Reminiscing about this past fall!

Hey, friends. How are you doing? This weather here in Austin is just W-I-L-D. We have been extremely grateful to still have our power on, but it has been a mess in most of the city and Texas at large. I really hope you all are safe out there. It’s scary and devastating how low the temps were getting while many were without heat, water supplies is now on boil alert and pipes have been bursting. Praying this resolves so soon (temps are on the rise, finally!) and everyone stays safe as possible in the meantime. Some websites I think are helpful are included here (even though I may be a bit late getting this out):

For information about warming centers

For food, water and gas in Austin

Other ways to help

My clinicals have been cancelled this week, so I was able to catch up on some school assignments and had a second to pop on here.

I am continuing recaps on through this past fall. It won’t take long because I was in a pretty busy, yet monotonous, schedule of clinicals and school work. I reflect on this past Autumn so fondly though. I treasure that time with my mom and Pete, and it was a few months I won’t forget! I want to record a few of the fun details so I don’t forget them.

The typical day looked like:

  • 0630- Wake up & have breakfast (usually oatmeal with berries & pb & coffee (at least 2 cups)) get ready for the day while listening to the Cribsiders podcast, spend time reading my Bible
  • 0720/0730- Leave the house and call my friend, Clair. We talked almost every day during this past fall since we were on the same schedule. I loved that.
  • 0830- Get to clinical and spend the day learning alll about pediatrics (so fun- one of my favorite rotations!). (I also had a Starbucks run squeezed in at lunch time. The baristas knew my order by heart by the end of the rotation, haha- I miss them now!).
  • 1700: Wrap up the day and head back home, listen to podcasts on the way home
  • 1745: Go for a run/walk
  • 1900: Dinner (usually one of my massive chopped salads or something my mom prepared- I was spoiled by her cookin’!)
  • 1930-about 2300: Work on homework/logging clinical cases/read to fall asleep

Then do it all again the next day!

I had a couple days off during the week to pour into my school work which was much needed. It was probably the most assignment heavy semester we had yet. I look back and my head was just spinning with deadlines. It helped that I enjoyed the content (peds and perinatal).

On the Monday after the race, September 14th, I scheduled the day off so I could be sore in peace. 

On September 19th, we decided to pick up some sushi from Kroger. Sushi is an essential meal whenever my mom and I are together. This was so delicious & fresh- the sushi chefs were right there making it. We enjoyed every bite!

September 20th our sweet nephew, Will, was born! He arrived earlier than we had anticipated, but he is healthy and was cared for so well. We are so thankful & cannot wait to meet him. It hurts my heart we still haven’t, but we are looking forward to meeting him this year!

The week of September 20th I drove back to Austin for my “on campus intensive” that had gone virtual. It was so nice to be back with DJ for a few days, but gosh, that was a stressful week! The schedule was jam-packed & we had things like mock interviews in front of our peers- no thank you! Some fun highlights were seeing my friends (I was so sad we couldn’t be in person to hangout!) and learning to suture (I have some work to do, but  it’s so much fun, and I look forward to getting better at this!). 

I headed back to Keller the weekend after OCI to keep up with clinicals and my mom made this delicious zucchini, quinoa and beets salad. YUM

Throughout my time there, one of my favorite breakfasts my mom cooked was this egg white frittata with lemongrass balsamic, avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers and spinach. 

Here is a “driving to clinical” picture. I thought it was so pretty with the birds along the power lines/~stop lights~ and the moon still hanging around.

On October 2nd, my mom and I went out on the town! We found an outdoor patio in Keller at Keller Tavern that had live music. It was a relaxing and beautiful evening & the music was great! We felt nice & safe sitting with plenty of distance from everyone else.

We ordered their sweet potato tots- these are oh so sweet, but oh so addictive!!! 

At the end of the night, we let out our friend’s dogs since they were out of town. I think you will all appreciate how large they are!! I think they are taller than me! They are the sweetest things. Apollo (the black and white blurry one, lol!) was Jade’s best friend <3

On October 3rd, I was working on school work from home. My mom also was working from home, so about noon we split a pizza. It’s those little things and memories that just are really so special, ya know?

On October 9th DJ drove to Keller to hang with us for the weekend. I was practically ready to go to sleep by the time he arrived around 9:30 pm, but when he arrived, I got a second wind and decided we should have an impromptu date night! I knew he would love the chill, outdoor space at Keller Tavern.

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And of course, I made sure we ordered the sweet potato tots again! Déjà vu!

