially in the summer. There is a reason there is the saying, “The coldest winter I have ever spent was a summer in San Francisco” 😉

Take tips from this girl, she wears SF well!!!

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We walked around the city after and saw this little guy hanging around outside a restaurant. I couldn’t help steal a shot!

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And there was one more bucket list place I wanted to take Kels! DrumrolllSmuggler’s Cove!!! This very tucked away spot (basically only locals are aware of) has some of the best rum based drinks around. The history of this place is just fascinating and kinda wild. If you join the club and work your way up the rungs (and essentially try 400 rums in the process) the owner will fly you to his island to sample the rums there… or something like that haha. You can read about it on the website. Anywho… here we go!!

It’s multiple floors, pretty dimly lit much to my blogger thirsty dismay, but it is set up to feel like an Island Oasis. The bartenders were just too fun. We actually went on one of their biggest days of the year where they have a giant rum tasting… these were some pictures of glasses I took of some people sippin’ at the bar. I found it funny that they did Rum tasting in wine sorta looking glasses.img_2309-1

I didn’t get anything since I was driving back, but Kels ordered whatever the bartender recommended. He made her The Mastodon… we’re not entirely sure what was in it, but Kelsey loved it! I tried a sip and it was delicious- so veryyy refreshing and tasty!!!

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Here is from a top view down into the main entrance area

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We drove back to Cupertino…somehow missed all the traffic?! wahhoooo… and were CRAVING some good Thai. I’ve gotta say, this super hole in the wall Thai restaurant within walking distance from our apartment (dannngerrouuus) is still the best Thai I’ve had to date!! I went here for the first time with Rachel and again with my sister in law, Amy! I was psyched for any opportunity to go back. DJ had never been and he had another free night where he could join us for dinner 🙂

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Something I just adore about this place is its authenticity. We opted to sit in their section that you have to take your shoes off for cultural respect. (There is a little spot under the table where you can tuck your legs in). DJ was so confused at first thinking we had to sit cross legged for the meal haha.

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First, if you ever go here you MUST order their Roti. It. is. so. delicious. It’s perfectly crispy, and whatever the heck sauce they serve with it is just something divine.

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Deej ordered their yellow thai curry. Even last night he was still talking about how good this dish was!

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I ordered their pumpkin red curry. Their red curry is my favorite! It’s phenomenal. I usually only eat half, but I ate nearly the whole thing this time. Thai food may be my favorite. I just cannot get enough. I crave it daily. The only thing I will say is I asked for it as spicy as possible, and it had no spice. I asked for the spice rack and nearly poured the red pepper and various spices into my curry. I want my esophagus to have actual burns after eating the Thai . Ok, that’s dramatic- but kinda true.

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Kels had their Pad See Ew (I think that’s right), and I tried some of the noods’. Gosh, y’all. I could eat those noodles for dinner every single day for the rest of my life. UGH, I think I have a new favorite. I’m gonna be so torn next time we go back!

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We scraped up every little bit!

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Why does he put up with me, really.

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We spent the last night on the balcony, eating ice cream and watching a Hulu comedy show. We also had a second dinner around 9 pm when we chowed down on Oren’s hummus, sun-dried tomatoes, pita bread, and cheese.

On Kels’ last day (August 1st) there were just a couple last things we had to knock out before her flight. Philz Coffee is a Bay Area favorite… we basically have one in our backyard. I will say I don’t care for Philz. I like my Cafe Au Lait from Peetys, and I will stand by that forever and ever. However, you have to experience Philz while you are here.

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Kels really enjoyed hers. I felt like I was cheating on Peet’s.

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Annnnnd did you actually go to California without trying In-n-Out?! We found an In-N-Out close to the airport, and since it was something Kels wanted to try I was not about to let it slip past the agenda. We were shocked how crowded it was for 10:30 am. Hahah.

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We got the fries animal style and a regular cheeseburger.

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Kelsey wasn’t sold on it. I took a tiny nibble of the burger, and I thought it tasted pretty fresh, but meat burgers just don’t do it for me anymore. And let’s be real- nothing beats McDonald’s fries. (But DJ is a die hard In-N-Out fan).

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I saw Kels off on her flight out of Oakland and drove back to SF jus’ trying to keep the tears away. These memories were so precious. I will treasure them truly forever, and I cannot wait until the next time we can reunite <3. I have so many other exciting things to recap that have happened since this week. I will try to roll those out the rest of this month. Hope you are having a great week 🙂 Happiest of all hump days! wait… it’s probably Thursday when you read this… so happiest of all Friday Eves!

