Friday Favorites #23!

Hey everyone! I just finished up a big night of studying and am taking a quick break before starting to pack. My packing hours have been basically 12 am to 3 am… so naturally gonna squeeze in a blog post in between. Normal, right? Let’s get to it- shall we?!

  1. My sister was here this past week! We spent majority of it in coffee shops studying for me, wedding planning for her, but we made the absolute most of the time we had. I can’t wait to share some of the adventures we did squeeze in. I’m having that post-visit depression since I dropped her off at the airport this morning, but cannot wait to see her and the rest of my family in a month flat for the wedding!

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2. The Woman in Cabin 10. While I don’t have much time to read right now, this book makes me want to sacrifice my couple hours of sleep a night to read. I’m not super far in, but it’s turning out to be a terrific mystery/thriller. I’ll letchya know how I feel when I finish it up!

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3. Everything But the Bagel Seasoning from TJ’s. I am obsessed. This stuff is oh so yummy- especially on avocado toast!

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4. Açaí  bowls. It’s been unusually hot here lately, so these make for a great breakfast or lunch. I put in a Sambazon açaí  packet with a frozen banana, 4 oz. (ish) of almond milk, salted cashews, and PB powder to mix in! Yum-mayyy

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4. Marine Layer Respun Program. I heard about this from Em’s blog and just love this whole mission! If you turn in 5 tees, you get $25 credit to the store, and they recycle your old shirts to make new ones! Win-win allll around. It was extremely easy- I just dropped off my shirts to the store and gave them my e-mail which had the credit in it within a couple hours. You can also mail the shirts in if you wish too.

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5. Averagefashionblogger. Dare I say Courtney is the most relatable human on the internet. I just discovered her Insta a couple weeks ago, and she has me cry-laughing.

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6. PiperWai Deodorant. I have had this sitting in my bathroom drawer for a while, and with the move coming I have been on a mission to use up allll cosmetics possible. When I ran out of my carcinogenic Secret, I decided to give it a go. I haven’t had great experiences with natural deodorant in the past, but dannnng this works. I am never looking back! And I am excited to hear they now have a roll-on version (the regular version is a little bit crumbly and messy). Highly recommend checking this out- fun fact: they had their start on Shark Tank!

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7. Youth by Glass Animals. I have this song on repeat. I can’t get enough. Fair disclaimer: I have an off-beat taste in music, so it won’t be for everyone.

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8. Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones. Soooooooo remember how our neighbors were supposed to move all the way back in November? Yeah, that never happened (long story). I didn’t feel like y’all would want to hear a full on vent session about it, but now that we are moving I feel like I can share this without it sounding so whiney, lol. Since we realized we would have to live with the crazy noise 24-7, we invested in a pair of Bose Headphones to try to deal with it, especially since we had some Best Buy gift-cards we had been saving up! Y’all…. these. are. magic. I live in them while in my apartment (no exaggeration- it’s pretty much all waking hours), but it has been the ultimate life saver this past half a year!!! Oh, and I love using them while studying in coffee shops too- they definitely help me focus. Best investment of all time.

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9. Facebook Marketplace. My sister introduced this to me while she was here, and I have had way much more luck than I did on Craig’s list with selling a few things before the move! It’s incredibly user friendly, even for a technologically inept individual as myself.

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10. Big Little Lies. So season two just released, and I decided to rewatch the first season while running/working on house chores. Oh my gosh, I forgot a ton. This story line is tremendous. I was definitely distracted first time around watching, because I don’t remember half of this! But wowza- maybe one of the best shows ever.

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That wraps up a FF. We were long overdue, huh?

What is your Friday Favorite today? Drop those FF links below if you have them!! 🙂

xo <3

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All that and Dim Sum!

Ooooh ohhh we’re halfway thereeee, ohhhh livin’ on a prayer! I had four posts to get out this weekend (maybe five), and we are officially halfway to that goal. Thanks for spending a bit of time out of your day to read.. I know y’alls lives are busy and it always blows my mind that any of ya care about what we’re up to.

So after we returned from Texas we slept till the cows came home on December 28th. We were just whooped from all the time changes & random sleep schedule. When we finally arose from our hibernation it was time for breakfast. There wasn’t a ton in the fridge, but I was able to whip together a recreation of the mushroom toast I had from Toast in San Jose (or at least I tried!). It was pretty good, but yeah, not quite the same 😉

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We spent the rest of the day cleaning… I’m talking deep cleaning… I’m talking intensive deep cleaning! We like to do a massive clean-out every few months, but this is the largest we’ve done in a while. We scrubbed every dern inch of our apartment. It felt sooo fresh after.

On December 29th after church we went to San Francisco to meet up with Amy and her boyfriend for Dim Sum.

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I have never had Dim Sum before, but it’s been something I have been eager to try for months. City View has a great reputation as one of the most authentic and delicious (yet reasonably priced) Dim Sum places in SF.

