Halloween Festivities and a little bit of everything else

Long time, no see!!! I have been so busy studying the last couple weeks that I haven’t been able to do a recap post. I am finally snagging a couple minutes now to draft something out before bed. And you may just get the rough draft because I don’t think I have time to edit- so in advance I apologize for the misspellings, the grammatical errors, run-ons, and fragments.

First things first per usual: Thank you to everyone for those sweet, sweet thoughts and words on my last post. As I told many I didn’t want to write it (or at least parts of it), but I knew I needed to. I woke up at 4:30 in the morning with all those words on my heart, and knew that I needed to share ultimately to bring glory to God for what He has done. Thank you again for everyone who shared your own thoughts, experiences, and encouragement.

Also thank you to Shawna  for her nomination for the Black Cat Blue Sea Award. I loved reading your responses, hun! I wish I could take the time to respond, but time is thin lately! However, if you guys get a chance, check out this wonderful girl’s place on the web <3

ANDDDDD Guess what?! I finally took my nursing boards (yesterday morning), and can officially put the books away, at least for a bit. I actually received my approval right after my last update post and cried tears of joy. FINALLY. After seven months, seven long months, I could finally take this stinking test. But, really, who gets that excited to take a test?! Pathetic I tell ya. I won’t find out if I officially passed them for a while, but I’m feeling okay about it. This could be really mortifying if I didn’t pass and I have to publicly announce it to about five hundred people- oh well! We will see. Positive thinking right?!

Time to rewind to October 6th. Yes it has been that long. No worries, guys, I have all the food pics. Because, like the last couple posts, all I have done is eat and study.

For DJ’s birthday dinner he wanted to do something relaxing that didn’t involve getting dressed up and didn’t involve facing traffic. We decided to try out Eureka, a place on Main Street that people rave about. Worth the rave- it was maybe my favorite place we tried on the strip.


For an appetizer we split some bruschetta. It was yumm. Anything with a good goat cheese and a good balsamic vinegar is destined to satisfy ya.


DJ ordered these insane little boogers. These are lobster tacos with cabbage, saffron crema, watermelon radish, and signature handcut fries. I feel like he inevitably chooses the better dish. Don’t get me wrong, I always love my meals, but I always tend to like his a touch better than what I order. The grass is always greener on the other side of the dinner table. Or maybe less green, because I tend to get a lot of salads. Anyways ..


I did make a good move by getting these sweet potato fries. UGH they were perfection. I ordered the veggie beet burger over greens. It just sounded so strange; I had to get it. It was super delicious and filling. Them fries though….


Friday and Saturday was the women’s conference through my church. The theme was “Wisdom”. Lord knows I need more of it. I can’t even describe how much I admire the leaders of our church. It would take me dayyys to write out all that I gleaned from just those two days. I met so many lovely new women and was inspired more than I could have ever anticipated. When I came home from the conference Saturday night DJ surprised me and had cleaned the whole apartment. This made my life. He is the best.

Back to the conference real quick: the bracelet I am wearing in the picture below is made by girls at She Rescue Home. Please check out their site if you have a chance, well worth it. They rescue girls in Cambodia from the sex trade and provide them with shelter, food, education, occupational tools and skills to provide for their family in other ways, medical care, counseling, and reintegrate them into society. That is a terse synopsis of the immense impact they are making and the expansion of what they do. The stories of these girls brought me to tears. Here are some quotes from the founder, Leigh Ramsey, that describe the situation better than I can:

“There are complex issues that contribute to a girl being vulnerable to trafficking – factors such as poverty, abuse, trickery and deception, unemployment and addiction often leading to desperation in the family.”

“But once trapped in this world of unspeakable evil, they are held captive against their will, and threatened with violence, are soon imprisoned in a world of unimaginable pain and degradation … as we say repeatedly IT’S NOT OK!”

They hand-made these bracelets for our conference, one of the tools the skills they learned through She Rescue Home, and every time I wear it I think of and pray for these precious, valuable humans that deserve so much more than the evil of this life.


