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Birthday Weekend at Home

July 27, 2016

Last weekend I went home to visit my mom and pup and to celebrate my 25th birthday with them. After a lot of traffic from Seattle, we made it home Thursday night and I walked in the kitchen to see this beautiful birthday cake! I requested the same cake mom made last year, Minimalist Baker’s Chocolate Hazelnut Cake (GF + Vegan), it’s SO good and moist and mom puts hazelnuts between the layers for an extra crunch too.

bday cake

The perfect birthday cake in my opinion.

bday cake blow out

We lit the outside candles first…*facepalm*

bday cake light up

I love three layer cakes because you get more frosting! So moist.

bday cake slice

The next day, mom and I went blueberry picking at her friend’s blueberry farm. We went at the peak of blueberry season so the berries were plentiful.

blueberry tunnel

I love overalls and I’m so glad they’re in style again!

blueberry picking 2

blueberry picking berries

Momma bear picking berries.

blueberry picking mom

blueberry heaven

We ended up picking 19 POUNDS of blueberries in about 2 hours. They cost me about $45 bucks but totally worth it for a freezer full of berries. My mom picked for me but she is actually going to work for her friend (who owns the farm) a few days this summer in exchange for blueberries so she’ll get her freezer filled too! We’re like squirrels trying to tuck away enough for winter.

blueberry haul

Blueberry farms are so familiar and comforting for me, I have been picking since I could walk!

blueberry farm

We got some of the bugs and leave out but definitely not all of them!

blueberry cleaning

blueberry cleaning 3

blueberry cleaning 2

Ready to be weighed!

blueberries so many!

Aren’t they beautiful?

blueberries closeup

After getting our blueberries tucked away, it was time to feed my mom’s rabbit, Gandalf, some kale. He’s so funny to watch chomping away and he’s got major bunny sass.

bunny eats kale

This is the only photo he doesn’t look like an oversized, grey, unidentifiable cotton ball!


I love visiting home in the summer because, besides all the animals, there is a bounty of fruits to pick. My mom has a huge fig tree in the garden and I love to get the fruit picker and try to pick them which is quite hard because they are so squishy and high up.


Backyard flowers.

pond flower

My little muffin by the pond

gryph at pond

Unfortunately, I missed the first round of raspberries and this was like the only berry left in the garden, bummer!

single raspberry

This little weirdo…


gryphon 2

Rub-a-dub in the tub

gryphon in tub

The reason for the above bath is because my mom got the great idea to do a professional photoshoot with my sweet Gryphon at JC Penney! Since Gryphy is getting old, it was really fun to do this together and Gryphon was the star of the show, he really is photogenic, don’t you think? Of course, mom had to hold a squeaky toy over the photographers head.











We bought the biggest package of photos so I have some hardcopies coming soon, I’m so excited to frame them and put them all over my apartment. I would highly suggest getting a JC Penney shoot with your furry loved one (Ann, that means you!).

Anyways, I hope you got through this long post! Thanks for reading 🙂

Life, Travel

A Weekend in Port Townsend

July 24, 2016

The weekend before my 25th birthday, I went to visit my grandparents in Port Townsend with my dad. They bought a house in town and now live just a hop, skip and a jump from downtown (and, most importantly, the food co-op!). I love PT because it’s quite a small town with lots of pretty gardens, houses and the population of deer rivals the humans!


I went for a long weekend so this post is pretty long and has a lot of food. My grandma wanted me to try out this almond cake recipe, it’s GF and just uses almond flour, sugar, olive oil, eggs and an orange and lemon.


It’s baked in a springform pan and the batter looks pretty oily but it smells heavenly like orange/lemon. This is a pre-baking picture:


We decided to use a cheap paper doily as a stencil for a powdered sugar topping, it turned out so pretty!


The cake is super duper moist and tastes so citrusy and delicious. It’s a very Italian recipe and you could definitely find something similar in a high end bakery.


My grandparents’ dog Blacky, wanted a piece (of anything)!



For lunch, we had the best kale salad ever (GF), cantaloupe and prosciutto for the meat-eaters and a fresh loaf of whole wheat sourdough bread–the best thing in the world.


This whole wheat sourdough bread made me want to try my hand at sourdough, I am hoping a bakery in Seattle might give me some of their starter.


