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

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Adventures of a Weekend; Memories of a Lifetime

I truly do not even know where to begin!!!! Since Thursday, there have been memories made that I will treasure for my entire life. So, without further adieu, welcome to one of the greatest weekends for the books!

It all began Thursday morning. I woke up bright and early and zipped to SF to meet one amazing individual….

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….KM from Ankhor You! I can’t tell you how surreal it was to meet this beautiful lady in person!!! She is such a gem, and truly the energy, love, and kindness that she shares through her blog she radiates in person equally. This is the first time I’ve met someone that I initially met through blogging, and I can’t stop talking about how nice it was to sit down and have a cup of coffee with her! (And of course, we met at Peet’s 😉 ).

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I also had the pleasure of meeting her lovely friend, Sarah! Ugh I wish we all lived closer so we could hangout!

Please come back soon, dear. SF loved having you guys here!  It was SUCH a joy to spend time with these two- have I made that clear?! Ok- good! I’m just glad I didn’t scare them away! Hahah.

JJ- we’re coming for you next!

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The rest of Thursday I went grocery shopping, cleaned a bit, finished up laundry, and napped (GASP!!!).

Friday, DJ’s mom (whom I’ll call Mom L for the purpose of the blog), and Gordie (Step dad!) flew into SF! They arrived at our place around 11:30 in the morning. I was giddy all morning to see them. It felt far too long since Christmas!

I have been ecstatic to show them around our stomping grounds. The last time they were here was to move us in- a time reminiscent of a giant Uhaul, an empty apartment complex, and zero food in the fridge.

BUT this time, I was able to show them the transformation of the empty walls into a livable home, and we all shared some good snacks to tide us over until dinner that night!

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You can never go wrong with cheese and crackers, can I get an AMEN?!

DJ came home from work early at about 2:00, and I had to go back to the dentist to get my final cap put on my “yellow tooth” at 2:30 (hallelujah that is over with)! Also— you know I can’t go on without pointing out the irony that I went to the dentist at 2:30—- GET IT?!

For the weekend, they said they wanted to experience all our favorite restaurants/spots since we have been here. Mom L is a loyal follower of the blog, so she knew I would have great foodie spots for us to go to 😉

Orchard City Kitchen was our first on the list!

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The first time we went here was in September of last year with a friend of DJ’s. It quickly made it’s way to the top of our favorites due to it’s rustic yet modern ambiance, it’s unique menu, and of course, it’s phenomenal food!!! The way this works is you order about four of five small dishes and share them with the table. Each bite is jam packed with flavors unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.

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We started with their famous triple B (biscuits, bacon, and honey butter). I don’t know what it is about this, but it’s the kind of thing that just sticks in your memory (PUN INTENDED). The biscuits were perfection, the butter was some of the best honey butter EVER, and the bacon (I observed) was tremendous. This little dish was talked about almost every day after for the rest of the weekend.

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Next we tried the lobster dumplings. These had karashi su miso, black vinegar, fennel, and kizami nori… yeah yeah none of us really know what any of that is- but we do know they were a winner!

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Next was the rainbow cauliflower salad. This had ricotta-yogurt, beets, radish, romanesco, and curried tenkasu. It was decent, but in light of everything else at the table, it may have been a bit underwhelming. Although, I will say the mix of the ricotta yogurt and curried tenkasu was a wonderful combination! The spices of the tenkasu and the coolness of the yogurt was the perfect balance.

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Ready for your mouth to really start watering? This is the spaghetti & calamari dish with bolognese, fried calamari, and parm. I tried a small bite of the calamari and the spaghetti- Wowzers Mctrowsers. So yum.

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We also tried the adobo pork shanks. This was accompanied by pickled green papaya relish, li hing mui, puffed rice, and cilantro. I did not try the pork- but everyone seemed to love it. I can attest, however, that the accompanying salad was mangifico.

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The last thing we tried was the torn salmon with charred avocado, cucumber, kumquats, black pepper sauce, and tzatziki. This was terrific! Quite possibly some of the greatest salmon I have ever tasted.

