A Valentine’s Day Weekend Recap!

Hello, friends!!! I am officially taking nominations for “worst blog friend ever” for the last two weeks. UGH! Life has been hectic and not only am I behind on responding to the sweetest comments in the world, but I’m soooo behind on your lives too. Just know I DO CARE. I was a bit cranky last night and told DJ it was “blog withdrawal”. Next week will be a teensy bit calmer and I am determined to catch up then.

But for now I have about an hour between getting my physical done for my job and my uniform fitting, so naturally I found a Peet’s on campus and am parked out to write a quick Valentine’s week update!

Ya’ll know DJ and I are foodies. And I’m alll about the whole “idea” and experience of a food experience. I live my life basically by a series of cliches, and I’m totally fine with it. For example, Valentine’s Day weekend… what type of food do you think of?  Italian, right?! Baci! Delizioso! Tutto finisce a taralluci e vino!!!! (yep, googled every single one of those words, the last phrase is my personal fave).

But really, what is more romantic than that? So naturally, I looked up some good Italian restaurants in SF. We found a place that was reasonably priced and still had reservations for Friday night called Bella. When we walked in, the ambiance was romantic perfection. It had a quaint “hole in the wall” type feel and aren’t those always the best? The staff was characteristically friendly and every bite of the food was purely a reminder that Italian food is one of God’s greatest gifts. (It was one of those meals where you pray before the appetizers, but then feel like you should pray again when the main course comes because…THANK YOU, JESUS!)

What we ordered:

House Red Wine: I would describe this as some type of Red Blend- not quite as dry as a Cab, more comparable to a Shiraz. Muy bien. Oh wait that’s Spanish.

Appetizer: Salmone e bruschetta: Wild smoked salmon and mascarpone bechamel over bruchetta. This was my favorite part of the meal.

Dinner: Aglio E Olio Cu Verdure for me: Garlic Confit, Peas, Roma Tomatoes, Zucchini, Asparagus, Bread Crumbs, over quinoa noodles (Yes you can substitute ANY dish for the quinoa noodles, which were fantastic!). I don’t remember what DJ had- but it was foodilicious. I liked his better than mine. The red sauce was to die for.

Dessert: They brought us out a complimentary custard dessert. We were so stuffed, but we had to try some! It was a cross between flan and cool whip, we couldn’t quite figure it out, but it topped up the meal nicely!

We decided to stay in SF for the night since I had a race in the morning in Sausalito! Hence, after dinner we went to a hotel that we found on Groupon for dirt cheap. We kept saying we don’t know how we got such a great deal on this place. I kept checking our receipt because I couldn’t believe they had a room for that low. But if you are in SF and need somewhere to stay, check out Groupon for the Fairmont .


My favorite part of the hotel was the courtyard. It was decked out with twinkling lights and overlooked the gorgeous skyline of the city. DJ is the one between the two of us that has the directional sense, so he pointed out the different landmarks to me. We could see Coit tower providing an unique view than usual!


We decided that pre-race desserts were necessary. I am a BIG believer in eating something sweet the night before a race. I always have my best runs when I have something sugar -laden in my system! For example, last year, DJ’s mom made this amazing rhubarb cobbler the night before my last half marathon and I swear that was the most significant contributing factor to having a great race that day! I also PR’d in high school on donuts. I experimented for ya, K? You can take my word for it!

We ended up choosing a red velvet cheesecake and a banana cream  pie to share. It was the perfect Valentine’s day dessert.



4:45 am-Wakeup Call!


DJ is SUCH a trooper to always get up with me at the break of dawn for these races. He does it with such an encouraging spirit too. I am incredibly thankful for him if I don’t make that clear <3 Gonna be extra sappy because, v-tines day and all that 😉

I think he would whole heartedly agree the views were worth it. Seeing the sun rise while deep in the mountains was absolutely majestic. The waves pounded on the stone walls that lined the shore in a mesmerizing way. We couldn’t get over the beauty. And with each passing hour the sky and surrounding landscape took different forms, capturing the light in different ways, and demonstrating it’s versatile beauty profoundly.


