A Santa Cruz Kinda Weekend

Hey ya’ll. Happy Sunday Funday to ya. I hope you all are safe in this craziness that is happening literally everywhere. I don’t know about you, but I am experiencing such tremendous unrest. I feel the heaviness of everything happening, and it is crushing me. Compounding the heaviness that is impacting our world, country, friends, fellow bloggers, and family, there is the uncertainty, fear, and confusion I am facing in my current circumstances. I will explain more on that later. However, today in Church we had a sermon that made it near impossible for me to keep the tears at bay. Our pastor offered such encouragement and truth to grasp during these times and emphasized trusting God’s sovereignty through it all (when they post it I’ll share the link). It was just what I needed to hear. Additionally, praising Jesus with fellow believers was the most peace I have felt in a couple weeks now.  My job doesn’t allow me the ability to go to Church most Sundays. But when I can it helps me find new perspective, helps reveal truth in spite of human emotion. I have grown pretty apathetic and exhausted as of late. I plan on doing a six month recap soon- September 20th is officially 6 months of being a neurosurgical RN in an IICU. My probation period ends tomorrow, and I’ll find out if they are keeping me on or not. I am just lying it at Jesus’s feet. That’s all I can do. I don’t have the strength or energy to do anything but leave it in His hands at this point in the program, at this point in life. I’ll keep you all posted. I hope this doesn’t sound melodramatic- I’m just whooped.

Anyways, on my way home from Church I had a renewed sense of energy that I needed considering tomorrow is gonna be extra-extra stressful. So for now- I just want to escape and share the most beautiful moments from the past couple weeks with you all, and of course, reminisce over all the yumz that have been devoured in that time. Bon appetite 🤗😋

On August 30th, where I left off on my last update post, I went to dinner with my good friend Tammy for some girl time and super savory eats. We hopped over to Aqui, which is basically just down the road from DJ and I. I have no idea how we haven’t gone here before, because ohhh my lanta, manna from heaven may have actually fell on my plate.🤤


I ordered their salmon salad with organic greens-crunchy cabbage mix, feta, lemon vinaigrette, herb aioli, cherry tomatoes, garbanzo-jicama-edamame mix and cucumber. Their guac and chips is actually new level too. I mean, come on now, it’s actually glowing in the picture. Now if that doesn’t scream heaven ordained tex-mex, i just don’t know what does.


After, we popped across the street to a dessert shop called Hechaa. Tammy suggested we try their Mochi! I have never had Mochi, but I hear it’s delicious, and I’m always down for a new foodie adventure. Anyone ever had it?! Sadly, they were sold out. No worries though, we still took pictures with their gorgeous flower wall like the couple of basics we are.


August 31st I met up with a great family friend at Starbucks, who is also an RN. I talked about all that’s going on, my struggles, my thoughts, etc. She provided some awesome encouragement and advice moving forward. I’m excited to share sort of our tentative plans/thoughts for the future with you all (soonish)!

On September 1st, DJ had the evening off early too! We whipped up some ‘zas with Naan bread and all the fixings. He made a caprese one with tomatoes/mushrooms/sun-dried tomatoes/fresh buffalo mozzarella/garlic/olive oil/sprinkle of parmesan, and I made one with goat cheese/hummus/sun-dried tomato/spinach/kalamata olive/garlic/mushroom/balsamic glaze. His looked prettier haha.


I worked all Saturday (9/2) and Sunday (9/3) , but luckily DJ finally got a weekend of R & R. He spent some time with family and I was able to join on the fun Monday (9/4) for labor day! We just relaxed and ate great food. The rest of labor day we cleaned the house, did some laundry, and watched some shows on HBO.

I worked Tuesday (9/5) and Wednesday (9/6). Wednesday was especially hard. I lost it during report to the oncoming shift. Luckily, the nurse was so gentle and sweet with me and helped me catch my breath. I had about eight critical lab values over the course of the day, an infiltrated IV, a patient whose wound seriously dehisced, a newly post-operative patient admit (if you’re a nurse you understand the challenge), an isolation room with double insulin checks, and about 100 other things that went wrong that I won’t bore you with. It was rough. Real rough. Quite possibly one of the most difficult days I’ve had yet- and working 12 hour shifts 4/5 days is exhausting beyond belief.

Anywho, when I went out for a run on Thursday (9/7), I saw this little note at the cross walk. I don’t know why it meant so much to me. But it was just a nice thought that someone took the time to place that there and it happened to fall in my path that day.


And even though autumn is right around the corner, I couldn’t help but stop and admire these beauties!


It’s the little things that really bring me joy lately.

I’ve been trying to use up all of our food the pantry/fridge before making a big trip. For a few nights I stir fried alll kinds of veggies together, tofu, and hummus. It was super filling and tasty too!


Friday (9/8) I worked on our research project for the program, cleaned the house a smidge, and did some laundry. But I was pretty antisocial and not super in the mood to do anything after the chaotic days at work.

But finally, the highlight of my weekend (besides Church today) was yesterday (9/9). DJ and I finally, FINALLY, FINALLLY had a full day together! We wanted to get away, and where better to get away to than Santa Cruz for a beach day?! I started the morning early with a short warm up run followed by an insanity session. Shaun T. kicked my booty and I was ready to get some fuel. We threw on our baseball caps, I skipped on doing any makeup, and made an avocado smoothie. (I hope ya’ll don’t take a shot every time I mention this smoothie on this blog, ya’ll would be six sheets to the wind). I also took along a slice of Ezekiel bread and an RX bar for the road.


When we arrived at Santa Cruz we were greeted by the comforting summer aroma of everything fried and the sound undulating screams from roller-coaster fanatics. We walked around the Boardwalk, took in the views of the crashing water, and claimed a cozy spot on the sandy strip as our own.


We brought books along and decided to just read and lounge allll afternoon. I’m still making my way through Goblet of Fire. Every night we have been watching Game of Thrones (yes, I know, it’s horrible. I’m not endorsing it). But due to this, I haven’t been reading at night as often, and when I try to I usually conk out. I will make it through though! (I have a deal with myself and DJ that when I make it through all the books we can go to Harry Potter world).


DJ brought a book too and we read and napped on and off for the afternoon. It was perfect. I was so thankful he suggested this for the day!


DJ decided after a few hours he was craving a dog on a stick.


What’s your favorite fare food? I think mine might be garlic fries, but at the time I was seriously craving some seafood!


We hopped over to the Sock Shop on the wharf, which is my personal favorite boutique. I loveee socks, and I may have found the perfect pair for me….. 


Of course we had to stop and see the little sea lions (that’s DJ’s favorite part).


We had worked up a serious appetite by this point, and I, like I said, had a serious seafood hankerin’. We decided to try the famous FireFish Grill. We have tried tons of places on the Wharf (Olita’s, Gilda’s, Stagnaro Bro’s (twice here and here)), but had yet to try this pretty famous one!


They immediately brought out this bread assortment, so naturally they won my heart.❤️


Everyone around us was having a bloody mary, and they looked good although I’ve never had one. So I thought, what the heck, let’s try it! So DJ and I gave it a go. It was super yummmm. It had tons of spice and the rim was salted with a mixture that looked like sand (suh cute, right?). We didn’t finish the boogar though- it was huge and like a meal in and of itself, but it definitely complimented the food well!


Rachel, one of my best friends from Ohio, loves Bloody Mary’s so I was excited to share with her that I actually tried one. She has been blowing up my phone with pictures of homemade bloody mary mixes ever since. Also Anna, I can say I had one in honor of your bday 😉

DJ’s seafood tacos didn’t photograph well. (The crowd boos). But he loved them! I tried the seafood kabob, called the FireFish Grill! This had skewered charbroiled prawns, scallops, salmon, fresh fish, bell pepper and onion. Hint, hint, when a restaurant names a dish after its name, it’s probably a solid option. I think I said “this is amazing” maybe six and a half times through the meal. The half because I’m sure a mouth full of the deliciousness cut me off at some point.