It almost feels silly to go on to talk about anything else after that, but life is a mosaic of the good, bad, deep, beautiful, exciting, mundane, simple, and silly. It keeps us balanced and keeps us sane. Can you imagine spending too much time in any of those areas? The mundane makes us appreciate excitement, and the ugly makes us appreciate the beautiful.

Saturday I was craving french toast. I have a healthy high pumpkin french toast I make every fall. It is incredibly easy and tastes like heaven. I can’t wait to share this recipe with you guys.


While I was doing errands one of these days (lost track, not sure which day), I found some darlin’ little pumpkins. I would have gone alllll out on the fall decor but the studying made it so I couldn’t go out and buy all the fall things. Good thing too, I tend to go a bit overboard with the decorating when given the chance.


Sunday after church (10/9), we went to brunch. I was craving a good brunch. It’s probably my favorite meal, and I was hitting a serious wall with studying. Brunch is always a cure all’ for the study wall. We went to a highly recommended place called Hash House. It even sounds like a good brunch place. I stepped inside and smelled the buttery toast, eggs, and roasting coffee- the intoxicating, small town, diner breakfast smell. It takes me back to Saturday mornings with my dad and my Papa at local spots in little Parma, Ohio <3 My siblings know exactly what I’m talking about. Hello, Luna’s, Mimi’s, Demetrio’s, and My Place! My family knew the waiters and waitresses by name. I miss those days. All the nostalgic feels right now..

Now back to present day… DJ ordered a Western Hash and I ordered a Tofu Benedict, because where else have you ever heard of a Tofu Benedict?!?! It hit the spot. We also had to try an order of their pancakes- we ordered the short stack. A short stack. We thought they messed up our order and brought us a large stack. Nope. That is their short stack (it’s bigger than the picture does justice). I’d be interested to see the large! Verdict on the cakes: DJ’s mama’s are better. Besides her perfect pancakes, DJ swears the Bellagio in Las Vegas has some of the best he has ever tasted. Anyone concur?


The rest of the week we had leftovers, and just random easy things here and there. I haven’t cooked as much as I like usually since I have been studying so hard and just have been making easy things like garden salads, pizza, grilled cheese… yada yada yada.


However, one night (I think last Friday?) we went to Oren’s. I wrote all about how marvelous this Israeli food is in one of my posts. DJ and I crave this place. We like trying new places as a general rule, but man, we both were just itching to get our hands on some of their hummus and pita.


Let us talk coffee. Lately after dinner I have been loving some decaf chai tea with a little almond milk and a Graze Chia Coconut Cookie. It is the perfect treat to help relax me to get back into study mode for the night. The Mrs. Right cup was dirty, obvi.


I have been continuing to go to Peet’s everyday. They are truly friends at this point. They bring me out samples here and there of their latest blends, and I know longer have to tell the cashier my order. I just say, “the usual”. YES, I am one of those! I am going to miss the study “grind” simply for this reason. I will probably use blogging as an excuse to park it in Peet’s for a couple hours instead now and again 😉


I always have either a quest bar or no cow bar on me for quick fuel. When my blood sugar drops I turn hangry real quick. DJ can attest to this. I particularly like dipping the bars in my coffee. I realize I probably look like a weirdo doing it, but that’s never stopped me. I used to lick the foam off the cup sides too, but I put my big girl pants on and stopped doing that… in public.


Now to the highlight of our last couple weeks!!!!! Last saturday our family had a Halloween party! I can’t begin to explain how fun this was, but I’ll try. I think my cheeks still hurt from laughing. I was using this party as motivation all week long to crank out the last chunk of studying I had. It was such a nice night and helped refuel me for the last few days of cramming before the big exam. Also- it could have been a hosted Pinterest Halloween party. Every single thing was incredibly creative. Ideas galore! Our sisters that I always talk about presented us with the coolest little gift bags with our names on them and personally picked out chocolate we would love. They are incredibly creative and thoughtful, and put so much time into making this the greatest Halloween party of all time. I hope we are invited next year 😉  And, naturally, we all wore costumes, and every single one was fantastic.