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We went around 1:00 pm and the place was packed. In order to get your name on the list you literally have to chase down the lady with the notepad to have her put your name on the list. I’m not exaggerating at all- you have to be actually aggressive to get your name on or you won’t get seated. As soon as I could finally get to her I said “Mack, four” (for four people) in a stern voice. We waited probably fifteen minutes just to even get our name ON the list. It felt odd being that pushy- but I guess that’s the name of the game as that is what everyone else was doing.

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We probably waited about 40-50 minutes total- not too bad!

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When we were seated, ladies started coming around with carts with multiple steaming items on them that grab the attention of your eyes and your nostrils. You just point to what you would like and they place it on your table. They keep tabs on what you order so you just point and then chow down!

Here is the low down:

We started with bao buns. Now this is what I expected in trying bao! It was absolutely delicious. If you are a carbaholic like me, you would lovee these.

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Pekking Duck: I tried a tiny nibble- very savory & full of flavor.

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Scallop + Shrimp skewers: Maybe my favorite part of the entire meal- I could have ate a bowl of these. SO good.

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Steamed spinach + oyster sauce: Fine, a nice change of flavor- but just tastes like steamed spinach.

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Turnip cakes (your left)- This was my second favorite dish I think! Gosh, these were so good. I didn’t know what to expect, but these were packed with flavor & I really enjoyed the texture (think almost like tofu in texture). On the right are the fried crab claws- they were good, naturally, but a bit too fried for my liking.

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After this first round, it was dumpling time!!

First up- soup dumplings! Very good.

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Then shrimp dumplings– a staple of dim sum- also yum!

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Wild mushroom– Mmmmm mmm! Terrific.

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Pork and peanut– From those that tried it they said they were good with a strong peanut flavor

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Chicken siu mai in the bottom right- DJ said “pretty good” haha.

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The pot stickers were great too from the little nibble I tried.

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BBQ Pork Buns– I just tried the actual bun part with a little of the sauce, and it was a flavor so tremendous it’s hard to describe! This was overall the favorite of the meat eaters. The bun was sweet, fluffy, and warm- yet it nearly melts in the mouth. If they were stuffed with veggies I could eat these all day every day every meal. They were phenomenal.

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Egg Custard Tarts– We were not fans. They didn’t have any flavor at all?!

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Our first dim sum experience was a success!! If you have had dim sum I would love to hear some of your favorite dishes.

We grabbed our leftovers to go (none of that tasty cuisine was going to go to waste!) then DJ and I walked around China Town a little bit

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The artwork around downtown is always fascinating.

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We then went to The Fairmont to witness the famous Gingerbread House that they have set up in the lobby every holiday season.

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It was just magnificent!

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Can you believe this things is real?!

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It was such a beautiful day. I told DJ I wanted to frolic around a little longer. He always playfully laughs at me when I use that word.

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But if this isn’t frolicking I don’t know what is!

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I just love some of the store fronts in SF. There is so much history and culture in this city. It’s intricately woven with so much detail and stories on every corner. Not to get sappy, but SF really does have a special place in my heart.

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We walked around Union Square a bit before heading back home.

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Questions for you:

  • I just finished up the Golden Globes- did anyone else watch? I love award shows- I especially love seeing the dresses & outfits, seeing reactions, and hearing speeches. Also, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga were stinking adorable!
  • Bach is on tomorrow– who is watching?! I’m actually excited for this season even though it’s been neigh-sayed quite a bit.

Have a wonderful week!

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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Jus’ Out Here Havin’ a Ball!

Hey, Everyone! Wowzas- long time, no seee! The last couple weeks have been an absolute whirlwind. I feel like I have just soo much to share- this may take multiple posts. We left off Sunday the 14th from our jots around SF. Monday the 15thWednesday the 17th I spent all day e’ryday chugging away on school work. Of course, Monday night Dancing with the Stars consumed the evening. But they didn’t even send anyone home! I’m sick of the participation trophies, haha. On Thursday the 18th I volunteered in the afternoon and then deep cleaned the apartment. Feels so refreshing to do that every couple weeks!

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In the evening, my friend Dani came by to get ready for an event in SF. We actually heard about it from Venmo John on Sunday, as he was promoting it. It sounded like a tremendous event, a wonderful cause and a fun girls night. We were just sad Tammy couldn’t join us! As I mentioned in my last post, Dani is a traveling occupational therapist and is moving, so this was our last time to hangout together. My sister in law, Amy, joined us too!

This event was hosted by Spark– a “network of young professionals who invest to improve the lives of women around the world”. The theme was black and pink if ya can’t tell 😉 We realized when we got there that it was just one massive fundraiser, but still a fun time! I’m just totallly not used to settings like that haha.

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Sista sista! I seriously can’t express how much I love living this close to my SIL. She is easily one of my all time favorite people to hang with.

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Picture with one of the band members

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Dani and me <3 Ugh, I am going to miss her tooo. darn. much. Seriously always the best of memories with this one!

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Always always have to get snacks of course. They had the cutest little pass around dishes. The best thing I tried was a little cheesecake cup, but the picture came out a bit too blurry…. Not blog approved 😉

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We said hey to John and thanked him for telling us about such a great event!

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By the time the event was over, we needed real sustenance. We headed to Nob Hill Pizza & Shawerma to nosh on some pies!