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The next day, October 10th, my mom made these classic sandwiches from my childhood for the guys. Here is the recipe!

I don’t eat meat often anymore, but I tried a bite, and they were as tasty as I remembered! So so good!

DJ’s bday was October 6th, so we wanted to make sure to celebrate big time while he was here! We headed to Fort Worth for an unforgettable meal.

The restaurant we tried is called rise (recommended by my preceptor!). They are well known for their soufflés. If you have been around here for a while, you know soufflés are basically our obsession. We discovered them originally at Cafe Jacqueline (a magical experience) and then tried making them at home a couple times thereafter. Austin does not have anywhere that offers actual soufflés (that we could find), but Fort Worth has this gem! 

We sat out on their gorgeous patio and started with their fluffy bread served prior to the meal. 

OK, so one dish we were told we have to try is their marshmallow soup, and goodness gracious, it lived up to the hype. 

We tried a variety of so many different soufflés, I couldn’t even tell you which was the favorite- every single one was spectacular. We each ordered a savory one for our main and a sweet one for dessert.

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Oh, believe it or not, we still had room to enjoy some classic dirt when we came home.

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I only had a little bit of my clinical rotation left after this. I will recap that next!

Stay safe and warm, y’all <3

Question for you:

  • Any songs you are loving lately? I need to revamp my playlist!

One Big Rambling Post!

I started this post a few days ago, but haven’t had the chance to finish it until today- SOoOooo I woke up extra early to get this sun-of-a-gun done once and for all!

Hey y’all! This is my last official catch up post before going back to school tomorrow. I looked over the curriculum, and it looks really intense this semester. I know it will be okay, but I’m pretty anxious to just get started and get back in the groove of things. I have to remind myself these first weeks with “syllabus shock” are always overwhelming. So with a big deep breath I will get us all caught up. Sorry if I am MIA for a little bit here while I adjust back to the crazy study schedule, but know that I will blog and read your blogs whenever time allows. Gonna always need a study break, ya know? 😉

December 29th was a must needed restful Saturday. We did a whole lotta nothing, and it was great! I think I worked on some blogging & for dinner whipped us up some mahi mahi I had in the freezer with veggies for dinner. We watched our Arrested Development in the evening, of coursee.

December 30th we went to church in the morning, and we food was scarce in the apartment at this point since I still hadn’t been to the store since we left. I had some frozen bison taco meat for DJ I had before hand (thank goodness) & I made a hodge-podge for myself of eggs, squash, and hummus for lunch. It weirdly worked!

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I grabbed a See’s candy lollipop & headed to Trader Joe’s to get some real foood.

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And that brings us to NYE- December 31st!! Woohoo! Last year for NYE we were in Texas with my mom and Pete. (PS. WHAT was I thinking with that type of falsies? Someone should have given me a stern talking to, lol!!! What a stage I went through. Oy to the veyyy). Anywho- we just stayed in, and it was so fun & relaxing. I suggested we do that again this year and try to make soufflés since we’ve been talking about doing that together after going to Cafe Jacqueline. We got all our ingredients together and got to work while listening to our ole’ buddy, Frank Sinatra.

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While the soufflé was in the oven we enjoyed some yummy appetizers. Did I go overboard for just two people? Nahhhh, no such thing! Most everything is from TJ’s & I pulled out my homemade hummus. The artisanal bread was wonderful! I also made some roasted carrots & beets. I have never made my own roasted beets before, but it may become a staple- they crisped up so easily like chips & were just delicious!

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^^ Fun fact: That was all frozen cheese (half regular/half vegan) from when we went to wine country a few months ago. Cheese freezes very well. You just defrost it & it’s good to go. (Just don’t let it melt- I accidentally let the pepperjack/some of the vegan provolone go a tiny bit too long).

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I also saw these champagne gummies I could not help but resist! They were very tasty!

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So when we first took out our soufflé from the oven it hadn’t quite risen all the way, but I think it eliminated the “rise” after we let the cool air in. We cooked it a few minutes longer and it puffed up a bit more and the cheese got all yummy & caramelized on top! (but that’s why there is a divide in it- from when we tried to get a slice the first time around).

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The flavor was spot on- we tried to recreate the corn/ginger/garlic flavor, and it was pretty doggone close! Next time we are going to cook it a little longer & I think I’m going to whip my egg whites a bit more to give it more rise (isn’t that how it works?). It was still so light and airy, we enjoyed every little nibble!!! Once I perfect it I will share the recipe!