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We came home and watched some of the OJ Simpson documentary on Hulu while our food digested. It’s long, but captivating beginning to end. Anyone seen it?!

Once we had a bit more room, we headed to …. *drumroll*.. CREAM! (They said they wanted to sample the best, so no judging for us being here twice in less than a week 😉 ).

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And just to prove to you all how cool my in-laws are, guess what they ordered?! The formidable Sundae of Champions!!!!

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SO proud <3

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DJ ordered an ice cream sandwich, so I nibbled a bit on his.

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My phone went ballistic when we got home and wouldn’t turn back on. Especially with this new job starting I tossed and turned all night worrying about my phone.

On Saturday morning, I went for a nice long run to work out the nerves. DJ had to work for a few hours, and Mom L recommended that we could go in and get a new phone. I didn’t want them to have to go to the store with me on their time here, but they were incredibly gracious standing with me as I figured out the new phone situation. It all was for the best because it allowed me to grab some crisp photos for the rest of the weekend!

After working up an appetite figuring out the new phone, we headed to Bill’s Cafe! (This one probably looks super familiar as well). I knew this place would not disappoint. DJ finished up his morning shift and met us just in time to order!

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We started with yummy coffee and Bill’s Famous Mimosas!

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Mom L ordered their Bread Pudding French Toast. This is their famous bread pudding baked with walnuts and raisins, dipped in a rich batter and grilled to perfection, topped with fried banana and a special bread pudding sauce. They have a disclaimer next to it- “Only served at Bill’s”. Mom L raved about how good it was, and when I took a bite, I understood why. Ohhhhhh my lanta. Even if they do serve bread pudding elsewhere, this one, I guarantee, is the best.

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Gordie ordered their Parisienne French toast which was a croissant baked fresh daily in their oven, dipped in egg batter and grilled, sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon. (This is what Danielle ordered when I went with her after the hike!). I raved about it in the last post! Gordie concurred that it was rave-worthy and worth the hype.

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DJ ordered their chocolate chip pancakes! Cannot go wrong with a classic!

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I ordered their French Garden Omelette again with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and avocado. I usually try to order different items each time I go to a restaurant, but I couldn’t resist. It was just too delish last time and it was hitting my “crave” buttons. I ordered the dish with egg whites this time and they were just as tasty as the regular eggs from last time. I also tried the potatoes, and although I loved their hash-browns, these potatoes were on a different level!!!

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After our beyond satisfying breakfast we made the gorgeous drive down the 280 into SF. (In California highways are referred to as “The”, which I’m having a hard time adapting, but I’m giving it my darndest!).

Once we found parking (which is always a feat), we headed to the Ferry building. I was showing Mom L the different shops and pointed out the Peet’s where I met KM. Two seconds later guess who I spotted?!

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Her and Sarah! SO crazy! It was a wonderful unexpected treat to see these two beauties again! They were about to travel home for the evening, but I was glad they had such a great time in the city. Naturally, K and I grabbed one more picture together for the road. I cannot wait to read her posts!

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While walking around, we couldn’t believe the weather was actually this perfect. It’s been a record breaking rainy season, so we just kept saying Mom and Gordie brought the good weather with them and would have to move here so it stayed this nice!

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We enjoyed the brilliant sunshine and energy that it brought out to the pier. Everyone seemed to be in a fabulous mood, and the pier was filled with artists, musicians, painters, and street vendors who filled the roads with creativity and scents of delicious wafting food.

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And of course we had to peruze the notable Pier 39.

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DJ’ favorite part of the pier is viewing the sea lions. They are hilarious to watch. Free entertainment right there!

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Ok- are these two not the cutest ever?! Ah, I just love em’.

For the evening, DJ suggested we do a twilight cruise! It’s impossible to pick a favorite part of the weekend- but this cruise was undeniably a glowing highlight!