On Friday the 19th, I studied big time for my midterms. Deej and I had a chill night at home while he worked on grad school interviews.

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Anyone else study on the treadmill?

Saturday the 20th, we decided to try out a new breakfast spot. There is nothing better to fuel up a long Saturday run than some yummy breakfast food.

img_0634img_0523This new Dive is called Toast Cafe & Grill– and we knew nearly immediately it would be a favorite.

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The menu is extensive- with alllll the yummies!

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I ordered their french garden skillet with egg whites. It hit the spot. You can’t see the hashbrowns underneath in this photo, but they were mighty tasty. I will say I feel kinda bad for not trying out their toast at TOAST (quite out of character for me), but next time, next time 😉 The skillet just sounded too darn good.

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Deej tried their South of the Border omelette, and he said he may like this place better than Bill’s…… *gasp*. I don’t know if I’m gonna go that far just yet.

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I do like their pancakes better than Bill’s though.. I have to admit! But nothing tops Bill’s french garden omelette or smoked salmon benny. Mmmm mmm!

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The service was impeccable too. We both cannot wait to go back.

In the afternoon I had a glorious long run! That evening Deej & I just had a chill evening. We watched the first episode of The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. We weren’t sure how we felt about it at first, but now we are loving it!!

Sunday the 21st we went to Church in the morning. Afterward, I grabbed a much needed cup of coffee with Tammy. She knows all the best spots. I had never been to this fun little cafe called FlowerFlour before, but I am officially obsessed.

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Is this not the most intricately and eclectically decorated cafe you’ve ever seen?

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Such a great place to visit in the fall! We grabbed lattes and shared some scrumptious zucchini bread while having a great chat.

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After DJ was done “bumping out” at Church (tearing down the venue since we use a pop up site) we went to LazyDog, a restaurant we just love on Main Street Cupertino, for some good eats. He called me mid run, but I am always down for a snack break. Lol.

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I usually have a hard rule against ordering the same thing on a menu twice- but I can never resist ordering their seared ahi tuna over cauli mashed potatoes. Mmmm mmm!

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DJ had their fried chicken sandwich. All their food is too darn good! I kept stealing probably too many fries than he would have liked, hahah oops.

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I ordered the second half to go, but literally as soon as I got home I was itching to have the second half.

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And I finished the evening with the second half of that run and some beautiful views. I ended up running about 26 miles in two days (a 12-miler followed by a 14 miler Sunday (split into two parts). I’m currently gearing up for a marathon in January if my knee can handle it.  Also, I was stressed about taking my midterm in the morning this run helped calm me down a ton.

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I enjoyed some veggies, cheese, hummus, and pita chips to snack on post run + some Dexter with DJ.

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This is getting long so I’ll wrap it up here! Have a wonderful week, m’ friends!

Questions for you:

  • Favorite post run/ post workout snack?
  • Anyone else love “leftovers” as much as I do? 

xo <3

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A Day in the Bay! (+ a “Celeb” encounter)

Hi, Everyone! How are you? I have midterms this week, so I’m knee deep in the books + studying. I can’t wait to catch up on your blogs after I finish the testing up! This past week since my last recap was pretty uneventful. I included the highlights in my Friday Faves 🙂 DJ was in Monterey for another work trip for a couple days, and I just worked hard for school. We both wanted to take Friday & Saturday easy at home, so we just ran errands, had leftover mac and cheese, put on some football games, snuck in a couple long runs and lounged around- it was just wonderful.

My friend Dani (you may remember her from here or here among many other posts) is leaving soon for another occupational therapy travel assignment, so we are soaking up whatever days we can find to hangout together. This Sunday it worked out for Dani, Tammy, and I to have a full out girls day in SF. “Fun” is truly an understatement- it’s always a blast when we all get together! I’m excited to share our day with you all! These pictures are compiled from the three of us from the day.

So let’s get to!!! We made our way up to the city around 8:30 am.

First stop *drumroll*…. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse!! I have wanted to try out this gem of a bakery since we moved here.

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I’m not joking when I say we tried one of everything….. (minus their cookies and a couple savory pastries)

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One of two boxes, naturally!

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YOU GUYS!!!! Look at this box. Lol, I love this place.

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Literally everything we tried was delicious. I think the favorites were the matcha croissant, churro donut, sticky pecan bun, and the blueberry/lemon/pistachio bostock. They are known for their cruffins as I mentioned, and while it was yummy I wouldn’t say it was a favorite. It’s hard to compare to B. Patisserie & Tartine because it’s a different type of bakery. The other two have a lot of variety and dimension. Here, it is more about the novelty (of course, the pastries are amazing too!). The only downside is there really isn’t anywhere to sit and enjoy your pastries- it is more a grab and go type place. We were lucky to grab the only counter space available.

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We were walking back to the car and spotted a little coffee shop that had a line out the door. If there is anyone that has the need to try out the hoppin’ spots like I do, it’s these girls!!! I was so excited when Tammy said this was a place she has been dying to try- and we could always go for another coffee.

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This popular spot is called  Jane . I am actually shocked I haven’t seen this on on the lists I’ve searched.