Oh, and I definitely took the leftover scallops to go- (Bach. in Paradise fans knows what I’m referencing).

img_1199After our scrumptious feast, we walked around the pier a bit more, soaked up the last bit of the beach breeze and sun, then headed home.


^ DJ’s legs got horribly burnt. I am a nut about sunscreen, so I made sure not to let him live it down after he persisted that he didn’t need it before hand.🙆🏼😜


I’m so thankful for him. I know I say that all the time, but I don’t think know I wouldn’t make it through this year without him.


We jammed to oldies tunes on the way home, including a few faves You Make My Dreams by Daryl Hall & John Oates, some Uptown Girl (Billy Joel <3), Flash Light by Parliament, and Wake Me up Before You Go-Go. 🎶 If you ever need some feel good in your life, listen to those tunes. Promise you’ll feel better.

Blog Birthdays: 🎂🎉

To sweet Anna, from Actively Anna, Happy belated birthday dear on July 27th! (Soooo belated). I hope it was absolutely wonderful! Thank you for being such an amazing friend here since the beginning. I absolutely love our chats <3 So thankful for you, dear!

Lovely Lisa, from Life of an El Paso Woman, happy birthday tomorrow!!!!! Thank you for your love, encouragement, and conversations always! I hope this birthday is the best yet. This is your year! This last one is put to rest, and I believe this one will bring the best blessings for you. Sending you so much love and birthday hugs!

xo <3


76 thoughts on “A Santa Cruz Kinda Weekend

  1. Sending so much love & support your way! I’m very sorry that work life has been incredibly stressful, but these meals & times spent with friends & DJ look amazing. Your day together looks so fun! XO

    1. Thank you SO much, Kori! I can’t wait to write an update! And I’m beyonddd thankful for those little moments to get away. They definitely keep me going. Hope you have had the best week! How is your little one doing ?! 🐱

      1. Mason is doing well! He gets his treatment next week. Unfortunately, I was home yesterday with a lower GI bug. Rachel got sick twice, which made me nervous. Kaci took her to the vets and ended up at none other than the animal ER. We were worried she had progressed to diabetes, but several tests and X-rays later, no answers. She’s doing wonderfully and will be coming home today, but it’s frustrating not to know what caused it. Thankfully, her blood sugar is well-managed per her blood work!

      2. Oh my goooodness- ya’ll cannot catch a break!!!! What a crazy rollercoaster year it has been for you- are you feeling better now?!? I can’t wait to catch up on your blog and everything going on. I hope she doesn’t have another episode, poor thing!!! You and your fur babies!!!

  2. When work or life gets hectic I love getting away even if it’s for a day! Your Santa Cruz day looked so fun and relaxing! Girl you got this!(talking about your job) placing it on God’s feet is the perfect way! Cause if it’s meant to be God will make it happen! 💕

    1. Ahhhhh hey sweeet girl!! How are you?!! It’s been a minute! Santa Cruz was just what the doctor ordered 👌🏻! I have had to do more surrendering this year than ever in my life- I can’t wait to write an update soon! 🤗 how is everything going for you?!

      1. I am doing good staying super busy but I am trying to learn how to balance everything and cut stuff out of my life that I can live without, but its hard lol! I am looking forward to the update! Maybe it’s already up, Ill check your blog cause I don’t get on here as much as I did! <3 Great to here from you!!!

      2. OH GIRL, I understandddd! Life balance is a tricky, tricky thing, but I’m sure you are doing it all more gracefully than you think 😉 XOXO

  3. Spending the day in Santa Cruz seemed like it did a lot for you! I hope your probation hearing (wow that sounds like you’re a criminal) goes well and they keep you on! If they don’t there’s a reason and God has something else planned for you. Have a great day 🙂

    1. Yes! It was sooo needed! Hahahha, right?! “Probation” is such a scary word. It’s funny how jobs name them that right out of the gate. I am excited to update soon! Thank you for your sweet words and taking the time to read ❤️ it means more than I can say!

