Yesterday and Tomorrow

After being in Florida last week, I am craving strawberry shortcake like woah. I think I need to figure out my own “take” on it.

I am sure everyone has already seen this. But on the off-chance you haven’t, and love Harry Potter and happiness – please click it. The original isn’t so bad either.

I finally finished those blasted Ritz crackers. Also my co-worker brought in chocolate chip cookie dough frosting, because everyone should have diabet-us.

I’m waiting for May Designs to have another sale so I can order our honeymoon journal. Have a sale already!

My Grandma gave me Grandpa’s shirt that I bought him in Italy. It smells like him, and is slowly taking over our closet. It makes so happy each time I open the doors. I want to preserve that smell forever. My mom gave me the idea of having it made into a pillow – possibly for a nursery… has anyone ever done this?

Sprouts strawberries are 88 cents for a pound. This is ridiculous. Also the perfect excuse for shortcake experimentation.

I have a huge crush on Tieghan at Half Baked Harvest. And by crush I mean I want to join her family for mealtimes.

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George’s Peach Pie

This post is about more than pie. It is about a man named George, who really really loved pie.

Last week, our family lost one of our rocks, my Grandpa George. Today would have marked his 89th birthday. We miss him so very much – but we also treasure all of the time we had with him. Eating Angel Food Cake, days at the beach, strawberry shortcake, his presence at (almost) all of my performances, Siesta Key, milkshakes, Frankfort… PIE. I realize a lot of my memories of Grandpa have to do with food – this is not surprising – the man loved to eat.

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He and my Grandma met at the University of Michigan, in the registration line. He was in his Navy uniform, and she was looking like the fancy Nancy she is. They began dating soon after, and quickly fell in love. While at U of M George played for the football team and as a Wolverine conquered USC in the 1948 Rose Bowl National Championship Game.

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When George asked Nancy’s father for permission to marry her, he said “Get your degree, and get a job.” So he did both. So began a storied career with General Motors, where he started on the night shift and worked his way up to the executive level. They had four wonderful children, three sons and a daughter – my mother.

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Over the past 27ish years I have gotten to spend a lot of time with George and Nancy, we always headed down to Florida to be with them on Spring Breaks – and that didn’t end in college. While my friends headed to Cancun, I went to my Grandparents. And I don’t regret a single missed margarita. With George, Nancy, and my family was exactly where I wanted to be.

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During the summers George and Nancy would head up to northern Michigan, conveniently about an hour away from my hometown. We would head over for ice cream, milkshakes, and unbelievable Lake Michigan views. We would conduct back-to-school shopping, and my favorite – book shopping! We would help sell odd George Washington rockers to passer-by at the local sidewalk sales, and would enjoy whitefish and Shirley Temples at The Manitou. (Well Grandpa would have his Crown Royal and Nancy her “White Zin.” )

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What strikes me most about my “childhood” memories, is that time just seemed simpler. There weren’t cell phones buzzing constantly, or the internet to distract you from company. (Though they did have WebTV – remember that?) Instead when family was together, we enjoyed each other’s company – even if it was in silence, while reading a book or watching a movie. As much as the convenience of cell phones and being able to look up anything in seconds is fun, I am nervous that my children won’t have the ability to look back at their childhoods the same way I do. It does seem as if our generation is a transitional-generation of sorts, we’ve been exposed so much to ever changing technology. And I just wonder whether it is to our benefit.

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George had an unbelievably dry sense of humor, one I learned to love and appreciate as I grew older. He adored his children, and his six grandchildren – constantly marveling at our accomplishments and supporting us in our failures. Regardless of where he was – he always exercised. A lifelong athlete, with the mentality of a strong Wolverine, he exercised tirelessly. I have memories of seeing him shirtless working hard on the Nordic Trac. He suffered a heart attack prior to me being born, during a jump rope session and described the sensation as “feeling like he wasn’t trying enough.” Seriously.

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His exercise regime could only be rivaled by his dedication to golf. Day-in and day-out, he golfed. He belonged to some of the most epic golf courses, always including my brother even from a young golfing age. He included Charlie once, but as he said “He has a lot of power – we need to work on direction.” When his balance began to deteriorate and he couldn’t golf as much, people asked my Grandma if she was happy to have her husband back. Nancy responded that she couldn’t get as much shopping done.