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How adorable is this?! They also brag many awards- best croissant in the bay of 2018, best baguette 2017… how have I not heard of this place?!?!

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We ordered our coffees- and I am SO stoked that I finally got to try something charcoal. I have seen a lot of charcoal items featured throughout the bay, but never have stumbled across one. I ordered the black charcoal latte with activated charcoal, raw cocoa, coconut, and reiki mushrooms! yes, mushrooms. You couldn’t taste them at all- but I think they act like an antioxidant.

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(Behind the scenes of the picture- tehe!). I cracked up when I saw these pictures Tammy took!

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ZERO chill. Hahah.

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The lattes were terrific! I am going to crave that charcoally goodness. (may be the first person in history to ever utter that sentence).

Next stop on the bucket list?! Bernal Heights!!! The views are just tremendous.

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Of course we had to try out the famous swing…

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It was sooo much fun. A must if you are in the city.

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And sometimes ya just gotta go barefoot ya know?

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We then met up with some of Dani’s friends in town so they could see her before she goes too. One of them is an NP! I had a great time chatting with her.

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Time for food at  Soma StrEat Food Park !

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Annnnd guess who we ran into?! Venmo John from the Bachelor! He was truly the nicest guy… he chatted with us for a while then gave us his volunteer food voucher! (my excessive use of exclamation points is entirely warranted in this post)

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my look of disbelief that we just chatted with Venmo John and now have his meal voucher…. What is life

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We grabbed a dish from The Sarap Shop. I ate some veggies under the chicken, and had my emergency protein bar on me to add some protein!

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I love this little area they have set up to eat with picnic tables and TVs

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After chowing down, we still had room for dessert… Ice Cream time!!!

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This matcha ice cream was some of the best I have ever had!!! I saw in one of Rossy’s posts the fish cone- and man is it tasty!!! It is way better than a traditional waffle cone. Not sure what’s in it, but I’m in love. We also had nutella drizzled inside of it which was a perfect touch.

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My friends are the cutest <3

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And that’s a wrap!! Hope you all are having a great week 🙂 Don’t mind any errors in this post, I whipped it up super fast, but time to get back to studying. *Sigh*

Questions for you!

  • Have you ever had anything matcha flavored?
  • Have you ever met anyone that’s been on TV? (I’m such a fangirl, I love these convos, hahah).

xo <3

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Apparently… I Eat a lot of Green Cuisine!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And the presentation was beautiful!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I was ready to chow down.

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

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But I spilled in the process, lol! Smoooooth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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xo <3

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Mama’s SF!

Knock knock. Who’s there? Apparently, not me! Or my brain! Guys, I forgot to publish an entire post?! After our night in SF, we had a spectacular morning in SF, but it sadly slipped through the cracks. But no worries, we will not let these shenanigans go undocumented!!

In the morning of August 10th, I woke up early to squeeze in about seven miles on the treadmill. I loved the workout room!

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After getting ready for the day, Deej and I whipped up to the top floor again to grab some views.

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We were a couple of starvin’ marvins at this point. We decided to chow down at Mama’s… a bucket list item of ours! This poppin’ place has been opened for over fifty years and is considered one of the best brunch spots in SF. It is still family owned and operated, and one of the sons of “Mama” was actually letting everyone in through the doors, giving suggestions of what to order and telling us interesting tid-bits.

We found some lucky parking on the corner, then got ready to stand in the over-an-hour wait line. (It’s ALWAYS like that, so you just have to be prepared to be on your dogs for a bit).

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Finally- we were allowed to enter into this magical place! It was just the cutest thing I ever did see. It was painted a warm pastel yellow and decorated with a farmhouse feel.

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You order everything at the cash register then are seated. I practically salivated on the glass looking at the variety of daily house baked breads.

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Now for the good stuff! I ordered the Dungeness Crab Benedict, and me oh my was it delicious! But my favorite part was actually the potatoes. The Salmon Benedict at Bill’s still tops this.

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Now listen, Linda, after our wait I was very hungry. I decided to try out the cranberry orange walnut french toast that was suggested. I LOVED it. It was the perfect amount of savory, lightness, crunch, and sweetness. And DJ is allergic to walnuts, so I couldn’t share. Darn 😉

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But I do have to say… the bell of the ball was this Monte Cristo. According to YELP, this is the dish to get here. DJ tried it out, and I had to have a bite. We both agreed this is one of the BEST brunch dishes we have ever tried- and y’all know I don’t care for the taste of meat. This was next level though. I have been raving about it since. If I was going to eat a meat dish, this would be it!

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After, we decided to knock out another BL item and see the historic Dutch Windmill!

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The flowers surrounding it were beautiful.

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And that takes us to our most current post. Next stop: Labor Day weekend. Hopefully I can get those up soon. School is pretty darn time consuming, but blogging is always such a nice break 🙂

PS. Neighbors are still being a big ole’ pain. Thank you tons for your love & empathy & ideas in the last post. We finally contacted management, and even called security when they were SUPER loud at 12 am (mgmt said to contact security if they were loud after hours). Still nothing has changed…I don’t even know what they could be doing to make so much noise. I just hope we get used to it because I’m kind of at a loss of what else to do?