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Our photogenic little bird friend

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Selfie with the photogenic little bird friend

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The views from this cruise coupled with the stupendous day created an experience nothing short of magical. We passed under the Golden Gate, Alcatraz, AT & T park, and The Bay Bridge!

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I love these pictures below so much 😂 if you can’t tell it was a bit windy!

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Once we watched the sunset, we headed down to the main floor to grab hor dourves and drinks. They had us under the impression that light snacks were being served- but we easily made a scrumptious dinner of their fruit and cheese board, hummus, crackers, sandwiches, spinach pastries, and wraps.

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The view of the city transformed from a glowing reflection of the oranges and reds of the sun into twinkling lights of the skyline. The Bay Bridge lit up and majestically provided a gleaming point of reference as we sailed on the moonlit Pacific water.

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After the cruise and discussing how this would be a night to remember forever, we braved our way through the cold (50s) to Ghiradelli square. You could follow the scent of chocolate (and use your GPS just a little) and find your way!

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After peaking around the plethora of cutesy shops and boutiques, we somehow found ourselves in line for their World Famous Hot Fudge sundae. Imagine that! 😉

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The picture I think speaks for itself. If you are a hot fudge sundae fan, add this to your food bucket list!

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We ubered back to where we parked and all slept like babies that evening.

Sunday morning we went to Church all together. DJ and I were thrilled that we could share our church with them. It’s a huge part of our lives living out here and it was a blast introducing them to all our friends, worship beside them, and discuss the message afterwards. When we would all go to church together in Ohio we would usually get brunch out or at home after and have great conversation over what we all gleaned from the preaching. It felt so good to do that again, only this time on the other side of the country!

This brunch included none other than Los Gatos cafe! Home of the epic, mammoth, insanely delicious cinnamon roll!

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This place has an extensive Benedict’s menu. Mom L and I each ordered one, and the guys ordered crepes!

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Poached eggs FTW!

After another memorable foodie experience we made our way down Palm drive to Stanford University. We showed them around the gorgeous campus, stopped in the bookstore, and then zoomed past the building I’ll be working in a nurse nearby. It made me feel better to see the actual place- it’s less intimidating when you can tangibly see something and it’s not some vague idea in your mind! (Vague ideas and unknowns become monsters very quickly in my mind when they aren’t put in their place!).

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The last time we were at Stanford’s campus like that was with my Aunt and Uncle– made me miss them lots!!

Anyway, as though this day wasn’t fun filled enough, we had one of the greatest adventures to come right around the corner.

Back in October when I was looking up Halloween festivities, GrandView restaurant  on Mt. Hamilton came up as a haunted place. (I don’t actually believe it’s haunted- just all to be festive)!

It ended up being one of our all time favorite dinners and memories. This is a hidden gem that I tell everyone they must experience at least once if they come out here!

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We came right on time to witness a spectacular sunset.

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One of my prayers is to look half as good as my momma-in-law when I’m her age!

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I also played with my camera a ton while being here!

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We were then seated for dinner. We had the most fabulous shrimp cocktail, a refreshing caprese salad, lobster carbonara for Mom L and Gordie, crab stuffed salmon for myself, and a pasta dish for DJ. Us girls were given the “good view” side of the table overlooking the Silicon Valley. The waiter said it was because the guys already had a good view 😉

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We finished off this unbelievably savory meal with a slice of cheesecake to share. I loved the addition of the dark chocolate chips on top! It complemented the sweetness of the cheesecake perfectly.

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We snaked down the long mountain and hit the hay. The next morning they headed back to Ohio ): I’m thankful for these memories created in such a short span of time that will last a lifetime.

Love you Mom and Gordie and so thankful for you!

Monday night DJ and I watched bachelor and gawked at the awkwardness that occurred on after the final rose. Anyone watch?! OH my goodness- poor Rachel.. she handled it like a champ though (the whole meeting the men early situation).

The rest of this week I am gearing up to start my new job Monday!!!  I could use prayers- the nerves are real! I can’t wait to give you all and update on how orientation goes. Thank you always for your love and support.

xo <3

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