Questions for you:

  • What is the single best burger you have ever had?! It can be vegetarian too of course!
  • Favorite fries? I guess this is all just gonna be food related right now.. 

xo <3

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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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Finding my [[ Center ]] & Fighting Self Care Guilt

Happy Friday Eve, everyone! I have been spending the last couple weeks finding my center per the title. *Cue the yoga mudra*. This sounds like some serious Californian crap, but ohhh well, it’s trueeee.

Leaving off from the last post, I entered into the next week determined to do some serious self care.

Self care is difficult for me because I tend to feel like I have to be dying on my sword, exhausted in every way before I allow myself to take a darn bubble bath. But that’s what these couple of months are for before diving back into the deep end in August. I am struggling though because if I’m rested, calm, and moving less than the pace of a tornado- am I doing something wrong?! The guilt has been knocking at the door… but I had to remind myself of the beautiful lesson I learned about seasons/transition times when I moved here, and I am going to soak up these next few weeks best I can. After all, I have to be rested before I can give my all, right?

My sister, Andi, and I chatted on the phone on Father’s Day reminiscing about our Dad and life in general. I told her how I’m feeling a bit strange not being busy busy busy. She said the awesome thing about these phases and seasons is that you are available- truly available for whatever God might have for you.

Case and point- I was on a run today and saw a debit card on the sidewalk. In all my busyness previously, I honestly may have just left it, not bothering myself with it. But since I had the time, I was able to run the card to the nearest Police Station- It felt good being able to just do something that I selfishly probably wouldn’t have if I was in one of my busy seasons. The police called back and said the man was incredibly grateful. I also feel like I’ve just been able to be there for my friends and family a bit more this last couple weeks. Usually, I just keep my phone on “Do not Disturb” because when I was at work I obviously couldn’t answer, and when I wasn’t at work I was running around getting ready for work or trying to sleep. It resulted in a endless games of phone tags and a full voicemail box. Now, I actually have my phone on and am able to chat with my friends and family who are going through some tough stuff right now. I’m so glad I can be there to just listen.

So what does this self care look like? Well first, I have allowed myself to sleep without an alarm (which is a challenge when usually I set an alarm even when I don’t need one). My body has been thanking me though- I am breathing easier and feel like my feet are actually on the ground. My circadian rhythm is resetting- and not only physically- but emotionally too.

I’m beginning to actually feel like myself again.

Second- I am cutting out the artificial sweetener drinks and sticking to water. I love those ICE drinks and Vitamin Water Zero- but I have decided to try to just drink pure water. I have noticed the difference in two things- bloating & energy. I love my flavored wa’ (pronounced wah), but time to hydrate the old fashioned way.

Next, this past year in nursing I have severely damaged my back, actually more than I realized. I am working on doing more stretching and some yoga to help it, but DJ suggested I get a massage. I decided Monday June 11th to get one at Elements Massage in Los Gatos with a coupon. Although the masseuse  talked the entire time and we ended up talking about her family’s medical issues, it was still enjoyable. A nurse is never really off duty ;). Haha.

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Monday during The Bachelor(ette) season is my favorite night of the week! I love that DJ watches with me because he has the most hilarious commentary. We took a nice lazy walk on Sunday night on Main Street and passed Rootstock Wine Bar. We decided we would hop in there the next night for a glass of wine before the Bachelorette.

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It’s pretty expensive, but sooo delish, and a nice date place every once in a while. They always have some of the best wine. I also love the whole ambiance- it’s rustic, yet chic, and comfortable. On some nights they have live music playing. We sat out on the patio and enjoyed our glass of wine before walking home to eat our Tollhouse  chocolate chip cookies and watch maybe the silliest shows on television. (Although.. it does look like it could win an Oscar next to the Proposal- ew, that show– awful. Do not even get me started!).

Tuesday morning, the 12th, I tried my first Orange Theory class!!! I thoroughly enjoyed it. I used the arm band for the first one, so I don’t think it was accurate- but it a fantastic workout. I don’t think I’ll stick to the courses because it’s very similar to Insanity (with the HITT routine) that I already do. But every once in a while with some friends it would be fun!

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Almost every night this last couple weeks (That DJ doesn’t have a game of course), Deej and I have been going on evening walks after dinner. This has been one of my favorite parts of the day. We used to take walks often when we lived in Indiana, but have just been so on the go since moving here. It’s been great to have that time together to chat, unwind, and reconnect.