Questions for you!

  • Does your hometown have any local gems or hot spots?
  • Any fall plans?

xo <3

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Dog Surfing, Hot Yoga, & a Celeb Encounter

Now that we are totally caught up from the 5 full days Kelsey visited (yes those 6 posts were over the course of only 5 full days haha), I am excited to catch up on all the between. It will definitely take a few posts to get there, but life is about to get pretty monotonous with school starting (not mad one bit about it though!), so these should keep things fun for a bit.

When Kels left on August 1st, I spent the rest of the day catching up on laundry, squeezing in a run, eating leftovers, blogging a tiny bit and crashing early. I slept until late the next day- the longest I have slept in a while- I never like sleeping past 8 am, but I slept until 10 am this day. My body needed to catch up on the zero sleep from the week before.

On August 2nd-3rd, I opted to a be an antisocial hermit for a couple days. I went to the grocery store, went for a run outside, and published the first of my Michigan posts. I caught up on a ton of e-mails, took care of some housekeeping for grad school, and tried to catch up on other blogs best I could. Despite having a fridge full of groceries I was not in the mood to cook at all. I actually was feeling slightly under the weather. I decided Pho sounded like the perfect remedy! I ordered vegetarian pho from House of Pho and it was phOnomenal. I don’t think I’ve actually had Pho myself (just sampled it), but this will was just perfect.

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Saturday August 4th was a blast. For breakfast I had some delicious oatmeal with PB2, Fage, cinnamon, and shakeology vegan protein powder.

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I drove to Pacifica to meet with my sister-in-law, Amy, and her boyfriend for an event unlike any other- The World Dog Surfing Championship!!!!

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Parking was difficult to find, but we finally found some on a side hill. You can see the mass of people on the beach if you look closely.

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My pictures are a bit grainy, but it was fun to watch these dogs take on the waves!! The pups were actually surfing, and great at it too. They had competitions where they even had two dogs on one board. Only in CA, right? This dog below was my personal fave.

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There were so.many.dogs. on the beach too. I passed this nugget and couldn’t help but grab a picture. I mean, can ya stand it? Would ya Jus’ look at him?!!

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I still wasn’t feeling 100% the rest of the day so I tried to nap, caught up on some easy to-dos, then went to sleep early.

August 5th after church, I went for a long walk outside, and listened to a couple podcasts. I saw that someone left a full bag of bread on this sign, and it broke my heart to be honest.

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How can you just waste good carbs like that? So sad. Should be illegal. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful.

August 6th, I woke up early to do Hot Yoga for the first time. I absolutely loved it! This past year and a half was a very stressful one as you all are probably well aware, and my body took a beating from how much running and cardio I did to cope with the stress. My knees are particularly hurting lately, so I’m trying to do more walks and am going to try to replace a couple runs a week with hot yoga. It’s pretty great and the instructor at the place I went to in SJ was amazing. Now that life is about to be more regimented, I am excited to incorporate this into my weekly routine.

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After, I swung into Trader Joe’s, and made baked Atlantic salmon, roasted veggies, and zucchini pizza boats for a couple days.

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In the evening I went over my friend, Sara’s, house to hangout and have a movie night.

August 7th, I did an Insanity workout, lifted some weights, and then did some house chores for the week.  In the evening, I met up with my friends Tammy and Dani (whom I haven’t seen in FOREVERRRR) to get happy hour at Jack Rose Libation house. Dani just moved back to CA, so we had every single reason to celebrate. I’ve missed her! You may remember her last from us all meeting up last year at Aqui.

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This place is just so dang good. They have such great food, drinks, a fun atmosphere, etc. You cannot go wrong. It’s a local favorite for sure! Dani tried their side of paradise with vodka, house made blackberry jam, fresh lemon, sparkling wine, and lemon verbena.

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Tam went for their summer wind with the botanist gin, foro amaro, venus aquavit, north coast peach berliner weisse, giffard pamplemousse liqueur, and lemon. .( I think!)

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I ordered a boring ole’ glass of white wine, not really picture worthy haha.

But you know what is picture worthy? And aware winning worthy? And just some of the best cheesy goodness I have ever had worthy?! THEIR PIZZA!!!

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We split their artichoke spinach pizza with well, you can guess it- artichoke, spinach, mozzarella, ricotta, green olives, fresh herbs, and grana padano. It was perfection. I hardly ever meet a pizza I don’t like, but this just took it up a few notches.

We also split the hummus plate with chickpeas, garlic, cumin, tahini, smoked paprika, hazelnuts, pizza bread, and veggies.

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After catching up for a looong time that felt like only two minutes, we stopped by Safeway to grab some mochi to share for dessert and settled in at Tammy’s for the premiere of Bachelor in Paradise!

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This summer I have blown up Tammy’s Instagram with mochi pictures, so we just had to try some. I have never had the ice cream type before (only the muffins you may remember). These were my/mo brand, and they were GREAT…. except for the matcha flavor that literally tasted like dill pickles. I am not exaggerating. When I took a bite, I was like, “y’all it taste like pickles”. They thought I maybe was being dramatic, but sure enough they agreed- somehow pickles must have found their way into the matcha batch. Haha.