DJ and I were a play on words: I was Holy Gaucamole and he was The Second Amendment. “The right to bear arms”


Hubby being way helpful- I was knee deep in the books so he glued on my avocados for me 🙂


This game is a blast. No matter what age you are- this is a winner! You simply wear a  mouthpiece like the ones they use at the dentist office and have to speak a phrase that you are given. Everyone else has to guess what you are trying to say. It is hilarious. We were rolling.


Monday night I got a text from my younger sister that there was a shooter on her college campus. They received a text from the Administration that he was heading toward the baseball fields, and she was currently in the baseball field at the time. She texted me from inside a shed in the field where she was sitting with the rest of her team. Scared me out of my mind. She was okay and hasn’t heard much about the situation since… But scary stuff. 😥

I took my exam yesterday (Tuesday), and I already explained the down low on that. Here is my obligatory “I just took my nursing boards” goofy, overly excited, why am I smiling like that selfie.


Definitely will keep you all posted on those results.

When I got home I spent about an hour freaking out convincing myself I didn’t pass, and then DJ spent the next hour convincing me that I did pass. I told him I don’t count my chickens before they hatch, and he said he counted one nurse chicken hatching. I found it hilarious. And then I had candy corn and felt much better about life.

Random small talk note about the weather: It has been getting more fall-ish, and I am loving that. It rained a few times last week, and it was perfect study weather. I love that the seasons still have a sort of rhythm here in Northern California. I was mistaken that it was 75 and sunny everyday. While I never complain when it is 75 and sunny, the respite of rain is a nice change every now and again.


We are going to a gala for our church this Friday, and I have few fancy dresses in my closet to choose from. To be honest, I am not really a big shopping fan. It overwhelms me a bit. It also seems to take forever to make sure I am making the right decision and getting the best deal. I do love me some good thrift shopping though.

DJ and I hit up the mall after the test yesterday and I actually found a dress relatively quickly. The lady checking us out was so jovial. She told us she wanted to adopt us and came around and gave us hugs after the purchase. I think it was the friendliest customer service experience I have ever had. It may have made DJ a bit uncomfortable, but I loved it! After that was off the list I was in a better mood. I don’t know if I was more anxious about taking my NCLEX or finding a dress, but regardless we conquered both (hopefully!).

After that we went to lunch at True Food Kitchen. This place just opened at Stanford shopping center in Palo Alto. I think this place was made for us. The vegan options were endless. DJ actually opted for a vegan option, although there were meat options. Once again, he chose the better meal, but he is always so kind to let me take a little big bite of whatever he orders.


To start DJ ordered a honey lemonade. We also split a charred cauliflower dish with harissa tahini, medjool date, dill, mint, and pistachio. I actually have most of these ingredients right now and would love to replicate it. The combination of flavors was addictive.


For my main dish I tried the seasonal ingredient salad with tofu. This included brussel sprouts, butternut squash, cauliflower, white beans, pomegranate, and toasted mulberry with a horseradish vinaigrette. I would never think to combine those items, but it worked soo well!


DJ’s meal was the bomb.com. He had a T.L.T. Which is smoked tempeh, butter lettuce, tomato, avocado, and vegan mayonnaise. We are definitely going back to this place! I want to try everything on their menu.


The whole day, Tuesday, reminded me that I have the greatest family and friends in the world. Before my test I woke up to the sweetest, most encouraging texts. When I came home with DJ after shopping I was greeted by a beautiful  Williams- Sonoma spiced pumpkin bread mix baking box.The silver pumpkins in the picture is the bottom of an actual pan to bake the bread in and it came with a delicious pumpkin butter spread! Also waiting for me was the most beautiful, exotic, and ME bouquet of flowers I have ever seen. They smell amazing and every time I look at them my heart melts. I was not expecting any of this, but I was touched beyond words!

Let’s talk in-laws for a hot tic… If I had to hand pick a family to marry into it would be the DJ’s. I thank God constantly for giving me a second family that showers me with unconditional love, support, and encouragement. I can’t imagine my life without them, and they truly make me feel like one of their own. Oh no, here come the water works. Someone get me a tissue! Nothin’ like an NCLEX to make a girl emotionally unstable!


This morning I allowed myself to sleep in until 8:30! That is a BIG deal for me, ya’ll! I also was able to go for a super relaxing ten-miler in the sun. I haven’t done that in ages. It felt so good to have the music blasting a little louder than it should, the adrenaline rushing through my veins, and feeling like I could conquer the world. I haven’t had that exhilarating of a run in so long. Lately I’ve been running on the treadmill so I can study my notes and read my review book while running. You should see my books from trying to highlight while running- it’s comical. Also- I only fell once during those ten miles! That’s success in my book. You all know my inclination for the ground.

Anywho, we have my Aunt and Uncle coming in town tomorrow- YAHOOOOO! The rest of the day was groceries, cleaning, shipping boxes, catching up on a zillion emails, all that jazz that was put on the back burner while I studied. It feels good to currently be sitting in a clean house. Oh, and I didn’t forget dinner. Now that I can cook again I made a crispy coconut curry catfish from Blue Apron. I knew this week would be busy so I figured Blue Apron would be good to have on hand for a quick meal with all the ingredients already included!


Last things last, we can’t forget politics. Let’s just say our household is still #SpankyTomforPresident. Nough’ said.

BUT WAIT how about them WINDIANS?!!? LETS GO CLE. World Series, baby!!!!!

Wishing you a thrilling Thursday,

xo <3


63 thoughts on “Halloween Festivities and a little bit of everything else

    1. Aww thank you sweet girl. <3 I know all about that wordpress app life. Nothing gets me fuming more than when that thing starts acting crazy! Happens far too often. Have a wonderful rest of your week. xo

      1. Hi Kailee! I think they were from EBay, but I’m not sure anymore. I think amazon would be a good place to look too!

  1. You are the CUTEST!! Loved everything about this post 🙂 We love Blue Apron, too! We are having it next week actually 🙂 Good luck with your tests! Have a great weekend! xoxo

    1. Oh girl, you are too kind! Thanks for stopping by! I love talking Blue Apron with someone- it’s the best service. People think I have a contract with them because I always talk about it- nope, just love it so much. Haha. Have a wonderful weekend yourself, beautiful! xo

      1. Haha yes!! I’m always sharing my meals because I’m so excited to try new things and ingredients 🙂 I love making the meals with my boyfriend because it’s something we enjoy and both do together! xoxo

  2. OH MY!!! ALL OF THAT FOOD. yum!!!!! my jaw was definitely on the ground by the end of it. I couldnt help but to laugh when you said “to do something relaxing that didn’t involve getting dressed up and didn’t involve facing traffic” thats literally story of my life….my boyfriend and I will talk during the day about a dinner date and then come after work it’s like actuaaaallly lets just stay home in comfy clothes and take out bc who wants to sit in traffic….not us! haha you and DJ are super cute- you remind me of the california version of andrew and myself! (:

    1. Hahah girl, you are speaking our language !!!!! Thanks for stopping by!!!! I can’t wait to check out your place a bit more. Have a wonderful weekend, whether you have that date night or sweatpants and takeout 😉 !!! Xo

  3. Good Lord girl, you cover a lot! Your post just exudes happiness and passion for life! And you are so beautiful! Are you from Cleveland??? I live on the west side – HUGE Indians fan! I have an office downtown and work remotely from home as well. Anyway, you have such a bright future – I wish all the very best to you with your nursing career… and writing and blogging… and cooking and fashion and travel etc etc!!! LOL!