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To counter-act his failing balance, he began to use the Wii. In the mornings you could find him on his Wii Fit, working hard at balance games, for hours at a time. He often beat me, I didn’t handle it well. In 2012 he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. It hit all of us really hard. This man who had always been invincible had a battle none of us had anticipated. Soon after his diagnosis, Charlie and I got engaged. I made him promise he would be at the wedding, he made me promise there would be Crown Royal. George fought valiantly, and beat the Lymphoma. He was cancer free at our wedding, and we danced. It was one of the highlights of the night, at least to me.

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A few months later, in January, my parents and I were down in Florida for a visit. It was then George and Nancy told us that he had been diagnosed with cancer, again. To be honest – I think we all kind of thought “Okay! No biggie – you’ll beat it again.” To us, George was almost immortal. He began treatments immediately, but instead of helping – they hurt. In early February he found himself in the hospital, with low blood counts and pneumonia. The entire family (located in the continental US) flew in to be with him, and say anything we felt needed to be said. I was able to stay for five days, and make him mashed potatoes – and pie, of course. I could see he was getting weaker, and most likely he would not recover. It was a lot to handle, but I also saw how unhappy he was in his state. His athletic drive couldn’t sit and lounge all day, he wanted to be moving, but he just physically could not.

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At the end of March my mom called and told me the end was nearing, Grandpa may pass soon. I made a ticket to come down Easter weekend, knowing that I may miss him but wanting to be with my Grandma and my mom, regardless. At that point, I honestly couldn’t quite imagine the repercussions of his absence from our lives. In the early morning of Thursday, April 2nd – George peacefully passed in his sleep.

Over Easter weekend, my mom, Grandma, and I cried and laughed at all of the memories we have of Grandpa. Of all of the times he brought joy to our lives.

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George and Nancy would have been married for 69 years in September. A feat rarely accomplished these days, their marriage was one of complete selflessness. Their goal was always to make the other happy. They would pinch each other’s tush, and kiss each other throughout the day. As Grandma said, “He did everything for me. And I did everything for him.” In a time when relationships can often be focused on “What can you do for me?” I think their relationship ideology is one we should all strive for; to be selfless, and focus not on each other’s deficiencies, but instead on their wealth. Other than the example they set, one of the greatest gifts they gave me was my Grandma’s wedding ring that I now use as my own. A lovely gold band with their initials and wedding date engraved. It is a constant reminder of their selfless relationship, and inspires me to be a better person and wife.

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I feel so honored to have had a Grandpa in George. One of my favorite things was to make him pie. He often tried to pit my mom and me against each other in pie contests. “Oh this is good, but your mother made a pie last time – it was may have been a little better.” We would humor him, feigning competition. The first time George and Nancy met Charlie we arrived late in Orlando, George drove home from the airport while Nancy and I chatted away. I don’t think George had spoken a word all evening until we arrived home and he took advantage of a brief silence between Johnson women “It has been a while since I had any pie.” He said directly looking at me. “Oh! Grandpa, you want me to make you some pie?” “That’d be very nice.” Charlie watched this interaction with wide-eyes, and that weekend I made Grandpa three large pies. Charlie then set his life relationship goal, to be able to request pie, without actually asking for it. I told him fat chance – it was a George thing.

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In honor of Grandpa, I want to share our Peach Pie recipe, which for the record – isn’t anything special. It is only slightly adapted from everyone’s Betty Crocker fruit pie recipe, but for some reason it always felt a little magical making it for him and my Grandma.

George's Peach Pie

  • Servings: 6-8 slices
  • Print
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup heaping of sugar rounded
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour (or more if needed)
  • 1/2 tsp heaping of cinnamon
  • 7-8 cups frozen sliced peaches (or about 6 cups fresh sliced peaches)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Make pastry. (Follow instructions for two crust pie.)
  2. In large bowl, mix sugar, flour, and cinnamon until blended.
  3. Add frozen peaches to flour mixture and make sure all peaches are coated. If you’re using frozen peaches there will be some mixture that has not coated the peaches. (Note: It is best to err on the side of MORE flour, then less. Less flour = pie soup.)
  4. Spoon peaches and flour mixture into pastry lined pie plate. Again – if there is excess flour mixture at the bottom, distribute evenly over the top of peaces once in the crust.
  5. Top peach mixture with lemon juice and sliced butter.
  6. Cover peach goodness with other half of crust.
  7. Cut slits in top of pie for venting and because it looks pretty.
  8. Use a pie shield and pie catcher for all of those extra juices, and to make sure the crust doesn’t burn!
  9. Put in oven for 45 mins – 2 hrs. (If using frozen peaches start with 75 minutes, and check every fifteen minutes. I know this is an unbelievably long cooking range, but when you play with frozen peaches, you may end up undercooked. The rule is that the pie is done if the center filling is bubbling through the crust.)
  10. Let set for 30 mins – 1 hr before serving. (This is a step George struggled with…)
  11. Slice and serve alone, or with ice cream – George’s favorite. (Or put in a blender WITH ice cream and milk, and make a pie milkshake… trust me on this one.)