While enjoying our mochi, we jammed to some new songs of Chris Lane’s before revving up BIP. I posted it to my story and then we glued ourselves to the TV for the night. Such a fun time.

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In the morning of August 8th, as I was getting my day started, I looked down at my phone and saw this….. (yes, I need to actually put a picture for my background, I know I know… I’m too indecisive to decide)…

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Chris Lane stinking A. WATCHED our video, B. COMMENTED on our video, and C. POSTED IT TO HIS OWN STORY. I had to pinch myself give or take ten times to make sure it was real life. This was such a big deal to us and really special because we actually bonded over Chris Lane’s music. The first time the three of us hung out was even at his concert.

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I guess I’ll wrap up here for now. Real quick though- August 8th is actually me and DJ’s anniversary! We weren’t planning on celebrating the actual day of since we had plans in the city for the next day, but with DJ getting off work early it seemed a perfect time to use up a gift-card we had been saving for a special occasion (thanks, Bro!). I will recap in the next post where we ate and what of course, but that requires a fresh page of it’s own 🙂

xo <3

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Kels & Kenz Take on the Bay: Part 3!

Hey ya!! Welcome to our third Installment of Kels & Kenz Take on the Bay! If you missed the other posts, you can find Part One and Part Two in these links. So far we have only covered 1 entire full day in those two posts, and it truly may take until the end of September to recap it all, haha.

Let’s just jump in shalllz we? After we hopped off the Ferry, Kels and I needed something to wake us up a bit from the lull of the boat. We decided there was no time like the present to grab Peet’s! We both got Half- caff almond milk cafe au laits. Unfortunately, the barista didn’t do a great job with the milk, so it was flat and subpar compared to usual. I was disappointed for Kels that it was her first Peet’s experience, but at least she was able to try it! And the caffeine did the trick!

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We still were a bit chilly walking outside and hungryyyyy! We had dinner reservations at 9:15 pm, so we decided to get a little appetizer (it was about 6 pm at this point). We headed to a BL (bucket list) location- Boudin Bakery! I had never tried their bread, but they are famous for the freshest and greatest sourdough.

On our way we stumbled across a Ben and Jerry’s carnival. I just love how there is always something going on in the city!

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Kels did the truffle toss and won! woot woot!

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We happily munched down our little free ice cream samples (YUM) then continued along Embarcadero to Boudin.

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Finally- made it!!! Check out these fun shapes made from the bread…

img_1964-1img_2040**waiting a half hour to get a seat** This place is poppin’!

And finally finally– time for the famous sourdough bread bowl with clam chowder! It was PHENOMENAL. It was the perfect snack to warm us up after weaving through the thick San Franciscan fog. (aka Karl, someone named our fog. Haha).

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So we were a leeeetle bit nervous when we were eating our sourdough bowl because Kels’ phone was dead, mine had 1% remaining, and our emergency charger broke. We were at least 4 miles from our hotel and were planning on Ubering or Lyfting back…. we both had blisters from walking in our heeled shoes all day and were freezing in our light clothes we worn to wine country. Once we finished up the grub, I called the Lyft with the 1% I had left and we got the pickup JUST in time before my phone died. Thaaaank you, Lord! That would have been a brutal 4 mile walk (it felt like it was in the low 40s by this point).

We arrived to our hotel for the evening! We decided to stay in the city since our reservations were super late and DJ had a late game anyways . Also, we found a reservation at the Sir Francis Drake at a wonderful deal! The hotel was named after the Elizabethan era sea captain and was founded in 1928. It has quite the stunning history- you can read here if interested (or if you may find yourself staying at this historic landmark someday).

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At any time, there is a greeter dressed in the archetypal costume standing out front the hotel.

The lobby was spectacular- a true historical feel, yet also feeling anything but antiquated.

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The room was so fun! It had bright reds, large 16th century inspired paintings, and was clean as can be for being such an “old” hotel. The ONLY issue we had during the stay was the slowness of the elevator. It was crazy slow – like a snail’s pace + molasses. But they did have signs all over asking for our patience while they remodeled/updated their elevators, so we couldn’t be too upset about it.

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We changed super fast after checking in. Check in took about 30 minutes, and by the time we were in the room it was about 8:45 pm. We had literally 15 minutes to change and get out the door to make our rezzy on time. We slapped on some touch up makeup, I used my “cruise” lip color that I haven’t used in a while, and we hit the road!

**middle school mirror pic** haha

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But in order to hit the road… we first had to run down 18 floors to make it to our Lyft ride on time (the elevator was not budging, so we resorted to whipping down the hotel’s staircase hoping he wouldn’t leave without us!).

We found our Lyft ride out of breath and practically sweating. The driver was so kind and understood about the elevator issue. We headed to another BL item for the evening. The ultimate ultimate BL item I have had on my list in bolds and italics (one day soon I will actually share the list here!). I knew Kels would appreciate it too! Drum roll please….. Foreign Cinema. 

