One Cheesy Birthday Weekend!

Happy Thursday, Everyone! I am pretty stoked to share this post. Last weekend was just so gouda!

Also, this time last week I was super overwhelmed, but I can tell ya I am feeling 100% better this week. Thank you for all your sweet words of encouragement, wisdom, and perspectives. Can’t explain how much they helped & how thankful I am for y’all! Okay onto the fun-filled weekend!!

Thursday the 10th I finished up my last blog post and enjoyed some butternut squash with vegan butter, salt, pepper and a slice of Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread as a little snack.


For dinner I made DJ a Bubba burger (his favorite at-home burger) with gruyere cheese & brussels.


I had my big ole’ salad with Nasoya marinated tofu and all the veggies in the fridge.


I also sliced up the rest of our cheesecake thingy-ma-bob from New Years to freeze. No way we could finish it all. (I took off the top layer of the cookie to finish off though, lol!).


Friday the 11th I just cranked out school work- it felt good to make a dent and get a few assignments done.

Saturday the 12th was the The Great Mac ‘N Cheese melt off at Soma StrEat Foodpark in SF. Amy and I had talked about maybe going, but I messaged her the night before unsure if I would be able to go with the school load. However, I got up extra early on Saturday, got my 10-mile training run in, finished my assignments for the day, then texted her since we could make the last couple hours!!! DJ and I hit the road taking beautiful 280 into the City.



I believe they had twelve food trucks all serving their usual food and a special mac ‘n cheese dish at each stop.


There was a Kevita stand too. I was soo thirsty after my run & the hour-drive, so I made a dash for the tent. The guys there said they weren’t actually selling them, but since they were closing they decided to give me a bottle for free- hey, I’ll take it! The apple cider vinegar is one of my faves.


The lines were CRAZY long. So the three of us split up to different trucks.


I stood in line to try the “tex mex mac” from the Grilled Cheez Guy.


It was oookay. Not the best compared to the others. The best part were the candied jalapeños on top!


Now for the good stuff! Amy stood in line to get the “almost famous” garlic (your left) and the classic with a crispy fried bacon-gruyere mac n’ cheese ball from Jackrabbit (right). Oh me oh my! They were both delicious- I could have ate that garlic one all day, but DJ’s fave was the bacon-gruyere.


Here is the inside of it! It really was so good. And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like bacon! Then again, this may have changed my mind…


The three of us all joined back up in line with DJ as we ate the dishes Amy and I grabbed. The line DJ was in was the longest at the fest- I think it took about 45 minutes to get to the front to even order. While we waited and passed other food trucks as we moved up, we grabbed a couple more dishes to sample and share.

Below was the favorite of Amy and DJ’s over all! This was probably my second favorite! It is a hot cheeto mac and cheese with corn from sip n’ slurp. Corn in mac n’ cheese is soooo goood- why is that not a common thing?!

img_7314img_7010Then The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen had some BOMB crab mac n’ cheese. Wow oh wow this was good. I loaded it up with hot sauce and that added to it- yummm.


And for what we waited a loong time for- these mac n’ cheese balls from Chef’s Food truck. These balls were deep friend m n’ cheese with truffle oil and parmesan. All I have to say is worth the wait. One of the greatest bites of anything I have ever had in my whole life. YUMMMMMMMM.


To end, we had to vote for our faves! It was hard to choose. When you entered the fest you were given a noodle to vote for your favorite dish.


We voted for Chef’s Truck, Slip n’ Slurp  & Jack Rabbit. The winner when announced were #1. Chef’s Truck (the mac n’ cheese ball- AMEN) #2. The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen (crab mac- I totally get why they placed!) and #3. JackRabbit (absolutely deserved to place, all their mac was out of this woooorld).

DJ wanted to take the long route back home. The views were stunning along the bay.


On Sunday January 13th it was my 25th bday. Cue the quarter life crisis!!! DJ got up around 5 am to go help set up venue for church, and I woke up around 6 am to join up with the welcome team. It’s such a blessing to have weekends back. I missed serving & spending time with my Church fam.


But lots of coffee was absolutely necessary!


After church, we decided to try out one of the best breakfast spots in town for a little bday brunch- Joanie’s.


