Date Night, Nosh & Korean BBQ!

Hey, hey!! Time for a lil’ update, whaddya say?! You know how it goes.. mostly food with a little sprinklin’ of everything else. Hope you are all doing well & enjoying the transition into Spring!

On March 14th after Boys and Girls Club in the afternoon, I made some mahi mahi with Mrs. Dash seasoning, zucchini/squash, and rice for Deej and me.

6e99f9a2-bbdb-4ead-9b08-3002087bb70f

We decided to have an absolutely wonderful impromptu date night since the weekend was going to be busy with school work & wedding planning. Sometimes the most spontaneous decisions are the best! We walked to Main Street Cupertino and wondered into Rootstock, one of our favorite little spots.

2abb8232-26c8-4ee8-8ccd-f6e03a22194b

Even though we had already had dinner, we decided we still had room to nibble on a charcuterie board. DJ enjoyed some crisp Riesling & I enjoyed a glass of an “Interesting” red blend. Anything with the word “interesting” immediately grabs my attention. It was lovely whatever-the-heck it was! We savored every bite of the cheese board (we ordered a smoked gouda), the bread pieces were deliciously nutty & fruity, and DJ greatly enjoyed the prosciutto. As soon as they set it down I had to say with a straight face, “We are clearly on the prosciutto happiness”. I did get a liiiiiittle chuckle out of him 😉

3fc4e216-14e3-47fd-83ab-068b72358736fe82203f-a674-42d1-a9c6-5b07b15b411e

Inspired by our charcuterie platter, the next time I went to Trader Joe’s after this I stocked up on meats/cheeses like this for DJ to enjoy at home without breaking the bank. TJs has a really terrific meat tray for a reasonable price.

On March 15th, to shake off the cobwebs from studying, I enjoyed a long walk outside. I shared some of the flower bloom pics in my Friday Favorites post 🙂

March 16th I worked on my sister’s bridal shower invites, blogged, and did some school work during the day. In the afternoon, Deej and I took a walk around… guess where.. Main Street! It was just too darn pleasant outside to resist a little afternoon stroll.

492419b3-56fe-4c67-8ccc-b9452aa79c69

And this brings us to our first SomiSomi experience that I mentioned in my last post! Little did we know that stepping foot into this little ice cream shop would change our lives (not being dramatic)..that soft serve is a game changer

6fd26a74-684a-402a-bd1f-b2cb5ac1877abd259197-36aa-49ea-9c0f-d285bbcba4bc

In the evening, I made us some cod with roasted asparagus, rice and corn. Easy & delish. I put a little vegan butter & pink Himalayan sea salt all over the whole dish.

c130b0cb-a91f-4ea2-98bc-5bd6874483f3

On March 17th after church I whipped up some grilled cheese and some cream of turkey soup with some frozen turkey I defrosted for DJ. While he did graciously finish this up, he so sweetly confessed he is officially sick of turkey haha. Turkey.is.cancelled. (Isn’t that a term the cool kids are using these days?) He really is such a trooper; I promised I won’t feed it to him anymore till Thanksgiving! lol.

e3665790-5ac3-44ac-9454-ca3827939148

Before running some errands I whipped up some avocado toast to tide me over; I was craving this gem of a snack.

3bdfd663-128b-4f1d-a635-c1de296bc487

After a massive trip to TJ’s I was excited to have fresh veggies stocked in the fridge. I made my usual giant salad with Lightlife smart tenders for lunch, my faveee.

e76748a8-33b8-4acf-a867-3a5ce0f789dd

For dinner I made us cod sandwiches with vegan garlic aioli from Sprouts and fresh rolls with gorgonzola crackers.

a2db9a2a-e723-48db-94d7-60cf860470b3

On March 18th, I woke up with coffee, avocado smoothie, and protein cookies per usual (this has been on repeat for the last month).

24b724c9-af7e-49a0-adb6-b33f4473c42b

I shipped out the invites, worked on a few assignments, then took a walk outside. I realized I have been over-running lately (random pain twinges/heavy legs/water retention, etc.), so I have tried to replace some of my runs with a walk twice a week & I’ll tell ya I feel much better/more energized. I also have been trying to do more cross-training, and I can tell my body is positively responding to the variety. Intuitive exercise is so important, just like intuitive eating, but I’d say I struggle with it a bit since it’s how I cope with stress. I’m trying to be better to rest when needed & “read” my body for the type of exercise I should do that day,  if any at all. It has made ALL the difference!

img_0590

March 19th I whipped up this concoction for lunch of purple sweet potato, beets, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, hummus, and Fage. I’ve had this on repeat until I ran out of ingredients this week. It’s sooo stinkin’ yummy & satisfying!

8e5902b8-182b-4b25-baa1-064856ad2f20

In the afternoon I decided to try out a new coffee shop near us, Nosh. I loved this decor! They even had a perfect study section with a sliding door. I took full advantage.

a374d8d2-21e3-45f5-96c6-04a53ac04201e54074bf-2780-4980-b0da-6a1b31d49c93

I ordered a cafe au lait with almond milk, and was surprised how well they made it since it wasn’t even on the menu!

71c54e14-72bf-4d7d-86d1-e1ef3949c005dc5a0a4e-e594-4bc4-9952-4f2eed9b9988

In the afternoon I went for a run & loved the gloomy skies. The contrast between the gray skies and foliage was stunning.

31d8e5e8-f0a4-4a4a-83fd-136feea89f04455ea18c-f4ed-447e-ba8c-930be1f45c10

March 20th was a ho-hum day, but I did make DJ some of these Lavash wraps from Sprouts for lunch. He’s been lovin’ them!

9ab8584f-f1cf-476e-b9cc-42203a7560c7

I took my first bath, in ages, that evening. Why don’t I do this more often?! I used the Green Coconut Bath Bomb from Kate, and it was heavenly. I put on a “chill hits” playlist from Spotify, read some Little Fires Everywhere, and, man, I have not appreciated the power of a bath! I understand the hype now!

d74f4043-7671-4afa-91b6-e2e0c782ab49

The baths were short lived though since on March 21st we didn’t have any hot water. The hot water was lost due to the repairs they are making on that second floor main line break…  I was just thankful we still had water after last time! I worked up a sweat running and immediately showered to try to tolerate the cold. It was frigid, but I was proud of myself for powering through it!

That evening I made a new dinner. This night I tried out the pre-marinated chicken shawarma with rice and tandoori naan for DJ.

92f0f21e-d643-4317-bd1a-67aef795b941

This was a winner!

6939a9c1-0e47-42a0-a3a2-c19d106810cb

I had my salad with hummus, Lightlife smart tenders, hummus, and balsamic. Mmm mm! Of course, I had some naan on the side 🙂

6e580ce3-f960-48f0-97f6-723d69d9e8c8

On Friday March 22nd we had a day, honayyy. I spoke too soon about being glad we still had water…. it was entirely turned off in our apartment again. Apparently in order to make the repairs they had to turn off all the water lines. Well, we were out for a few days again. They gave us shower vouchers for this community club across the street that has showers. We could only choose one day to shower (lol), so people were trading in the lobby of our apartment to get the day they wanted… one of those moments of, “Is this real life”? Haha. I know this is all going to be resolved soon, and we will definitely laugh about this for a while. I hope this doesn’t come off as ungrateful or as venting- I am sharing this because I honestly find the whole situation comical!. I know we are blessed & recognize even just taking a daily shower is a true luxury.

47ac1172-54bf-48b0-a934-abc437250766

I ended up going to my friend Sara’s for the day to shower instead, (also.. so that I’d have access to a working toilet-real talk). I parked out on her couch and worked on school work all day. It was a super productive day! Sometimes just being out of the house can harness that productivity since there aren’t as many other responsibilities vying for your attention at home.

Directly from Sara’s I drove to Milpitas area in the evening. DJ and I met up with the couple who will be the pastors of the church location in Austin at Gen Korean BBQ.

8ec7c9d7-204c-4e33-b313-afb7d57c3888

The interior was an industrial feel, clean and modern. Luckily, we didn’t have a long wait since it was raining and us Californians melt in the rain.

863f7ee9-c857-407e-ae4f-8825fa13c958

Although I don’t eat meat I enjoyed the marinated calamari & shrimp. DJ loved the bulgogli! I wouldn’t say it’s our first choice meal given the price, but it was a fun experience & it’s all you can eat. Do not go if you are a vegetarian though- they have very limited options in that regard.

23649455-4259-422a-b4f3-4534467a6beb

It was great chatting with the couple & getting to know them a bit better. They’re amazing individuals! It definitely provides some reassurance that we know people where we’ll be moving. The guys are already planning to watch some football games together & we all bonded over our love of Cracker Barrel– Apple butter anyone?! Gosh, I miss that place! It’s been a minute since a peg game has called me an “ignoramus”.

Saturday March 23rd I took a stroll in the morning with coffee in hand. On Saturdays that aren’t too busy this is one of my favorite ways to start off the weekend. It helps me clear my mind before diving into school work for the rest of the day.

42618f73-65bf-48e4-bc5c-1ec6d3876bc3

In the evening I made a charcuterie spread with the TJ’s goodies I told ya about, blistered shishito peppers and a mix of breads. I enjoyed the prosciutto peppers & one of my large salads with tons of chopped veggies, Lightlife smart tenders, lotsa hummus, and balsamic; I am on a kick!

b50fb7ca-a5a2-46bc-9b1f-1b4048000b2d338f17db-06d3-4ecb-8944-a978b4dab422

Sunday morning, on March 24th, we were greeted by this gorgeous sky on our way to church.

59cbccb6-ed52-4788-8fba-d1ed45d8959f

Here was the cute little team spread for the day!! Love those mini parfaits.

d5db62a1-992c-459d-ab2d-0d09c361102f

Sunday afternoon was a blast in SF…but I’ll save that for the next post 🙂

Questions for you:

  • Favorite type of cheese?
  • Any weekend plans?

xo <3

submark sig

Advertisements

Birthday Treats & Festivities!

Heyyyy ya! Hope you are all doing well 🙂 I am on my “fall break” today which means I didn’t get a fresh load of assignments this morning. Woohoo! I still have a ton of work to do for projects due later in the semester, so I’m going to chip away on those anyways.

On Thursday October 4th, I finished up all my homework for the weekend, then did all the weekly chores- laundry, deep cleaning, etc. In the evening I went into SJ to volunteer for few hours, then caught up on blogging.

Friday October 5th, I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off, just the way I like it! Hah. I woke up early, did an intense leg burning HITT routine, ran to Baskin Robbins to pick up a cake for my sister-in-law, Amy’s, birthday, then made DJ’s favorite dessert- Oreo Dirt Pudding for his birthday (They are twins to clarify!). If you have never tried dirt pudding, it is a must. This stuff is addictively delicious & pretty easy to whip up. The recipe I use isn’t hyperlinking for some reason- But I will share it soon if any one is interested!

img_5618img_5617

I was running low on time, but I had a meeting in San Jose to make. I grabbed my stuffed sweet potato bowl and decided to munch on it on the road. I was 98% sure I was going to get some food on me, but I didn’t! It’s the little victories, right?!

img_5616

When I returned, I surprisingly still had a little time to make dinner- I put together a dinner of swordfish, corn-grits with butter & parm, zucchini, asparagus with parm, and sourdough bread for DJ.

img_5615

I was still a bit stuffed from my stuffed sweet potato (THE IRONY), so I just chowed down on all the veggies (including roasted acorn squash- my new autumn obsession!).

img_5614

DJ had to get up early to run on Saturday followed by work all day, so he wanted to go to bed early. We celebrated his birthday technically last weekend with the Brown’s game since we knew he’d be booked for the actual day of. But the night was young! I was excited to drive down to SF to hang with Amy.

We had some cake then hit the town- anyone catch the reference on the cake 😉 ?

img_5621img_5620

We went to our favorite SF hangout spot, Smuggler’s Cove. You may remember it from when Kelsey visited- I have more pictures of the actual place in that post. It’s very tucked away with no signage, and while it’s busy like any place on an SF Friday night, it is still pretty low key. We had so much fun, just chatting and catching up!

img_5612

On Saturday the 6th, it was an absolutely beautiful morning!!

img_5625img_5624

We weren’t super hungry for a full on brunch, so we decided to try out a bakery. We headed to one on the ole’ bucket list, B. Patisserie. (Thank you for the suggestion, Rhonda!!!) This bakery is on Thrillist’s list  for the best bakeries in America (along with Tartine that we visited a couple months ago). Mom and Pete will have to return soon to try this one out!

img_5627img_5610

The lady in front of us in line gave us some terrific suggestions of what to try. We had the cinnamon roll, Kouign Amann, pumpkin almond croissant, ham and cheese croissant, 10-hour apple tart, and berry cream croissant.

img_5609

Everything was insanely good. Hands- dough-n the best bakery I think I’ve ever been to. It pain(au)s me to say, but I think it even tops Tartine. The Kouign Amann (the pastry on the circle plate with the chocolate in the middle) is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, pastry I have ever had. It’s kinda of like a croissant, but even better.

img_5598

Amy vouched for the ham and cheese croissant too- so if you eat meat- you must try this! The pumpkin almond croissant was magical & the apple tart was perfection.