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Wednesday, the 13th,  I did Insanity then realized a new Handmaid Tale episode was out on Hulu. To Peet’s we go with popcorn in tow!

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After, I rounded up our groceries for the week from TJ’s and did some meal prep the rest of the day. In afternoon I started the book, “Behind Closed Doors”. It’s a difficult read from a content perspective, but goodness I could not put it down. Has anyone read it?

Thursday morning, the 14th, I made the same avocado toast that I’ve been having every morning while enjoying it out on my balcony. It has a slice of seeded bread, 2 TBSP hummus, 1/2 avocado, and pink himalayan salt and pepper. I think I’ll be on this kick for a while.

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I went for a run, although somehow I think a sweat bee got caught in my mouth and stung me or something. I was okay, but it was a bit of a shock and hurt! I don’t even know how that happened, lol, but the bee season is in full swing right now. I then was proceeded to be chased by killer crows on the last rung of my run. They followed me about 1/4 mile even when I changed direction and then started flying in front of my face. It was so scary!!! I dove across four lanes of traffic and finally lost them. (A few days later, I heard on the radio this is a thing in Canada!). Mack vs. Nature- 0-2.

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I then caught up on e-mails, laundry, etc.

One of the meals I meal prepped for the week was salmon, broccoli, wild black rice, and ciabatta bread from Trader Joe’s! We gobbled this up for dinner.

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Friday I headed to my first Bar experience!! I had heard about Barre3 from Kori, and when my friend invited me to try The Bar Method, I jumped on it. I think there are some differences between those two- but generally the same idea.

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The boutique was immaculate, quiet, and adorably decorated.

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So my thoughts on bar: I’m such a cardio junkie- so this was a fantastic new challenge for me! I loved how much they focused on strength through micro-movements. It was a workout unlike anything I’d ever done before. I still don’t know that I can totally depart from my cardio- but I would love to incorporate the idea of focusing on such specific muscles into my normal workout regimen more. No wonder Kori & Kaci (Kori’s twin) have the most perfectly toned arms!!

The rest of the day Sara, my friend, and I went back to her house to binge watch our show & snack.

In the evening I headed to Harry Potter Night to watch the San Jose Giants play!

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They went alll out for this! When you enter the gates, they give you a ticket and sort you into a house. Despite the long debate DJ and I had in our kitchen about which house we would be in, I was sorted into Gryffindor! (The sorting hat at Warner Bros said Gryffindor too, sooooo).

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If I had to sort myself I think I’d be in Ravenclaw. Which house are you?!

They even sold Butterbeer from a local brewery (It was basically cream soda, mmm mm!).

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I just LOVE minor league games, especially at Muni. The food is irresistible and the environment is pure fun and excitement.

I recorded on video the House Race on broomsticks, and this poor little man ate it. I felt bad, but I couldn’t help from laughing.

Saturday morning, the 16th, I was craving a soft boiled egg over my toast. I went through FIVE eggs to try to get one that didn’t break right when I was taking off the shell. Well…..

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I overcooked it when I finally thought I had it right. Haha. What are your tricks for a perfect soft boiled egg that’s a bit runny?!

I ended up just going with a normal over medium fried egg.

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Yum, yum!

I went for a calming long walk, listened to a podcast, chatted on the phone, and then during my mid-stride bliss, I was pooped on by a bird. Not the first time this has happened, probably not the last. After taking a THOROUGH shower and washing all my clothes, I then got to work posting tons of things on Poshmark and Ebay that I’ve been wanting to post for a while.

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These are all the clothes I have left (minus workout clothes/pants that are in my dresser). I feel lighter having narrowed it down to clothes I actually wear (considering I wear the same like five outfits in rotation- ha). DJ had to work the weekend, but was home Saturday night for dinner.

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We improvised with the little bit of salmon we had left, rice, and them a tomato soup from trader Joe’s with tortilla strips.

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Sunday the 17th was Father’s Day. It was a hard day- just missing my Dad and DJ had to be at work so I did feel a bit lonely. I went on a long walk in the afternoon and called my step dad, Pete, and my grandpa which turned my mood right around. I’m so excited to see them in about a month! I continued to spend the rest of the day spring cleaning and posting to Ebay/Poshmark.

Monday the 18th- Wednesday the 20th I spent the days shopping. Ok, that probably sounds wonderful to most of you, but not for me! I hate shopping (especially when I need something). I get in the mood maybe once a year for like five minutes when I actually want to shop. This was not one of those times. I needed to find a dress for a wedding we have next weekend and also was hoping to find something to wear for fourth of July. I struck out everywhere, leaving each place empty handed.

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^ I mean, this is what I’m working with… (although the dress alone is pretty cute!).

I did enjoy seeing the massive gorgeous Anthropologie at Stanford Mall.

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Since I couldn’t find a single thing, to online shopping we go (I must clarify- I do LOVEEE online shopping! I’m still a female, ya know?).

Tuesday evening, the 19th, we headed to DJ’s Dad’s to celebrate Father’s Day and to say goodbye (They are moving back to Ohio). It was bittersweet, but I’m glad we had one last hurrah before we saw them go.

Yesterday morning the 20th, I had the best cosmetologist (in my book) at Limon Salon work some serious magic on my damaged hair (part 2)… part one is in the previous recap where she had to work my hair out of the awful highlights.

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Last evening, I made a big crockpot chicken and veggie slow cooked meal that made the house smell magical. I am going to try to make meals in the next couple weeks that we can freeze for when things pick up here soon.

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I’m now sitting at Peet’s (imagine that) and then heading to a work dinner with DJ’s coworkers tonight. Woohoo!

How are your weeks going? If you know how to make a soft boiled egg, please help your girl out!

xo <3

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San Diego: Part One- Mister A’s, Coronado Beach Brunchin’ & Mission Beach

Long time no see!!! But I can’t say long time, no SEA! This past week, DJ and I zipped to San Diego (MY FIRST TIME) for an impromptu getaway. On a whim, I requested a couple days of PTO, not thinking it would get approved. But I’lllll be all the darned, I got em’!!! We quickly planned our trip, and I’m pretty confident I spent more time planning than we were actually there. I LIVE to plan a trip.

Since last year, I have been sick sick sick (overly dramatic use of the New Year). This virus is hanging around much longer than the usual.

It’s actually kind of entertaining— like “What form will it take this week?!” Behind week one we have a runny nose! Behind week two we have a dry nagging cough! Feeling adventurous- week three has a sinus infection and body aches! I thought I was getting better around the second week, but the last day I worked on the 12th, I entirely lost my voice by the end of my shift. Trying to give report to other nurses was painful.

The next morning (The 13th) I woke up with a swollen, hoarse, scratchy throat, horrifically runny nose, and swollen face. Happy 24th birthday to meeee! I felt all the body aches and allll the sick. Luckily, I was fueled up my hot coffee and ibuprofen which alleviated the symptoms a ton. PS. Get your flu shot if you haven’t. This year it is SO bad, you guys. Not something to mess with. I get that it is only 10% effective.. yadayadayada.. but majority of those who have become severely gravely ill did NOT have their shot.

Anywho, I was adamant I wouldn’t let this bug get in our way. Mind/matter. I was ready to rally through it and not miss a beat of what we had planned. “Rally” became the theme of our trip. Every time I felt like utter crap, I just said, “But imma rally!“.

The sweet guy gave me the greatest birthday card in the world and this flower birthday cake before hitting the road. I meannn come on now, how ingenious is this since obviously we wouldn’t be there to actually consume a cake. Even now (on the 22nd) the flowers are still in full bloom, without a wilt in sight. And it said, “Hope your birthday takes the cake”….

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I blew out those candles with all the energy I could muster and we jotted over to San Jose’s airport. Neither of us have been in this airport before, and we loved it! Easy & simple and much closer than the SF airport for us.

Naturally…. had to get some Peet’s with LOTS of honey and cinnamon lathered all over the foam of my cafe au lait.

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We flew Alaska and loved it! Granted, it was only about an 1.5 hour flight, but we were in the air much quicker than it seemed usual for most airlines, and it was all over a pleasant flight.

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We made it…500 tissues later!

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I turned a corner in the afternoon and was feeling much better by the time we landed.

