A Basic Bae Day in the Bay!

Hi hi my friends!! I just submitted my last assignment for the semester! Woooohoooo! Wow, this one flew. I have a couple week breather before starting a pretty intense semester- getting into the nitty gritty of my advanced nursing courses with advanced patho and phys. I’m really excited about this next course, but a touch nervous considering we have a huge move, my sister’s bridal shower, bachelorette party, and wedding all within a couple month span. All great things- but I just hope I find a way to stretch each day time wise.

ANYWHO, talk about digression right off the bat… lol.

This post is all from Sunday April 7th. Tammy and I made a whole day out of exploring SF!

I do have to add an asterisk to this post. **It was a Basic Bae day in the Bay minus one. We missed our Dani dearly. It was not complete without all three of the Basic Baes of the Bay trio, but was still one of my all time favorite days exploring SF!

I woke up around 6:00 am and ran about 7 miles. Tammy met me at our apartment then we drove down gorgeous 280 into the city.

We arrived around 9 am after the hour drive. Parking is always the most difficult part of navigating the city, so I dropped Tammy off to get our names on the wait list at Zazie– the brunch spot we chose to try!

It took me a looong time to find parking, but finally I found a spot near this school with a eye-catching mural.

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Time to walk, walk, walk

Hope I don’t get mugged.

Walk, walk, walk.

Made it!

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We ate in their main restaurant, but they have a serenely beautiful back garden area you can dine in too! We were more eager to get food rather than wait longer for a garden spot haha.

4cf585d6-c6ba-4b2d-a0fd-9202d8a2abf1a67eef91-bb12-4c51-9e40-37b58891de7fZazie is considered one of the best brunch spots in SF. They are a french inspired restaurant known for their awesome Benedicts, french toast, and pancakes. They have miracle pancakes which are rotated every few weeks too! I would like to go back and try those at some point- they have a lemon curd one, but they weren’t serving it while we were there.

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Rarely do I go to a breakfast spot where the coffee blows me away… but I took one sip of this, and it was so smooth and scrumptious.

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Tammy enjoyed their yummy chai tea latte.

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We split two dishes- first up was the La Mer with hand picked California Dungeness crab, avocados, and chives. I honestly didn’t think anything could top Bill’s Benedicts– but this is a serious contender. You guys, this is maybe the best Benedict I’ve ever had in my entire existence. HOLY STINKIN’ COW. I don’t know what they put in it- but wow. And the potatoes are even served with whole garlic cloves.. the whole dish is a flavor explosion.

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We also ordered the gingerbread pancakes with lemon curd and Bosc pears. It was one of the items people raved about on Yelp, and I totally see why ! They were super satisfying- they reminded me of fall <3 *Sigh*- is is fall yet? Lol. The combo of the ginger/lemon/pear was wonderful. I will say I am more of a thinner pancake fan, so the actual texture was a bit too fluffy for my personal preference, but the flavor was so good I would eat them in any way, shape, or form! Also a fun fact about Zazie- they do not accept tips because the “tip” is worked into the original price. They provide their employees the following from their website: “a living wage, revenue share, paid family leave, fully funded health & dental insurance, paid time off, and a 401(k) with employer match for all of our hard working employees”. How cool is that? I wish all restaurants did this. 

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After our wonderful brunch we hiked Marin Headlands for a bit.

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These views never get old. The Golden Gate suddenly appeared in the distance.

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We killed time until we were able to see the Point Bonita lighthouse, the last manned lighthouse on the Californian coast! It is only open on Sundays and Mondays for a short window of time (only about three hours). Around 12:30 we headed over- right when it opened. On our way, we took in the sights and lovely blooms.

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On the way they had “cell audio stops” where you could call a number and hear fun tidbits about the place you were viewing.

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If you look very closely you will see the path to the lighthouse in the picture below and the tunnel that crosses straight through the mountainous landscape to get there.

The tour guide was a sweet older man that volunteered for the park- his last name was “Van Winkle” which we found so endearing. About five minutes before it “opened” he gave us a bit of the history about the lighthouse which was so fascinating. They actually do not know who hand carved the tunnel to get to the lighthouse- its all a bit of a mystery!

