Birthday Treats & Festivities!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions for you:

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

xo <3

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Majestic Monterey, CA!

This past week has been a hodge-podge of different events! We spent most of the weekend keeping it low-key. We had a few things on the agenda to knock out to get ready for law school and more house stuff. I am so excited for the house to get finished up so I can share some pictures with you all 🙂

One of the weekend nights we went to Lyfe Kitchen in Downtown Cupertino. We love this eatery. It has all organic, fresh ingredients and it’s great for vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike. They even have fresh herbs growing right in the lobby.

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Main Street Cupertino is a happenin’ place. There are so many new places going up all the time. I can’t wait for Oren’s Hummus Shop to open!

I had been feeling lethargic for a couple days over the weekend. I think the move is finally catching up with me! The adrenaline rush has been helping with the continual discovering, running around, and exploring, but my body wanted a down-day. After having a nice, relaxing weekend, I had an awesome insanity workout with Shaun T. Anyone else do insanity out there? I love it! I have been doing it for six years now.I went through the full schedule twice, but now I just do my favorites about two or three times a week in between running or elliptical days. I can tell when my body has running fatigue, and that’s when I wake it up with an insanity interval!

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Procrastinating with Harry Potter Snapchat filter

One of the nights we felt so lazy we didn’t even want to order takeout. I was determined to find something in our cupboard to whip up. Welp, ya’ll, I’m pretty proud of this one (this was made with all ingredients that traveled all the way from Indiana with us).

Thai Coconut Tofu Bombay soup: Made with extra firm tofu, Amy’s Thai Coconut Soup, and bombay spice chickpeas. I also added a little red curry powder, cayenne, and chili powder for some extra spice and dazzle! DJ LOVED it. I took a picture of his starkly white empty bowl below once he gobbled it all up;).

We haven’t done a ton of grocery shopping since we have been so on-the-go, but we did take a nice walk to our favorite grocery store, Sprouts, to get some essentials. It’s about a mile and a half away, but with this weather, why not walk to the store! We forgot our bags, once again, and had to to the walk of shame with our brown purchased ones.

IMG_7643Something I absolutely cannot keep to myself is this rug that came in the mail. *INSERT HEART-EYES EMOJI*. Most of our apartment is neutral tones, but I couldn’t help add a little pizzazz on our balcony. People that know me know I have always been fascinated with India and Indian culture. This pattern just drew me in and reminded me of the beautiful, bright patterns and colors I witnessed in Chennai and Madurai. Oh, how I miss it. The good news is there is a boundless amount of authentic Indian cuisine spots to choose from within a three mile radius of our apartment. There is also an Indian grocery store. I cannot wait to try cooking Indian food with all the authentic ingredients. I’ll let you all know how that goes! IMG_7717

Now comes the highlight of our week. Our anniversary is August 8th, but that is right around the date DJ begins orientation for law school. In order to avoid weekend traffic we decided to celebrate our anniversary yesterday (Wednesday).

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He knows me well!

We went to Monterey, California for dinner and to stay the night in the most darling little Inn. It is about an hour and a half drive, but we were stuck in some serious traffic making it about a two hour drive. Let me tell ya, I was starvin’ marvin’. THE HANGER WAS REAL. Here is the progression of my snapchat photos to prove it. Gotta’ love the crazy filters.

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The downtown area of Monterey was a typical tourist trap; the type of place I always have sensory-overload-excitement attacks. I loved soaking in the unique shops and window shopping as we drove through the pier.

IMG_7786All we wanted was some phenomenal seafood for our anniversary dinner. What better place to go than this?! DJ booked us a reservation at the Chart House restaurant which overlooks the whimsical bay. We had a blast watching little otters play while we ate. I had a good view across the table from me as well 😉

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For an appetizer we tried the Ssamjang Shrimp (not sure how to pronounce the double “s” there- I just used the point method for that one). This included grilled shrimp with cajun spices, asian and indian dipping sauces, herb-marinated cucumber, red onion and heirloom tomato salad. The diverse flavors made this appetizer come to life. We savored every.single.nibble.

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For dinner we both decided to try Swordfish. We have never had it, but man, was it tasty. DJ had simply grilled with avocado, jalapeño, tomato, cilantro, and lime. I ordered the citrus ginger spiced swordfish with passion fruit sauce, hearts of palm salad, and a tropical fruit salsa. Swordfish resembles chicken pretty closely! It is a thick fish compared to most, and absolutely fantastic.

What is that amazing creation in the middle you ask? Creamed spinach, of course! Ya’ll know our obsession. If a place has it, we are guaranteed to try it. This made it on our “favorites list”. My all-time favorite still to-date is Ben and Jack’s creamed spinach in New York. I also weirdly put the spinach on my rolls to eat it. It was made to go on bread, trust me. I make sure we have plenty of the carby morsels before dinner arrives, or ask for another basket!IMG_7787IMG_7794

After the meal was over, we decided to forgo dessert (although they did look pretty dang good). The ONLY reason we passed it up was because we decided splitting some Ben and Jerry’s half baked froyo in our room sounded too good to pass up. The waitress still brought out a Mississippi mudpie for our anniversary. It was too sweet! The service and foot at Chart house is phenomenal. I highly recommend it to anyone.

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This was jus’ something else. I have never tried Mississippi mudpie before, but it had a coffee flavor to it that I couldn’t resist. But don’t worry we still got our Ben and Jerry’s Froyo!

The views from the Tickle Pink Inn, where we stayed the night, were nothing short of magical. When we arrived in Monterey, there was a dark, somber gray over the water. It was so different than the last four weeks of sunshine we have been experiencing, but a pleasant change. I love gray skies. I think there is something enchanting about the green of foliage surrounded by the deep, billowy clouds. The views around us were simply majestic. I felt as though I was in a storybook.

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The inn greeted us with a lovely bottle of Champagne and a box of chocolates. It’s like they knew I was coming or something 😉 There were also two spoons placed in clear view near our complimentary coffee station; serendipitous considering we needed two spoons for our froyo??! I think so!

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This Inn was the definition of quaint. It was the most perfect place to celebrate an anniversary. (Great choice, Deej!) In the morning we had breakfast while overlooking the somber, peaceful waters.

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Greek yogurt on whole wheat toast with granola and blueberries and a fantastic view

The next week brings DJ’s orientation for law school, me finally doing a full grocery trip and getting back to cooking and studying for the NCLEX.

Wishing you lots of magical moments,

xo <3

Mack