Since this is a travel post, I will include quite a bit of information on the more practical travel side (skip this if you aren’t planning on visiting anytime soon, or ever, which would be a crime, and I may try to convince you otherwise)……

When DJ and I were trying to figure out the most cost friendly/ location convenient way to do San Diego, we found that doing the package deal seemed the way to go. We were able to snatch a flight, hotel, and rental car for <$1,000. Granted, parking is a bear, especially at The Westin where we stayed, it was $50 a night!!!! We found a lot directly across from valet that was much cheaper, but overall- that’s something that definitely needs to be taken into account when visiting. We debated if uber/lyfting vs. driving was cheaper, and honestly with all the parking fees it probably would have been about equal, but at least with a rental you have the convenience to get up and go wherever you would like at any time. But like I said- parking is a pain in the neck, so we would definitely consider just ubering next time). We also were able to walk to Gaslamp from The Westin which helped immensely. If you want to do San Diego, I highly suggest staying right in downtown so you can walk most places and not have to pay the uber fees at all (except for when visiting other beaches/Coronado island). ALSO, if debating Westin Gaslamp vs. Downtown 100% stay at the Downtown location. It is maybe a 0.3 mile difference, and the Gaslamp hotel is much more expensive. We loved the Westin downtown complete with a pool, hot-tub, amazing workout facility, beautiful views, super clean, an in-room coffee maker (essential), quiet, awesome bar, and friendly staff. Like I said, only downsides would be the parking cost & the fact that breakfast is not included. But the breakfast is tremendous if you vouch for it (it’ll be included in my last San Diego post).

This is the view from the hotel window. If you want to explore the Westin downtown, click here!

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We got all snazzed up and headed to our first destination in America’s Finest City: Mister A’s.

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Despite having totally lost my voice at this point, I had not lost my appetite. I’m one of those people that only lose my appetite if I have the literal plague. I actually usually get more hungry when sick, especially with colds. The ibuprofen definitely helped with the swallowing ailment too.

Mister A’s is located on the twelfth floor of a building overlooking San Diego. It promised to have the best view in San Diego, and the best food. Can’t pass that up, am I right?

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This is one of the classiest little restaurants we have ever been to.

Now, the foooood. Let’s chat food. I’m eating spoonfuls of PB while writing this to keep the hunger at bay. I suggest you do the same.

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Prior to the meal they brought out bread and butter with a complimentary little bread nugget with a light whipped aioli and hummus creme.

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Even their butter is served in the most beautiful fashion!

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Do you spot the sea salt below? We have never had anything like it. It was out-of-this-world delicious. It was unlike any sea salt I have ever had. I could actually go on for days about how much I loved this stuff. I need to find out where it is from and how I can acquire these little guys.

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I nearly ate their physical menu everything on it looked so good. After much YELP research, we decided to try what seemed to be two of their famous apps- the black mussels provencale with garlic, shallots, and fresh herb butter and their plancha grilled octopus with romesco sauce. I’ll tell ya what, those octopi are the closest I have tried to Marco Prime’s (the best octopus dish in the world). If you follow, I have been on a hunt for that flavor ever since. Gosh, this stuff was good. DJ LOVED the mussels, I preferred the octopus, but still thought they were savory and scrumptious as well. I even asked if the seaweed was edible, and the waiter goes, “Well it’s more for garnish, but I guess technically?”. I joked that he could leave the empty plate so I could savor the seaweed. He thought I was serious, and looked a bit horrified.

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For the main course, I had their main scallops with champagne butter, savory cabbage, walnuts, and parmesan. Oh. so. stinking. tasty.

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DJ had their lobster tail served over zucchini and basil. It was easily one of the most generous servings of lobster tail I have ever seen!

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We also tried their truffle mac as a side and ya know, we thought it was pretty subpar. It needed more salt (luckily we still had our handy dandy sea salt on hand). I’d suggest trying a different side, everything else was phenomenal, but the mac and cheese we could have done without (shocker, I knowww).

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We ended the exquisite edible extravaganza with decaf coffee (for me), a sweet complimentary slice of carrot cake (YAASSSS) & their chocolate royale with dark and white chocolate mousse, caramel ganache, and praline crunch (highly recommend).

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Sometimes my eyebrows have a life of their own, but gotta let them live, ya know?

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The views did not disappoint. It was a perfect end to the evening.

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We waddled back to the hotel with a “no regrets” food coma and had plans to visit Gaslamp. I even got dressed up in something a little more versatile to walk through the historic district….but the minute I sat down I realized I couldn’t do it. I ‘d hit my limit for the day and needed to go to sleep. We decided to explore and rally into the night the next day!

In the morning of the 14th I was feeling tremendously better. I even was able to squeeze in a few miles before hitting the town. I LOVE working out on vacation. I feel like I always am more motivated to get up at the butt crack of dawn and crank it out. Plus, it was very important to create an extra stomach for this trip!