  4. I love the pics of you and DJ! Such attractive folks you are! Also, such attractive food. I’m so hungry I just wanna reach through the screen and NOM out on greasy nomalicious Santa Cruz stoner food #notastonerbuteatsstonerfood #dipeverythinginnachocheese

    1. Stahhhhp making me blush 😌 thanks, girl!! Hahahah I didn’t even think about the food being stoner food, but accurate! Santa Cruz totally would be the place to go for that 🙈 it all makes so much sense now … 😂😂 and those hashtags are spot on !

      1. My friend who’s also a nurse and started when you d did, and I are discussing moving to san luis Obispo next year. So i hope you stick l around in norcal. It’s not definite though but it would be fun and amazing if we all lived in the same country hahaha

      2. I hope you’re still living closeby in 2 years! That’s when her nursing contract is up in Long Beach so we can move to norcal. actually were gonna rent a house together maybe with her brother and her (if she gets married that guy hahaha). It’s gonna be large!!! You can come for barbeques and pets and fun!

    1. Oh my gooodnesss, A! Thank you for the SWEETEST of words. They mean more than I can say ❤️ you already have an amazing blog- keep it up, chica! XOXO

  5. I’m so glad you got a nice day away after all those crazy working hours. Thinking about you this week as your career path is determined!

  6. This looks like the best trip!! All of the food looks delicious and looks like you did so many fun activities. I’ve never been to Santa Cruz but now I need to go!

    Hope you have a great start to your week, girl!

    1. Thanks so much, girlfriend!! We definitely soaked up every second. Thanks for sharing in it with us 🙂 if you ever get the chance to go to SC, do itttt! Such a fun but equally chill place. Have a great weekend, love!

      1. LOL- oh my goshhh I just realized SC definitely stands for South Carolina. You are so sweet to not call me out on that- I meant santa cruz, but yesss Charleston is amazing too, oh shoot now I want to go to South Carolina! Haha <3

  7. I love these little updates of yours! First of all, I hope you hear the news you’re wanting to when it comes to your nursing! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you! Also, your weekend in Santa Cruz looked so lovely! How do you manage to take so many pictures of what you’re doing? I’ve been trying to write about my weeks and I look back on one or two photos from the whole week!

    1. Thank you sooo much, Natalie!!!! You are always such an encouragement to me! I can’t tell you how much it means. And with the pictures- I think when I started blogging I just started being more aware of my surroundings and making a point to find beauty in the small things, then just snap shotting um’! It’s such a fun outlet to take pictures and try to capture a moment, so over time I guess it just became more natural and a part of the day to day. My husband even knows not to take a bite until I get a snap of his food 😉 LOL!

  8. Great to see you day way Mackenzie– good food, good company and sunshine! And I couldn’t agree with you more about sitting in church on a Sunday. When I’ve missed and get back, it’s like water in the desert– a sense of coming back to what’s real and true and eternal with other people who love God as well. And– now I’m wondering how your probation day went. I’m know they love all you give to the people you work with, are so thankful to have you there. It would be lovely to get your recap– you’ve launched into something so big and new. You re an amazing person Mackenzie. Blessings to you… xox

    1. Hi Rhonda!!! Oh my goodness- water in a desert is the PERFECT metaphor. So so true. Thank you again tremendously for your encouragement. I really do believe God placed you in my life right now for a reason so timely because your words have truly lifted my heart this week. Sending BIG hugs <3 Have such a beautiful and blessed weekend XO

  9. Your photos are so gorgeous! They look magazine ready. I’m glad that you and DJ were able to get away. Santa Cruz looks beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever tried a Bloody Mary.

    1. Thank you SO much, Amy!!!! Wow, what a sweet compliment!!!! If you like tomato juice, definitely try it out! This one didn’t taste too tomato(ey), it was such a perfect blend of spice and flavor! Hope you have a great weekend 🙂 I was thinking of you actually because we are almost caught up with Game of Thrones, and I’m gonna start having withdrawals. What will I do without it?!?

      1. I can’t believe it’s not coming on again until 2019! I’ve debated started the books in the meantime. However, I have even been back to pick up the 2nd Harry Potter book…maybe I should start there. lol.

      2. I KNOW! It makes me so sad. Haha, I’m reading through HP too. Still haven’t gone all the way through. That should tide us over at least for a bit, right?!