The best kale salad and a apple kombucha made in Oregon. I highly recommend making this salad, you will become addicted. It does have dairy from the cheese and really shouldn’t go without it but maybe a modification could be made.


On Friday night for my birthday dinner we went to Sweet Laurette Cafe and Bistro. It’s a cute little restaurant and I have been there before and the food is really good but the service is always quite slow, it took us about an hour to get our appetizer…



I got the pan-seared sea scallops and it was so delicious and very filling!


We shared the creme brûlée for dessert but I really wanted some traditional birthday cake so my granny was kind enough to go on a cake hunt with me. We found two pieces of locally made cake at the food co-op — chocolate with cream cheese frosting and ganache and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Both were super good.


The next morning was graced with homemade blueberry sourdough pancakes. The batter must be prepared the night before and it is very bubbly.


They turned out great and we made a homemade plum sauce to go on top.


I think I might have eaten about 15 pancakes…


After pancakes we went on a walk and went to the plant nursery and got this plant. Isn’t this an interesting flower? They are edible and would look so pretty in a salad.


We take a lot of walks when we visit…I trail behind and take pictures 🙂


Friendly–terribly excited–neighborhood pup


There are blackberry bushes everywhere so I kept stopping to snack like a deer. I would love to be a deer in PT because there are so many fruit trees/bushes!


The houses are very victorian and pretty:


The gardens are amazing:


My granny Ann knows everyone in town so we stopped by some of her friends houses. This is Kipper who is a Havanese like Gryphon, my pup.


Pretty flowers everywhere!


Stare-down with a buck. This is with no zooming in and it actually made me a bit nervous because I was so close and he was staring me down hard. Maybe he was just saying hello or looking deep into my soul or maybe he was about to charge. I took this picture and then ran away ha ha.


More flowers.


After our long walk, we stopped at the farmer’s market to get salmon sandwiches from the Cape Cleare Salmon stand.


These sandwiches are TO DIE FOR. A big fillet of fresh salmon on the best chewy bread with tartar sauce in-between. I could eat this everyday.


This is the view from the docks downtown:


Another walk we went on led to a nice beach where Blacky took a chilly swim. He likes to lay down in the water for a few seconds and then get up, like a weirdo.


Action shot! For a senior dog, he is quite athletic.


For my last dinner, we went to Hillbottom Pie which has the BEST caesar salad I have ever had (and I have had a lot). I would describe it as juicy and super cheesy. Juicy is a weird word to describe a salad but you really should try it.


My grandparents and I split the white pizza which has: Basil walnut pesto, blended ricotta, aged mozzarella, kalamata olives and parmesan. It’s very tasty and very rich. Two slices were plenty for me.


I’ll leave you with this deer picture. You can tell how comfortable the deer are in town, they just walk where ever they want and eat whatever they want (aka everything you try to grow in the garden!).



Life Lately…

June 16, 2016

I went home to Olympia because I had my half-marathon so I got to see my sweet senior pup Gryphon. He’s about 14 years old now and he is getting cataracts now 🙁 He does get more handsome with age though. This is the only non-blurry picture I took, he’s so hard to photograph!


My mom tried to get a picture of the two of us but all them turned out blurry except for this one and I had to hold Gryphon down so thats why he looks all awkward!


This is my mom’s angora rabbit, Gandalf, he’s really cute and huge, like the same size as Gryphon! He always seems kinda of cranky to me though.


One more of me and Gryphon, this was the morning after my half marathon. Gryphon’s wearing his fancy bow tie 🙂


Right after my half marathon. It was really hard and I pulled a muscle or something in my hip so the last couple miles were really tough but I made it under my goal time so I was happy.


Me and my parents 🙂 My dad ran with me up one of the big hills for support.


HUGE stack of post-run pancakes at the Spar restaurant. They were soooo good and probably made up for all the calories I just burned lol!


The best restaurant I went to recently is called Araya’s, it’s a vegan thai restaurant and they have several locations in Seattle. My dad and I tried it out and we both loved it! The inside is really cute too.


One side of the menu:


I ordered the thai tea with coconut milk which is delicious.


For an appetizer, we got the mango cashew tofu salad and it was so tasty!


For my main dish, I ordered the avocado curry which had both seitan and tofu in a green curry and it is probably the best curry I have ever had. I only managed to eat like a quarter of it because the cashew salad was very filling.