Surfing (SD Bucket List #1)

It goes to say that one of the first questions people ask after finding out we live in San Diego is “Do you surf!?” Well before last week the answer was “Nope!” and now after last week the answer is still “Nope!”

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Not because we didn’t have an excellent instructor – we truly did. Doug at Surf Sessions was the absolute bomb diggity. 

Our lesson started by getting fitted in our wetsuits. Heads up – if you go with Surf Sessions, they are operated out of a tent on the beach across from the beach’s paid parking. The tent is green and to the left when you reach the beach, right underneath the grassy part. That took us a while to figure out. After we got into our suits we grabbed some boards and headed down to the beach.

All I could think of was this scene from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. One of my favorite movies of ALL time. Doug went over our “footing” (spoiler alert: Jason Segel is NOT doing his footing correctly) and a little soon for my taste – we were out on the water! 

My first impression was that the waves were much MUCH bigger than I anticipated. I think I envisioned kiddie pool waves. But these things were mammoth. At least to me. Doug would assist by holding onto the board as a wave approached in order to steady during our jump up. Not shocking at all was that Charlie was better than me. He got the hang of it pretty quickly and graduated from Doug’s assistance. I, on the other hand, insisted on jumping into warrior position – as opposed to surfing position. I blame yoga.

Doug kept yelling “YOU’RE A SURFER! NOT A WARRIOR!” as I would topple into the water. My best “ride” or “wave” I almost hit some children. That was exciting. 

I wouldn’t say surfing is addicting – the taste of saltwater remained in my mouth for a bit longer than I liked – but I definitely want to try again.

Now we're official. We're throwing signs. We belong.

Now we’re official. We’re throwing signs. We belong.


Afterwards, Charlie immediately claimed soreness – I said “Oh! I’m not sore at all, I’m totally fine!” After a ten minute nap I woke up and could barely move – surfing is HARD work. Though I think in my case the soreness was more related to falling than surfing.

We finished our evening with TOSTADAS of course.

I’m so glad we finally checked this off of our SD Bucket List – and I truly can’t wait to get out on the water again!

Yesterday and Tomorrow

Costco recently had Ritz Crackers on sale. Because clearly we all need 15 rolls of Ritz Crackers. 12 rolls later and I am praying they disappear.

I fell in love with a pair of Warby Parkers. Cannot wait to get my prescription so I can be hip like the cool kids.

Last weekend we went to LA to see friends who were in town and celebrate a bride-to-be. We went out to brunch and I was served one waffle for fifteen dollars. I now understand how everyone in LA is skinny.

The Birks did not  work out, but I am forever in love with Ecco’s Summer Flat. Need to buy it in black ASAP. It is like a hug on my foot. Any suggestions for comfy sandals?

I am now backpack scoping for the honeymoon. I’m thinking a small Vera Bradley backpack? I like that it has a hidden zipper. But then I found out Longchamp makes backpacks too. So… come on!

Really wish I had known about this four years ago.

Happy Weekend!

Plated Review

I love grocery shopping. Probably more than the average person, so when Plated showed up on Rue La La I wasn’t that interested in trying it out. While I was debating whether to buy the voucher, I went to Plated’s website and looked at the meal options – and to my surprise, they looked awesome! For instance one of the available meals I ordered was Skate Fish – something I have only had once, and have been really wanting to try to cook myself. The perfect excuse. The Rue La La discount + my store credit = let’s try this sucker out!