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We then plopped on the couch to watch the NYE show. This year looked frigid in the ole’ NYC.

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But ya cannot forget dessert. Believe it or not we still had room for this bad boy below.

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We saw this recipe on Tasty and when is a better time to recreate this monster than NYE? Here’s the thing though- we like every baked good we eat at home severely undercooked- practically asking for salmonella (what’s life without living on the edge). So all cookies, brownies, etc…must only be kissed by the oven! This meant it didn’t all “compact” the way it did in that video and really was just a big glob, but man, was it ever a good glob! SO rich, but goood. (I may or may not have had my slice with some double fudge brownie ice cream too).

^^ haha, it’s so obnoxious.

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Jan 1st was the last day off for DJ before he went back to work, so we just chilled at home, worked on Christmas “thank yous”, enjoyed leftovers throughout the day, and I went on a 12-mile run at some point. I also read a big chunk of The Hate You Give– I can’t wait to finish it- I could do a whole post on how it has challenged my perspectives & opened my eyes. Highly recommend this read to everyone.

The 2nd I spent nearly the entire day posting on Poshmark! LOVE Poshmark.

The 3rd I had a Facetime Dinner date with my best friend from Ohio, Rachel. MISS HER soooo much. My picture I took didn’t turn out, but she got one from her end!

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After, I went to Sara’s to hangout and catch up after our holidays. We had some tea and gabbed away for hours.

Friday, January 4th- January 5th were another two days of just getting things off the to-do list and ready for school and shipping Poshmark sales. In the evening I made these bacon wrapped scallops for DJ since our leftovers were getting low.

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He loved them! Definitely a two-thumbs-up recommendation!

Sunday, January 6th, we went early to church to help on the serving team (I’m so thankful I finally have a schedule that allows me to be a part of that again!). Since DJ “bumps out” (tears down the equipment, venue since it is a rental, etc.) after the 11:30 service we had some time between the two to grab some breakfast/brunch. We went to the table in Willow Glen that I’ve had my eye on for a while. I realized I kinda stalk restaurants- I’ll drive by a few times, look them up on YELP, go into a deep Google review dive, and then finally visit and introduce myself in person.

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Since it was raining outside & somewhat chilly their outdoor seating area was freed up. I had my winter coat on and they had heaters, so we agreed to go ahead and sit out there to weather the storm. The temperature was actually just fine with the heaters! We did walk through the inside of the restaurant to get there- loved the vibe and how it was decorated.

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The menu had such unique options & changes frequently! It was a bit on the pricier side, but it’s all seasonal locally sourced ingredients and everything was wonderful- the service, food, environment.

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The coffee was yummy- but could have been a bit hotter (but that’s what I say everywhere 😉 ).

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DJ tried their lemon ricotta pancakes and they were what lemony dreams were made of!! Sometimes when I order the lemon ricotta pancakes the “lemon” doesn’t quite come through, but the flavor was brilliant in these. Can you tell I snagged a few bites?

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I had their avocado, crab, and egg toast that was considered a “snack”. This was not your average avocado toast- it had Dungeness crab & trout roe on perfectly cooked toast (very slightly burnt). Mmm!

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Monday January 7th I met with my nurse friend Kim in the afternoon for coffee at Orchard Valley in Campbell. I am totally gonna have to come here to study! They had so many tables & it was nice n’ quiet.

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It was lovely to catch up with Kim, I always leave our conversations refreshed and encouraged.

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In the evening I made us Sriracha Shrimp Bowls with eggs & artisanal bread (still left from TJs!). It was a great combo, kinda reminded me of bibimbap!

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We plopped down to watch the train wreck that was the premiere of Colton’s season of The Bachelor. Lemme say, it easily could have been an hour, not three. I’m going to watch every second, but I am beyond tired of the virgin storyline, and quite frankly, I think some of the girls need to check themselves because a couple were downright disrespectful about it. I know I don’t usually get heated up in hurrr, but I could go off! First night favorites: Cassie and Katie. I thought Bri’s entrance was gold (although she looks a lot like Lauren Bushnell which…….. ehhh… that’s all I’ll say). I also didn’t mind Erika’s entrance! I liked that it was simple & a play on her name. Demi’s trouble, but I’m here for it. I’m surprised Jane & Erin got sent home. Would love to hear your thoughts!!

Going from reality TV back to reality, I told DJ something I wanted to try this year was one recipe per week of his request to get me out of my own cooking comfort zone. One of his favorite soups is cream of veg from the Dixie Stampede. I made it a long time ago (probably four years), and he requested it to be his recipe of the week. I made it on Tuesday the 8th, and it was crazy easy, but he kept raving about how much he loved it.