Even though I was super full, when I saw mango sticky rice on the menu, I just had to have it and it was totally worth the belly ache.


My BF came to visit me for memorial day weekend and we went to Din Tai Fung which is always yummy. I got fish dumplings and two veggie buns.


Handsome man:


Number one dumpling lover:


It was such a beautiful, hot weekend so we decided to go kayaking on Lake Union! I can’t believe I’ve never done this before, it’s so easy, cheap and fun.


You do have to watch where you paddle though, lots of boats and water planes in Lake Union!


Greg doesn’t look happy haha but he was having fun splashing me…


Health, Life

Whole30: Day Twenty

April 10, 2016

It’s already time for my day twenty update on the Whole30! It came around so fast, I can’t believe I’m almost done with this program. If you are a newcomer, get caught up on my initial Whole30 post as well as my day five update and day ten update.

How I feel right now:

Good! I feel pretty healthy. The only bother I have right now is remnants of a cold that I got last week. I ran 9 miles yesterday and it felt pretty good so my running doesn’t seem to be suffering. I have been sleeping good as well.

What I’ve been eating:

A ton of eggs, veggies and fruit. I also tried making my own mayo and it turned out perfect (shout-out to my vita-mix), it became so fluffy that my blender stopped being able to blend! I followed the instructions on this recipe. Be sure to read all the tips like using light olive oil (not EVO). This came together in about 2 minutes and is super easy to make!


I mixed the homemade mayo with chives and lemon juice and put it on some cod o bake with sweet potatoes.


I also used the mayo to make deviled eggs for one lunch, so amazing! On the side we have a roasted sweet potato with guacamole.


My current favorite kombucha flavor is this superfruit one. It has yummy black currant juice.


My favorite weekend breakfast consists of homemade hashbrowns (throw some potatoes in the vita-mix to shred and then pan fry with olive oil) with scrambled eggs, TJ’s salsa verde (the best!!), TJ’s regular red salsa, sauerkraut and half an avocado. Mix everything together and enjoy the most flavorful, filling breakfast ever! I like to have a side of fruit as well, my oranges have been gross and dry lately so I have moved on to strawberries and bananas.


Another use of the homemade mayo: tuna salad with green onions, avocado and kale salad. I LOVE tuna but I try to only eat it once a week maximum because of the mercury content.


A new favorite snack: jicama! Well, not really new actually, I used to eat jicama all the time when I was little but I forgot about it for twenty years or so haha. I love jicama because it is almost like a fruit to me, it’s kind of sweet, crunchy and mostly water but it’s a vegetable so I can eat as much as I want! It’s basically like a less-sweet watermelon. Yesterday I went to Whole Foods to get some fruit and veg and I asked if they had jicama and the produce guy said “wait a second, I’ll go look in the back”. He came back out with this enormous root (jicama is a root) the size of my whole head! I was a little shocked because I have never seen jicama in its natural form so I asked how much it was since it felt like it weighed ten pounds and he said $1.99 a pound which would make it around $20! We both laughed at the crazy thought that I would spend $20 on one vegetable and I asked him to take it back to the “back”. Sorry jicama root, one day I’ll be able to buy you but for now I’ll be sticking to TJ’s $2.99 snack box.



Still eating an ungodly amount of fruit…I could try to control it more I think but  fruit isn’t bad for you and I love it so I’m going to keep eating it. I finally decided to stop buying dates for a little bit because I was eating a lot of them with almond butter and it’s supposed to be an occasional snack not an every single night snack so if I don’t buy them I won’t be tempted.

In other news, I went to the tulip festival with my dad last weekend, so beautiful! It was cloudy but still amazing to see. If you are in the Skagit Valley area of Washington sometime in late March/April you should check it out for sure!

IMG_4342 IMG_4340 IMG_4336


I’ll see you in 10 days for my final Whole30 update!


Life, What I Ate Wednesday

Whole30: Day Ten (WIAW)

March 30, 2016

Hello! I’m back again for another update on my Whole30 program experiment. If you want to catch up, here is my first post and my day five update. First, look at this beautiful day we are having in Seattle! First sunny day in FOREVER. So excited not to run in the freezing cold rain anymore!