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Time to cross through the tunnel! I was a bit nervous knowing we had to go through a tunnel since I am mildly claustrophobic, but it was wide enough that I was just fine.

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What awaited us on the other side was this breathtaking, unreal lighthouse. I mean the pictures cannot even fully capture the beauty!

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Time to cross the bridge!

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We walked around, read a bit of the history on the inside of the lighthouse, and enjoyed the spectacular views.

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LOVE this pic of Tammy- she’s so photogenic.

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Time to hike on back to the car.

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Back through the tunnel..

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The Marin Headlands area has got to be one of the most breathtakingly beautiful areas in the Bay. On our way out we spotted a mini super bloom (is that an oxymoron?). We wouldn’t be able to call ourselves the Basic Baes if we didn’t pull over and grab some pics with all the poppies! We were surprised we were the only ones there?!

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Frolic, frolic, frolic.

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A little lady bug joined in on the photo shoot 🙂

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Naturally, we were hungry again- so we browsed spots in the city to check out. Tammy stumbled across The Dorian– a placed I’d wanted to try for a while too! Even from the outer decor this place was a winner.

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Inside was decorated with an ode to the 19th century, but somehow maintained modern Californian vibes.

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Tammy ordered their famous Frose (Yes, it is topped with nerds!), and I had a glass of their regular Rose.

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We also split a couple deviled eggs (I just took off my little bacon bit).

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We also were craving oysters, so we split some on the half shell. I loved the fixin’s they served it all with- it all just hit the spot. Perfect to “cool down” after our high energy explorations.

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And saving the best for last- Stonemill Matcha *Heart eyes heart eyes heart eyes*.

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We ordered a whole bunch to sample and just took home all leftovers since we were heading home after.

To start with- the black sesame puff!

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Mmm mmm! This was fantastic! The texture… flavor… just satiating. The next day I had the second half with coffee- perfect combo!

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The main thing I wanted to try here was the matcha creme pie. It surpassed expectations. WOW-ZA. It was creamy & fluffy, full of flavor, and insanely delicious.

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The next dish I couldn’t help but try because of its true uniqueness was the Matchazuke. This is made with rice, salmon, nori, green onion, and a matcha dashi (Japanese type soup). I had no clue what to expect, but this was magnificent. The combination of the flavors made this one of my favorite salmon dishes I have ever had.

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Tam ordered their famous Katsu Sando- Look at that hearty pork slice!

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She also ordered the pork gyoza, which she raved out! It was served generously with rice, miso soup, and pickled cabbage.

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The spread!

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While walking back to our car, we saw another eye catching mural we had to stop and admire.

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We also passed a dog park and stopped to watch the pups play before heading home.

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Thanks for reading!

Questions for you:

  • I’d love to hear a highlight of your life right now!
  • What is something you are looking forward to?

xo <3

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Lotsa Pho & Homemade Soufflé Pancakes!

** SO I wrote this post on the 20th and totally forgot to publish it, so here it is over a week later, haha**

Can four posts in 24 hours be done?! I am tryin’! I have 45 minutes before I am heading to Boys and Girls Club, so I’m gonna try to get this done really quick. Although I’ll probably publish it in a couple days to give ya a breather from all the Disney excitement 😉

After saying our goodbyes to the fam on the evening of the 8th, Amy, DJ, and I all headed to the airport at around 6 am on December 9th. Amy and I were starting to feel that ominous “tickle” in the back of the throat. We loaded up on Vitamin C packs to take with our generous 2 ounces of complimentary water on the plane.

I thought this little set up at our gate was adorable!

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Luckily the seat next to DJ and me wasn’t occupied, so Amy joined us! Unluckily, I felt like absolute crud, so I was a bump on the log and barely moved the entire flight. I studied what I could and then just slept.

The only food that sounded appetizing once we were home was pho. Pho is the ultimate comfort food when sick, especially from House of Pho (hands down the best Pho around).

I also had to get the fresh tofu spring rolls. They always look so darn good in Hunida’s posts, and had me craving some of those too. They were so tasty and refreshing. The peanut sauce was on point.

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We door-dashed it, as we had ZERO energy. I chose the vegetarian option. It was just what I was craving, and I always feel like eating spicy pho helps to clear out the sinuses and kill the bad germs. I don’t think there is any science behind that theory, but I’m stickin’ to it. I felt almost instantly better after eating the noods.

