Five on Friday

Woohoo it's almost the weekend! I have been working half days this week and I'm exhausted haha. Well I guess I can't call it "work" because we are crafting (for a summer enrichment class) but I still have to get up early and drive all the way to Rancho Santa Fe, so that equals work. It's fun "work" though. I get to hang out with Stephanie all morning and craft with some sweet little kiddos from school. I wish I could teach a class like this all year long! Plus it's been nice to stay for a little bit extra each day to work on my classroom. I finally feel like I am getting everything organized in the new room. Progress is good! Anyways here is my five on Friday...

1. New Store Love

On the North Island Navy base I just discovered a new store that I LOVE. It's technically called a gift shop but they have the most adorable things! Lots of d├ęcor for the house, nautical trinkets, purses, wallets, ornaments, hats, and so much more. Lauren and I stumbled upon it last week when we realized we had forgotten to get her a beach hat. We saw it on the way out to the beach and pulled over. We were pleasantly surprised to find such an adorable little store that is so reasonably priced. Plus, everyone who works there is a volunteer and all proceeds go to military families for scholarships. How can you not love that? I got a new bag for work and Lauren surprised me with a new hat. Lauren found a ton of things she loved so it was def. a success!

2. Baking Up a Storm

I have been on a real baking kick lately. I love to cook but normally baking isn't one of my strong points. I tend to over-mix things and they all turn out dense. Not a word you want to associate with cookies lol. I decided to make some oatmeal raisin cookies because they are Mark's favorite. I made a paleo version first but I only had almond meal, not almond flour, and they turned out funky. I decided to try my hand at the "bad" version and they actually turned out perfectly! 

The weird Paleo cookies

I was so shocked and I think Mark was too haha. I also made a brownie cake that I found in our Newlywed cookbook. We've technically only had it since the fall because I bought it for us from William Sonoma. Mark and I used to cook together when he lived on Garrison and I would come visit, so I wanted to get a cookbook that would inspire us to do that again. Sadly, I didn't look closely enough at the cookbook and it isn't the kind that has steps for each person. Oh well! I ended up pulling it out on Sunday when making a grocery list and decided to give it a shot since I had all the ingredients. It was SOOO easy and turned out delicious. 

I served it with fresh fruit and vanilla ice cream... mmm
When Katie was in town a couple weekends ago she made banana bread and it was so delicious! We had some VERY ripe bananas that were about to go bad so I decided to try my hand at baking the bread. I added chocolate chips to mine because who doesn't love chocolate lol?? It turned out well except for the fact that I cut it too early and it kind of fell apart. I didn't start baking it until 9:15 p.m. and I was ready to go to bed by the time it was done. I learned my lesson and next time I'll let it sit. :)

3. Ozarks Here We Come

On Monday morning Mark and I fly out to Kansas City to meet up with my family. From there we will be driving to the Lake of the Ozarks to spend a week with my mom's side of the fam. Saying I'm excited would be an understatement. I am THRILLED! I love being able to see my extended family because we rarely all get together. The last time we took a trip as a family (other than my wedding) was over five years ago. Plus, Mark has never been on a trip with this side of the family. We will be staying in a house on the lake and will be spending 7 days swimming, jet skiing, pontooning (apparently this isn't a word but I want it to be haha), fishing, eating yummy food, and relaxing. I also plan to read, read, read- more on that below. 

4. On the Hunt for New Books

I don't normally make a New Year's Resolution because I a) don't keep them or b) I just never keep them lol but this year I wanted to challenge myself with something I know I can do. It's obviously not to eat healthy because I love ice cream lol... I decided to do a book challenge. Mark's cousin Laura's best friend Katy (wow, thats confusing lol) read 30 books last year for her 30th birthday. I thought that would be fun to try but since I read so much already I decided to challenge myself to read 50 books by the end of the year. Well we are more than halfway down with the year and I'm only at 22. YIKES! I need to get moving. To be honest, I don't know if I have all of the books written down. Some books I've read on my nook, some on iBooks, some are paperbacks that have been loaned to me, and others I've given to friends to read. My system for remembering what I've read is obviously failing haha. I'm sticking to the number I have written in my phone so I better get moving. Anyways, now that I told you that long, dragged-out story here is what I'm really getting at... I bought two new books for our trip! I bought the Paris Wife by Paula McLain because my friend Heidi recommended it. I'll link the synopsis here. I also got the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I'm probably the last person on Earth to read this (or see the movie) but I just wasn't that interested in it until recently. My friend Emily loved it and I trust her so hopefully I will love it too. I still have the Luckiest Girl Alive to read but I just haven't been into it lately. Hopefully when I have more down time next week I will be able to finish all three. 