How I feel right now:

I feel sick actually. I contracted a cold from somewhere! This is upsetting because I rarely ever get sick, like I can’t remember the last time I was sick and it happens when I’m apparently eating the healthiest I’ve ever eaten! Also, I’m bummed because I feel very tired so my runs haven’t been going well this week 🙁 Oh well, I”ll give myself a rest day from the gym today probably since I feel a little feverish also and hopefully this goes away soon! OTHERWISE, I feel good and my skin is really clear and glowy! Still falling asleep pretty fast but I have been waking up in the middle of the night the last few nights, I think it’s because I’m eating too much sugar (fruit) before bed…

What I’ve been eating:

Lots of good stuff! Here is what I ate today:

Breakfast: Delicious kale sweet potato egg muffins that I kind of just winged as far as the recipe. I also had some snap peas and strawberries.


Lunch: My favorite easy lunch, tuna with avocado and crushed almonds with kale salad and balsamic vinaigrette (homemade). Also had some red bell pepper slices.


Snack: According to the Whole30 rules, you are supposed to avoid snacking but sorry, I just can’t go without eating for 5 hours in-between lunch and dinner yet! I’m missing a veggie here also, but I had extra at lunch so maybe that makes up for it? 😉


Dinner: I’m going to have a sweet potato baked with guac and a couple eggs mixed with sauerkraut! My grandma bought me some fancy locally made kraut and I have been enjoying it so much! I also got some fresh eggs from her neighbor, score! Notice the dirt/poop on them below ha ha. I really wish I had some pet chickens, nothing beats a fresh egg and the difference between the store ones and fresh are quite noticeable.



My “dessert” will probably be a few dates stuffed with almond butter, ugh, I can’t get enough of them!


Eating too much fruit still, like tummy hurts too much. Going to try to just have one serving of fruit with each of my three meals instead of also as snacks. Also, I find myself hungry between meals a lot so I think my meals are too small. I’m going to try to make my three meals bigger so I’m not reaching for snacks in-between.

In other news, I got an odd package in the mail yesterday and opened it and it was a medal from the hot chocolate run I did a few weeks ago! I didn’t know getting third place in my age group got a medal! What a nice surprise…a rare surprise since I never win anything! 🙂


Have you ever won anything?

Have a wonderful Wednesday and thank you for hosting Arman!

Health, Life

Whole30: Day Five

March 25, 2016

If you didn’t see my first post, I am doing the Whole30 this month. Today is day five and I have to say, it’s not as hard as I though it would be (so far!) but I haven’t had any social outings that involve restaurants yet or any work functions with food. I have just been eating at home and bringing lunches so that has been relatively easy so far.

How I feel right now

Good. However my workouts haven’t been totally on par. I was supposed to run 5 miles on Tuesday and Thursday (treadmill). Tuesday was tough but I pulled through and did all five. Yesterday was awful though and I felt pretty weak and only did 4. My body is probably still adjusting, even though I’ve been eating lots of carbs so I’ll give it another week of training before I come to any conclusions.

Other than the workouts, I feel pretty good! A little more awake in the morning and less brain fog I think. Also I have been falling asleep faster than usual. I have been eating a lot of fruit (along with my meals as required!) so I have felt a little bloaty from all the fiber I think. On another note, my skin has been a little softer and better than usual with no new blemishes! Interesting…

What I’ve been eating

This week my menu was: Kale and olive egg frittata muffins and strawberries for breakfast (I did have a banana also some days…); Trader Joes kale and cabbage salad mix (no dressing, forgot it everyday!) with avocado and coconut shrimp patties and pineapple for lunch and salmon with broccoli and a roasted sweet potato with some salsa and guac for dinner with a whole mango afterwards (obsessed with mangos right now). Before my runs and workouts I either had some pistachios, an apple with a little almond butter or two dates with almond butter -> these are amazing! You can see the recipes I used in my first post!

IMG_4251 IMG_4252


I ate a bit too much fruit I think and today I had a snack at 11am of just pistachios instead of the suggested “mini-meal” which should have a protein, veg and a fat. Oops! I just love fruit so much but I don’t want fruit to replace veggies so I’ll add more veggies next week.

Today I am going to my grandparents house for the Easter weekend. I let them know about my program and they were very supportive. Rumor has it we’ll be having scallops and coleslaw. Yum! Also for lunch today I ran out of coconut shrimp patties so I’ll be having a delicious kale salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette, walnuts and a few raisins with half an avocado mixed with a can of tuna. Now I have to run to the grocery store to get my tuna! Once I have my meal plan for next week I’ll post another update.

