A Lovely Oregon Adventure

K and B beach

Brandon and I just returned from an adventurous trip to Oregon to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. We chose this area because we wanted to visit “wine country” and also dip our toes in the ocean for a bit. I love that we went this direction (instead of traditional Napa) because it was such a different and new experience for both of us!

We packed up our cozy sweaters and headed for a gorgeous getaway along the Oregon coast, as well as deep in the Willamette Valley. Now that we’re home, I thought it would be fun to share some pictures and take you along our little adventure.

Starting from the sky…

This was the view from the plane on the way to Portland. B took this picture, which was perfect timing to get Mount Hood peaking through the clouds.

Mt Hood

Once we landed, we rented a car and high-tailed it to the beach. I was taken back by how tall the evergreens were. The ground was sprawling with ferns as big as our car and every now and then you’d see pops of bright yellow from the maples that were still trying to hang on to their leaves.

oregon treesAs soon as we arrived at Cannon Beach, which was less than two hours away, we checked into Stephanie Inn. As you can see, it’s right on the water. The sky was foggy, which gave it a mysterious backdrop. Our room was on the second floor, so we had a perfect view of the Pacific.

Stephanie Inn

Ready for the view from our room? This was taken at sunset when we arrived. I felt like an ocean princess sitting on our balcony taking in this view and the salty air.

sunset on the beach

I couldn’t wait to throw on my boots and go for a walk down the beach. The sand was so compact and easy to walk on. And the views…

cannon beach sunset_rocks

If this looks strangely familiar, you might remember it from the movie The Goonies. It was filmed in this area.

So, B and I ran into a super interesting guy who was meandering along the water with his dog. He graciously took our picture. (It was windy, which is why we’re squinty and my hair is crazy. Lol.)

K and B on beach

As we got into a conversation with our photographer friend, we learned he was nearing the end of a 45-day drive from one coast to the other. He was inspired by his dad, who made the same trip more than 20 years ago. We didn’t catch his name, but we were introduced to his dog, Bernie, who was very well-mannered. (Our Leo would have sprinted off the moment he laid eyes on a seagull.)

Anyway, he was the first of many cool people we met along the way…

photographer

We woke up the next morning at 4am, not just because we were excited to get back on the beach, but also because our bodies were used to being two hours ahead! I love this picture of my sweet B drinking his coffee.

Brandon in his happy place

The daylight brought with it some interesting treasures along our walk, such as sand dollars, washed up jellyfish and all kinds of shells.

shells on beach

I couldn’t figure out what made all of the squiggle marks in the sand. This jellyfish was larger than my head. I should have dropped a penny next to it for scale. Trust me, it was huge.

jellyfish

Look at this sweet seagull chillin’ in the morning sunshine. I wanted to just perch next to him for the day.

Seagull at Cannon Beach

Oh, I also spotted this cute little fella. He was hopping around the property of the hotel nibbling on herbs from their garden. I swear he had to be someone’s pet. Look how tame he was!

Kate and bunny

When it came to food, we decided to splurge. We also tried to eat things native to the region, which were all kinds of berries, nuts and seafood.

I snapped this picture of a hazelnut grove along the way. I’ve never seen this before!

Hazelnut trees

Back to our hotel…the restaurant was led by Executive Chef Aaron Bedard. He served up a meal that could have broken records. It was pretty much the best pecan-crusted salmon that has ever touched my lips. I can say that with authority.

After dinner, we received this surprise treat at our table to celebrate our anniversary. May I introduce you to my new best friend: The Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Tart consisting of Belgian dark chocolate mousse, Oregon hazelnut crust, huckleberry compote and chocolate fudge sauce.

anniversary dessert

After our time at the beach, we headed inland for a few days. We stayed at Le Puy Inn. It was a lovely house owned by a couple, who are both architects. Every detail was in place, including complimentary wine glasses and chocolates in our room, as well as organic bath salts and candles next to the tub. It was heavenly.

le puy

We toured the Willamette Valley visiting local vineyards and wineries. This area is home to some of the best Pinot noir in the world. Apparently the area has the same latitude as the Burgundy region of France, and has a similar climate in which the finicky Pinot noir grapes thrive. Cool, right?

vineyard

There are more than 400 vineyards in this valley alone. Needless to say, we had a few options to choose from. We started off at Hawks’ View, which ended up being our favorite destination. You can see Mount Hood in the distance.