I ran the Coastal Train Runs Half Marathon. If anyone is considering this race, I want to give a bit of a detailed review. For those that don’t care you can totally skip this part (wait you can totally skip all of this post— but you can extra-skip this haha).

  1. When you arrive, try to carpool because you can park closer to Rodeo Beach without shuttling (and then you can wait in your car because it was freezing in the morning!).
  2. WEAR LEGGINGS! Especially if there was recent precipitation. You will be brushing up against a ton of foliage and you want to avoid getting thorns or ticks or anything like that on ya.
  3. There are two restrooms in the concrete building near the starting line. They had an additional 5 porta potties (roughly). I was able to go to the bathroom twice before the race started which is actually pretty good compared to most races.
  4. Don’t do this race as your first. (Maybe the 5k, but certainly not the half). This was the hardest half I have ever done (it’s my fifth), and I’m in some of my best shape. To give you an idea, the fastest male time was 1:33. Yeah. HARD! The first 6-7 miles feel like straight incline, so if you don’t like hills, this is NOT the one for you! (2,550 feet gained elevation). But if you want the challenge- go for it! One of my favorite things was the fact that I knew there was no way I could get my PR, so I just enjoyed it almost leisurely. I took pictures, snapchats (yes- haha), and actually tried to soak up the views around me. I have never raced leisurely like this, so it ended up being a fun, original experience!
  5. The race is not organized like most, so pay attention! When they tell you your race’s color marking strip, take note. This is not a massive race, so there are times where you may not be able to just “follow the crowd”. At times I felt super isolated in the mountains, BUT I had views of the Golden Gate to keep me company!
  6. This might be one of the most gorgeous races you will ever have the chance to run. The views are truly breathtaking. They will leave you in awe.
  7. The food stops were amazing. There were more snacks than I have ever seen (but there are only two stops the whole race- one at mile 4 (ish) and one at mile 8 (ish). There are restrooms at these two stops too, but that’s about it.
  8. There is not much cell service! If you have music you want to listen to, download the songs! I was planning on listening to Spotify, but only had about four songs downloaded. Yes- I listened to those 4 songs on repeat the entire race. HA! Needless to say, I’m not going to be listening to them again for a while.
  9. Post race- Food and snacks were ON POINT. They have alllll kinds of goodies. The fresh watermelon was my favorite. They also had beer, which I always find kind of ironic. But hey, ya earned that brewsky. (Words from a nurse- make sure you rehydrate first though!).
  10. You get to see the Golden Gate in a way you won’t be able to elsewhere. It’s incredible to run past  the notorious landmark in the mountains! Such a cool experience.

Here are some “Racy photos”. Lolololol. I can’t help myself, guys, I really can’t.



Personal Results:

60th place out of 267 overall

3rd in my age group

Pace: 10:24 (which makes me cringe, but that’s how hard it was ya’ll!).

Final time: 2:16.

PR: 1:39.

Chelsea, I think you should take this one because you would demolish it!

Now introducing a monumental SF food update. We have officially discovered one of the BEST brunch place in SF. (Yelp confirms this!)

S W E E T  M A P L E

Where to begin? We headed here right after the race because I was bound to be garbage disposal for all things food the rest of the day. I am not usually hungry immediately after a race, but when the hunger hits, it HITS.


It was crowded beyond belief. I suggest dropping someone off to put your name in and the finding parking. We ended up parking down the road at a meter (the meters do accept credit/debit cards!). Take my word, patience is not my strongest fruit of the spirit to be a hundo, but it’s worth the wait!

We were seated outside and they gave us blankets to help with the chill. It was a beautiful day, but I loved the gesture and the post race chills can definitely get ya!


Post race mimosa & coffee. With it only being 10:30 in the morning, the sun shining, everyone in a jovial mood, and sitting across from my love after a great and strenuous race I had a moment of, “ahhhhh it’s a perfect day” *sip*.


If you go to Sweet Maple, you must get their millionaire bacon. It’s sorta what they are famous for. I didn’t try it, but DJ’s expression when he tried it and his verbal expression of “this is the greatest bacon ever” affirmed it’s prized position. Here’s it’s description:

As featured on “United States of Bacon” of Discovery Network. Thick, free range bacon, baked with brown sugar, cayenne, red and black pepper. 


DJ ordered their Swedish buttermilk pancakes. Swedish pancakes are a bit thinner than normal, which is how DJ and I both prefer ours. I’m not a huge pancake person, but WOWZA. The flavor packed into these cakes blew me away! They had almost a light cake flavor to them. And their syrup is authentic Vermont maple syrup. The whole thing- sensationally delicious.


I ordered their athenian omelette which had mixed mushrooms, arugula, olives, and goat cheese. THe giant slice of ciabatta au levain and side potatoes that came with it was my favorite part. These were the best breakfast potatoes I have ever had (even better than Los Gatos Cafe, which is saying something!). They are a medley of sweet, colored, and white potatoes in an herbed mix. Mind-blowingly delicious.


One of my favorite parts of the meal was their jam. Oh my lanta… I’m a sucker for a good jam and this was just top-notch.


The rest of the day we napped, I think from like 1 to 5 pm. I ran errands in the evening and DJ and I cleaned the house a bit before vegging out to watch some Dexter.

Sunday DJ and I went to the SF location of our church for the baptism service! Our church is one church, three locations- one in Palo Alto, one in San Jose, and one in SF. Palo Alto is where the lead pastor preaches and then it is broadcasted on a screen at the other locations. The worship is live at all three locations too. Since DJ has a truck (which is not a common occurrence out here), we drove down the baptism tank. It was so nice to meet some new friends that Sunday and catch up with some old ones! The service was held at a different location than usual at the Grand Theater in Mission District (an upcoming hidden gem in SF).


There is an amazing coffee shop next door called Grand Coffee that I couldn’t pass up to start the day.


After service we had to drain the tank then loaded back up the tank which took some time. We finally made it back home by 5 pm, and then turned around to go to dinner with from friends at Enjoy’ Seoul at 6 pm! Sushi and seaweed salad was hitting the spot after a pretty tiring  (but great) day!


On Monday I went with a friend to Crepevine in Willow Glen for breakfast. This was the first time I visited Willow Glen and the strip we were on was adorable. This place is definitely going to have to be revisited for date nights! We had some delicious coffee, yogurt, and crepes!


We spent the afternoon shopping for her birthday!

In the evening, DJ and I enjoyed some DELICIOUS Shari’s Berries from DJ’s mom. YUM. They came at the perfect time for Bachelor night! This take valentine’s day treats to a new level! The truffles were divine! We savored every bite. The cheesecake was insanely good and the chocolate covered strawberries were so good it made me wanna cry. Like have you ever had something so good you just think, “Is this even legal?”. Yeah… that was Shari’s Berries. Men, take note. This is what you need to get your ladies for V-tines day next year, and it’s what they want. Take it from me!


Tuesday was Valentine’s Day!!! DJ and I traditionally like to stay in on actual Valentine’s Day and make either pizza or pasta and celebrate the weekend before (hence Bella’s). This time we made chicken alfredo. I made a zoodle alfredo with vegan chik’n strips in mine to make it vegetarian!


On Wednesday I had orientation for Random Acts of Flowers. This is a phenomenal organization that receives floral leftover donations from florists/Trader Joe’s/etc. They then assemble them into beautiful bouquets and deliver them to assisted living facilities and hospitals. I have wanted to volunteer with them for a while, but their orientation dates always had a conflict with my schedule. Finally, I was able to get in! It’s therapeutic making the bouquets too. They are a national organization, so if you are looking for a great way to spend your free time check them out!!!


This is the bouquet I had the pleasure of making!


During day Wednesday I made an appointment for a salon I had a gift card to!!! (Thank you, Aunt Terry!!!). I had the “powder” nails done, which are apparently better for nails than acrylics and actually put vitamins into your nails too. I love them!! Wednesday night we had our Bible Study group per usual.