Well the week came (last week) where Plated was needed in our lives. Mostly because we had blown the majority of our food budget on beer and eating out while Tim was here. I went on to Plated’s website to search for meals. Their website is incredibly user friendly. I settled on their Baked Gnocchi, Skate Fish, and Tunisian Chicken, with a scheduled delivery date of 3/25.

I got notice that the box was on its way on Monday, and I was super excited!!! When I got home Tuesday the box was waiting by my door. Not sure who invented the packaging for Plated, but I assume it is an ex-NASA employee. This box is on lockdown. You could easily repurpose it as a cooler.

The first thing I noticed was that one of the recipes they sent me was wrong. (Whoops!) I called to let them know and they apologized profusely and offered to email the right recipe to me, and explained that all of the recipes were on the website as well. The first awesome part was that I got to talk to a real human with very little hassle, and the second part was that they were so nice! I wasn’t upset – just needed the recipe.

Each recipe came with its own bag of goodies – and if an ingredient was loose, it was still labeled. Very organized!!! And I love organized. Like, a lot.

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The first recipe we tried was the Baked Gnocchi. I set up all of the ingredients and read briefly through the directions. Word to the wise – don’t do this, instead read the directions VERY thoroughly. What threw me, was that the directions are given in paragraph form. I am more of a list person – so I definitely skipped over a few items in the paragraph, which caused some confusion later. (Not their fault… my fault). Another oopsie – they forgot to send garlic! We got two packets of oregano, but no garlic! Luckily we pretty much always have garlic in the house… for vampire protection and such. When I let them know about the missing ingredient, they credited me $8, which I thought was nice.

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Tucker was all about Plated.

I started the gnocchi recipe – it was pretty easy, it did take a little longer than they said. But that may have been my fault… I omitted basil from the sauce, since I’m allergic. (Fun fact!) The sauce was rich and delicious, but also super simple. I’ll definitely make it again using my own ingredients. The gnocchi was great – well made, and considering that I have yet to master gnocchi from scratch, much more successful than our last homemade attempt at gnocchi. In my opinion there was not enough cheese, because there is never enough cheese.

On Thursday we made Skate Fish Schnitzel – it was absolutely delicious but made a disaster out of our kitchen. Like tornado disaster. I think it was worth it. The weird thing about this recipe was that an ingredient (parsley) was given directions on how to prepare – but not what to do with it! We figured it was probably for garnish so we used it during plating. Also, we made the mistake of starting the sauce when the pan was too hot. Insert vinegar explosions and “oh sugars.” Total failure. I didn’t know you could burn mustard. A little bit of lemon on the Skate went a long way, and I like to pretend that this made it “light” because it had less butter.

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The sides to the Skate Fish were purple potatoes and fennel. I have had some experience with purple potatoes, which are potatoes that are purple… not terribly complicated. The fennel, however, I had never cooked with. We use fennel seed pretty frequently, but I had never started from the raw stuff. It is really good! See this is the benefit of a service like Plated – you end up trying different foods, and liking them! Definitely a win for Plated.

Our skate fish night was also Tucker’s birthday – so we finished off our Skate Fish with Sprinkles cupcakes. I am #TeamSMore ALL THE WAY. Charlie said the Salty Caramel was average. I don’t even understand why it is a competition. It should be S’More time all the time. Tucker was excited because #TuckerWantsSome finally became #TuckerCanHaveSome! Cannot wait to try out some dog treat recipes in the next month or so.

The last meal was Tunisian Chicken. To be honest I pretty much ordered this for Charlie. He likes spicy food WAY more than me, and this looked spicy and delicious.

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The prep was pretty simple, marinate the chicken while you saute some onions and smoosh some tomatoes with your hands. *Cooking Tip* Make sure to remove the seeds when you are cooking with peppers. I learned this the hard way. Actually, Charlie learned for me – I basically made him pepper spray nachos the first year we were dating. It’s a miracle we made it. And in the interest of full disclosure, we added waffle fries. Because we apparently are incapable of eating dinner without a starch.

I had never cooked with chicken thighs prior to this, and I have to say I prefer the breast meat. But Charlie was 100% totally sold on the meal. What is nice about Plated is that even though they sent “spice mixture” they also included in the recipe all of the spice contents, so we can replicate the mixture.

Charlie wants to take the sauce portion of the dish and make a vegetable stew to serve over cous-cous and goat/feta cheese. I think I love him and want to marry him all over again.

