We just returned from the Best / West Coast where we spent a whirlwind holiday weekend outside in nature with my side of the family. It is best summed up by Ken’s instagram post:
My parents have spent the past 20 Thanksgivings at Breitenbush Hot Springs, at the base of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. So instead of indulging in food, turkey, booze, and football, we spent Thanksgiving off the grid in natural hot springs, rain, lush forests, and togetherness (vegetarian togetherness). My brother and his family have gone the past seven years, so this year, we decided to make the trek out to Oregon. It was quite the haul, but it was a special and joyous time for the cousins and all of us to be together.
This past weekend, the kids, parents and I went to the Oregon Coast to escape the hot temperatures of Eugene (in the 100s) and surround ourselves in the beauty of the Oregon Coast. We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed nature, and family (minus Ken, who was in New York). Take a look at the pictures.
The Oregon Coast is always much colder than inland …. which makes sense, but this past weekend it was 30 degrees colder. 30!!!!
Fall is in full swing and I am (incredibly) nostalgic about sunshine, bathing suits, vacation, less scheduled time, and popsicles. So throwback (#MondayMemories — such a thing, HA!) to August when we traveled with our best friends (who don’t like the internet) and all our kids to one of my favorite places to travel: Sunriver, Oregon. Growing up, we would go there twice a year for family vacations; always to ski. Winter ski trip and Spring ski trip. Only once did I go to Sunriver in the summer, when I was invited in middle school with a friends’ family. Our trip this summer did not disappoint and we thoroughly enjoyed each and every minute — activities, relaxation, and quality time all together.
An ice cream a day keeps the doctor away. A crowd favorite, ice cream (and candy) from good ‘ol Goody’s!
I love (1) anything beaded, (2) companies based in Eugene, and (3) monograms. So the combination of all three is a definite winner. This Umpqua beaded belt from Will Leather Goods, a Eugene company, is my definition of heaven. Smooth, colorful, unique, and subtle with a hidden monogram.
Beaded belt perfection.
Now that I am back on my Kombucha addiction, I have discovered the best of the best. Humm Kombucha. This beverage is ridiculously tasty and refreshing. Plus, it tastes so good, that it doesn’t even really taste like kombucha (oxymoron — drink kombucha that doesn’t taste like kombucha?). