Sister’s 21st Birthday and Best of the Bay

Woooowww. Long time, no talk! HOW ARE YOU ALL?!! I am totally blog-deprived.

I know I say this repeatedly, but this is truly the most challenging and busiest time of my life. How people do this residency program with kiddos is beyond me. I finally have a day off, and I have ZERO plans but to blog, catch up on my to-do list, and eat Smoked Gouda Triscuits and gruyere cheese (hello heaven). DJ is at work, so additionally I fully intend to spend the whole day in my PJ’s, unless I go to the store for cookies for bachelorette night, but then, and ONLY THEN, will I put a bra on. Catch my drift? Ok- let’s get to it.

Since my last recap (which was about the end of April), all I have done is work, cry, meal prep, cook, cry, run, laundry, and cry…. so yes.. (I do plan on making a post about how all that is progressing soon enough, but for now let’s share ALL the gooooood!).

My sister, Halston, and her boyfriend, Kevin, came in town last week, and they left me with some awesome memories that I am one eager beaver to share!

I started out last Friday (5/19) by having my new obsession for breakfast (avocado smoothies) with homemade breakfast cookies (yeah, those recipes will be posted eventualllllly). I love sitting in my egg basket swing from Target and soaking up the sunrise with my Bible while sipping up my avocado smoothie and breakfast chocolate chip cookies. Does not get better than that, folks! My outdoor area is my “feng shui playground”.


Since I had that Friday off, I food prepped to have at least a couple options for my sister and her boyfriend and my hubby for the week! I made roasted veggies, eggplant parmesan, tons of shredded chicken, roasted parmesan multicolored potatoes, and vegan joes (my sister is also pescetarian, but loves vegan foods too!).

I also cleaned the heck outta’ the house, which felt gloooorious!

When I picked up Kevin and Halston from the airport, they unpacked a bit, and then I had to show them around Main Street Cupertino, naturally. We had tons of avocajoes for dinner and I had to hit the hay early for work.


While I worked the whole weekend, Kevin and Halston went to an SJ Giants game with DJ and then Church Sunday too. Even though I couldn’t participate in the weekend festivities, I’m glad they had such a blast!

Sunday night, my fave duo surprised us by also cooking some additional food for the week (we flew through all the food I made!)- Kevin whipped up some scrumptious fettuccini chicken alfredo for him and DJ, and Halston made the most delish tofu lettuce wraps for us. They spoiled us!

Monday I had off, although DJ had to work, but the three of us decided to go to Santa Cruz! This was their first time EVER in California, so I had to give them the authentic beachy town experience.


First we stopped by a coffee shop that carried the famous Marianne’s Ice Cream to grab a cone for Kevin. DJ and I have had it before and the ice cream is velvety smooth and creamy and dreammmmyyyy.


And I am still steadily making my way through HP, ya’ll! Just in case you are just popping in for the first time, my dream is to read through all of Harry Potter then go to HP world. Big bucket list dreams right here.


After soaking up all the sunny rays ….and Halston aggressively avoiding getting any sand actually on her towel (or herself) — (anyone else like that? Hahaha)—….. we decided to go grab a late lunch/early dinner on the pier.


I personally think Stagnaro Bros. is the best place for half price apps. I went here with Rachel last summer and it did not disappoint one bit.


Halston ordered their appetizer sampler platter (clam strips, shrimp, etc.), Kevin tried their lobster quesadilla, and I jumped on their smoked salmon bites.


It was all tremendous. I am truly salivating right now at the thought. Their tarter sauce was delish with the sampler platter, the lobster quesadilla was phenYUMenal, and the salmon bites seriously reminded us of eating hearty meat like smoked ham or steak bites. Whatever sauce they use may contain illegal substances, because they were addictive. SO GOOD.


Halston was a bit cold on the way back to the car. I think I wear emotions on my face pretty clearly; she is a walking emoji! Ha!


Whenever there is a crowd gathered by the edge of the pier, you can bet you will find a bunch of little sea lions providing the daily entertainment.

We zoomed back home just in time for Bachelorette to begin!!! I was stoked to have company to view the Bachelorette with. DJ and I used to have massive parties back in Indiana for bach. nights and now it’s usually just the two of us. It felt good to get ALLL the goods out, have multiple people’s input, and the hum of a full living room.

Anyone else watching? Thoughts? I just adore Rachel. This show gets goofier by the season, but I truly hope she finds her happy ending.


Monday night at midnight Halston and Kevin went to Yardhouse on Santana Row so Halston could get her first legal drink. She got her favorite, a pina colada, and a pizza to wash it down! 😉

I had to work the rest of the week Tuesday through Thursday. Halston would get up early with me before work (yes, at 4:30), have breakfast with me, and drop me off at work so her and Kevin could use the car for the day. I just ubered home after. I treasured those mornings together and this coming week I know I will be feeling a bit sad horribly depressed without her here with me!


Tuesday was her TWENTY FIRST birthday!!! How is my little sis this old?!

I need to take a moment and just brag on this incredible human. My sister is without debate one of the greatest individuals to grace this planet. She’s my younger sister, yet she is my role model. She doesn’t care what people think of her, yet everyone loves her. She has her priorities straight with a level head, a strong faith and a selfless love for others. She exudes a zest for life that surpasses most and embodies the most gentle spirit. She is also ridiculously fun to hangout with and is always a guarantee for the most wonderful memories with tons of laughs. She pursues adventure whenever there is a free second, but works harder than most people I know. She is the greatest listener, has wisdom beyond her years, and both an emotional and physical strength that allows her to dominate whatever life throws her way. HAPPY 21st again, seeeester. I love you more than words!!!

We started the epic birthday with avocado smoothies and while DJ and I were at work, Kevin and her spent the day exploring SJ (going to Crossfit and Bill’s Cafe- hollllaaaa!) and had a beautiful dinner at the ethereal Grandview restaurant after!


You can read about our previous Grandview Experiences here and here. HINT:  Their cheesecake is to die for.

This restaurant is like you are sitting in a little part of Heaven. The views are indescribable. It’s all terribly romantic, stunning, and the whole experience is absolutely spectacular. I would not want anything less for Halston on her big 2-1!


The beautiful birthday princess and her amor had the most wonderful evening. Aren’t they gorg?! I’m so thankful Kevin was able to come on this trip! He treats my sister like an absolute queen and the two are a perfect pair.

On my way home from work I ubered past Coldstone Creamery to pick up a Peanut Butter Playground cake for Hal, her fave. I fell asleep before they came home, but the missing slices in the morning told me they enjoyed it! (Also, I totally forgot to snap a picture; thank you internet for coming in in the clutch).

peanut butter playground.jpgWednesday, Halston and Kevin went into downtown SF to meet up with Kevin’s future roommate. He is attending Dental school in Pennsylvania- Hal and Kevin both went to University of Cincy where they met. Hal has one year left, but is studying abroad in Columbia this fall. After undergrad she plans to go to law school. Got it? (There is a quiz on this post after 😉 ).

They loved exploring the city, and graciously shared their pictures with me! They went to Pier 39 (essential), and then made their way to Japan town to meet the roommate. Hal had some Boba on the way. I honestly didn’t even know Japan town existed… I thought there was only China town. Hal and Kevin said the food was insanely good at this place though. DJ and I will definitely be back-pocketing the name for a date night! She didn’t get any pictures of the food though- I haven’t trained her well enough in Blogger ways, lol.


Thursday they spent the day resting up at home and when I came back from work, we all went to Kula!!!! DJ and I used to be obsessed when we first moved here, but there is plenty else to explore, hence we haven’t been in a while. If you want to read about the conveyor-belt sushi experience, I have a pretty thorough review here.


My personal favorite roll is the Kula roll with lemon juice sprinkled over ahi tuna.

When DJ came home from work late that night, Hal made us all pina coladas (cause now she can officially have them!), and we played Cards *mumbles* againsthumanity… I know the game is probs not something I should promote, but goodness gracious it’s too much fun. The game inevitably leaves you with inside jokes and belly laughs.


Friday morning, Hal and I decided to go to Tony Look trail for a nice run (that heckuvah trail that I always take our guests on- here, here, and here). Usually I just hike it with people, but I convinced Halston to run it with me. Haha – she was a trooper.


WE SURVIVED! Even though we were annihilated by overgrown weeds and were convinced we were going to be plowed over by an off-roading car at one point (long story). Once again- Halston’s face says it all! BUT— No mountain lions today! Woohoo!


When we made it back home we scarfed down some grub and got ready to go back into SF for more bday celebrations with all four of us!

Deej took us down Lombard street and Filbert street (The steepest road in SF). You can’t even see over the car into the road below when you are on the very top. It’s trippy and feels more like a rollercoaster than a road!


We parked near Ghiradelli square and perused around here before heading to the Golden Gate.


I realized I had never had my second cup of joe for the day and was crashing. Luckily, Le Marais Bakery came to the rescue. It was no Peet’s, but it did the trick!


Cuties <3 ^


Coffee <3 ^


Crew <3 ^


We then ubered the bridge to the other side to grab some photos with the world renowned bridge (which just celebrated it’s 80th anniversary! Thank you, Kate, I had no idea!). Very enlightening!!!


After enjoying our time at the Bridge we headed to the Ferry Building to explore and grab some food to tide us over.


Halston and Kevin were dying to try the empanadas. DJ and I still haven’t tried the little guys, but they said they were tasty!

We also stopped at the SF Fish Company where we grabbed the famous chowder! It was super good- not as good as the one’s I sampled with my mom in Monterey, but dang close!


We killed time by walking around SF and then stopping to get bandaids for a horrible blister on my foot. #heels. #beautyispain.

Our reservation was at 8:00 for Venticello Restaurant on Nob Hill. We arrived early, but got light drinks at the bar and just relaxed a bit before our table was ready.


This restaurant is the definition of “quaint”. It is tucked away, easy to miss, but once you step inside the scents of wood oven pizza, baking Italian herbs, and romantic lighting embraces you. The service was excellent and, although a bit chilly by the windows, the warmth from the real burning wood stove was a perfect touch.


We all agreed that wherever we went for dinner, pre-meal complimentary bread was essential.

We also ordered their margharita pizza for an appetizer. The pizza looked satiating, but no one wanted to order it for their main course, so dubbing it an appetizer worked out well. They also had other amazing options as appetizers- we will be back. The pizza was fantastic, but I and DJ prefer when the ingredients are more visible in a margharita- like the mozzarella is still obviously buffalo slices and the tomatoes are sliced. The flavor was still tremendous- it just tasted more like a basic cheese pizza!


For my dinner I tried the scallops. Holy Italian cannoli- the flavors were out of this world! It had a pesto sauce along with artichoke heart puree. Still, Farallon’s scallops take home the W, but these were pretty doggone good!


Taking pictures was a bit hard since the lighting was quite dim, but Halston ordered the gnocci with gorgonzola and mushroom cream sauce, Kevin ordered their spaghetti carbonara with pancetta, english peas, and farm cream sauce, and DJ tried their fettuccini with house-made spicy pork fennel sausage and tomato cream sauce (pictured below). We all loved our entrees and I don’t think there was a bite left on any of our plates!


But you better believe we left room for dessert. After scavenging YELP to find a place that sounded like the golden ticket, we headed to SIFT which promised milkshakes, macaroons, and ice cream sandwiches. When we arrived, the options were pretty limited. Luckily, across the street was Smitten! We decided to give it a go and it was one COOL experience! It’s all organic and the flavors are uniquely delicious like brown sugar with cinnamon shortbread, dough my goodness sundaes, and almond coconut macaroon to name a few. It took us forever to decide what we wanted because it literally all ridiculously yummy.


Halston and DJ had the dough my goodness sundae, Kevin had their vanilla with strawberry prosecco sauce, and I had their cold brrrew with cookie dough pieces pretzel pieces, and brown sugar caramel sauce on top. It was tremendous. The coffee flavor was strong, but the sweetness of everything else provided the perfect balance!


For the evening, we decided to try out a Gatsby themed exclusive nightclub. It’s supposed to take place during the prohibition era, so all of the information is super obscure online and you receive the place the day of the event. I received an e-mail saying “Your appointment to get your watch fixed it scheduled at 11:00 pm at this location”. I was confused for a second and then realized it was all part of the underground, secretive experience. We still had time before 11, so we tried to find somewhere to go dancing. The place we tried out had hardly anyone there yet, so we got stamped and decided to go back later. When we arrived at the Gatsby location, it was a bit….. different than expected. It was a crowd quite a bit older than us, the room was pretty small, and there was no music playing as it said on the website. We didn’t stay long but it was worth the try and we also had the most interesting uber ride of all time- let’s just say SF is like a box of chocolates— you never know what you’re gonna get!


The rest of the evening the four of us danced and then headed back home. It was overall a super fun, yet bizarre in many ways, night!

On Saturday, Halston and Kevin had a late flight back to Ohio. We had one place left on the list that was essential for them to try before leaving: In n Out. Confession: This was my first time trying it too.


The boys ordered the burgers and animal style fries & a shake. Us girls nibbled on their fries and tried the shake. It was all good, but I still prefer Swenson’s back in Akron. If you are from Akron, you would understand.


Halston and I were craving Boba tea as well. We jumped over to Tea Chansii on Main Street to try it out. I had their jasmine green tea with boba and Hal tried their smoothie. We ended the night by finishing up random foods in the fridge- I made Hal my loaded vegan sweet potato, the men quesadillas, and finished up the leftover tofu wraps Hal made earlier in the week (I crave them!).

We took them to the airport in the evening and said our goodbyes. I have had a hard time since they left. I was looking forward to the visit for such a long time, and I can’t believe it’s already over. I will treasure these memories forever.

I also want to take a moment to say thank you to those that have served and serve our country. I know I can fully never understand that sacrifice, but with a somber and thankful heart- thank you. And to the families and friends of those who have lost someone dearly, my thoughts and prayers are with you today.

To my WordPress fam, as always, thank you for being endlessly supportive as I swim upstream through this stage of my life. I send ya’ll all my love.

xo <3



67 thoughts on “Sister’s 21st Birthday and Best of the Bay

  1. I adore your little space outside, & that rug! 😍 Sisters truly are the best, & you & your sis are so pretty! You have to teach others how you manage to fit so much awesome experiences into a visit – so much was seen & eaten! Love this post. I’ve been watching for it. ☺️ Hope work settles soon for you!

    1. Thanks, Kori!!! It’s my fun little spot. I love going out there to veg, read books, and drink wine on summer nights too!

      And Oh my gooodness- you are too kind. Thank you <3 I will have to share those sweet words with her. And if you are ever in the area, I can give ya a grand tour or at least give you a million suggestions! Hope you have a great week ahead, beautiful!

  2. Yay for sister time! It looks like you guys had the most amaaaazing time together!

    It sounds like that secret bar experience was definitely an odd one – and a let down! Maybe that’s why it’s so secretive 😉 Hahaha. We have similar things here in Sydney but I’ve never been to one.

    1. RIGHT?! Sister time is the bestt. I needed it so badly! And hahahhaha- oh my goodness, it was something. We were baffled by the whole experience. If you ever go to the one in Sydney you will have to let me know your experience 😉 Have a great week ahead, girlfriend!

    1. Hi, love! Oh man, life has just been so crazy and stressful and exhausting, but seeing your comment made my day. Thanks for stopping by, sweet thang! I’ll make it over to your place ASAP. I’m hoping things will slow down within the next couple months here <3

  3. Your blog is totally my inspiration, I love all the photos! Glad to see you back posting Mackenzie! I’m still needing to visit the Silicon Valley…

    1. AWWWW! oh my gooddddnesss- your comment just put the biggest smile on my face and made my whole week. Thanks so much, Natalie!!! And YESSSS you need to visit! When you do- I have a big long list, or I can give you the personal grand tour 🙂 Have a great week ahead, I hope your memorial day was great <3

    1. Aw, Hi Grace!! <3 Thank you for stopping by. I know this post was a long one, so you were sweet to read. We had such a beautiful time. I hope you have the most wonderful week ahead!

    1. Hi Katy!!! Oh my goodness, YESSS, aren’t smoothies just the best?! I am planning on sharing that recipe soon! I hope all is well with you. I wish life would slooooowww down so I could catch up on all your posts <3 Sending hugs!

  4. What a great time you and your sister had. Your patio looks nice. And the restaurants you guys visited, the food looks a delicious, I want to try that Avocajoes😋. I like how you describe your sister, I can tell she means the world to you and you’re very close to her. You describe her as your roles model 💕💕. That must be hard seeing them go back to Ohio. But glad you guys a lots of fun time together.😊

    Jhae 😊

    1. Awww, Jhae! Thank you for the sweet comment. Welcome to my blog- I love new faces! I can’t wait to follow along on yours as well. I hope you have the chance to try the avocajoes, and oh my goodness- I think the world of my sister. Thank you for taking the time to read- I know this was a LONG post! I hope you have a beautiful week ahead!! <3

    1. OH my goodnessss- you are far too kind!!!! I eat healthy(ish) during the day and cream every single night (oh and I swear by red wine)! Lol. But I’d say you have it figured out yourself 😉 thanks for making my day with your sweet comment! 😘❤️

  5. What a blessing to be able to have your sister there for such an extended period of time!!! So often family trips are so short — arrive, cram in everything, and leave — but it seems like you guys had enough time to do everything you wanted to do and to simply enjoy one another’s company.
    Also, I love the photos by the bridge of all of you — those are beautiful!!! The one of you hugging DJ with a super happy grin on your face is just cute! 🙂