Overall, Plated was a great experience. I can definitely see the advantage of a service like this if you’re a busy professional, or live in a city like LA where it takes 3 hours to drive the mile to the grocer. I think I’ll stick to doing my own shopping for now – but I am definitely going to keep my account for the future!

*Please note that Plated in no way compensated me for this average review. I’m not that cool.

Sea Cave Tour with Everyday California

Everyday California was once again – the bomb diggity.

This time around we signed up for a Snorkel and Kayak tour. It was an absolutely gorgeous steaming-hot day of 95 degrees. I had convinced myself that my new super spiffy rash guard would be enough to snorkel in the Pacific Ocean. For background – the only other place I have snorkeled is Cayman. And I figured – I’m from Michigan! I can go swimming in cold water! Well, Charlie pulled the husband card, insisted we rent wetsuits and I am SO GLAD that we did. I don’t care if you like to go swimming in your skivvies in Antarctica. The Pacific Ocean is COLD. C.O.L.D. I took the opportunity all day to thank him for his wiseness and repeat those priceless marital words “You were right!” over-and-over again.

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Anyway – enough on wetsuits. We headed out into the ocean with a group of about fifteen other people… To be honest, I figured with it being a Sea Cave Tour – we would actually be going into the caves – but we didn’t! I’m not sure if that was because of tide, or if we’re never allowed. Instead we pulled up next to the caves, docked, and then jumped in the water to do some snorkeling.

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We saw lots of Garibadli (State Marine Fish of California/Giant Goldfish/Dr. Seuss character) as well as some sea lions sun-bathing on the rocks.

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Charlie and Tim saw a leopard shark, but I was back in the boat at that time. I was so bummed! Leopard sharks are totally harmless, their mouth is the size of a quarter, and they’re more likely to give you a hickey than a chomp.

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It was such a beautiful day and so much fun to be out on the water. I was a little bummed we didn’t have our ridiculous aquatic dolphin-bonding experience like the time before, but that may have just been beginners luck! Still love Everyday California – had awesome guides (again) and would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a water-based tour in La Jolla. (For more “tips” see this post.)

Side note – one of the fun things about getting “film” developed is realizing how magical digital cameras are. At the same time – it is so fun to be surprised by what pictures we “caught”! Even though the instant gratification of a digital camera is fun – it was exciting to have a little throwback to our disposable camera days! (No filter needed. The film is literally a filter…) Enjoy the rest of the photos!

Yesterday and Tomorrow

This past week I tried Pop Sugar’s Burn SF workout. If you need to find me, I’ll be bathing in ice.

Does anyone else think it is a terrible idea to wear a Hawaiian shirt in Trader Joe’s? To the man I asked about orzo. I am sorry.

Honeymoon shopping has been fun. I am working on building a “staples” group inspired by The Everygirl’s Capsule Wardrobe piece. Purchased this week… Birkenstocks, comfy walking shoes, and shirts.

Also on my honeymoon shopping list… Peshtemas. These blanket/towel/scarf hybrids are apparently up for anything you throw at them. I’m thinking red and green?

Berger Cookies. I will find you. I will replicate you. And I will gain 300 pounds. Watch out world. (Note to self: buy seat belt extender.)

We are trying Plated this week – cannot wait to report back on our feelings, thoughts, and belly reactions. (Note the hyperlink is a referral link.)

How are we so close to April? I swear being in San Diego removes all awareness of seasons/months.

I’m still in shock businesses no longer do 1-hour photo developing for film. It made me feel old and sympathetic to my grandparents.

Ending Note: I am really freaking excited for the Avengers. I’m not even ashamed. Counting down the days. Counting down the minutes.

Little Brother Visits/Brewery Tour (SD Bucket List #7)

Family is the best. This past weekend Charlie’s brother came out to visit us in SD. We had a jam packed schedule all weekend, and I am only slightly recovered. Tim got to meet his nephew, Tucker. He was already familiar with his other ornery nephew, Walter. And we got the opportunity to really show off our “home” in San Diego!

Tim arrived late Thursday night and had a Monday afternoon departure, which left us with all day Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and part of Monday to cram as much SoCal as we could. If our sleep deprivation is any proof, we succeeded.

Friday

I had to work… LAME. But I was kept up to date with Snapchats and texts as Charlie and Tim headed out to explore SD. After breakfast at the casa they headed to Fiesta Island/Dog Island so Tucker had a chance to show off his talents. Then they, of course, headed to In-N-Out for a classic animal-style lunch. (Digression – Does anyone else not really like In-N-Out? Not a huge fan. Apologies to the West Coast.) They then headed to the brew store to pick up some brewing equipment as well as the ingredients for a Honey Dunkelweizen (NOMS! Amanda Beer!) I arrived back at the apartment from work to a steaming hot apartment, beer debris everywhere, and two very happy productive men.

After they finished their liquid gold, we headed to Hodad’s for dinner. Hodad’s being what I believe is the best burger place in SD. After a brief line we headed in to the beautiful license plated dining area and ordered our food. I conquered a milkshake for six people, and we all felt terrible about ourselves afterward. (Terrible meaning – absolutely satisfied with no regrets.)

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Saturday

We had a JAM PACKED Saturday, which required a very early morning alarm and a rush out the door to get to a Farmer’s Market where no one was ready for us. (Whoops!) Must have been Daylight Savings Time hangover from last week – the merchants at the Little Italy Market were moving sloooowly. We ordered up some Papalecco coffee drinks and patiently waited for our favorite stands to kick it into gear. We had some delicious Crepes courtesy of La Creperie – the boys feasted on the California Surfer while I returned to the Green Gobbler. With time running out, I headed to pick up our CSA from JR Organics while the boys perused our other favorite stands – including Vonda Lee’s California Cheesecakes – YUM!

We raced home and changed into our sea-adventure clothing and headed out to kayak! We got to La Jolla just in time and wet-suited up to prepare ourselves for a deep sea adventure of snorkeling and kayaking. We brought waterproof cameras, and learned afterwards that no one does one-day film photo anymore? It has to be sent away – so pictures and a recap will come next week.

When our time with mermaids had come to an end, we showered, and changed to go to breweries! We started at Intergalactic. Oh. My. Nerdfest. I say that in the best endearing way possible. Classic Star Wars posters, hilarious beer names, amazing people – definitely a new favorite for this girl.

After Intergalactic we set out for Greenflash – a consistently awesome brewery that is extremely popular in San Diego. Apparently it had been a while since we had gone, because they did a COMPLETE overhaul of the place. It’s beautiful! There is even a fancy Greenflash food truck with meat and cheese plates. And parmesan garlic fries. We were so impressed with the new set-up, and can’t wait to spend some cash in the gift store. When we have cash.

We then set out to Rough Draft, another brewery we had been before, where we played a tantalizing game of Connect Four and drank more beer. (Are you sensing a pattern? A beer pattern?)

To finish off the day we stopped at St. Archer, or the Mockingjay Brewing Company. See the similarity? Credit to Tim. I loved the set-up of St. Archer – they had a great patio with lots of space and some nice lighting that came on as the sun set.

We decided Tucker had probably had enough stimulation for the day and headed home to drop him off before going to dinner. He basically crated himself and waited for us to leave, we must be such a bother to him. We decided the best way to finish a day of total debauchery was pizza – so we headed to Pizza Port. An OB staple that is a must on our visitor checklist. Good beer. Great pizza. Awesome people watching. At this point all of us were completely exhausted, and two of us had definitely been over-served. (Spoiler Alert – it wasn’t me. I was driving).

Sunday

After a VERY long lazy sleep we woke up and crafted some breakfast burritos. They took a long time, but the end result was worth it and delicious. I’ll more purposefully make the recipe again so I can post it on here.

I sent the boys to go to Torrey Pines and told them I would walk Tucker while they were gone, but instead I took a nap… It was 90+ degrees out, so when I did wake up and try to get Tucker to go outside, we made it about a block before he turned me around. In that he dragged me across the street towards home and wouldn’t walk any farther. Dogs are hysterical.

When the boys returned home we cooled off in the pool for a bit and then headed to the ultimate SD spot – Bluewater Grille. We had originally tried to go Friday but it was SO CRAZY. They were basically out of every kind of fish. Sunday was just as insane! They hadn’t run out of quite as much fish though. After about 45-minutes we made it to the cash register to put in our order. I can tell you indisputably, no matter how long you have to wait for Bluewater. It is worth the wait. I will do an entire Bluewater Ode eventually. But here is a preview of what deliciousness is waiting for you if you head our way…

Because we felt that our stomachs still may not be stretched to their absolute maximum capacity, we stopped at a new favorite Baked Bear. To give you an idea of how the gluttony had finally taken a toll on me – I didn’t finish my ice cream sandwich cookie. That’s a really big deal.