  10. As always the food looks delicious, lol. Mouth watering no lie. And that flower wall is gorgeous! I wish we had something like it over here 🙂 Alex got me some naan because I’ve been wanting to try it and I think you just gave me an idea. I also kind of want to try it with hummus, we’ll see 🙂
    Also, which tofu do you get? I buy the extra firm I think, but it somehow still manages to fall apart sometimes. I do want to try it in different kinds of dishes, so far I only eat it with a sriracha-honey glaze, so spicy and delicious lol.
    I’m so jealous of the good weather you guys have in Cali by the beach. We get cold breezy weather lol. Can’t even get in the water. 😐 AND OH. MY. GOSSSHHHHHH!!! Cutie little sea lion!!! <3 I'd love to see them in person! Also, I love that you filmed it a little bit too! Just won my heart! lol.
    And I've been craving seafood lately too!! I still have yet to go to an actual seafood restaurant and/or crab shack. One day… One day..

    1. Hey, Rossy!!! Guess you just have to come visit NoCal to see the flower wall 😉 Isn’t Naan amazing?!? The fresh, hot, buttered naan from an authentic Indian restaurant is the best, but I love the ones from Stonefire for pizza and yesssss hummus!!! SO Good!! I get the extra firm too! The secret is to wrap the tofu in a towel and put a GIANT book on top for an hour in the fridge. It sounds weird but you can get out all the excess moisture and it makes it less crumbly. Then cut into cubes and cook in olive oil in a pan or bake in the oven! That sriracha-honey mix sounds absolutely incredible!!!! I still need to try that. YUUM! And actually- I miss the seasons sometimes! But yes- the weather is generally pretty doggone nice- even more of a reason for you to visit 😉 And ahhhh we LOVEEE the sea lions- especially my husband. We could sit and watch them for hours. Girl, I am taking you to a seafood restaurant followed by cheesecake for dessert. It is happening!!! XO

      1. I definitely want to go to NoCal! San Francisco is on my travel list but it might take me a long time to save up lol.
        I still haven’t tried the naan but I’m positive that it will taste good regardless of how I make it.
        And of course, I knew I wasn’t squeezing the water enough or something lol. But that makes total sense I’ll try that next time I make it. I’ll look up the recipe for the honey sriracha and I’ll pass it over to you lol.
        I could watch them for hours too. There are sea lion caves here in Oregon too but we haven’t gone there yet cause my kiddo was too young but I think this year or next is good.
        Ahhh that sounds goood!! Seafood and cheesecske!! ❤❤

      2. Ahhhh I can’t wait to try that honey sriracha recipe 😍 woah- sea lion caves?! I didn’t even know they had those! How neat though. Hope you are having a perfect weekend, beautiful!!!

      3. I found the recipe on pinterest but it’s really hard to share those links so I went hunting for the actual blog site that made the recipe, so here it is: https://www.pickledplum.com/house-foods-honey-sriracha-tofu/

        I don’t have rice vinegar and sesame oil handy at all times, but I was able to make the glaze without it and it still tasted AMAZING!! If you end up trying it I would love to know if you like it too! 🙂

        And yess, I think during fall season they come back, I’ll have to make a trip down there and see them because they go off during the spring LOL.