    1. Lauren !!!! Hi sweet girl! It’s been almost a week since they left and I’m STILL in mourning haha. It was much needed. Thank you always for your love & support. I hope all is going SO well. Also – im glad we are finally friends on instagram haha. 💕

  6. I hope the busy life is treating you well! Despite the madness. I hope these memories keep you fuelled and full of energy!!!! Those photos of you and DJ are just so lovely! Have a lovely weekend <3

    1. Awwwww thank you tons and tons sweet Kat! I could not have said it better myself- the memories are definitely fuel, as are the ones to come! (Always have to have something on the Calendar, right?! 😉 ). Thank you for your sweeet, sweet words <3 Hope your week has been perfection !

  7. Hi Mackensie, it has been a long time no talk!! I am glad you got a day off Dear, it is a tough job you are pursuing , and I know the rewards will be great for you and your future patients:) I like the one about putting a bra on! Only when nessecary, right? I hope you had some good cries, it is good to get it all out (I Know) and you are also busy keeping your home in order. Its great your Sister and her boyfriend got to visit. I love her name Halston, the first time I have heard it I think. The avocado smoothies look and sound so good ! Isnt it good to give the house a good old cleaning? A sense of accomplishment, but here with 4 kids it does not stay clean for long! Main St. looks so pretty, you doing your part for tourism! Santa Cruz must be great, being along the pacific and the ocean breeze! It must have been so nice waking up with your sister , having breakfast and riding to work with her. Hugs to you( if you are missing Halston now) . It is awesome that she is your role model, such a wonderful young woman who has the love of Jesus in her heart. So they got to the famous Grandview for her birthday, such pretty sunst photos of a cute couple, I love Halston’s outfit ( you can tell her!) I am trying to keep up for the test, phew! I think I got it. I love the golden gate pics, 2 cute couples, I really like your bear hug on DJ, so much love shown in it. Such happy memories for you and your sister along with the guys, to have. You as always put so much into the time you had with Halston and Kevin, I am sure she went home singing your praises. Thank you so much for this lovely post, Chat soon Mackensie. hugs, Terri xoxo.

    1. Awwwww Terrriii!!!! Thank you for your sweet comments! Each day has been a crazy one lately, but wow, stopping and reading a comment like this makes my day BIG time! I so appreciate you taking the time to read. I make sure to have lots of detail for that day I want to reflect, but I so appreciate it when others share in all the little moments with us! It means the world. I’ll be posting that avocado smoothie recipe soon! It’s my new favorite addiction! Such a refreshing way to start the day and ridiculously easy 🙂 Halston definitely has a unique name- I sometimes forget just HOW unique it is! But I don’t think we have ever met another (except a friend who actually named her daughter Halston-
      inspired by my sister’s name). And Main Street is our fave for date nights 🙂 I hope if you ever visit I can give you the grand tour! Another blog friend is here right now and I’ll be hanging out with her tomorrow- EEK! I was beyond thankful that Halston could have such a beautiful time for her 21st and we definitely soaked up every spare second we had together. Thank you, thank you, thank you again for being such an incredible encouragement to me. I hope you have the most wonderful week ahead, Terri! Anything big going on on your end?! XO

      1. I love stopping and reading your posts. always so fun! I would love to see Main Street some day. How is it going with your blog friend? You are welcome for encouragement, it is good to build each other up. The kids finished school for the summer yesterday, They are so excited! This week there is work, kids activities, then Saturday and Sunday a softball tournament for Dana. Thanks for liking my dress of the week June 3. I really like it myself. Have a great rest of your week Mackensie, Hugs, Terri xoxo

      2. I would LOVE to give you the grand tour of Main Street if you make it by 🙂 We had such a blast meeting for the first time! I will be sharing pictures soon! Also – YAYY! School’s out for the summer! How exciting. Do you like the crazy summer activities or do you feel relief when school is back in session? Hehe. XO

      3. Aww that is so kind of you Mackensie! Someday….. I’m glad you had a great time with your WP friend, looking forward to the pics. Sometimes its hard to balance all the activities , but kid s love them. There is a little relief when kids go back to school, shhh, don’t tell anyone! Have as good a weekend as your job allows Mackensie, Thank you so much for friendship, Hugs, Terri xoxo.