Hawk's View Vineyard

We lingered in this spot for quite some time enjoying their wine, as you can see below.

Oh, and notice the flared lip on the glasses? We discovered these are designed specifically for a Pinot noir. It delivers the wine closer to the middle of the palate, which allows you to better experience the flavors. We felt so smart learning that.

Hawk's View wine glasses

The day was simply gorgeous. We had sunny skies and didn’t even need jackets. We kept hearing how this was going to be the last sunny day in the area until next year.

Arborbrook Vineyard

We woke up to this scene the very next day. It was a breathtaking rainbow over the valley. It also meant rain was on the way. It didn’t stop until we left. Although, we came prepared. Boots and umbrellas are an Oregon staple.

Rainbow

One of the tasting rooms we picked (on day two) was called Elizabeth Chambers. They produced their wines in town and purchased their grapes from various vineyards in the area. This made it a bit different. I also loved their logo. When you have so many wineries to choose from, you start picking them like race horses – go with the look.

Elizabeth Chambers Cellar

This whole place was beautiful. It was an old power plant and is on the historic register in McMinnville. They rent it out for parties and weddings. Perfect setting for something like that for sure.

Elizabeth Chambers inside

We made time along the way to sample some craft beer and seafood chowder, which I had been craving since the moment our plane landed from Arkansas. It was delicious. I would have taken some home in my purse if it weren’t so messy.

Golden Valley beers

Our dinners in the valley were insanely good. Our first night was spent at Recipe, Neighborhood Kitchen and we hit the Dundee Bistro for our final night.

They were both highly recommended, and we understand why. You couldn’t go wrong with anything on the menu.

Recipe

That pretty much concludes our tour. B and I had such a memorable trip. I hope you enjoyed a little sample of it all. Be sure to see it in person if you ever have the chance. I’m pretty sure I’ll be going back at some point. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take another 15 years 😉

Here’s to plenty of adventures, my sweet friends!

-Kate

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Friday Wrap: Desk Favorites

My big project of the week was a desk makeover. It feels so good to be organized in this little space! Here are my five favorite things about the desk that I wanted to share:

{ONE} Bulletin board

bulletin board

If you would have seen what was previously hanging on this door, you would have been all, “Girl, you gotta be kidding me.” It was this HUGE dry erase board that was hard to write on, and it extended beyond to door, so you had to remove it in order to even close the door. Anyway, it was time to have it removed. So I did. And I replaced it with this beautiful little thing that fits my personal notes and pics. PS. I attached it to the door with a wreath holder and used ribbon to secure it in place.

{TWO} Hello, pillow!

chair

My chair was already pretty comfy, but it needed a better back support. This pillow is super soft, and I love walking into an office where your chair greets you every time. “Well, hello to you, too!”

{THREE} Striped cup project

gold pencil cup

This was a fun project I tried. The cup is a plastic tumbler I found at Walmart for $1.47. I used masking tape to create the stripes and then painted with metallic gold acrylics. The total project was about $3 with the paint.

{FOUR} Owl lamp

owl lamp

This little cutie-hootie was calling my name at Walmart. He makes me feel smart when I’m sitting at my new desk 🙂 Oh, and I love having fresh flowers on my desk. I tucked some rosemary into this one so it has a nice fragrance. The cup has gold polka-dots to go with the black and gold color theme I have goin’ on, if you couldn’t tell.

{FIVE} Gold paper clips

gold paper clips

The clips themselves are from Hob Lob, and I tied ribbon around the ends to jazz them up a bit. They’re great for bookmarks – and of course holding papers together.

