Happy Christmas Eve! Greetings from Santa Cruz.
(Check out this post for some Santa Cruz vegan food review from the last time I was here - Saturn Cafe is a gem.)
This year, for the first time ever, I'm not spending Christmas at home in Oregon. I'll see my family next week, but this year for Christmas I'm with Fiance and a large group of my future in-laws. It's the first time I've met this side of the family, and there's quite a few names to remember, but John briefed me with a family tree before we arrived, so I'm doing all right. We're having fun and I feel welcomed like part of the family.
This past week we've had quite a few stops and activities.
We started in Loma Linda with the end of my OB/Gyn rotation. It's a relief to be done because the hours were long, but I did all right and liked it more than I thought I would. Still going to be a pediatrician though, definitely haven't changed my mind.
Then we went to John's parents' house in San Diego and spent some time with his family.
We decorated a tree.
And this is Panda. He's precious.
We also went to Irvine for a night, Jamba juice oatmeal and the Carrot Karma smoothie. We did all our Christmas shopping while we were there, so now we're ready. Bring on Christmas.
On the way up to Santa Barbara we stopped for lunch at Nature's Grill in Ventura. It's the same as Natural Cafe in Santa Barbara, and I got the vegan version of the Buddha burrito. It was enormous, but I saved half for lunch the next day.
We also stopped and dropped my ring off at Van Gundy's - the jeweler John purchased it from, and we got it sized and polished. It's now as shiny as when he first gave it to me. AND it fits. I thought my ring size was 6 - it's 4.5. For the past 7 months I've been wearing a ring snuggie and now no more - it's wonderful.
My friend Bri had a baby in September and we got to meet him finally when we arrived in Santa Barbara. He and I got along great. I promise not to steal him, I'll just be a good aunt.
There was also Thai food - Tom Kah soup.
And Backyard bowls - no trip to Santa Barbara is complete without it. Hot oatmeal bowl (they make it with in-house cashew milk) with agave, strawberries, blueberries and walnuts.
We found this in Ventura when we went to pick up my ring. It tasted like those chocolate oranges you get at Christmas, but better. And more reasonably sized - I was never able to stop eating those big orange ones before I felt sick.
We did some cliff walking at Shoreline park in Santa Barbara.
THIS is the best vegan pizza of my life. From Pizza Guru in Santa Barbara - this is the White House with vegan white sauce and Daiya. It also has sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts. I ate half and saved the leftovers.
These are the Cowboy Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. They have coconut, chocolate chips, pecans and oats. They might be my favorite from the book so far.
And the next day brought us to Backyard Bowls again - this one is the Island Bowl, a blended Acai berry base with granola, fruit and coconut topping.
Lunch yesterday was the leftover pizza, and dinner was veggie pizza from Woodstock's here in Santa Cruz.
And now you're all caught up. Happy Christmas.
This morning I went on a 10 mile run. When I got back I couldn't feel my hands, but it was pretty fun. I left in the dark but looped back around in time for sunrise over the ocean and it was really beautiful.
We're not sure what the rest of the day will hold, but it's Christmas Eve with family, so it will be good.
And Merry Christmas to my other family - see you in a couple days!