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While some people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day (which I would usually concur), if brunch is in the running it may have my vote. According to the Internet (the most reputable source), Hotel Del Coronado hosts the best brunch in all the land in their Crown Room. We made reservations on Open Table and woke up two eager beavers to see what all the hullabaloo was about.

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First, Hotel Del Coronado was more gorgeous and breathtaking in person than one could fathom. It was simply captivating, a historic landmark that inspired not only awe, but wonder. We agreed that one day we would have to actually stay there.

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The Crown Room was spectacular. It was much larger than I envisioned from the pictures. I feel like I am writing about something sacred while describing this experience. It was easily one of the BEST meals we have ever had. We agreed that if you are going to be in San Diego on a Sunday, it is worth every single cent and more. It is an experience of a lifetime and everyone needs to add this to their bucket list ASAP. There is no amount of pictures, words, or BOLD TYPING that can do this justice. It was a few hours in time that will forever be reminisced between the two of us.

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This brunch had EVERYTHING you can imagine. EVERYTHING. I took a bajillion pictures and probably didn’t even snap half of it. We are talking endless lobster, crab legs, sushi, a make-your-own-donut bar, make-your-own smoked salmon bagel bar, endless unique drinks, a Bloody Mary bar, desserts on desserts on desserts to your heart’s delight, waffles, pancakes, prime rib, beef, veggies upon veggies, cheese from every sector of the world and fruit, parfaits, a candy bar, NYC cheesecake……. I’m not kidding.. I haven’t even covered the half of it.

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At the make your own donut bar, they even had a flamer that toasted the marshmallows on top of the donut if you wanted to make a “S’mores” donut!

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THERE WAS A LOBSTER TAIL IN MY BLOODY MARY. WHAT IS HAPPENING.

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And guess the heck what- DJ said he finally found some all-star pancakes that rate up at the top. (If you follow, we have an ongoing hunt for the best pancakes for DJ).

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Below is a donut DJ made, too cute not to snap a shot.

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There were crown chandeliers hanging all over… you know I couldn’t resist..
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Highlights from the brunch included- the crab legs, biscuits and gravy, smoked salmon, pancakes, mimosas (I didn’t actually prefer the Bloody Mary although it was their signature drink), the NYC Cheesecake, and their shrimp… good lawd, it was the freshest doggone shrimp I have had. I also have to say our waitress was perhaps the sweetest lady of all time. She was such a doll and made the whole experience even that much more terrific.

***Cue the food coma***

I questioned if I would ever be able to eat again quite honestly.

After that experience of a lifetime, we made our way back to the car to change into some beachy gear!

Gotta still represent the SJ in the SD!!!!

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We perused their shops and views.

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Finally we made our way to the beach, greeted by the most terrific sand castle I have ever seen.

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We breathed in the fresh salty air, sunk our feet into the soft sand, and let the sound of the waves overwhelm our senses, saturating our lungs with calm.

We laughed watching the sea gulls fly high into the air and drop a shell from many feet up, hoping to discover an edible gem inside. We mainly laughed at how close the shells came to plopping on people’s heads half the time.

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After the amazing time frolicking on the beach (DJ HATES when I use the word frolick), we headed to our next destination: Belmont Park at Mission Beach.

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Oh how this screamed Santa Cruz to us!!! It is truly the Santa Cruz of San Diego.

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We had to ride the historic Giant Dipper! This one and the one at Santa Cruz are the considered National Historic Landmarks.

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It was actually way more fun than I expected for being such an old coaster!!! But I think it can also guarantee a headache after a few rounds 😉

We walked along Mission Beach, definitely a more boisterous beach than Coronado’s. I’d suggest Mission or Pacific if you are looking for more a party, upbeat, and laid back crowd. Coronado is more calm, quiet, and sophisticated.

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We then headed to La Jolla for an epic sunset. I will include that in my next post! I may have to break this into three parts because there is just far too much. It will probably take another post to just finish the 14th, and we were there till the 17th. Oh boy, haha.

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I am still stuck on the couch after working all weekend long and never really recuperating too much, but that means I’ll have a couple days to catch up on here. I haven’t opened WordPress for a few weeks and am excited to sit down and respond to y’all soon and see what you are up to!

PS. If you have any San Diego posts, please feel free to leave in the comments below! I’d love to explore yours too!

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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