Eating, Health, Life

I’m doing the Whole30!

March 22, 2016

I decided I need to do something new and refreshing and instead of quitting my job and moving to Thailand…I am experimenting with my diet for 30 days! (doesn’t sound as fun as Thailand huh?). Today is DAY ONE of the Whole30 program. I had read about the Whole30 before but originally nixed the idea because I thought you had to be an omnivore to do it. However, upon further reading, they have programs for vegans/vegetarians as well and since I am a pescatarian I can balance between the two perfectly. For those of you that have never heard of the Whole30, below is the omnivore shopping list which shows exactly what you should eat. The big no-no’s are no added sugar, dairy, alcohol, grains, legumes, carrageenan/MSG/Sulfites, and no re-creating baked goods or treats with approved ingredients so you can continue your junk foods ways in a way.

The vegan/vegetarian one allows some tofu and tempeh. Since tempeh is fermented and more easily digested than tofu or soy products in general, I will be allowing it.


As you can see, as a pescatarian, I will be eating a lot of eggs, seafood and veggies with a side of nuts and fruit. Honestly it’s pretty similar to my normal diet except the added sugars (I love peanut butter chocolate chip cookies!) and grains (my daily oatmeal..kinda awkward since it’s the name of my blog lol!). Anyways, I’m pretty excited because I have never cut out anything for 30 days and I am looking forward to some of the good results the program is known for like more energy, better sleeping, less mood swings, etc. One thing I want to be clear on, this is not a diety diet! Meaning it’s not to lose weight or anything. You are not supposed to weigh yourself and eat as much as you like to be full during the 30 days. I am not doing this to lose weight but I do hope that I feel less bloated which happens after I eat certain foods like PB, dairy and legumes.

Mostly, the reason I’m doing this is because I have been feeling really sluggish and kind of run-down lately. Since I started running more and going to the gym 6 days a week, I eat a lot more of course but I have been picking sugary foods instead of real food and now I’m feeling the results. I’m really good at following schedules generally (out of the fear of failing!) so I think I will stick to this very well and thus feel really good and healthy in 30 days.

Here are my day one meals:


Strawberries and veggie egg frittata muffins, based on this recipe.

day 1 bfastbreakfasts!


Coconut shrimp patties with avocado and kale salad mix and pineapple

day 1 lunch

shrimp coconut patties


Salmon patty with steamed broccoli

dinner day 1


A delicious mango plus un-pictured pistachios and a la croix water


 What do you think about the Whole30? Would you try it?


Friday Favorites 3.18.16

March 18, 2016

Whew I’m so glad it’s Friday! It’s been a long week. I’ve been training for a half-marathon and taking a project management class so between that and working full-time I am pooped! At least I have been falling asleep fast, so there’s a bright side. I found a Friday Favorites link-up on a great blog I read, Life in Leggings, so I am linking up with her today, thank you Heather! Here are some of the things I have been enjoying lately:

  1. The Joe Rogan Experience podcast – This podcast certainly isn’t for everyone since it has some bad language but it’s pretty funny and I like learning about each person he interviews. Joe Rogan is a comedian and he basically just talks to people for like 2-3 hours about random stuff or what they specialize in. Me and my boyfriend enjoyed this one with Mark Sisson who follows a paleo diet that has made his body primarily burn fat instead of carbs, interesting stuff! I listen to these episode when I run and on long car rides.


2. This Strength Training Anatomy book by Frederic Delavier. I’m really into this subject recently and it’s cool to see exactly what muscles are being worked in certain exercises. I’ve been focusing on the back workouts section a lot because I want to strengthen my back and I don’t think I currently do enough back exercises. This book also tells you how to properly do  the basic strength training exercises.


3. These adorable Steve Madden lace-up ballet flats! This style is really popular right now. I just got these in black in the mail and they are super comfy and cute! I want multiple colors now. Nordstrom only has a few colors left though.


4. I’m really digging these Rise protein carob chip bars recently. I splurged and got a box from Vitacost last week. They only have FOUR ingredients: almonds, honey, carob powder and whey protein isolate. One bar has 260 calories, 15g fat, 22g carbs, 5g fiber, 15g sugar and 17g protein. Sure, they are kinda high in sugar but at least they have minimally processed ingredients and the best part is that they taste good! Hard to describe but kind of chocolatey and they are very solid lol like pretty dense, which I like. Makes me feel like I’m eating a hearty snack!