      4. Hehe secrets safe with me 😉 thank YOU for your friendship, and I hope you have such a great weekend ahead! Huge hugs! XO

  8. I love your swing! I would be in that every morning and evening! It looks like you had such a fun visit with your sister! My husband took me to IN and Out last time we were in CA. It’s pretty good. I love the bridge pictures! I think that’s so great that you got to show your sister around and make such great memories! Good luck with your job! xo

    1. Tara!! You are soo kind to go through all these posts- they are sooo long too. Hahah! But I LOOOOOVE the egg basket. Especially with it being warm everyday now I have loved going back out there. And I agree- In n’ Out is pretty good- but if you are ever in the midwest, you have to try Swenson’s. It will change your life. And thank you for your lovely encouraging words. You’re the best! Have such a great week, love! XO

  9. OKAY. Where do I start. I feel like I’m going to forget so many things I want to say! First off happy belated birthday to your little sis! You two are just GORGEOUS! Your outdoor reading area- that’s literally like my dream nook! The food, man… I can’t. I just drool looking through your pictures. I love that you cooked up food for their visit and then they returned the favor. That is so thoughtful of you all! It’s nice when people take the time to cook instead of always having to go out (because AHEM that means getting dressed instead of comfy pj’s 😉 ) I so love that you’re getting through HP. I’m serious, I want to meet there for a butter beer, girl! How fun would that be! CA looks so freaking pretty. I hope to get there someday and try the seafood and sushi. And see the sea lions because OH MY CUTE. I hope work is getting better every day and that the tears are becoming less frequent. I know you’ve got this! XOXO

    1. ANNA!!! HEY GIRL! OK– first, I left a comment on your most recent post and I think it went to spam. PLEASE check your spam box! Next, I will totally pass on the belated birthday wishes to my sister <3 Thank you tons. I'm telling ya- if you ever come to northern cali, we will hangggg out on my crash pad with wine after a LONG day touristing it up & eating yummy NoCal food. Have you booked a flight yet?! Lol. You are such an encouragement to me– I know I say this all the time, but you really, really do. Thanks for always brightening my day! XOXO <3

  10. I looove that picture of you and DJ looking at each other. So much love!

    I’m sorry work and everything has been such a tough time for you. I know you will get through it and will be able to look back on these days and smile!!

    Also, happy birthday to Halston! I know what you mean about missing your sis. I am always sad when I see my sister and then she’s gone!! It’s like a sad cloud for a few days, haha. Anyways, love these pictures. California is so vibrant!

    1. Awwwwww ALLIE! Thank you so much, love. I had a pretty crazy day and your comment just put the biggest smile on my face. Thanks for all your uplifting words! And I will pass on the kind bday wishes to my sister! Aren’t they the best (sisters)?! What would we do without um. The way you said it (a sad cloud for a few days) is so SPOT on. I hope you get to visit cali some day soon <3

  11. Oh My Avocado! Avocado smoothie? Please share!
    I adore your outdoor area! I think i would live there all the time! So cute!
    Awe I just got the warm and fuzzies! I love that your sister got to visit you! What you rite about her was seriously the sweetest thing and brought tears to my eyes. I am so happy you have such an amazing relationship (even I am sure the moments when you want to kill each other 😉 with your sister. The love you guys have (getting up at 4:30 she is the best!) shines in every word you write. I love. love LOVE that!
    Santa Cruz sounds amazing! I really need to return…Or MOVE to California!
    I love your bachelorette nights! I use to ave those but alas I stopped watching a few seasons ago!
    Ahhh I NEED to go to Grandview!
    Your sister is gorgeous! And I love her outfit!
    I also love she shared all her pics with you!
    That sushi looks heavenly!
    Oh my gosh I love Cards Against Humanity! It is so funny and yes to the inside jokes and Belly laughs!
    Ahhh I am drooling over your pictures! That trail looks ah-may-zing!
    Gasps you cheated on Peets? Gasps!
    Lol your visit to San Francisco is giving me all the feels!
    And girrllll your hair! And your outfit! And those shoes!!! Could you be anymore gorgeous! I love that picture of you and your sister! Such beauties and the joy and love you guys have shines in all your pics with each other!
    And the ones of you and DJ! Seriously you do not even have to caption them! The love you guys have shines bright!
    Haha you are very welcome! Thanks for the shout out! 😀 <3
    Oh my god that food! Carbonera is my favorite! And that desert!
    That is so interesting about the speakeasy! There are places like that in the city. It is always an adventure.
    And Oh My Gosh. My mind is blown. I do not know how I did not realize this sooner, one of my best friends use to live in Akron. She lives in Cuyahoga now. AND her husband is a pastor. SUCH a small world!
    Huge hugs, I am so happy you had such an amazing week with your sister! I wish it could have gone on longer for you guys! And huge hugs! Hang in there! You will get through all the craziness! <3 I hope you are having an amazing weekend beauty! <3

    1. K!!!! I don’t know how I passed over this sweet, sweet comment! OK- the avocado smoothie- I’m going to post the recipe soon officially- but basically, it’s ½ avocado, ½ container of toasted coconut greek yogurt, 2 oz. almond milk, 2. Oz. coconut water, 4-5 ice cubes and a dash of stevia in a blender! It will change your world!!!!