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DJ ordered a chicken pho that he really enjoyed.

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Later that evening DJ got hungry again so I whipped him up Chicken Tikka Masala with Naan from TJ’s. I always like to have fast meals on hand for when I’m not in the mood to cook. TJ’s comes in clutch with frozen meals, especially during this crayzayyy time of year. This gets a 8/10 from DJ. I absolutely love the naan. For being frozen naan I think it’s as good as it gets!

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December 10th I spent the entire day studying away. Just studied, studied, studied! In the evening I made DJ a cheese tortellini with parmesan crisps.

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I had the second half of my leftover pho. The serving they gave in this delivery was very generous!

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December 11th I took my final!!! It went really well, and I am very thankful it is behind me now. A couple months ago I was debating if I should go to Disney because of the final, but I’m glad I made it work because it would have been horrible to miss out on such a wonderful  family trip. That is something my undergraduate self would have never dreamed of doing- look Ma, I’m more balanced!

In the evening I made Deej his favorite tacos per request. How he isn’t sick of these by now is beyond me.

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I was craving fresh raw veggies since I was finally feeling better. I had a big salad with a bean burger and hummus.

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December 12th I ran some errands in the afternoon to restock on groceries. I spent the rest of the evening catching up on laundry and all that fun stuff. In the evening I made Deej a cajun style pasta. He gave this pasta a 9/10.

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On December 13th, I grabbed a coffee in the morning and went for a walk while listening to podcasts. Perfect start to the morning. I also went to TJ Maxx to peruse for gifts & get a new planner after.

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After, I zipped to Santana Row to look around there for gifts. The five level parking garage was FULL midday. That is unheard of! Tis’ the season. This reminds me why I always try to get shopping done a few weeks before Christmas. People— people everywhere…

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On my way home I ran to the post office to drop some packages off and make some returns.

Friday the 14th was a fun day! I completed an 18-miler for marathon training, and then caught up on blogging. In the evening I made DJ a Shepherd’s pie from TJ’s. He rated it a 6/10. Probably not a rebuy for us. I had my big ole’ veggie mix again. I get on kicks with that salad. Mmmmm ! I’m already excited to have it in a few hours.

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We made sugar cookies from scratch and then decorated them. I just love the cookie making tradition 🙂 I would have made more, but since we are traveling the rest of December it didn’t really make sense. Every time at this year I am reminiscent of our Mingle & Jingle. One year I would like to do something like that again!

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Saturday December 15th I woke up early, worked on a blog post while watching The Great British Baking Show and enjoyed oatmeal & coffee out on the balcony.

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Saturday was a super lazy day for us, but much needed. I don’t even remember much of what we did- I’m going to guess Arrested Development & eating sugar cookies was in the mix.

Sunday the 16th was our Christmas Creative at church. I always love the Christmas Creative every year! Our Pastor says it’s the time of year when “we let the creatives out”, hah. They tell the Christmas story through gifts of singing, dancing, acting, video, etc. The talent just astounds me.

With no in-post segue (who has time for that?) I’m sad to inform you we found out some terrible news. You know the soufflé pancakes we just discovered and are obsessed with? Apparently, that was only a pop up location. They are moving out 🙁

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WELL. Are we gonna let this get us down?! NO… heck to the NAH. We are just gonna have to make our own! I looked up a recipe for soufflé pancakes and gave them a shot. I was ambitious and tried to make them in Christmas shapes. I forgot to grease the cookie cutters, so they didn’t come out perfectly shaped (womp womp), but were still a success from the flavor and texture standpoint!!!

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They were so fluffy, light, and tasted just like the ones we had! I definitely have room to improve, but I am excited they turned out as well as they did.

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This was the second batch which looks much more like the original ones we tried from Koja.

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On Monday December 17th, I did a HITT routine in the morning then met up with our campus Pastor, Amy, in the afternoon for some lunch & to catch up. We went to SoFa, a place in San Jose that is like a nice cafeteria set up with the yummiest foods to choose from.

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We both decided to nom down some poke. I usually go for ahi tuna when I get poke, but they had octopus on the menu which I had to try. It was absolutely satisfying.

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I caught up on more blogging in the afternoon & evening.