Today (Thursday), I am getting my uniform fitting and logistical stuff done for the job!

This weekend is going to be a BIG one. I can’t wait to give you guys an update!!!

Once again- apologies for being so MIA! I am hoping to catch up next week!!

xo <3


60 thoughts on “A Valentine’s Day Weekend Recap!

    1. Thank you, Joel!!!!! I’m glad you liked the flowers and food- two great things in life, right ?! Have a great rest of your weekend, friend! I appreciate you stopping by!

  1. Love your blogs! This one was awesome. Just loved the outdoor pics and the indoor ones too. The food looks amazing. You are going to be one of the best in the nursing profession. Best of luck. Love and hugs.

  2. Mack this is awesome. What a wonderful Valentine’s Day meal and experience. Bellissimo! And third! Well done to you. Wonderful photos as usual. Thanks for sharing. xo Salute 🍷

    1. Aww thank you, Miriam!!!!! I so appreciate you stopping in! I hope you are doing amazingly well! Have such a great rest of your weekend ! *Hugs* 💕🤗

  3. I’m literally hungry again!! I think I’m going to put a croissant in the oven… I should of known before clicking on your blog. I also have that with Jenny’s post haha! Lovely pictures Mack!!! And you don’t have to apologize for having a busy life! That’s how it goes. And above anything else, enjoying your life it the most important! That hotel honestly looks amazing!!! I love the feel of it! OMG, I’ll need to get strawberries later on and make these chocolate goodness! xoxo Sarah

    1. Ahhhh a crossaint sounds DELICIOUS right now!!!! Mmmm mmm. Haha and right?! My stomach gets growling on JJ’s too! Thank you for your sweet words .. I just hate being one sided on blogging and I genuinely love keeping up with everyone ❤ it’s so nice that everyone is understanding though!! And yes yes yes ! Please get some chocolate covered strawberries! It’s a necessity this weekend I’m sayin’! Have a great rest of yours, love ! XOXO

    1. I feel like we are retracing your old stomping grounds, Susie!!!!! Hey, you are never too old. Truly! And I’m sure you had some unbearable memories wherever you were in your younger years! Sending my love 💕

      1. Born just after the war in England, we didn’t even have a bathroom, just an outside toilet. We ate what my Dad grew in the garden. It really makes me appreciate what I have now.

  4. Congrats on the race. It looked like a real doozie. Oh and I think your re-fuelling strategy is right on point, especially with all the chocolate goodies that followed. Antioxidants and all that.

    1. It was NUTS! But yes yes yes!!!!! My favorite parts of races may be the food that bookends them 😉 glad you helped affirm me on that! Hope your weekend is going amazing!!

    1. Haha but the thing is I can’t do ultras yet which is the ULTIMATE! You are my goals !!! The course was absolutely crazy but the views were just insane and amazing ! I hope you are having SUCH a great weekend, Chelsea !

  5. You are not a bad blog friend! Life gets busy and that’s okay! LOLLL @ the “racey photos” comment. When I think of romance I also think of Italian food, the place you guys went to sounds romantic and divine! Love the idea of quinoa noodle substitute as gluten is not really my friend lol. Thanks for the update beautiful!

    1. AWWWW you are too sweet, J! I’m SO glad you appreciated the racey photos hahahha. I didn’t know if anyone would pick up on that. I just couldn’t help myself! The quinoa noodle was SO good! I think they sell them at Target, but I haven’t tried them yet! I’ll let you know if I do 🙂 Hope all is going so well! <3

    1. Thank you, Kori!!!! Even though the music wasn’t working, the views kept me plenty entertained! I couldn’t get over them! And ahhh the food was so gooood. I want to go back to that brunch spot ASAP. If you are ever in SF, you MUST go!

      1. Matt’s oldest brother lives in CA, so we definitely have a goal to travel out there together! Matt helped him move out there in 2007, but I’ve never been. One day I’ll change that and will have to try to soak it all up as much as possible!