        Thanks doll! Hope your weekend is just as amazing as well! xx

  11. First of all Huge huge hugs. While circumstances are different, I can completely empathize with what you are feeling sweets. The last few weeks have been tough and overwhelming for me as well. You do not sound melodramatic I get it! It is amazing how when you force yourself to go to church or go to yoga class or just do some sort of self-care that involves connecting with others how much better you feel, and how the wisdom comes. I am the type of person who withdraws, and while it has been painful forcing myself to take that time to go to church or get on my yoga mat, it has given me the TLC and strength I need. I am so happy you got that and I hope you are able to find time to get it some more. Huge hugs.
    Congrats on Six months! That is so exciting (and they BETTER keep you!)
    Girlllll I swear I just gained like sixty pounds staring at these pictures AND I almost devoured my computer!
    I have had mochi. It is good.
    Oh my manta that flower wall is gorgeous!!!!
    Yay! I love when friends can offer advice/support/insight/ etc I am glad she helped and I can not wait to hear about your plans 🙂
    I love homemade pizza and yours looks amazing! I loved that you used naan bread as the crust!
    Awe sweetie huge huge HUGE hugs! I can not even imagine having to deal with all of that. Have I mentioned you are super woman? You really really are. You are doing things that the rest of us mere mortals can not even contemplate doing. Hugs
    I love that! It is amazing how when we have rough days, God sends us messages to brighten our day and encourage us.
    Sometimes it IS the little things that turn into bigger things!
    Ahhhh I just got all the feels! Bwahahaha you can totally endorse GoT it is BAD how good it is! 🙂
    Oh my gosh I love that deal! I have yet to go to Harry potter World but it is on my list!
    That bloody mary looks amazing! I love bloody mary’s! And I always ask for them extra spicy. Ahhh another place on the bucket list!
    And your pictures! I need to go here NOW!
    Also girl you are stunning! Seriously inside and out! AND you guys are adorable! I am so happy you guys got this day together. <3

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being so empathetic with all this. Life can be a bear, can’t it? Thanks for sharing with me that things have been a bit of a rollercoaster for you too… I hope things are settling or some calm is on the horizon!!! I send you BIG hugs too. One day at a time right?! And YES self-care makes ALL the difference. Ahhhh you are so encouraging… I don’t feel like super woman most (all) days, but thank you for the kind words! They really do encourage me, the last couple days were EXTRA rough, but these words mean the world.

      Ugh, I am milking every last episode of Game of Thrones! We only have a couple left and I am going to seriously go into a depression (or withdrawal!) when it’s over!!!

      I didn’t know you could actually ask for Bloody Mary’s extra spicy!!! Next time I’m totallly asking for that. Such a delish brunchy drink!

      Your comments are beyond making my day. I can’t even explain. Love you, K! XOXOX

      1. Ahhh I reading your comments right now is what I needed! Some Mack wisdom hit the spot! Thank you so much sweet girl! I hope today is much better for you!
        Anytime! Seriously sweets! I am here for you always! It really can be, but we WILL get through it! Thanks love. After Monday it will. This time of year is always rough and it just seems rougher some how, but I am also reminded of how blessed I am to have such amazing people in my life like you. THANK YOU. Your support and hugs means the world to me! More then words can adequately express. Exactly sweets! We will get through it!
        Huge HUGE HUGE hugs! I know you probably don’t, but from where I am standing (reading?) and I am pretty sure from everyone else perspectives, YOU are superwoman! We are all our own worst critics, but from all of our vantage points you are doing an AMAZING job! Very few people can do what you are doing and I am in awe every single day!
        I hope they get better! And I know I have said it a lot but I really do mean it I am here to listen, vent too, or even discuss GoT conspiracy theories LOL.
        Haha I love how obsessed you are! I feel like there really is an emotional detoxing period after each season.
        Yes you can! One of the spiciest most delicious bloody Mary’s I had was when I was in SF. And they made it extra spicy sooo yummy!
        Awe your comments have made my day! Love you to beauty! Hang in there! <3

      2. Oh my gosh- what you said about “this time of year is always rough”… yessss. I always get super nostalgic this time of year and I don’t know if it’s because it’s close to the time my dad passed away or holidays coming or what, but I always feel like my emotions are all over the place this time of year so I empathize BIG time. I send you such big big hugs they would knock you over. And you are superwoman, you have been through more than most I know and yet live life with the MOST zest and love everyone so deeply. Very thankful for you ❤️

        Also, I would love to hear these conspiracy theories! Eeeek! We must chat soon about them!

      3. Awe Sweets you always write the most perfect things! Thank you! And sending YOU huge huge HUGE hugs! (or as my nephew says Tackle hugs! 🙂 Awe sweets seriously you are the sweetest! I needed to read this Thank YOU for being your super sweet compassionate caring self! I am so grateful for you!
        Yes! We have to soon! SO much love sweets! I hope this week is amazing to you! <3 <3 <3

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