      And next time you are out we will have a chill day on the balcony with some wine and Cards Against Humanity. Sound good?! Lol.

      YOU ARE THE KINDEST HUMAN EVER. I need you to know- You actually inspired me big time with your post you wrote about your sister before writing that excerpt. It made me stop and truly treasure and cherish her even more for her birthday. I meant to text you about that, but I am glad I can let you know that now <3 All your love and support and sweet words just speak volumes of the selfless and caring person you are, K. I send you such huge hugs! <3 I’ll share these lovely words with her!!!

      Alsooo PLEASE move to California.

      WAIIIIT- we grew up in Cuyahoga county. What is the name of the church/family?! I bet we have a connection somewhere along the line.

      Thank you for your encouragement… I can hardly put into words how hard each day has been! But I am just trying to find the silver lining, and today this was it! SO THANK YOU, love! I hope your week is off to the best start <3

    1. Awwww! SAMANTHA! It is so so nice to hear from you! How are you?! I hate how MIA I have had to be here, but seeing your notification pop up just made my whole day! Thank you for reading. Have a great rest of your week 🙂

  12. It looks like you had an amazing time during your sister’s visit. Thanks for taking us along! 🙂 I’ve just finished watching the Harry Potter movies with my daughter. Now I’m on to read the books. I did have dessert at the Elephant Room while in Edinburgh and a few other places were pointed out as possible inspirations for things such as Hogwart’s and Diagon Alley. 🙂

    1. Hi Amy!!! Ah, it was just too much fun with her here. I have been in serious withdrawal for the last few weeks!!! And I JUST told my husband that I want to have a full HP marathon day soon. Too fun! AND that is seriously way too cool that you went to those HP inspiring places- is there a list somewhere?! I need to write these down!

      1. There is a website called Potter Trail that tells of places in Edinburgh. I did not look at it prior to heading over, but I’m sure there are many fascinating places, even if they are just thought to be the inspiration for.

  13. okay okay so Hal and Kev went to school together in cincy, Hal is studying abroad in Columbia and then going to law school…do I pass?! haha I feel like I always explain things in my post too and I’m like “is this too intricate are people going to follow or even read it?” haha Halston is such a cool name, I always love unique names and thats one I’ve never heard but oh gosh 21…. I feel so old but happy late birthday to her!!!! <3 I love how even though you weren't on all their adventures you still had a play by play on what they did, you're such a good sister keeping tabs on her younger one.
    I giggled a little bit when I read that you gave them a proper tour of Cupertino's main street, you really are the best little tour guide!!! I still need my proper tour, but I'm almost certain I'll be back (possibly semi permanently?!?! EEK)
    Alsoooo, if when Andrew and I come back we're going back to that Golden Gate Bridge spot and having a photoshoot with you and DJ because those pictures are AMAZING! The lighting, scenic backdrop, and most importantly the people in the pictures are perfection!!!! The crew pic is so frameworthy…along with the pictures of you and DJ and you and your sister….you're just going to need a lot of picture frames lol
    Okay last thing….Lombard Street was so amazing!!!! Idk what it was about it but I loved it there, I was so tempted to call an uber just so I could ride down it….kudos to DJ for driving down it, I think I would be terrified driving on any road in SF….those hills are no joke! But okay I wrote an essay so I need to end this now lol

    xo, JJ

    1. YOU GO GIRL! You have it down better than I do, seriously, hahha. And no no no- I love the details in your posts! Keep them coming! And we have never met another Halston (except for a little girl that was named after my sister). My mom liked the name from the designer, and so did my dad, so it stuck! I was happy she could at least have a great week vacation, even if we could only jump in on a couple of their adventures. So worth it <3 We can definitely take you to that spot next time! It’s just on the other side- closer to Sausalito!

      Bahhaa, I laughed about the picture frames. YOU ARE TOO SWEET. I do look at these pictures when I have a hard day at work. Gotta keep in the mind the happy times, right?!