      2. Awww I really really hope you guys can plan a trip soon 🙂 When you do, I have many, many suggestions for great food spots and things to do! <3

  6. You are so busy I’m not sure that you’ll have time to work! Just kidding, but seems like it was a wonderful week.

  7. What a lovely way to celebrate Valentine’s Day! A lovely dinner, gorgeous hotel (for a steal!), dessert, and then your man going to your race? Sounds perfect!!

    I cannot wait to hear about your job!

    1. Aww, it really was just an incredible weekend! I can’t wait to hop over to your blog soon and see what you are up to <3! I start my job at the end of March so am eagerly getting ready for that! Woohoo! Hope all is going so well, Allie <3

  8. Glad everything’s going well! That V-day dinner looks spectacular! Actually, all of the food does! Congrats on finishing your race as well!

    1. Hey Heather!!! It was such a nice evening. I can’t wait to get over to your place and see how life is treating youuu! Thanks for stopping in <3!

  9. Oh my wow those treats that DJ’s mom sent you guys look so amazing!! Congrats on completing the race!!! I can’t give enough kudos to those who have the endurance to run, I wish I had that motivation because those SF views we’re so impressive! I think I remember seeing some from your snap too? I cannottt wait to get out there! EEK!!! But I also love you’re “sweets before a run” ideology! I mean I won’t do the running but I’ll surely indulge in some sweets with ya 🙂 Along with Italian food being one of God’s greatest gifts, we HAVE to add sushi to that list too….I can’t surpass my sushi cravings, they just keep coming back! Along with seaweed salad, no one I know likes that stuff its crazy, but that just means more for me! Ps- I can’t help but to always correlate Peets coffee to you now, you’re there as much as I’m at starbucks although I’d totally do Peets if there was one closer to me, they’re scattered all around Boston so when I am in the city I always dart over to one for my cup of coffee! Ps- I’m SOOOO behind on blogging/commenting/responding/reading too, it’s like a second job keeping up with it lol…. I’m on a mission right now to get a lot done!

    xo, JJ

    1. I can’t wait till you can get out here!!!!!!! You don’t technically have to run the mountains to get those views- so that’s the good news 😉 I was just craving sushi today too, and I’m sick! I was like- who craves sushi when they are sick? But YESSS! I’m so glad you like seaweed salad- girl, we are the same person. That stuff is YUM. And you have no idea how much you made my day with associating me with Peets! Lol! For real, that is such an honor! <3 And yessss- I feel the same way about blogging right now. The next few weeks should be a bit calmer so I'm hoping to catch up so soon. You are always so SO sweet to comment even though I know how busy you are <3 Hope you are having an awesome week, dear! xo

  10. Such a good Valentine’s weekend! That Italian dinner looks so delicious! Perfectly romantic! 🙂 And those views during your run – WOW! So beautiful!! And your actual Valentine’s day dinner looks delicious as well! So much good stuff in this post! 🙂

    1. Awww thanks, Rach!!!!! <3 <3 You are the sweeetest. Italian food is truly hard to beat! I hope all is going so well for you! Things should be calming down the next couple days then I'll definitely be catching up on your blog! Eeek! I'm so excited to see what you are up to and how everything is going! Big hugs! xo

  11. WOW Those views!! I always get the travel (and foodie) bug when I visit your blog! Congrats on the race!

    Oh my goodness, your bouquet! You really are a person of many many talents! Flowers are definitely not my forte!

    I really loved this post. I could definitely feel your energy and excitement just bursting through your words! I’m itching to just get my hands busy with /anything/ now, haha!

    1. Awww! Well seriously let me know if you ever make it out this way and I’d love to be your tour guide! 🙂 And aww thank you about the flowers- I only took the pictures from the good angles 😉 Haha! How are you?! Also- I saw you updated your name! What would you like me to call you?! Hehe. Hope all is SO well. I can’t even tell you how excited I was to see your comments here!

      1. That would be so lovely. Thank you for the offer! I’m devastatingly out of shape though, so you’ll have to promise me you won’t randomly break out in a sprint (unless you see a mountain lion again ;p).