Tuesday December 18th I woke up early. I mixed up my usual oatmeal breakfast to use up some of the food we already had on hand. I made an egg white omelette with a bunch of veggies, hummus, and a slice of Ezekiel bread with low sugar raspberry jam.

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I went for a run in the afternoon. It was a gorgeous day!

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Yesterday the 19th I was running around like a nut trying to get everything ready to go for Christmas and traveling. And that brings us to today, the 20th! We leave later tonight to go back to Cleveland. It’s a red eye so I’m a bit nervous about the lack of sleep I’m facing especially with the time change, but I’ll just take it in stride per usual.

Question for you:

  • Favorite holiday tradition?

xo <3

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Candytopia!

Happy happy Saturday, everyone! I hope all my American friends had the most wonderful Thanksgiving and everyone else had a beautiful week. Currently I am sipping on a cup of coffee with the OSU vs. Michigan game on in the background and DJ working on a project next to me. I have just been relishing in this long weekend. I can’t wait to share how my first time hosting Thanksgiving went- but I don’t want to pass over last Sunday November 18th! So, without further adieu, let us jump into the land of Candytopia!!

Candytopia is a pop-up interactive candy experience- basically a Candyland come to life! I loveee my candy, so when I heard about this I couldn’t pass it up. My sister in law, Amy, joined me!

Our tickets were for noon, so I drove down from Cupertino around 10 am to make sure we had plenty of time for parking, etc.

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All the sculptures in Candytopia are made of candy. It’s pretty sweet!

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Time to go inside!!

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We all shuffled into a lobby-type room before starting the tour while they explained the rules, explained how to use the app, and gave a general intro. I was shocked at the creativity just in this room alone. I mean look at this dragon- entirely made of candy. They have a sign next to each piece saying what it is made of and how long it took to construct.. this took 542 hours!

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Also in each room you enter there is a box of candy with yummies for the taking.

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My candy corn lovin’ self was lovin’ this fox

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We all congregated into the next room as Lindor Truffle’s propelled down on the other side of a clock from the ceiling! I LOVE these. Some of the yummiest chocolate.

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We then took an escalator downstairs into another room…

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This room was bright and playful! It felt like we were in Willy Wonka’s factory.

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My favorite part of the room was this little toad stool.

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The next room was a chandelier room with epic recreations of some prominent figures & just fun photos.

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Then there was a little crossover area with large blow up balloons and a photo op!

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Next room- the underwater room! This one may have been my favorite for the actual aesthetic effect.

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But the room with the most laughs- the Unicorn room!

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Yes- you are interpreting this photo correctly– there is a pig farting confetti. Only in SF, folks, only in SF. hahaha.

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I am still finding confetti around the house even after vacuuming several times, hah!

And now.. onto the marshmallow pit! We had a hard time getting a solid picture.. oh well. It was SOO much fun. Talk about feeling like a kid again!

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We ended in the gift-store with some fun, unique finds! We were gushing over how cool this Candy Sushi was!

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Amy and I grabbed a quick cup of coffee at Starbucks, and then I headed back to Cup to meet up with DJ. Time to get our tree!!! We usually don’t get our tree until after thanksgiving, but this couple of weeks is crazy busy & I didn’t want to fight the masses that would be going to get them this weekend.

This year we went to a place in the mountains of Los Gatos called Tabacco Ranch.

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We had an extra hard time this year finding the right tree, on top of my general indecisiveness. I don’t know if it was a bad year for trees or if the thick smoke damaged a lot of them, because there were many that seemed to be missing entire halves and branches. But finally- we stumbled across THE one! *cue angels singing Hallelujah chorus in unison*

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Okay, time to go eat some leftovers & then work on the Thanksgiving post! 🙂

Questions for you:

  • Favorite candy?
  • Christmas tree- real or fake? Colored lights or white lights? I always love hearing what everyone prefers to do!

xo <3

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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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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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Bowling, Buns, & Boba Fun!

Heyy yaaa heyyyyy yaaa! (anyone set it to the tune I did?). I have a short, teeny tiny recap to wrap up loose ends before taking off for MI tomorrow. My type A angel (or devil) on my shoulder would be severely bothered with smushing (apparently smushing isn’t a word?) this recap in with my Michigan one a week from now… soooo here. we. goooo!