And it doesn’t stop there… I had to try one of their tartines for a savory fix, so I ordered the mushroom tartine with caramelized onions, fontina, and gruyere cheese. It was heavenly.

img_5574

After rolling out of B. Patisserie (so much for not being very hungry 😉 ), we went to a super neat event at Duboce Park. In light of Fleet Week in SF, there was a naval band performance followed by demonstrations with dogs trained in finding people under buildings, cadaver dogs and dogs trained to trace an individual person’s scent. It was SO cool. For one of the demonstrations, they had a dog smell a scent of one person in the park, the person went and hid far from the dog in a mass of people, and the dog found that individual. It was bananas! The Blue Angels were here all weekend too!

img_5607img_5608https://mackmarie.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/img_5561.mov

In the afternoon, I drove home enjoying the gorgeous highway mountain views, went for an amazing ten-mile run fueled up by the morning carb load, did some school work and then took an on-and-off nap while watching Netflix. I hardly ever take naps, but gosh they are nice!

img_5605

Later in the evening, I had my leftover mushroom tartine and then had a big bowl of oatmeal with Fage and PB for dinner. I can’t go a day with out this lately <3 I am officially on a new kick!

img_5622

DJ finally came home from work late in the evening, and he said all he wanted to do was watch Dexter and eat dirt, so that is what we did!

Sunday the 7th DJ and I went to church, I worked on my Savings September post then just got prepped for the week. Time to return to reality! Also, happy Anniversary today to my Mom and Pete! They are at the hot air balloon festival in New Mexico! So excited to see pictures.

Questions for you:

  • What is your go-to birthday treat? If cake, do you have a favorite kind?
  • Has anyone seen the Blue Angels perform in person?

xo <3

submark

Recent Eats & Recent Things

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

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

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

 

 

 

img_2793

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

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

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

img_2792

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

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

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

img_2789

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

img_2788

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

img_2787

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

img_2786

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

img_2771

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

img_2785

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

img_2784

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

img_2783

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

img_2782img_2781

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

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

img_2780

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

img_3479

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

img_2349img_2779

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

img_2777img_2776

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

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

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

img_2760

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

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

img_2769

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

img_2770

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

img_2765

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

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

img_2758

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

img_2759

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

img_2768

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

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

img_2421

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

img_2757-1

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

img_2756

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

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

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

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

xo <3

mack marie signature

Sister’s 21st Birthday and Best of the Bay

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

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

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

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

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

img_6457IMG_8746IMG_8745

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

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

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

img_4069-1img_6459img_5414

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

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

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

img_6478

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

img_6484img_6481img_6490img_6482img_6483img_6498img_6477img_6485

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

img_6476img_6479img_6470

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

img_6471

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

img_6473img_6468img_6467

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

img_6465img_6464img_6463img_6466

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

img_6452

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

img_6461img_6454img_6462

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

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

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

img_6450

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

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

img_5833

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

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

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

img_6486

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

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

img_6366img_6358img_6500img_6362img_6363img_6360-1img_6364img_6359img_6361-1

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

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

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

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

img_3971img_3978img_6357

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

img_6447img_6449img_6448IMG_7571

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

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

img_6489

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

img_5875img_6429img_6440img_6446img_6443img_6434img_6432img_6442img_6433img_6441img_6438img_6435img_6436

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

img_6416

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

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

img_6038

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

img_6439

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

img_6415img_6413img_6414img_6410

Cuties <3 ^

img_6409

Coffee <3 ^

img_6071

Crew <3 ^

img_6417

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

img_6400img_6402img_6403img_6406img_6401img_6407img_6404img_6405img_6351img_6398

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

img_0565img_6395img_6396-1

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

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

img_6472img_6394

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

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

img_6392

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

img_6390img_6382img_6388img_6389img_6386

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

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

img_6501

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

img_6384

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

img_6383

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

img_6378img_6379img_6377img_6375img_6373

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

img_6374

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

img_6371img_6370

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

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

img_6368img_6369img_6367

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

img_6356img_6354img_6353

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

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

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

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

xo <3

signature-1