5. Mosquitoes. yuck.

I get eaten alive by mosquitoes any time we are near water and bug spray always burns my I am not looking forward to that part of vacation. I was in Target the other day and I saw these bug repellent bands. You wear them on your wrist, belt loop, backpack, etc. and they are supposed to last for 120 hours. I'm super excited to have found them and I really hope they work!! Has anyone tried them before?

Thinking About What We're Thinking About...

The Unbelievable Effects of Unbelief

So this is a totally different post from what I have previously written, so bare with me here.
On Sunday, our Pastor gave a sermon that hit me right at the core. Do you ever have days when what you are listening or watching or just hearing feels like it was tailor-made for you? That's how this sermon felt. It was basically about getting out of your own head because the way we think determines who we are. He spoke about taking our thoughts into captivity and not letting them get the best of us.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5
"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

I believe that Jesus is our Lord and savior with every ounce of my heart. That being said there are moments or days when my head starts second guessing the miracles he can perform in my life or the amount of love he has for me. I whole-heartidly KNOW he is going to perform miracles in the lives around me but when it comes to my own life, I have a harder time having such a strong conviction.

Listing to Bob talk about how my thoughts can be a betrayal to Christ really got my attention. How is it that I know these things (God's great love and divine power) to be true but yet I can have doubts about my own life in the same sentence? From what I learned from his sermon it's about the way we go about thinking, the process that can change things for us.

Proverbs 23:7
"For as you think you are."

Basically it comes down to the fact that we can only think about one thing at a time. As I was listening to this I thought, I can think about so many things at the same time haha, but what he means is we can only focus our mind on one thought at a time. So if we are focusing on other things how can our eyes be trained on the Lord? He made the joke that of course we have to think about things like paying the bills, traffic lights, making sure we eat, etc. These things just shouldn't interfere with Jesus being the center of our lives.

He gave us a little "cheat" sheet to use for our thoughts. Ask yourself are they:

King Pleasing

If the answer is no, then take those thoughts captive. We will never get away from feeling anxiety if we are constantly thinking about it. I am really going to work on taking captive those negative thoughts and focus my mind back on Him. I am not a pastor and I'm probably not doing this sermon justice, but I just thought I would share what I learned :) I'll link the sermon here if you want to listen.

Our Last Two Stops...

When we got to Reno, Steve and Chelsea BBQed and we relaxed on the patio together. It was so nice to be able to catch up and to meet their precious little one, Haley. We spent the next couple of days golfing (Mark), shopping (me), seeing friends, and celebrating our anniversary in Tahoe. It was perfect!

Photo dump in 3, 2, 1...

We had to pay our parking fee in change haha

We headed to Vegas EARLY on Tuesday morning. It's a 7 1/2 hour drive so we wanted to get in over with as soon as possible. We made pretty good time and it wasn't too bad because there's no traffic, which Mark loved! I love going home because we always feel so comfortable and relaxed. We spent a lot of time with family, swimming, golfing (Mark, again lol), and reading. We were definitely ready to head home to San Diego though... we missed our own bed!

The Third Leg of Our Trip... San Fran

We headed to San Francisco on Thursday morning. We have both been to the city before but never together, so we were excited to explore it with each other. We checked into our hotel and quickly realized that we had somehow mixed up the time for the Padres vs. Giants game. We thought it was a night game but after printing our tickets were realized the game had started an hour and a half before we got to the city. We immediately got in an Uber and headed to the ballpark. We were both wearing nicer outfits because the hotel had a dress code and we probably looked very strange haha. We got there in time for the sixth inning and thank God it was a high hitting game. We ended up being there for a few hours and had a great time.

After the game we walked around for a bit until we decided to hop on the trolley. We took it to the Wharf and found a cozy little bar to have oysters and a drink. We ordered a ton of oysters because they were on happy hour... I love a good happy hour! :) We decided to walk around some more and find a spot for clam chowder. We ended up at Boudin (yes I know it's super touristy, but so yummy!) and shared a bread bowl full of delicious chowder.

Since we were in the area we decided to held to Ghirardelli Square for a sundae because we I hadn't eaten enough at the last two places (yikes). It was delicious! We ended up walking around for a bit more and tried to get on the trolley. Every time one came near it was full, so we ended up walking and finding a dive bar. The bartenders were super interesting and ended up paying for our drinks. Really cool of them! We explored the city some more and we finally made it back to the hotel several hours later. We were exhausted! We had a pizza picnic on our bed and went to bed. Such a full day!