^^ Was that not the most scattered, rambling intro you ever did see?

On Saturday the 14th, I attended the big bowling bash of the year for DJ’s work. It was such a great time, and a fun way to get to know his coworkers a bit better too!

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Deej and I shared a lane and alternated turns. We did horribly the first round, but didn’t do too bad the second. Guess it was the practice we had earlier in the week?! (nah, for me it was just dumb luck, lol). (We are “D” on the screen).

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Once we finally came home around 11:30 pm, we binged The Staircase and were up wayyy past each of our bedtimes.

On Sunday the 15th, I went to Church while DJ unfortunately had to go to work bright and early. After Church I met my friend, Tammy, downtown in San Jose for some vegan eats!

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I grow more and more fond of downtown San Jose every time I visit!

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I actually discovered this place through a fellow San Francisco blogger! I saw the Buddha bun in her post and couldn’t get it out of my head.

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This place is in an obscure spot in downtown, pretty easy to miss, but one you won’t want to! The inside decor is alll about that hippie life with earthly tones, calm music, and overall a general ode to nature.

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The moment of truth finally fell upon us… *pause for dramatic effect*. This magic bun cost less than $4 which is a STEAL in these parts. It’s pretty big too (there is a picture later on for reference). It is a rice flour bun (Bao) stuffed with sautéed mushrooms, tofu, cabbage, jicama, peas, and carrots. Served with a house sweet savory sauce.

img_7949In enthusiastic Kate mode I feel like there is only one way to express my excitement over this bun….

Guys!

Guys!!!

Guys!!!!!!

This is one of my FAVORITE morsels of food I have tried since moving to the Bay Area. Since EVER. Not sure what they use in this “house” sauce, but I would sell a kidney for the recipe. I told Tammy I want this for my birthday, and she joked they would just put a candle in it (My hopes are officially up 😉 ).

I have never had bao before then, and I loved it. I’ve never tried Dim Sum, but I have a feeling it would be a new favorite thing! *Cue Whole New World*

I also tried the sampler platter with Thai yellow curry, Jamaican jerk “chicken” and spicy basil tofu with quinoa. I brought back leftovers for DJ and he loved them too.

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Tam had their jackfruit pulled “pork” tacos, and let me try a nibble. They were phenomenal. I might get these next time!!

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We also split a local cider (with a fascinating history) & a rose lemonade.

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The rose lemonade was the definition of refreshing. And the cider was the greatest ale/cider/beer equivalent I have ever tasted. I want to take DJ back just to try this!

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We finished the whole smorgasbord with a piece of delicious vegan pumpkin pie over a chocolate crust.

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When I say I can’t stop thinking about this meal… I seriously cannot stop thinking about this meal! Winner winner chicken vegan dinner.

Next, Tammy noticed Tea Alley was across the street which is a place in SJ that sells boba in lightbulbs (leave it to the Bay Area to channel our inner Thomas Jefferson).

Tam made me laugh when she looked them up and exclaimed, “I just really want to drink out of a lightbulb!”. #overheardinSanJose

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It was a neat little place with super cute decor!

The moment of truth….

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It was adorable, but unfortunately luke warm- liiiiiike WHO DRINKS BOBA LUKE WARM?! Fun experience, and tam got her lightbulb. Lol. <3

This week has been more communicating with grad school trying to make sure all my classes are going to be scheduled okay, tons of cleaning, working on a present for my Grandpa’s birthday, laundry, and food prep since I’ll be gone! Per DJ’s request I whipped up the bison tacos again.

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I have one chapter of Harry Potter left- are y’all proud?! One more to gooo!

Any big weekend plans coming up?!

xo <3

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SF Tourin’ & Big Basin Hikin’

Heyyy yaa! This post is going to be heavily picture laden- but not as heavy on the words (at least as much as usual 😉 ). This week has been busy running around getting ready to go back to Ohio this weekend, BUT I am going to try to squeeze this post out before we take off!

Soooo where did we leave off? I believe it was Thursday the 22nd… DJ and I headed to BW3 (Buffalo Wild Wings) in the evening to meet up with his coworkers. It was a blast, and I can’t wait to see them all again for another get together mid July.