This gem is a french restaurant in the heart of Palo Alto. In order to get seated you have to first put your name on the waiting list- I kind of liked this method rather than hunting down the host to put your name on the list.


We knew we’d have a crazy long wait (about an hour) so we perused the Farmer’s Market right outside for a while.


It was the most interesting & diverse Farmer’s Market I have ever been to! They had everything from dim sum dishes to avocado toast specialties and german bread. If we weren’t waiting to eat breakfast I could have found plenty to nom down on there. We’ll have to go back!


Finally time to be seated!


I ordered a Mimosa, and this is how it came! So cute. And it was less than $10. That is unheard of around here.


I ordered the Tuscana omelette with zucchini, cherry tomatoes, red onions, provolone cheese, and basil pesto sauce. Goodnessss this was good. Only second behind Bill’s epic omelette. But this was a very close second. The hash-browns were just to die for. And the blueberry muffin was easily the best muffin I have ever had. I’ve raved about it to basically everyone I have come in contact with since.


DJ had their breakfast medley and said it was one of the best brunch meals he has had in the Bay.


We LOVED Joanie’s. I would say it is a contender for the best brunch spot in the bay, yes, even up against Bill’s.


After brunch we decided to go the mall to look around. I grabbed a lolli from See’s candy of course!


When we came home I picked up the mail and found the best treat ever in it! Cyranny from Cyranny’s Cove sent the sweetest holiday greetings & it arrived right on my bday- serendipitous? I think so! It made my day! She even incorporated a little inside joke to the postage, hehe <3


In the evening I whipped up a Bubba burger for DJ & alll I wanted for my bday was mushroom & black truffle flatbread from TJ’s. I had been saving it in the freezer for my bday for a couple weeks now! I told Deej all I wanted to do was eat this flatbread, sip on some red wine, and blog for my birthday. So that is what we did!


I added some crushed red pepper and tabasco to the flatbread, and it was so yummy. Then we just opened up some cards & gifts- It was a perfect birthday & I felt so loved!!


Monday the 14th it was back to school full force and all I’ve done is school the last couples days since. We are gearing up for our marathon this weekend though. My mom and Pete are joining us in San Diego!

Questions for you:

  • Peak of your week so far?
  • Pit of your week so far?

xo <3


100 thoughts on “One Cheesy Birthday Weekend!

    1. Thank you so much, Kalpana!! 🙂 Have you been to that Farmers Market? It’s such a great one!!

    1. Hi, Jodi!! Thank you for stopping in 🙂 And heck yesss girl! I’m actually watching right now while blogging. I am loving this season actually. I didn’t think I liked Colton, but he’s grown on me.

      1. Ahhh I can’t believe I forgot Elyse. I love Elyse too- she was definitely my favorite when she had her one-on-one… but then some stuff came out about her getting DUIs (not even that long ago) and it kinda dampened my perception of her a bit :/. But I still do think she’s great!

  1. First of all – happy belated girlfriend!!

    Now back to commenting on order of this post lol. That mac and cheese all looks AMAZING!! And those fried balls look out of this world.

    $10 for a mimosa is a great price anywhere!! It looked like it was tasty too. It seems like you had a great birthday and I hope you felt lots of love.

    I can’t believe it’s your marathon weekend! You’ll do great Mackenzie!

    1. Thanks so much, Maureen!!!

      The fried mac and cheese balls surpassed any expectations- they were insanely good- I can’t even expressss. I’m actually craving them & all that mac and cheese so much right now. Can you tell I have the post marathon munchies? Lol.

      it was sooo delicious! And I love how you could basically choose your own juice/champagne ratio. Fun idea! have a great week ahead, gf!

  2. Happy happy birthday, Mack!!! I could not think of a better way to celebrate than with allthecheese, unique dishes, an epic brunch, and time with your husband. You look gorgeous, and I wish you the best this year! 25 looks amazing on you. 🙂

    1. hey, Ashley! Girl, I hope you filled up on some yummy mac n’ cheese after reading this 🙂 Thanks for the sweet birthday wishes. Have a great week ahead!

  3. Awww, girl, Happy Birthday!!!! I kind of can’t believe you’re only 25, because you just live life to the fullest (in ways that most people really don’t start doing until they’re in their 30’s). Love that! It sounds like it was the perfect day. I pray that this upcoming year is filled with so much joy and happiness for you, as well as lots of delicious, fun adventures!! 🙂
    So the highlight of the week? Literally, this blog post! Both kids are recovering from a chest cold and fell asleep on the couch, so I am sitting here at my table and sipping on coffee. And I was going to read the news (depressing!), only to see a new blog post from you. Seeing a blog post from you is like picking up one of my favorite magazines… I love the puns, the joy, the pictures, the travel adventures, and the food. Girl, I just love you as a person; because you’re beautiful inside and out!!!
    Happy, happy birthday!!!

    1. Oh my gosh, I don’t even know where to start!!!! Your comments ALWAYS encourage me more than you know!! I screen shotted this and sent it to DJ saying, “This is the best bday present ever!!” Thank you for the sweetest bday wishes & the kindest words. You are such a light to me, Nicole- I look up to you a ton and just grasp onto everything you say. The fact that you take the time out of your crazy schedule to read this blog is mind-boggling to me, but so special. Thank you, thank youuu. I hope the kids are feeling 100% better now & you have just the best week ahead. I don’t have the words for how much this comment means to me <3

      1. I don’t have the words to thank YOU for your sweet comments about my comment! 🙂 Except to say you always brighten MY day, and you motivate and encourage me to embrace life and the moment. You rock!!

  4. Happy belated birthday, Mackenzie!!!! I love everything about this post! All that mac and cheese… OH MY GOODNESS! All of the different types of mac and cheese looks divine! I wouldn’t know which I’d want to try first! It sounds like your birthday was everything that you wanted! What a yummy brunch choice!

    Good luck on your marathon!! Can’t wait to hear about it!

    1. Aw thank you, Em!!! We definitely felt overwhelmed at all the options at first- but I am glad there were three stomachs between the three of us to sample so many!
      Thank you tons for stopping by 🙂 Hope you had a wonderful weekend & have a great week ahead too!

  5. Mac n cheese is the bestttttt! I would love for a mac n cheese festival to come to knoxvegas!

    HAPPY belated BIRTHDAY!!!!!!! What a fantastic birthday brunch, and I love that you kept it low-key. Sometimes that is just the best.

    Wishing you a great Friyay eve!

    1. Ohhh I do hope it makes it’s way to Knoxvegas soon too!! Gosh, it was so much fun!

      Thank you tons, Kaci 🙂 a couple years ago I started really appreciating low-key birthdays. So nice & easy. Have a great week ahead & thank you for taking the time to read all these posts!

    1. Cannot go wrong with mac n’cheese! It was a great day for sure 🙂 Thanks for stopping by & have a great week ahead!

  6. Yay, Mack! I am so happy to hear that you’re feeling all better now! ♡ That mac & cheese fest looks insane! Wow! How fun that you got to vote for your favorite at the end. Was your #1 favorite the mac & cheese balls?

    The brunch at Joanie’s looks so darn tasty!! Mmm!! So nice that there’s a farmer’s market you can walk through while you wait.

    Happy belated birthday, beautiful girl!! ♡♡♡

    1. Thank you so much, love!!! Gosh, it was so hard to decide. I think the Chef’s truck mac and cheese balls were the ULTIMATE yumz. And then for actual mac and cheese I’d say the garlic was my second fave.

      I was so glad the Farmer’s Market was there to keep us preoccupied too! I think I would have gone too stir crazy twiddling my thumbs- it was a long wait.

      Thank you so much, Hunida! <3

  7. Happy belated birthday! 🙂 Looks like you had a lovely time and you looked lovely 🙂 And a mac and cheese festival!? What kind of sorcery is this? And why have I never heard of something like that before!

    1. Hi, Sarah! Thanks for stopping in, girl. I have all your blog posts opened up in my tabs to read when life calms down! okay LOL— that mac and cheese fest was insane! It was soo goood. Truly mac n’ cheese magic! Hope you can experience one sooon! xo

  8. Happy belated birthday!!!!! Oh my goodness. A mac and cheese festival- I was drooling on myself looking at your pictures. So delicious! Your breakfast looks amazing too!!!! Best wishes on your upcoming marathon!!!!!

    1. Thank you so much, Shan!! <3 The mac n' cheese fest was just next level. So appreciate this encouragement, girlie. Have a great week!

  9. Happy belated birthday Mackenzie – I wrote it down and missed it … I’ll do better for #26. Such a gouda time you had – great pun and great pics of all this mac and cheese. I liked seeing them all and very difficult to pick as I love mac and cheese too. P.S. – Am I the only person in the world who has never had avocado toast?

    1. Thank you, Linda!! Oh my gosh, no worries- these birthday wishes are just as amazing 🙂 Especially since you caught my pun 😉 Hehe- okay I usually don’t try to push agendas on anyone- but you’ve gotttta try avocado toast soon! I wish I could make you my “famous” avocado toast as my mom calls it with a very specific fluffy pita bread, hummus, avocado, pink Himalayan sea salt, and pepper. If you are ever in Norcal stop on by & I’ll whip ya some up!! xo

      1. Thank you for the invitation to try your “famous” avocado toast Mackenzie – I must try some in the interim and see what everyone is humming about!

    1. Aw, thank you, Jinjer 🙂 The mac and cheese was top notch! I’m glad it worked out to go. Have a great week ahead!

  10. Happy birthday. My husband LOVES mac and cheese, so this would have been his kind of competition. The crab one sounded interesting!

    1. Thank you so much, Katy!!! Ah I hope they bring a big mac n’ cheese fest to ya soon! The crab was very good- definitely have to like crab to enjoy that dish, but it’s a goood one (needs the hot sauce though!). Have a great week ahead & thank you for stopping by!!

  11. What a lovely birthday you had! Happy Belated Birthday! Your mimosa was so cute!
    And I would have loved that Mac n Cheese Fest!
    Happy Marathon to you both!

    1. Hi, Nancy!! Thank you so much 🙂 That mimosa was one of the best I’ve ever had- so yummy and cute! Thank you for stopping by and the sweet words ! have a great week ahead!

  12. A 10 miler is the perfect pre-game activity for a mac and cheese binge. 🙂

    There are so many things from this post that I want to eat (and drink), but I think the blueberry muffin is my #1.

    1. it seriously is!! I was ready to chowww down.

      You would make a great choice- that blueberry muffin was easily one of (if not THE) single best muffin I’ve ever had. I don’t know what they put into it– but WOW.

  13. Oh I’m so happy to hear that this week of school was so much better than last week!! Yay! It’s amazing the difference a week can make.
    That mac & cheese melt-off event looks AMAZING. I mean, I would have been on Cloud 9 lol. Oh my gosh, all of them look so so so good! I love all the variations, too! Some of them are pretty creative, like putting corn in the mac. I’ve never heard of that!
    Happy belated birthday, Mackenzie! It sounds like you had a great day! I hope this is a wonderful year for you! <3

    1. Thanks, girl!! It TRULY was cloud 9! Okay- next time you have mac and cheese, throw in some corn- game changer!

      Aw thank you for the great birthday wishes <3 Have a wonderful week ahead!

  14. Happy belated birthday, Mack! 💖 wishing you all the best in everything!

    I see you had a great great time with all the yummy food!

    Farmer’s market there looks so tidy and neat compare to here! Love it!

    Wow those mac & cheeseee! I am now craving for it! 😋

    1. Thank you so much, love!!! That farmer’s market was a very tidy one! I have never really been to one quite like it. Thanks for stopping in girl- have a great week. Oh, and I hope it involves mac n’ cheese. xox

  15. Girl!! I forgot how tasty it is to just watch your food pictures haha! Everything looks soooo good!! You must have an amazing metabolism! I gain weight by just looking at that ooey gooey cheese… YUMM! xoxo Sarah

    1. tehehe! I actually don’t have the best metabolism, but I am in marathon training so that helps a ton! 😉 Have a great week (hopefully full of something yummy & cheesy!) . Thanks for stopping in, m’love! xo

  16. What a wonderful birthday it looks like you had!!!!!!! Happy Birthday!!!!

    You are seriously one of the cutest humans, I love being getting to see a sneak peek into your week! And that cheese festival looked amazing.

    Sending prayers your way with all the school work – I am right there with ya!

    Peak of the week: Snow day Sunday that resulted in lots of coffee and time with my family.
    Pit of the week: Hmmmm… I can’t think of one! That must be a good thing right?!?!

    Hah! Happy Birthday again! You are such a light!!!


    1. Awwwwww oh my gosh, thank you girlie!!! This just made my morning reading this! Good luck with all your school work too <3

      A snow day sounds sooo delightful! And heck ya- I'm so glad there is no pit for youuu! Have such a great week, girlie.


  17. Oh my goodness — a mac ‘n’ cheese taste test sounds like sooo much fun! And I agree — corn in mac ‘n’ cheese is one of the best combinations! One of our church friends used to make a cheesy macaroni and corn casserole when I was growing up; it was definitely one of my favorite dishes. I finally got the recipe (I think when I was in college, or maybe even after I was married — haha!) and now I veganize it to still get that deliciousness. Hehe…now I want to go make some!
    Happy Belated Birthday!!! And I’m so excited to hear more about the marathon!

    1. I don’t know how I haven’t known of the amazing deliciousness that is corn in mac until now! It’s SO good!! That macaroni and corn casserole sounds mighty yummy! I love that you can veganize it too- mmm mmm! Thanks for stopping in, Lauren 🙂 Have a great week! xo

  18. Happy Belated Birthday, Mackenzie!! 💛Omg, all of the food looks SO delicious!! Now I’m craving mac & cheese so badly LOL!!! The mac & cheese balls sound especially yummy!! Awesome post, hon!! x

    1. Hi, Nunzia!! Thank you so much for stopping in & the birthday wishes 🙂 Hope you found some yummy mac n’ cheese after this. have a great day ! xo

  19. What an awesome birthday celebration, Mack. Yay!! Happy birthday. 💜 Joanie’s sounds amazing, and how cool that you blogged and hung out with DJ.

    Congrats on getting your school work done. If you get overwhelmed in the future, feel free to email me at I can give you some cool meditations, etc. And a prayer!

    Blessings to you, Mack. Have a great week.

    1. Aw thank you so much for stopping in, Debbie, and the sweet birthday wishes & offer to e-mail!!!! Have a great week ahead. I so appreciate youuu! <3

    1. Hi, Rosie!!! It was so much fun, and I’m thankful we were able to go! Thank you so much for stopping in 🙂

    1. hehe- thanks for stopping by, Sophia!! The mimosa was truly the cherry on top of a wonderful birthday 🙂

  20. Hi mackenzie, I am glad you are feeling better! Thay raisin bread and butternut squash look so good! DJ’s brussels sprout look done to perfection, and that cheesecake mmm! The mac and cheese melt off seems like my kind of place to hang out. 12 trucks is a big number. Plenty of choice. I like the look of the one with the hot sauce and the parmesan. Great pics by the cheese Me sign! Love your outfit!! Happy 25th Birthday lady! I didn’t even get you a gift!! Joanie’s is such a cute place from the pics and the best pic is of the Birthday Girl! The Mimosa look so good too. You picked a good item in the tuscana omlette. The hash browns and muffins are a favorite of mine too! Peak of the week is “the Weekend” Pit of the week is the cold temps and whats coming, see latest post! Have a great weekend, Terri xo.

    1. Hi, Terri! Thank you so very much 🙂 Sometimes eating pureed butternut squash makes me feel like I’m eating baby food- but it’s sooo good – like really think soup haha. & I discovered how well the raisin bread goes with it on accident because it was all I had to eat in the house one day haha. Hot sauce on anything basically goes – especially on mac n’ cheese! I discovered that this year & now if I ever have it without the hot sauce it feels like something is missing. Oh my gosh- your friendship here is the ultimate gift! I am so thankful for you! You seriously always brighten my day big time. I just so wish we could get coffee or wine together for real- one day, right?!

      Stay safe & warm! I know the weather has been a bit nuts lately <3 xo

      1. It is good to discover food combos on accident sometimes! Aww it is sweet of you to say about our friendship! I will stay safe and keep warm, thank you Mackenzie, hugs, Terri xo.

  21. Happy birthday sweet lady!!!!
    I’m so glad you had a great birthday and are feeling like you can catch your breath again.
    So i’m super jealous of all the mac and cheese you got to try, and my mouth was watering looking at all the pics lol.
    It’s so amazing to see your heart for service and your excitement to be The Lord’s hands and feet. Your faith is truly inspiring!!