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The entrance is easy to miss, it is very tucked away in the shadows in the Mission District, but the minute you step through the doors you are in another world!

This restaurant is not your standard restaurant. It is a restaurant that takes you to Paris, under twinkling lights in the great outdoors. There are heaters to keep you nice and cozy and a foreign film to accompany your meal. It’s like being at a fancy drive in, dressed up, and eating superb nomz.

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We started with their Patio Spritzes. Kels had their strawberry infused lillet blanc & I tried their pamplemousse one. They were delicious- refreshing and light- exactly what we were craving.

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For an appetizer we shared their oysters- the most stupendous oysters of the trip. Every oyster throughout the weekend we tried was wonderful, but these were hands down the absolute best. I keep telling DJ I want to go here again just so he can try these!

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We then split the tuna tartare for our meal. It was magnificent. Bursting flavors. You cannot go wrong here!

img_2047Kels and I are both guilty people-watchers, so we quietly evaluated and tried to figure out the groups and couples around us. Humans are fascinating. It was too fun, and I think we missed our callings as psychologists (or psychopaths).

Time to turn in for the evening after a super fun night!

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In the morning of July 29th, we got up around 8:00 am and then drove back to Cupertino. We had some avocado toast then hit the road to make the 11:30 service for Church!

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I was excited to take Kelsey to our home church, Vive! It’s one of my favorite parts about living here, and I am always stoked when company stays over through a Sunday so we can go together, and I can introduce them to my church fam.

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Afterwards we went to none-other than the most ubiquitously mentioned restaurant on this blog… can ya guess it?

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Tammy met up with us and the three of us ordered all the classics to share. Starting with my fave- the French Garden omelette (with egg whites!). It has goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms, and basil! It’s just too good. And their country potatoes are the also the best around (Although Los Gato’s Cafe’s potatoes  do vy for first place).

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Next, we had their tremendous crab cake benedict (although I have found a better one I will be sharing in a few posts 😉 ).

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And perhaps one of my favorite brunch dishes ever… the salmon benedict.

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& A side of their blueberry pancake

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Time to go hiking!!! We drove to the Redwoods in the Big Basin. The drive is treacherous and I was white knuckling the whole way down, but we made it! (if these look familiar it’s because I was here just a couple months ago with Tammy 🙂 ).

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Kelsey had never seen Redwoods before, so this was a must for her trip here!

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It ended up being SWELTERINGLY HOT- in the nineties I believe, but we made it to the top!

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Jus’ hanging around

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We were parched when we returned. This water was liquid gold to us!

Our big simba baby water bottle . *Cue Circle of Life*

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On our way back we pulled off to the side of the road to an overlook and saw the most breathtaking view!

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We headed home, and quickly became aware of how hungry we were!

We decided to knock off a third BL item and go to Palo Alto’s downtown to try sushirrito! (yep- a sushi burrito!).

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These were truly rawesome. We tried Geisha’s Kiss and the Latin Ninja. Holy cannoli guacamole- I am craving another. I need to try their Sumo Crunch wrap soon which is their famous one.

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To end the evening we walked around Main Street Cupertino, made a pit stop into Target for some sweets, and then decided to do dinner number 2!

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And where better than the revolving sushi bar, Kura?! You may remember “Kula” from the beginning of the blog when DJ and I went allll the time, but they recently changed the name to Kura. You can read how it works in this post if you are interested!

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It’s not the highest quality sushi, but it is always a fun experience!!! I loved watching Kels’ expression as the conveyor belt of sushi glided past us. We had our fill then called it a night to get a great night sleep before a big beach day!

Question for you!

  • Favorite brunch dish/ brunch restaurant?

xo <3

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Crazy Wildfires & DJ’s Birthday Celebrations!

Happy Thursday, ya’ll (well, Thursday by the time anyone reads this- although it is currently Wednesday evening)! How’s it kickin’?

We said goodbye to one of my favorite charge nurses last week; I was super sad to see her go 🙁 (This send off banner was too funny not to share though!)

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DJ’s birthday was October 6th!!! I can’t believe I am just shooting this post up now. Sheesh! Anywho, we had a gift card to Open Table that was put to phenomenal use at the local Forbes Mill in Los Gatos!

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This sweet man.. I would usually not pull my phone out at places this nice to snap food pics, but he convinced me that it was just us two and it wasn’t a big deal…. I obliged pretty easily 😉

We started with the giant prawn cocktail. There is nothing better than a fresh shrimp/prawn appetizer. It’s easily our go-to!

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We also tried their crab cakes! They were tasty, no denying it…yet a far cry from the cakes we had in Baltimore.

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I also had their generously sized beets and macadamia crusted goat cheese salad. It was one of the best I have ever had,  and it’s so simple to throw together! I definitely will be recreating this at home.

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DJ tried the ULTIMATE surf and turf with a combo of waygu and lobster tail. I sampled the waygu because it’s supposed to be the highest quality of meat, and I couldn’t let the opportunity pass….. butttt I had an aversion to the flavor. After not eating meat for about four years it didn’t do anything for me.