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Yesterday, the 9th, I started school. I don’t know why, but I was suffering from some severe anxiety that made it hard to even get through even a paragraph of reading. I thought I got it all under control after my residency ended, but it’s creeping back up. I think seeing the massive load of assignments we have this semester plus some big life changes (more on that to come) just felt overwhelming to think about (although it’s all great stress to have). And I know the anxiety is disproportional… I submitted an assignment and forgot to indent and space in a couple spots, and it nearly sent me into a full blown panic attack. I couldn’t stop thinking about it the rest of the day (It was a TWO point introduce yourself post). Coo-koo, I tell ya what! Maybe it’s hormones… is it a full moon?! I bet it’s a full moon. Nope, it’s not a full moon, I just checked. Scratch that. Hmm idk. I’m just gonna ride this wave out. I read some scripture in the evening which really helped put me at ease, and I already feel better refreshed this AM. Okay enough rambling- gotta get back to work. I get to see my third graders today too at B+G club that I haven’t seen since mid-December, so I have that to look forward to this afternoon!

Question for you:

  • Any recipes you’ve tried lately that you love?
  • Best book you’ve ever read? (I’m making my 2019 reading list now!)

xo <3

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Our Third Year Anniversary!

Hey everyone 🙂 I am starting grad school tomorrow (Monday), although I’m not entirely sure when this will be published! I am soo very excited, but I’m soaking up this last night to try to catch up with blogging best I can before the craziness ensues.

To pick right up where we left off, on the evening of August 8th, DJ and I made a spontaneous trip to San Pedro square to pre- celebrate our anniversary. How have three years passed already? It has truly been the my favorite three years of my life. Although this past year was the hardest single year of my life, I would not have made it through without DJ nor would I have traded it for the world. It was a year of challenge, growth, but the most reward- it shaped me, shaped us. Year three we grew more as a couple more than our first two years combined, and I just love love love this man more than I could ever have imagined possible. He is my rock. Sorry for the sap, but if any day warrants it it’s an anniversary, yahhhhh? Plus we both missed the obligatory social media post, so making up for it here. Hahah.

This anniversary we didn’t think DJ would be able to do anything the actual day of August 8th with work, but he miraculously was able to leave pretty early. We went to the mall together to pick him up a new phone since his entirely bit the dust then went down the road to dinner.

We had a gift-card we had been saving for a special occasion to district in San Jose, and this seemed like no better time than our anniversary day!

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This place is just so darn snazzy. It was dimly lit so it was hard to get great pictures of the unique bar that went directly through the middle of the restaurant. It also had a lounge area with fun adieus to our favorite classic games- Twister, Darts, Billard’s, etc. It’s a contemporary age type cocktail/tapas bar and a fantastic social environment if you are meeting with friends too!! I would love to come back here with my girlfriends someday.

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I’m working on getting DJ to enjoy oysters like I do, so we ordered some scrumptious ones on the half shell. He said they weren’t bad! Baby steps!

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Then we tried my personal favorite dish- seared squash blossoms. Whatever tomato sauce these were in was magical. I sopped up every bit. Even the waiter came over trying to take the plate and I politely asked if I could keep it to dip a bit longer. He said, “I respect that!”. Lol.

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We then tried a true gastronomical delight (thank you, Linda, for the new addition my lexicon 🙂 ). DJ and I had bone marrow for the first time at Orchard City Kitchen, and we were blown away by it. This was just as savory as we remembered! It just melts right off the bone. Heaven. This was DJ’s favorite.

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We then tried a gnocchi dish that was a close second favorite for both of us. It was very unique compared to what we usually have in terms of gnocchi, but gosh every bite was terrific!

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We were so full in our regular stomachs- but there is always the dessert stomach! DJ had been wanting to try a Pizookie from BJ’s Brewhouse for a while, so I decided to surprise him with a trip to try um’ out! I pulled up the maps app, and guided him to the restaurant. It’s not often that you have the chance to surprise each other in marriage- so this was a fun little spontaneous treat.

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He was stoked when we pulled up! I swore that I was too full to eat a bunch of dessert, but when these came, we equally contributed to the pizookie demolition.

We opted for the flight which and chose cookies n’ cream…

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salted caramel…

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and chocolate chunk…

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We couldn’t decide on a favorite. They were all sooo yummy. They were way better than I ever expected. Considering we have a BJ’s 2 miles away from us this could be dangerous. I think they’ll be something I crave.