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We then all collapsed on the floor at home, praying to the digestion gods that they would move quickly so we could all feel back to normal.

Monday

I again had to work – STILL LAME. So Charlie and Tim headed to Dog Island and Lucha Libre! Ugh – taking away my bucket list items before I even get the chance to go! Not fair. They said it was delicious, and I am making Charlie take me back sometime soon. After that Tim went back to the cold east coast and Charlie and I slept for a day straight.

(Please note the sleeping comment is wishful thinking… we’re still trying to get off the struggle bus.)

xx

Amanda

Best Coast Brew Fest

To be honest, the only thing I can think of that is better than drinking a cold beer on a 75 degree day at Embarcadero Park South in San Diego, is doing it all for charity. Yes, that is right – this past Saturday we sacrificed our time and money to drink beer and support Cancer For College. The fun twist on the whole event is that Cancer for College is a charity started by one of Will Ferrell’s best friends from college. There were Anchorman references galore and the website is so Will Ferrell it is hysterical.

First of all, whatever extra shifts Buddy had to take to get Santa to give us the most BEAUTIFUL day so far this year, kudos. He must be improving on his Etch-a-Sketch skills. I wore shorts and a ratty old Green Beer Day shirt from college. It was so youthful. There were over seventy breweries including some of our favorites: FAT CAT, White Labs, Ale Smith, Anchor Steam, Ballast Point, Green Flash… to name a few. We also discovered a new favorite; Toolbox Brewing, with flavors including Purple Drink – Boysenberry Brett Farmhouse and Grass Fed Lettuce – Dry Hopped Blonde Sour Brett. These oddly named happy serums were both absolutely delicious. Shockingly so.

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Another bonus of the fest was the mass amount of food trucks hovered around the entrance, waiting for us famished pickles to come searching for sustenance. I gravitated toward plain macaroni and cheese, because I honestly can’t think of anything more delicious. Charlie got a pork belly sandwich and he scarfed it down before I could even get an aroma.

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After perusing the different stands and drinking a ton of water, we trekked to the Gaslamp Quarter and had some sobering appetizers at Werewolf. (I mean sobering in a good way, since I had to drive our crew home).

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The whole time we were at Embarcadero Park, I couldn’t get over the fact that we live here.. in San Diego, where on March 7th it is sunny and warm and there is beer everywhere. It is so easy to take the place we live for granted, especially being so far from friends and family. I need to make the effort to appreciate where we are each and every day – get outside, drink beer, and enjoy every bit of SoCal!

xx

Amanda

Torrey Pines

Along with the weather, San Diego has some of the most beautiful views in the world. Disclaimer being that I have only seen a small percentage of the world, but there really does seem to be a consensus that San Diego is ridiculously beautiful.

One of the benefits of this “beautifulness” is the opportunity to easily view it – such as Torrey Pines. You may know Torrey Pines from the famous (public) golf course, I (duh) haven’t golfed it, but I hear it is a great course! Torrey Pines is also an amazing State Park with free access (as long as you are not parking in the park). Pre-Tucker we hiked it probably every other weekend, but since it isn’t dog friendly we haven’t been going nearly as much.

A tip on parking – park on S21/N Torrey Pines Road. There is always street parking! It adds a little bit on to your hike, but aren’t you there to do something good for your body anyway?? Or show off where you live. Either way…

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Whenever anyone visits from out of town, we insist on bringing them here. It is an easy hike and the views outweigh any minor physical discomfort getting to the top of the mountain/hill. Last weekend my girlfriend Taylor came in from Chicago, she left -13 degree wind chill, which is a nice reminder that San Diego really is better than Chicago… at least in terms of weather! We did the “Broken Hill” trail. It is a little longer, but not necessarily harder. One time I was hiking with my Mom and someone had just seen a rattlesnake on the trail! (We have those in San Diego… point Chicago).

Anyway, I got to play a little bit with our fancy new camera. Clearly still have a lot to learn – but in the meantime… enjoy!!! (Click for larger views!)

xx

Amanda