The next morning we decided we wanted to do something a little different. We wanted to check out Sausalito and then the Sutro Baths. We found a cute little diner to have breakfast in Sausalito and then walked around for a bit. We loved the houseboats there... seriously the coolest "houses" I've ever seen. I was super excited to go over the Golden Gate bridge on our way there (and the way back) since I've never driven over it. Next time I want to bike it. Then we headed to Lands End and the Sutro Baths.  I had read about Sutro Baths on one of my favorite blogs, Two Peas in a Prada. One of the bloggers lives in San Francisco and had recently taken a friend there.

Here's a little insight and history about the area:
In the late 1800's and early 1900's a millionaire named Adolph Sutro built the second Cliff House in this area and then designed a three acre public bathhouse. His idea behind the bathhouse was to create a recreational and inexpensive way for the San Franciscan residents to swim. They were designed to be able to hold 10,000 people...whoa! People eventually lost interest and the baths were sold and then eventually burned down. Now you can hike around the ruins and the many trails in the area.

We loved exploring this different side of the city!

I had read about a BBQ place called 4505 Burgers and BBQ that was supposed to be amazing. It did not disappoint! We shared a two meat plate with pulled pork, brisket, pickles, coleslaw, and their famous baked macaroni and cheese. WOW! It was soooo ridiculously good and the atmosphere was super neat! If you ever in San Fran I suggest you going there asap.

For dessert we headed to Bi-Rite Creamery to try their infamous Salted Caramel ice cream. The line was crazy long but it was worth the wait. I tried the blackberry cheesecake and the salted caramel. The blackberry was scrumptious but the salted caramel was actually too salty. I know I know it's supposed to be salty but it was WAY too salty.

We decided to leave a day early and head to Reno to visit friends and to meet sweet little Haley.

Trip Up the Coast Part 2

On our 2nd day of the trip we worked out at the hotel gym, grabbed some Starbucks, and then got on the road to Monterey. We stopped at pizza place in Paso Robles for a quick bite to eat and then made our way to our hotel. We stayed at the Lighthouse Lodge and Cottages and it was seriously adorable. It was very rustic feeling on the outside and cozy on the inside.

Our first night in Monterey we met Mark's friend Ben for dinner at the Sardine Factory. Mark and I shared the parmesan crusted calamari and it was delicious! We walked around Cannery Row and ended up at a brewery. We had a couple beers with Ben before calling it a night.

The next morning Mark got up super early to squeeze in 18 holes while I slept in then ventured over to a local coffee shop. I was excited because it was only a mile away so I could fit in an early morning walk and I can't pass up a chance to try out a new coffee shop. We saw it on our drive the previous night and it even had a book store attached to it... two of my favorite things! I was very disappointed though. The coffee was yummy but the people working there were very pretentious and rude. Such a bummer because the place was adorable!

Mark met me at the coffeeshop and we walked across the street to the Red House cafe for breakfast. We went there for breakfast the day after we got engaged four years ago. It was fun to be able to reminisce and the food was DELICIOUS! The inside has separate cozy little rooms just like an actual house. I love quirky places like that.

We thought it was the Red Horse Cafe haha
Afterwards we walked over to the bookstore to stock up for the rest of our trip. I bought the book What Alice Forgot and it was SOOO good! I could barely put it down and finished it within a week. Even though I wasn't a fan of the coffeeshop I loved the bookstore. The man working there was really kind and the selection was great. We even got a couple postcards to send to family.

We went back to the hotel to change and headed to the aquarium. It was HUGE and very beautiful. I loved the otter exhibit. Those little guys are adorable! They had two viewing areas so you could see under the water or watch the little guys on the surface.

They had several exhibits including the large open water tank, penguins, and jellyfish. The ocean totally freaks me out so overall I thought it was super creepy and scary but really impressive.

Such amazing views!

Then we headed over to Bubba Gumps for lunch. We couldn't have picked a more touristy place but it was a fun atmosphere. We each got a cup of clam chowder and shared the shrimp sampler.

We want back to the hotel and relaxed for awhile. I had read about this adorable french place called Fifi's that was supposed to be amazing. We headed there for a late dinner but it was closed for a private party, bummer. We headed across the parking lot to an Italian restaurant, Vitos. It was virtually empty when we walked in and I don't get why because but the owner was super accommodating and friendly. Plus the food was great and reasonably priced. After dinner we drove by the beach where Mark proposed and we stopped to watch the sunset.

The next morning we packed up the car and headed to another coffee shop. Ugh, I can't remember the name of it. It was super hipster but the coffee was yummy. We grabbed a sandwich and headed to San Francisco. More on that later... This part of the trip was super low-key and relaxing, just what we needed!