The next day DJ and I had our “official” anniversary celebrations, although we both agreed the night before would have sufficed! Since we had reservations and the time set aside already, we went through with the staycation, and boy, am I glad we did.

The restaurant we went to was a big one on my bucket list. I have been PUMPED for the past month to share this with you all. I’m sitting here spazzing out because I don’t even know where to begin.

Cafe Jacqueline is a little, teeny tiny hole-in-the-wall place in SF that serves essentially only soufflés. They do have a french onion soup that is supposed to be unmatched and a couple other little items- but their thing is soufflés!

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It’s super intimate- I think they only have a total of about twelve tables. It is a perfect date and romantic dinner night restaurant. I will warn- it is extremely hard to get a reservation, so we booked about a month and a half in advance for this particular Thursday night. Weekends are rough trying to get a spot. There was hardly anyone there when we arrived, but quickly the place filled up.

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A little more history about this place- Jacqueline herself is a chef from France who started this restaurant in San Francisco. She makes every single soufflé herself to this day. When I went to the bathroom, I had to cross through the kitchen, and there she was soufflé-ing away! She is so cute- she’s in her 80s, tiny, and jovial as can be. She looked up at me with a big smile and said, “Bonjour!”. I hope I am half as cool as she is when I’m her age.

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Everything on the menu was making us salivate. We actually spent the car ride driving into the city trying to figure out what to order, but had no idea what to expect since we had never tried a soufflé before. Each soufflé can serve multiple people (savory ones they say serve 2-3 and dessert serve 3-4). Oh, also, since Jacqueline makes every soufflé to order, it takes about an hour or more for each to come out, so be prepared to wait! We didn’t mind, I treasure time just to spend with DJ with undivided attentive discussion together.

We decided on their white corn ginger garlic one. You. guys.  I cannot find the words to describe how tremendous this was. Seriously one of my favorite- if not MY FAVORITE food item I have ever had. DJ and I kept saying this could not be real- it surpassed every inkling of expectation we may have had- was so light, fluffy, yet full of perfect flavor. It was out of this world. I want to cry thinking about it. Does a food ever make you want to cry? (not talking onions) Like it’s so delicious it just evokes emotion? Just me? Ok

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We ate every little nibble so fast. The authentically amazing french waiter with a handle bar mustache came back and looked at us with wide eyes saying, “We either starved you for too long, or that was really good”. I said, “definitely the latter!”.

For dessert we tried the chocolate soufflé. It was *insert crying sniffle* perfection. Excuse me, I need tissues. I have never felt this way toward a food item before. why. Why did it have to be so good?!?!

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Here is a video of us scooping into it! It is a semi- ok shot, until the end where it all falls off my spoon. Haha. Smoooooth.

We had to walk a looong time to get back to our car but we probably needed it after not leaving a bite of our 3-4 person soufflés. Lol 3-4. No chance!

When getting into our car we had this radiant view of the bridge.

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We stayed at Hotel Vitale for the evening- probably our favorite hotel in SF that we have been to once before. Their theme is lavender. Breathe innnn the relaxation. Even the rooms have lavender coming out of the room numbers.

img_2623The service here is phenomenal. Something I have learned in my twenties is “it doesn’t hurt to ask”. I received a text from the staff a few days before our stay and they said if you have any additional requests please let us know. I asked if it would be possible to have any champagne or anything to celebrate our anniversary (the worst they can say is no, right?).

When we arrived we had this lovely note addressed to us…

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And complimentary champagne and chocolate <3 <3 <3 It was so kind!!!

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They even complimentarily upgraded our room for our anniversary. I was so touched, like what?!?! We went from an interior room to an exterior with a view of the Ferry building and the Bay Bridge.

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After dropping off our luggage, we went up to the roof area. (They have several rooftop areas you can take in stunning views of the city). I was so excited and thought the Bay Bridge was in this picture. When it wasn’t DJ said, “Uh, Kenz, you may want to put your hand the other way.” LOL. Whoops!

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Too funny not to share.

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And here is that lovely bridge..

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It was an unforgettable evening! Truly one of my favorite date nights and anniversaries for all time.

img_2621Alas, this post is so long I will wait to recap our brunch experience in the next post. I can’t wait!!! One of the best! Stay tuned…

Questions for you:

  • Have you ever had a soufflé?
  • What is one life lesson you have had in your twenties if you have one?!

xo <3