Friday the 23rd kicked off a tremendous weekend. I started the morning (as I have every morning) with some avocado toast using Oren’s Hummus Shop whole wheat pita, hummus, and mashed avocado with pink Himalayan salt & pepper. I can’t get enough of this.

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After an Insanity workout, DJ and I headed to Santana Row to do some shopping for him. I was thankful I didn’t have to look for anything for myself because I am overrrrr it! But I always love going with DJ just to tag along & have an excuse to find a cup a jo’ somewhere.

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In the evening we drove into SF to attend our Church’s annual conference called If Not For the Hand of God at the Regency Ballroom. We had Mack Brock in the house & a ton of phenomenal speakers over the weekend. Every second was incredible. My notebook is filled with pages and pages of wisdom and conviction from these Pastors.

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I also loved getting to see my sweet friend, Tammy, if only briefly Friday night!

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DJ and I woke up around 6 am on Saturday morning, the 23rd. We decided we had enough time to try to squeeze in an awesome breakfast before a busy jam-packed day.

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I have wanted to try Kitchen Story for a while- it’s one of those well known “Must try” brunch places in SF.

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We were seated immediately since it was only 8 am on a Saturday (give it 2 hours and you are looking at least an hour wait).

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DJ tried their millionaire bacon. The last time he had the bacon was at Sweet Maple. We had to see how this stacked up.

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I had the Primavera with egg whites, spinach, mushrooms, and blistered tomatoes, a croissant, and rainbow potatoes. Such a wonderful start to the day!

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DJ had their ricotta pancakes and said they were some of the best he’s had in the city.

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Overall, we both agreed we still liked Sweet Maple better… but it was a fantastic breakfast nonetheless.

We attended the first session of conference at 9:30 am, then during the lunch break we scarfed down a couple complimentary sandwiches and decided to explore.

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We stumbled across Japantown, a destination in the city we have never been before.

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I’d love to come back and try some of these restaurants.

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After the afternoon session, we decided to go to the 16th Avenue Tiled steps- a tourist spot we have never explored.

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Apparently there was a lady stealing plants from the steps, and they had a picture “shaming” her for stealing. It seemed both ridiculous and hilarious.

After the steps we went to Twin Peaks. You may remember I went on my own a couple months back, and I knew DJ would love the views.

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He had no clue I was taking these pictures of him, sorry deej! Hehe.

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Last on the list for the day was Haight-Ashbury street… a step back in time to the 60s. It is known for being the origin of the hippie culture.

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We decided to stop and grab a quick bite to eat to tide us over before heading home. We went to the first place we saw- Magnolia.

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DJ had their house burger.

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I decided to just have the house salad- I wasn’t super hungry since I had been nibbling on snacks I had in my purse all day- any other grandmas in the house?! I have food on me at ALL times.

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Haight-Ashbury is also known for the Piedmont Boutique with the flailing-out-the-window-legs. What a hoot.

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It truly felt like a step back in time… one of the craziest streets I’ve ever been on. Everyone was exceptionally friendly though- I will say that..

Sunday morning, the 24th, Tammy and I went on a loooong hike at Big Basin in the Santa Cruz mountains!

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I’ve been wanting to do this hike for a while and finally a good time we both could go!

I have never seen Redwoods in person before and was BLOWN away. I have never seen anything so gargantuan in my whole life.

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We had an hearty laugh over this form we had to put on our dashboard. This just instilled allll the confidence in us!

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We set out to do the longest hike the Berry Creek Falls- Skyline to the Sea-Sunset loop.

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Take a look at this bee hive!!!

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The falls were stunning, located about five miles deep into the hike. The pictures cannot do them justice.

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Whoever said “Don’t go chasing waterfalls” was just plain wrong.

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Is it a Black Bear? Nope, it’s a MACK bear.

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We hiked from about 10:45 am to 4:00 pm. It was a phenomenal and strenuous hike (the sign did not lie). The weather was perfect and the views were breathtaking. No greater therapy than nature.

Monday I cleaned up the house, did a load of laundry, and ran some errands. In the evening I made butternut squash pasta with lemon, garlic, and olive oil topped with sprinkled parmesan, a quinoa medley, and I also decided to make stuffed jalapeños for DJ (with Monterey cheese blend, white onion, and bacon).