Whatever you do, try to have an awesome weekend. My sweet B and I are headed to Portland to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. (I can’t believe it has been that long?!) I promise to share pics when I get back next week.

Hugs to you!

-Kate

PS. Remember to check out all of the brilliant bloggers on Five on Friday and Oh, Hey Friday!

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How to Makeover Your Desk

I’ve been spending a lot more time working from home lately, so I decided it was time for a mini desk makeover to make my space more enjoyable. There were piles of papers and a cup full of dull pencils and other random objects (like loom bands and a jingle bell from Christmas – true story) that were collecting in my “happy place.” It was time to do something.

You might think that description calls for a complete overhaul vs. a mini makeover, but I didn’t want to spend tons of time or money.

You’d be surprised at how creative you get when you give yourself restrictions!

i can do this

Here’s what went down, I spent an hour doing some upfront planning, then I allotted another hour for the sorting, tossing and decorating.

More specifically, and in the form of five steps you can do:

{ONE} Set a goal for the space – 5 min.

Before you lift a finger, think about how you want to use the space. Is this a place for you to write and be inspired? Does it need to serve multiple purposes: pay bills one day and hold a sewing machine another? It’s much easier to organize when you have an end goal in mind.

{TWO} Take inventory – 20 min.

As hard as it maybe, take a good hard look at what’s in front of you. Is everything serving the purpose of the space you want? If not, make a plan to move, toss or donate it. For example, I had too many books on the desk, and I don’t use this space to read. I plan to move some of the business books to a higher spot and send the rest to the living room.

Once you’re left with the things you really, truly need, take another look. What stacks up the most? Do you need a better place to file bills? Do you have enough light? Do you need a cork board to post ideas? Start your wish list!

{THREE} Makeover your supplies – 5 min.

Before you launch into buying a bunch of pretty office supplies, though, sort through what you already have. Are there pencils that just need sharpening? Are there paper clips that could be wrangled into a container? Once you’ve done that, you can finalize your list of what’s really needed.

{FOUR} Get inspired – 30 min.

Now that you have a plan, you can peruse Pinterest or Houzz. It’s more productive searching when you’re focused on what you need. Otherwise you’ll end up in a black hole of ideas. They’ll be beautiful ideas, and you may gain a few new recipes along the way, but it’s not helping. And we have a desk to organize!

I made a collection of my favorite items in this post.

That was the first hour! The time delay between step four and five is totally up to you. I took a weekend to shop and make a few things on my wish list. When you’re ready…

{FIVE) Do the work – 60 min.

It’s time to roll up your sleeves for the second part of the makeover.

Pull everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) out of your desk. Put it on the floor so you see all of your business. It will be both overwhelming and totally awesome – like how I imagine it would feel to knock down a wall on demo day!

Create “keep, toss and donate” piles . I use the one-touch method, where you touch it once and make a quick decision on which pile it goes into. It makes things go so much faster.

When you’ve finished clearing off your desk, you can clean (like with Lysol wipes) and start to decorate your blank slate.

This should be about the 40 min. mark. For the rest of your 20 minutes…

Thoughtfully put the items from your “keep” pile into place. Keep reminding yourself there should be a home for every. little. thing. If you find yourself stashing small items. Go get a pretty bowl to hold them. Stay reluctant!

Time’s up!!

Step back and admire your hard work. Be sure to take a picture to remind yourself of how pretty it looks – and also where things were supposed to go if you get off track down the road. No one is judging.

Speaking of that, I’m about to show you my personal before and after picture. This desk is inside of our guest room closet, so I had to get super creative in how I utilized the space.

Blah Before

before2

How boring is this? The top pic is the wide shot of the desk, which so elegantly highlights all of my piles of crap. Bottom left is the left view, and bottom right is the right side where you can see I have stashed all kinds of papers and supplies. Even Leo is like, “Mom, really?”