5. As far as beauty goes, I have recently started slathering this Argan oil on my face at night in hopes of staying forever young haha…and I think it’s working! My face feels soft and has a more even skin tone. Plus, it shouldn’t break anyone out because argan oil has a comedogenic rating of 0, which means it will not clog pores. Here are some uses for argan oil. One thing to beware of if you are interested in using it: make sure you get 100% pure argania spinosa oil. Some companies have started adding other oils to make it cheaper to sell. Also, it shouldn’t be too cheap. That being said, Josie Maran’s $40 for like 2 ounces is a unnecessarily inflated price. I’ve done some research and I suggest either Acure Organics or Garden of Wisdom.


What are some of your favorite things right now?


Life, Travel

Exploring Hawaii: Part 1

February 27, 2016

I am super late with this Hawaii trip recap but better late than never right? I went to Honolulu for work and then met my dad on the Big Island for a little vacation time.

I started my first morning how everyone should, with a fresh papaya from the Sheraton Waikiki hotel restaurant. It was perfectly ripe and a dash of lime made it the best welcome I could ask for to Hawaii. I also got a undocumented undercooked egg white omelet which my coworker and I had to send back :/ and the service was extremely slow (almost 1.5 hours for a papaya and two omelets!). The manager was super nice and came out with an apology and two new omelets though.


Then we worked all day. Nothing to document there! The next morning we had learned our lesson eating at the hotel and went to find a good breakfast spot nearby. After a quick Yelp search, we decided on Heavenly, a healthy, local ingredient place with great reviews. I love that they show where their ingredients come from on the menu:


My coworker and I started with the obligatory papaya and lime:


How cute are their tables?


I got a sort of rice and veggie has with an egg and salmon on top and a green smoothie. It was very good!


Then we went to work again so no picture until the next morning when we went back to Heavenly! This was really the only healthy breakfast place within walking distance of the Sheraton Waikiki (that we found) so I wasn’t feeling guilty about going back again. This time I got the eggs Benedict with avocado and a kale side salad, papaya and a green smoothie. THIS IS MY DREAM BREAKFAST. I wish I could eat this everyday.


I love plumeria flowers (the heart is covering my company’s name on my work polo). Did you know if you wear it behind your left ear it means you are taken and behind the right ear means you are available?


The view from my hotel room which I hardly spent any time in!


Most of our dinners during this work week was subway or granola bars but we had time to go out to dinner one night so we decided on the Hula Grill, which sounds pretty cheesy but it had really good reviews!


We started with some delicious moscow mules with ginger beer in some appropriate tiki mugs:


Our table had a great view of the sunset


 Then we got a delicious raw ahi appetizer:


For my entree I got the coconut seafood chowder with lobster, shrimp, scallop, a Hawaiian fish I can’t remember and peanuts, coconut cilantro broth. This definitely fulfilled my seafood cravings. I savored every bite!




Our waiter told us we should try their famous “hula pie” so we had to, right? I can see why it’s famous, this pie is the It has a chocolate cookie crust, macadamia nut ice cream, hot fudge, toasted mac nuts & whipped cream…drool! My pics aren’t that great because of lighting + iPhone. We almost finished this enormous dessert but couldn’t get the last few bites in. Nothing like a good sugar coma!


After the next day of work, it was time for me to leave my coworker and fly to the Big Island to take some vacation time and hang out with my dad and our family friends that live in Hilo, HI.

We stayed at my dad’s friend’s house and they have kids of a mini farm going. This is their cutie dog:


A baby sheep was just born (in the back) so we tried were trying to hold it but big daddy (front and center) wouldn’t allow it and kept trying to charge us! He is pretty scary!


One day I want to live somewhere where I can just pick fruit in my yard!


My daily papaya:


My dad’s friend Marcos picked some oranges for us and made fresh juice, such pretty colors!


The first day we went to visit my dad’s other friend who lives in the mountains in a sort of commune he has built. It’s pretty cool since he has set up his own water system, cabins and gardens. This is his turtle:


This is a chocolate (cacao) tree!