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Tammy came over to watch the Bachelorette and we snacked and chatted. So thankful for the time we were able to have together this weekend! As the show started, I had this giant salad that I’ve been eating on repeat this week with a black bean burger, tons of veggies, hummus, and balsamic vinegar.

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Yesterday, the 26th, I spent the day getting together packages to ship that I sold on Ebay and Poshmark. I also went for a nice long eight-miler. It’s so funny around here- I swear we have two springs… the flowers go into full bloom early in spring then die then all of a sudden bam.. have a full bloom again. Not mad one bit about it.

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Today, the 27th, I knocked out a little bit of the remainder of my to-do, meal prepped for when I’m gone next week but DJ is home, and started packing for Ohio! Anyone have any fun weekend plans you’re looking forward to?!

xo <3 submark

Lobbies & Robbers & Bearnaise, OH MY!

Happy happy Thursday to yas! I’m currently sitting outside in my little basket, drinking an avocado smoothie & eating protein choc. chip cookies while watching the sun come up over the mountains. I am utterly content on the heels of having two incredibly hard days in the hospital. I received a couple of timely texts from DJ’s family that meant the world and gave me the boost I needed to make it through. I am so doggone blessed to be able to call DJ’s family my own. And now I am pumppped to share this past weekend with ya’ll!

So, DJ and I are celebrating our anniversary in about a week here, but this past weekend was the only one that lined up for us to celebrate! We kind of considered Tahoe our anniversary trip, so we decided to do something more local in SF- a staycation if you will!

We staycayed at the JW Marriott hotel in SF. The lobby’s interior was gorgeous!

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We like to try out different hotels because each one brings a different experience. Even though this hotel had the best amenities (great fitness room, awesome food pantry, bathroom, etc.), DJ and I agree Le Meridian and the Fairmont surpassed this one by far at a similar price (although we did grab those two on Groupon!). SO if you are looking at staying in SF, consider those two options before JW Marriott. Our fridge was missing & a light was out. Plus the overall aesthetic and experience was better at the other two!

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For dinner we walked to Alfred’s, just about a mile from Union Square.

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Holy maloly- this place was the bomb dot com. Open since 1928, the moment you step in, the giant chandeliers put off an old fashioned, classy ambiance that throws you back in time. The hostess and servers were so friendly. The food- man, oh man, the food was too good! They are also famous for their cocktails.

They served the the butter in the shape of a flower- now that’s a fancy first! I have never seen this done before, but I am convinced the butter was extra tasty!

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We started with their shrimp cocktail and tater tots. These were the fanciest gosh darn tots we have ever had with creme fraiche & smoked trout roe. I do think the appetizers were overpriced, but all in the name of a fantastic experience, right?! I say the tots were good- but the shrimp cocktail is where it was at! If we go back I would love to try the smoked black cod!

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Our main courses were absolutely exquisite. I told DJ this may have been one of my favorite fish dishes. (I feel like I always say this, but honestly- this was out of this world!) I had the Petrale Sole with a lemon caper butter sauce. It reminded me of a lemon picatta chicken my mom used to make for us growing up. It was perfection. Mouth watering perfection.

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DJ ordered their filet with baernaise sauce. I tried the sauce and it was heavenly.

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I think our favorite part of the meal (or close second, because the fish may have been my fave) was the creamed spinach. It was maybe the best we have had. It came with bacon bits on top, but it was easy for me to just eat around them. The panko breadcumbs on top mixed with the perfect amount of savory and herb created a flavorous explosion that is hard to even describe. If you are in SF, stopping by Alfred’s for their creamed spinach alone is a must.

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It was a perfect anniversary dinner!