        I’m doing well! I’m fully committed to trying out the artist career now, so I’ve been taking a night class with a local artist, buying supplies (someone likened buying brushes to being in a candy shop and my goodness, they are RIGHT), visiting art galleries, buying my first grown-up art prints… It’s been enjoyable but busy! : )

        Frilly would be good! Actually, I had only settled on afrilly way back when because “frilly” was taken. :

        Thank you for the warm welcome backs! : )

      2. Awww sounds like things are going soooo well!!!!! I admire you tons for your commitment to pursue what you love! It sounds like it’s been fun too! I am STOKED to see what you post moving forward- please share some of your creations here and there with us 🙂 I am in awe of your talent always!!! Have such a lovely weekend, Frilly!! xoxo

  12. Aww what a romantic weekend! Looks perfect! Love the Valentine chocolate treats and delicious food pics. Your nails are so pretty. I am always undecided about a french style manicure or a pop of color. I loved your flower arrangement, what a fun experience. I always enjoy your posts MacKenzie. xo

    1. Aww thank youuu! I am the SAME way with my nails- undecided with french or color- since I had no idea what I’d be wearing this weekend I decided to just go neutral, but getting the color is always so fun! XOXO

  13. First of all you are not a blogger slacker! It is totally understandable that you are super busy. While I miss your presence it does make it that much more of a treat when you do respond to blog posts and when you post! 🙂 💗
    Oh my god I was laughing (and hungry) reading about your valentines day dinner! It sounds amazing! And the deserts! 😍 seriously hungry right now (and girrrrrlll I loathe food so the fact I actually want to eat means your pics did their job!😝)
    Oh my god I love sausalito and can not wait to go back next week! I also have too HAVE to pay a visit to Rodeo Beach. I heard their was sea glass there😍🙌🏻
    That race sounds amazing! And your pictures! I might have to put that on my bucket list to run!
    I actually ran an unofficial half marathon the last time I was there (thanks to my sister) those hills were brutal!
    I think I will be rolled back onto the plane when I leave. You have given me so many good food selections!
    That is such a neat idea with the flowers. I love that!
    Sending you all the best wishes with the new job! I hope you had an amazing weekend! 😘😘😘

    1. You are sooo sweet!!!! I wish I had like normal days and “blog days” (Extra days outside of the normal 7 haha). I just love it so much, but life can get busy so fast! It is always the biggest compliment when my posts make someone genuinely hungry 😉 Lol. I didn’t know Rodeo Beach had sea glass?!?! Whaaaaa. I need to get my butt out there and start searching ASAP! How cool. The hills here are SO brutal, but I love that you did that unofficial half marathon (13 miles is 13 miles so it’s still official 😉 ). YOU GO GIRL! And thank you tons for the well wishes with the job! I don’t start until the end of March so I’m trying to soak up each day as much as possible 🙂 WHICH I hope one of those includes seeing you!!! Woot woot!

      1. Hehe I totally understand what you mean! It really can! We need at least eight day weeks!😝
        Yes! I have to check it out. I was looking for places to go. I need some California sea glass!
        I am sooo excited to check out Rodeo! This mermaid needs her beach!
        Haha thank you! I was secretly proud of myself even if I wanted to push my sister of the bridge😂
        Yay that is exciting! Soak up that freedom lady! Yes! I am so excited to see you! My visit to San Fran got a whole lot better!:) 😘💗

    1. The hotel was truly beautiful!! I still can’t get over how good of a deal we got it for! Groupon for the win! And if you are ever in SF- go to Sweet Maple! AMAZING!!!! Thank you for stopping by, Christy!!

  14. Hello! Love this! OMG! Hello! I just moved my site to a new self-hosted one! Would really love to still connect with you! I’ll be posting everyday and would be posting a giveaway soon! Oh! Which giftcard do you prefer? Hope you can subscribe! XOXO Here is my NEW website http://herlostmango.com

    1. Oh how awesome!!! Oh man- giftcard–I love everything and anything from food to makeup to clothing stores to anything else! I look forward to the giveaway :)!

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