      JJ- we will totally take you down Filbert next time you are here! DJ’s a pro (we take a lot of our friends down it), but it’s totally like a rollercoaster.

      And I LOVEEEEEE your comments, they are the best. Sending you huge hugs. I work all tomorrow and Friday, but come this weekend, I cannot wait …CANNNNNOT WAIT.. to read your posts! WOOOHOOO!!!!!

  14. I LOVE that you describe Halston’s face as an emoji! She truly has an expressive face! I laughed at the photos. Happy belated birthday Halston!
    What an incredibly great trip they had. You really showed them a good time, Kenzie! And your mother sure has beautiful girls! The guys are handsome, too. LOL Can’t leave them out. Hi, DJ!
    The only problem I have with your blog is that I get SO hungry seeing all the pictures of the great food. You have a knack for taking pictures that really show off the plates. I’m just glad I can’t also smell it or I’d eat my monitor!
    Good to have you back! I’ve missed you!

    1. Hehe doesn’t she?! We both are pretty notorious for wearing our emotions on our sleeve. Haha. I’ll send on the sweet birthday wishes to Halston! I don’t think she’ll mind keeping it going! And you are so so sweet <3 Thank you for your lovely words! I think you may just have to make a trip to Cali to have all this food yourself! Sound good?!? 🙂 Have such a great week, Elizabeth! I am so stoked to see this sweet comment from you . *BIG HUGS!*

      1. Sorry it took so long to reply. I’ve been baking and getting hair cut and freaking out over my baby’s (32) wedding. I’ve decided they can’t get married. I’m afraid they’ll both stop dating me. The almost daughter-in-law took me to breakfast this morning. I thought she was going to break up with me!

      2. Oh my goodness- NO PROBLEM. I am the queen of late replies lately…. hahah. And what have you been baking?! Do you have any recipes posted 😉 Also- since you are my Netflix twin- have you watched Game of Thrones by chance?

        ALSOOOOO- AHHHHHH!!!!! HAPPY WEDDING to your son and soon to be daughter! What is the big date?!?! Hahah- you made me lol about them dating you. No worries, they will still be around just as much 😉 They should have support groups for the mothers of the recently wed. Right?!? Hehe !

      3. The wedding was Saturday and it was lovely. But I’m still trying to recover. But Pete was here Sunday and yesterday and Andi came over for coffee this morning. They didn’t dump me!

      4. Aww!!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it:) Haha, wedding recovery is a process for sure! Oh, and I’m so glad they didn’t dump you!!! Haha, you always make me laugh. Hope you have some fun weekend plans (orrrr really relaxing considering last weekend was probably enough!) .

      5. Our weekends are pretty much the same as (most) weeks. We’re home. Eileen (my friend/Andi’s aunt) asked me once if I would be around on a certain day. I told her I was free until 2022. lol The wedding reminded me I have a spinal cord injury so I haven’t been doing much at all. Although I did murder an innocent mole. That post will be tomorrow.

      6. Hahhahah so basically you have time to plan a trip to northern california, ya?!? Hehe. And oh no- a spinal cord injury?! What kind? I work with alll types of patients, I’m sorry that is happening though. Ohh no- poor mole! Except are moles truly inherently innocent? I say it’s debatable. Looking forward to that post!

      7. Maybe when I win my lottery I’ll visit! The spinal cord thing was because a doctor screwed up a lumbar puncture. I have CRPS. Also spinal stenosis that is apparently injury of control. I’ve had one surgery and will have to have a couple more. And moles are awful until you see a little white patch on their soft tummies.

      8. Oh mannnn. I am SO sorry to hear that!!! 🙁 Well if you are ever in California for a surgery, there is a chance I could be your nurse post-surgically! Ahh, I pray that things get better. There is nothing like pain like that. <3 Keep me updated, ok?!

      9. It’s been 17 years since I had the injury so things are actually much better now. I went from bedridden and wheelchair bound to walking again. Sometimes without a lot of assistance! I even get wild and walk around the house without even a cane because there’s carefully placed furniture to grab. And Remy does try to help. This past week taught me I need to train him. I let him slide since I was doing so well but I think I may need him as much as I needed Houston before long. At least for a while. But if I ever did have to have surgery I’d want you for my full-time, personal nurse! I only accept the best!

      10. Oh I am SOOO glad everything is so much better!!!! That type of recovery is amazing, and just shows how strong you are! You are so sweet- I would be honored, but I’ll be praying that there are no more surgeries to come!

      11. Aww, thank you! I can tell from the pain level it will be years and years before I’d even consider surgery again.

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