    1. Aww! Kelly! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read through this random bunch of life events! And thank you for your kind words 💕 DJ and I both grew up in Cleveland/Akron area! I can’t believe you are from there too- small world!!! It is SUCH a good sports year for us. We are tempted to travel back for the World Series (not to necessarily go to the game but be in the city!). Also my license number was posted on California’s site so that’s a good sign 😀 have such a great weekend – and thanks again for stopping by 💕

  4. First thing’s first, I have no doubt that you passes your boards with flying colors. You are definitely a smart cookie! I’m glad you’ve been able to take a bit of a break from studying finally. That has got to get exhausting!
    Also so glad your sister is ok! Holy crap that would be terrifying 🙁
    Every food picture has got my stomach growling, and I am in love with the little pumpkins you found!! And your costumes… YES. I LOVE when people get creative!! I love your catch up posts 🙂 your life sounds so fun and happy! XO

    1. Anna! How’s it going, girl?! I tried to find that pumpkin ale you posted in your last post for our company we have company but the grocery store was out. But I’m still determined to find it sometime! Thanks for your faith in me- I’m so so relieved they are over! And yes- I was so afraid for her .. Still not much info on what actually happened though. And thanks 🙂 we needed something pretty easy and you know I love my puns 😉 have a wonderful weekend sweet thing!

  5. I understand the feeling of being excited to take a test. When something’s consumed your life so intensely for so long, it really is exciting for it to come to a head. : ) Congrats on writing it!

    I am very looking forward to reading about your pumpkin french toast (and your nursing boards results, but that goes without saying).

    My goodness, those little pumpkins! : ) Your house is arranged so gorgeous-ly. That bouquet is going to be such a wonderful pop of colour. <3 (I just can't get over that leaf-braid, for lack of a much better sounding botanical term)

    Thanks for sharing! Hope you enjoy some well-deserved relaxing autumn days!

    1. Thank you thank you a million, Afrilly 💕 I can’t wait to find out and update you! Thanks for your confidence in me. DJ found a perfect spot in the corner for the bouquet and it seriously is the perfect amount of color! I might have to get a fake one similar to it after the flowers die because I loveeee it so much! Have a wonderful weekend dear! You are so sweet to have read through these posts- I know time is valuable and it is the sweetest thing that you took the time ! ❤️

      1. Flowers: Ahhh, cute :3 Maybe you can just keep rocking in life and your loved ones will have to keep buying you gorgeous flowers. ;p

        It’s not even a problem, Mack! Your posts are always so fun to read. I like to enjoy them with tea.

    1. Thanks, Rhiannon!!!! If you ever find yourself in Campbell, CA the hash house pancakes will not disappoint- especially if you like the fluffy ones! Happy Friday to you too 😘

  6. Great post, Mack! I wish you the best on your test (that rhymes)! My boyfriend is trying to get into nursing school. It’s very competitive! The pumpkin French toast sounds awesome! I like your costumes! 😁

    1. Thank you, Lisa!!! Hey- I’m all about a little rhyme, gives me a smile most of the time (These are the times where my husband just shakes his head and tells me to stop hahha). Is your boyfriend applying in Texas? It is crazy competitive! SO worth it. Keep me updated on that. And I will definitely make a recipe within the next couple weeks- it’s so easy and delicious. Looking forward to a Romantic Tuesday song <3

      1. Yes he’s applying in Texas. He has good grades so I think he’ll get accepted. There’s a lot of nursing jobs everywhere! I’m sure you’ll keep us updated 🙂

  7. Those costumes are incredible! Love the play on words! Congrats on taking your test I am sure you did amazing and passed with flying colors! Huge hugs to you as well as your sister, I am so happy that physically, she is alright. I have been in some similar situations living in a city and it is always the mental stuff that is the hardest to handle afterwards so sending her huge love and vibes. I love Peets! When I was in San Francisco I use to go all the time and I still buy my aunt gift cards there because she is obsessed! Finding that perfect coffee house is the best when you are a student/writer/ blogger. I hope you have an amazing week and have a blast at your gala! <3

    1. Hey K.M.! Thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked the costumes. I’m such a sucker for dad jokes, play on words, laffy taffy jokes, and puns. It’s sorta ridiculous how much I get a kick out of them.