    1. Thank you sooo much, Grace! <3 I hope you were able to hunt down some yummy mac n' cheese this weekend :) Thank you for your sweet words- you are so encouraging to me, friend. Have the most wonderful week! XOX

  22. Just stumbled on your blog and thought I would wish you a happy birthday!! As everyone else has already said, that mac and cheese looks to die for! Also, your lululemon shorts and new sneakers are so cute! Anyway, glad to see you had a nice birthday weekend! 🙂

    1. Hi, Brittany! Oh my goodness- thank you for taking the time to stop by <3 Have such a great week, girl!

  23. First off happy belated birthday! It looks like you had a great 25th birthday 😄
    Also there’s a such thing as a mac & cheese melt off?! I want to go!!! The food looks delicious especially those mac & cheese balls!
    Like you I’ve just been busy with school, but I always keep my weekends free.

    1. Thank you so much, Karalee! Can’t have a bad birthday with tons of mac n’ cheese, right?! 😉 I wish you could have joined us!! Hope school treats ya well this week ! Thanks for stopping by, love

  24. “Last weekend was just so gouda” hahah. You are the best, you know that? So Jimmy was sitting by me while I read this post and I had to tell him that DJ’s fave burger at home is a Bubba Burger because that’s Jimmy’s too!! He’s slightly obsessed and won’t let me buy any other brand, haha!

    Happy (belated) 25th birthday! I hope this year is AMAZING for you! <3

    1. hehe- aw I’m so glad you appreciate my silly puns!! 😉

      Ahhh no way!!! I didn’t know other people really knew the amazing-ness of Bubba, but DJ is obsessed. I am sitting by him now & told him that Jimmy likes them too! So fun!

      Aww thanks, Allie 🙂 Have a wonderful week ahead!!!

  25. Omg a mac and cheese fest?! Loooveeee!! I’ve tried mac with corn and topped it with hot cheetos from Mac’d! SO good! I hope you go to that place soon, I think you might really like it!
    Omg happy belated birthday!!! I wish I would have known when your birthday was so I could have sent you a card or something! Next year! Lol. Tell me again the day*? I need to write it down in my calendar. 😉
    That mimosa looks so good. Can you believe I still never had one? Want to lol. Your breakfast looks incredible! I feel bad for myself sometimes because we cant go to places like that with CL. The wait times are killer. Such an impatient boy lol.
    I love how you spent your birthday with your simplicity. I’ve been doing more of that over the years and I like it better! 🙂
    Peak of the week….CL has been so cute and loveable. 💜
    Pit of the week…. just stress from everyday life like always haha but I’ve been able to manage a lot better since we last talked (wrote?) 😉 you’re the best! 💜

    1. YESS oh my gosh the hot cheetos & corn mac was sooo goood, I’ve craved that once since. I could go for it right now actually haha- gotta plan a trip to Mac’d!!! Aww you are too sweet, I never really care too much about the ole’ bday, but it’s January 13th! Oh my gosh, mimosas are too fun!! One day, one day you will have the independence back to do more.. I’m sure in just a few years when he is a bit older it will all be so different!

      I agreee- that’s how I’ve celebrated my last few too & it’s just so nice. Every time I try to plan a big to-do it just ends up being stressful, and all I really want is a yummy dinner & some red wine & dessert of course. Easy peasy!

      Awwwww I so love hearing that!! he is so precious.

      Also sooo happy to hear that too! Have such a great rest of the weekend, Rossy 🙂

      1. When you go let me know if you like it! I’ve already had Mac’d twice and I still want more lol.
        Ah omg I’ll be sure to write it into my journal for next year!!
        Lol I hear ya! Who wants big birthdays every single year? Maybe for the big ones but that’s it. I’ll have to think of something to do for my 30th, that’s a big one. Lol. I got a few more years haha

      2. Ahhh I have to choose a day to go to the city to try it. My mouth truly waters at the thought. I’d be putting hot cheetos on mine no doubt about it!

        Totally agree! I probably will do 30th for the next big one too! For now we’ll both just enjoy these twenties! xo

    1. Haha yess cannot go wrong with cheese 🙂 Thank you tons- it was so lovely. Have a great weekend, Helena!

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