Awesome After

center view

Ta-da! This is the wide view where you can see I cleaned up the situation. I moved my books to the top shelf and added pictures of the kids and other decorative items to help personalize the space. Aren’t those little flags cute?!

This is the left view. I went with a black and gold color theme!

Now for the left view. I went with a black and gold color theme, if you couldn’t tell. I found gold polka dot file folders and other cute accents at Hob Lob and Walmart. (#BudgetFriendlyProject) And of course I added fresh flowers from the garden and a mini candle pot to the mix. Oh, and I organized my supplies like copy paper, envelopes, and other odds and ends in baskets on the shelf.

This is the view to the right. Its not as pretty, because I need an extra monitor for the type of work that I do. You can see how I totally cleaned it up, though!!

This is the view to the right. I call this “tech corner” where I have my extra monitor and printer. Look how I totally cleaned up the mess!! The black basket on the shelf has my cords, external hard drive and other techy stuff.

looking left_far

This is a wider view of my favorite side of the desk 🙂 You can see my new bulletin board, which I hung with an over-the-door wreath holder and gold polka-dot canvas ribbon. Before I had a huge honkin’ board that was kind of like a white board, but it was black. None of my dry erase markers showed up on it, so it was a total waste of money. Sad face. This new board is perfect for pinning my notes and pics.

That’s pretty much it! Let me know if you decide to tackle your desk and what helped you the most. Here’s to staying organized – together!!

-Kate

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Halloween Hit & Miss

Hopefully everyone had a frightfully fun Halloween. We had one of those weekends where we had to simply go with the flow. Nothing seemed to go as planned, but we managed to carve out some happiness.

Halloween bears

Clara had fun collecting candy as Supergirl and Avery felt extra pretty as an Indian Princess.

Avery and Clara Halloween

Even the Bear Club joined in the festivities. These were some of my favorite costumes the kids wore when they were tiny. Evan was the lion for his first Halloween. I think Avery and Clara wore the bee and ladybug when they were four? I’m so glad I kept these!!

Here’s a rundown of the night:

Hit: The biggest treat was having my parents (Mimi and Papa) join us. They’ve never experienced the craziness and joy of Halloween in our neighborhood, so they decided to give it a go. We always have hundreds of trick-or-treaters, and this year was no different.

It was also Leo’s first Halloween at our house. I bought him a canine calming coat, and it worked like a charm. In fact, he slept most of the night – even with all of the doorbell ringing and kids screaming, which I will explain momentarily.

Miss: We had grand plans to carve our pumpkins on Friday night, but Evan came home from school with a fever and ended up being sick all weekend. Poor kid. This was the second time he’s been sick on Halloween. Not cool.

Hit: The silver lining was waiting until Saturday to carve pumpkins when Mimi and Papa were here. It turns out my mom is quite the master carver and made a Shrek-looking monster with protruding ears. Kids kept commenting on how cool our pumpkins and other decorations were. Well, most of them…

Miss: Remember the floating witches’ hats that I adored hanging in the archways of my front porch? They were not-so-adored by the little ones. We had two kids (like maybe 2 and 3-years-old) who screamed liked their knees were bleeding when the hats moved with the wind. I’ve never had “scary” decorations before, so this reaction was new to me. I tried to comfort them by explaining they were just silly hats, but they were not having any of it. They were like, “Just give me my candy before I pee on your steps already!”

Hit: In addition to handing out boatloads of candy, I made a few batches of popcorn. You know the Boo Bags I talked about last week? We made those. We offered a choice of “popcorn or candy” and the winner by far was popcorn. One kid ran down the sidewalk yelling, “That house has POPCORN!!” It was hilarious. I plan to do that again for sure – and make more next time.

All in all, the night turned out great. Like I said, it wasn’t perfect – or the way I had imagined it all going down, but sometimes that’s better. If it weren’t for the a few of those misses, I wouldn’t have relished in all of the happiness.

happiness

Here’s to a week full of surprises.

-Kate

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