This guy also makes his own chocolate from the cacao he grows. This the cacao fruit, looks strange huh? He cracked this one in  half, gave me a spoon and said to spoon out the seeds and suck off the white residue on them. Hesitantly, I did and was pleasantly surprised by the taste. It tasted kind of like a slightly sour grape but was very good, like a candy, not like chocolate at all of course.



He also has his own private waterfall/swimming hole



Once we got back to my dad’s friends house, I helped make some fresh hibiscus tea. This was a fun activity. You just cut around the bulb and remove the skin and then soak the skins in hot water for a while, add some honey and you have some delicious tea!


This is the part you don’t use:


The part you use for the tea:


Whew, that was a long post! I have a lot more photos but I should probably stop here. I’ll do another post soon. I hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Life, Travel

Visiting San Francisco

February 26, 2016

Last weekend I went to San Francisco to see my boyfriend. I left on Friday and came back Monday (President’s Day). Usually G comes up to see me in Seattle so it’s more exciting for me when I go visit him! I made some banana chips in my dehydrator for a plane snack (below), actually, I made them for G too but I ate them all before I got there…typical. They’re so good though, super chewy and sweet! I just learned that most store-bought banana chips are actually deep-fried. I wondered why they are so different from the homemade version!


G told me that, in order to enter California, you must eat In & Out within an hour of arrival so after he picked me up from the airport -in his new very loud 1965 mustang- we headed straight there. I got a veggie burger (literally tomato, onion and lettuce) and some fries. I don’t miss the burger at all and it’s quite tasty actually!


Later we headed out in the city with the plan of seeing the Ferry Building market and walking around until we met G’s friend for a dinner.

The market in the building is cute, unfortunately we weren’t hungry so we didn’t try any of the food shops but we did stop at Blue Bottle Coffee which is G’s favorite and got two New Orlean’s iced coffees which has chicory. I don’t generally like coffee at all but this coffee was very good. I can’t really describe the flavor but I highly recommend it!



Then we made our way to Union street and met with G’s friend at The Italian Homemade Company. This is a legit Italian place where they speak Italian and make their own pasta!



I got the veggie lasagna which was really good, it could have used a little salt though, to make the flavor pop.


G got the pesto pasta. I stole a bite and it was very good, better than my lasagna, darn it!


We decided to be really gluttonous and get the very highly rated Bi-Rite Creamery ice cream after dinner. We got to the shop around 10pm and the line was pretty long but we decided to wait it out. It ended up taking only about 10-15 minutes but I can see why the line is so long, this place is teeny!


We went all out since it was our first time there. G got a brownie sundae with vanilla ice cream and a spicy chocolate sauce. I got the most AMAZING creme brulee and cookies and cream. The creme brulee was my favorite! Obviously I took some bites of G’s monster sundae, and I have to say, I didn’t really like the spicy chocolate sauce on top, but the rest was delish!


The next morning, I tried to make-up for the night before with an egg-white veggie omelet and fruit at a little breakfast joint in Pleasanton.


After breakfast, we headed up to G’s family cabin for some quality time and spent the evening on a double date and watching Stargate SG1, our nerdy show 🙂

The next morning was Valentines Day! We each ate a few aussie bites for breakfast (delicious little muffin granola bites from Costco – find them, buy them!) and drove out to Yosemite National Park for a romantic day hike.


This was my first time at Yosemite and it is absolutely beautiful!



I can’t imagine someone climbing up the side of these rocks!



It was really nice outside that day, we got lucky!



Maybe I should get a selfie stick so I can get more pictures of both of us instead of just me haha



We left at around 5:30 and caught this perfect sunset


The net day we headed back to G’s house as I had a flight to catch that evening 🙁 I did convince G to stop at Meadowlark Dairy in Pleasanton on the way back, really good soft-serve there! I got a vanilla chocolate swirl. It’s super cheap too!


I also got to love on G’s dog Abby. Isn’t she the cutest?


G made sure I left with a purse full of fresh oranges from his tree. Nothing like a homegrown orange just plucked off a tree! Usually I don’t even buy oranges because it’s always a 50/50 chance of getting a dried up or bad one but every single orange on this tree tastes amazing!


That’s a wrap! I had a lot of fun this visit and I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Have a good weekend!


Have you ever been to San Francisco? If so, any good restaurant suggestions?