      Thank you for your sweet words for my sister! What a scary world we live in. It’s especially eye opening when it hits close to home- as you understand 🙁

      And YESS Peet’s is the best. I truly am convinced they are the best coffee chain. Now that my studying is over I am definitely going there just to blog! I am very much looking forward to that. Stay tuned for pictures from the gala 😉 Hope your week is getting off to a good start. I always look forward to your posts <3

      1. Anytime I love your blog! I love it! You are a girl after my own heart.
        Hugs. Anytime. It definitely is a scary world we live in and also sad. I am glad she is all right. <3
        Coffee shops are the best to write in, especially if you find one that clicks. I have a couple independent ones I go to and then the Starbucks which is literally across the street (can't beat connivence! lol) ooo I definitely will! Awe thank you so much for your sweet words I appreciate it! I hope you are having a great week and can not wait to see the pictures! <3

    1. Nikki!!!! Ah, your comment made my day. So good to hear from you here. Thank you for your sweet words, and yes- it is the BEST! We could not stop laughing.

  8. Happy Saturday sunshine!!

    I’m catching up on your latest posts, and since they are long and always interesting, I keep them for my days off work… So here I am, wrapped in my fav blanket, with a tall glass of milk and all my time, enjoying getting up to date 🙂 As usual, your pictures are stunning, and I could comment on everything you did, but that would mean a whole post of my own 😛 I love following you, you’re such a breath of fresh air 🙂

    I love the post-exam selfie! You are radiant 🙂 Keep being yourself, and keeping us posted 😉


    1. Awwww!!!!! You know, you are certainly a ray of sun yourself, Cyranny. ALWAYS brighten my day. It’s so sweet of you to even take the time to read. I certainly never expect it. I hope you had a beautiful weekend. I’m finally sitting down for the first time in a couple days and cannot wait to catch up on others’ posts <3

      1. Glad you had time to sit down and relax at last!!! (Well, you’ve been sitting a lot at Peet’s, if my memory’s not playing with me, but it doesn’t count since it was for studying :P)

        Everybody needs a little time off once in a while 🙂

      2. Yes- you’ve got it! Peet’s is THE PLACE! Do they have those near you?! If not- you must make a trip to the US just to try a cup of tea or coffee from there- superb!

      3. Peet’s definately on my list if/when I visit California 🙂 You definitely sell them out!

        Who knows, if you have a few free hours, you might just have a Mack & Cyranny selfie to post in your weekly post… But you’ll have to blur my face… Cyranny’s a bit fuzzy about giving up her dentity lol

      4. That would be AMAZING! *squeal*! No worries – I wouldn’t even have to post- I would just be pleased to spend time with you !😊 please please let me know if you do ever find yourself here!

      5. There is NO WAY I could go to Cali without telling you 😉 (unless I decide to surprise you once there already lol, but I doubt I could keep the secret :P)

  9. Hi Kenz,,,Sounds like Halloween was a blast and you both look so cute. I think you must eat all day with
    all the food you show us. Terry had a picture of you in your gala dress. What a beautiful dress and so perfect
    for the beautiful lady wearing it. Congrats again on being a NURSE and you will be soooo good at it. Make a lot
    of people comfortable and happy. Hope DJ job hunting is a success. All that food pictures make me hungry so
    guess I better go fix breakfast!!! Take care and God bless you and DJ. Sounds like you are having a lot of fun
    so am sure you are enjoying all.
    Gramma Loves you

    1. Thanks Gramma! you rock. Love your comments- they are the bestttt. I’ll be calling sometime this week <3 I love you! Hugs to you and Grampa. Miss you guys

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