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As we were walking back to the hotel we saw the craziest thing. There was robbery (orchestrated by a couple) who ran into one of the shoe stores lining the road near Union Square. We heard the yelling and when we turned the corner we saw shoes & boxes flying everywhere and the woman and man arguing aggressively with the store owner…. things started getting physical. The owner was chasing the woman, and the man of the two was quickly to the defense. They were essentially in the middle of the road, but closer to the side that we had to walk. Along with a few other cautious people, we walked toward the scene hoping we could get past without any issues. As we got within about fifteen feet we saw the man of the pair reach behind him into his backpack. DJ and I immediately turned around and sprinted back toward the other side. He easily could have been reaching for a gun, and we weren’t in the mood to be in the center of a downtown SF shooting. We ran back toward the corner and decided to cross the road and take the scenic route back. The guy didn’t pull out a gun, it was a pole of sorts (not sure what exactly), but he started chasing the owner with it. Finally we heard the police sirens and kept trying to peep from other side of the street to watch the action. Sociology at it’s best. #bystandereffect #citylife

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The whole experience really worked up a sweet tooth for the two of us. We decided to grab dessert at none other than our faveeeeee…… you can probably guess- CHEESECAKE FACTORYYYY!!!!!

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It was a bit of a wait, but well worth it. I am a firm believer of not going to chains when in a big city with unique options- but I might break the rules sometime for this one. The restaurant is located on top of the Macy’s tower with tables overlooking Union Square. We peaked out while waiting for our cheesecake and the view was tremendous. Plus, cheesecake factory. Ugh, too stinking good.

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On the way out DJ said to me as we passed the whole crowd waiting in line, “Too bad they ran out of cheesecake” and some guy overheard saying “Oh man!!!!!”. It was too funny, but I really hope this didn’t stop the guy from getting his cheesecake!

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We went back to the hotel and nommmed down on our Cheesecake (Oreo Dream Xtreme for DJ and White Chocolate Raspberry for me (and maybe watched a bit of Game of Thrones on my little iphone screen because we were both hard core craving it). Guys, this show though…

In the morning I ran a few miles and then we walked to Dottie’s True Blue Cafe, a famous breakfast spot in SF.

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The line was insaneee. I think we waited about an hour and a half before finally getting in.

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It is pretty small, not a lot of tables, and the service is super slow. If you go here the things to order are their baked pastries. We ordered full meals and they were ok, but crazy overpriced. We would have much preferred Sweet Maple any day. BUT their baked goods looked absolutely incredible, and the coffee was delishhh.

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DJ had their pancakes- he said they were aighhht, just not the best.

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I had an egg white omelette with lots of veggies and feta cheese. It was great- tasty as it comes, but it was the most expensive omelette I have EVER had. I do have to say, the jalapeno cornbread with pepper jelly was the highlight. I think I could have just ate that alone. I didn’t leave a crumb on my plate of that little guy. If you do find yourself at Dottie’s, it’s a must!

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Overall, it was a good meal, but Sweet Maple STILL takes the cake as the best breakfast/brunch spot in SF for us. We have yet to try Mama’s (which is supposed to be epic).

After breakfast, we shopped around Union Square for a bit!

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DJ suggested we go to Baker’s Beach (He always has the best ideas). We have actually not been to this beach since moving here. We were both craving Big Sur or Monterey for our getaway, and this helped us give a bit of a fix.

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We just hung out, climbing on the cliffs, sitting in the cool breeze, gazing upon the Golden Gate and serene bay and talked about everything. There are so many questions, and confusion, about what our next step in life is… about where we would want to move next, about what we still want to accomplish and experience while we are here, about the emotional rollercoaster we both have been on in the past year. We talked about how this is just a season- that we won’t always be seeing each other for a total of thirty minutes each week. But how long will this season last? I think we are both realizing as young twenty-somethings that life is not a clear linear path and rarely do plans actually happen as planned. I’m just thankful we have this journey to figure it out together. This was time we both needed, and I was so very thankful for it.

Hope you all had the best weekends!

Blog Birthdays:

Shooot, I am so late to these but a BIG, MASSIVE, happy birthday to

Samantha @ artofbeingfabulous on July 29th. Sam is nothing short of inspirational. I mean her blog name basically says it all: she has perfected the art of being fabulous! She has the best travel tips, recipes, fashion advice, and tons of great tips for overall well being. In a nutshell, her blog has everything you could need. So thankful for you and your sweet comments always, Samantha! BIG happy birthday to you, dear!

Heather @ Polyglotjot on July 30th. Guys! She is one of the very first bloggers I followed-  she shares everything from WIAW posts to life updates to her whole pregnancy, to amazing recipes and everything in between. Each post is AWESOME & leaves you mighty hungry! She is also just so genuine, and has became a dear friend. Happy birthday, Heather! I so love all our conversations <3

xo <3

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