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We also dabbled in a side of creamed spinach.. if it’s on the menu you know we are jumping on it! We absolutely loved it. I still think the creamed spinach from Ben and Jack’s in New York is the best of all time, but this is not far behind.

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And I couldn’t pass up the epic, rave-worthy, award-winning scallops….. I think the only ones that contest are Farallon’s in San Francisco. Gosh, just the thought is making my mouth water all over the darn laptop. They were served over forbidden rice- a new obsession of mine officially. Has anyone had this magical grain?! It’s ah-may-zin!

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I could go on for days and days about how amazing DJ is. He is a man of God, handsome, humble, hilarious, loyal as they come, my rock, courageous, intelligent, witty, intuitive, hard working, dedicated, and genuine. Those qualities just scratch the surface. I don’t know why God blessed me with such an incredible man, but I won’t argue with His provision 😉

The days are all kind of blurring together from the rest of the last few weeks. I do want to share of my favorite snap shots from random runs and of course, even more random pics of all the foooooodddd we’ve been scarfin’!

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The fall blooms are just as gorgeous as the spring blooms!!! Even though we don’t have the leaves change like back in the good ol’ midwest, we still have the beautiful array of flowers to admire in this season.

Unfortunately, my autumn runs had to come to a quick halt when the wildfires started last week. It smelled pungent with smoke in the hospital (which is closer to the fires than our apartment is), and then eventually the air around our home was saturated with the unescapable burning scent. In the morning when we woke up our eyes itched, our throats scratched.. it was surreal. We just keep praying for everyone affected by these horrible fires. I truly hope the madness stops soon and mother earth cools her jets.

If you would like to help, please visit this link with multiple options you can contribute!

Back to the random food mess… I’m still on the egg kick for suure. (I put some of the leftover creamed spinach on a piece of toast and then the egg on top, good heavens).

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I also have been CRAVING a Whole Foods trip. Since they have always been ugly pricey, I usually only go every once in a while. However, now that they are bought by Amazon their prices have gone down tremendously!

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Using many of the ingredients from whole foods, I made a fall salad that I’m ridiculously obsessed now. I was inspired by Stein’s Beer Garden’s salad. It contains jicama, roasted butternut squash, quinoa, light craisins, and I use a homemade apple cider vinaigrette (with some apple cider, a touch of oil, and a touch of sugar).

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I think ya’ll get the point. Haha.

Another thing I, and the rest of everyone, has been loving is spaghetti squash! Ugh, it is SO good. I have been mixing it with vegan butter, vegan meatless crumbles, and a touch of parmesan on top. So easy, so scrumptious. I know many of you out there have tremendous recipes for the spag-squa, please share em’ with me!

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And I’ve been whipping up a lot of capreses for DJ. This is one of his favorite snacks and the heirloom tomatoes were on sale at Whole fuuds and, oh man, were they ever fresh!

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I’ve been decompressing from the studying with lots and lots of running. I have been mixing in Insanity workouts, but as soon as the smoke settled and the air cleared I booked it back outside.

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I’ll just slide in another picture of morning toast with dried apricots, chia seeds, oats, high protein plain greek yogurt, and stevia.

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Something else I’ve been devouring lately is smoked salmon on pita with caramelized onions and a fried or poached egg. This has been hitting the spot and has been a great high protein/healthy “comfort food” during this super stressful time.

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I took my GRE yesterday …

I crammed for about two and a half weeks in my time off work for the exam, and just didn’t score as well as I would have liked on the quantitative. Algebra and me do not exactly tango in the moonlight. Ask me to tell you the symptoms of Moya Moya or the proper medication to treat tuberculosis..we can chat. But I don’ t have the faintest idea what in the Westeros math has to do with it. It’s not even real math. Like I get 1+1=2… or me +math= disaster….. but I will be the first to admit I do not know how to solve “If Tommy had five oranges and Shelly had 12 and 2 were taken away and thrown at a cactus, why is the square root of the Eiffel tower a bag of potatoes?!”

*Deep breaths, deep breaths*

*It’s not about the problem, it’s about the procccessss*

I get that people study for a looong time for this, but only one of the schools I’m applying to out of five require it. I just don’t think it’s worth it to slave over the study material when majority of MSN-FNP admissions don’t require it, and the app deadline for the one that does is November 1st. (Which is actually great because then I don’t even have the option to retake it for now). Now I’m rambling. *clearing throat*. Oh well, que sera sera.

HOW ARE YOU?!?  I am jumping off the crazy train now, and heading to bed before an early morning wake up call. Muah!

Blog Birthdays:

Cassie at Cassie’s Cookery on October 17th. Sweet girl, Happy birthday. You have changed my life more than you know, and you inspire me every single day. I am SO beyond thankful for ya, sweet thang. You are strong, loyal, empathetic, lovely, beautiful, and full of God’s grace and goodness. You exude His love more than most I know. Our conversations are always close to my heart, and I love you to absolute pieces, sista! <3 I hope your birthday was beyond perfect and you know what a treasure and gift you are to this earth.

PS. Cassie has an amazing cookbook out! If you wanna check it out go HERE. I know I am getting my copy ASAP! 🙂

xo <3

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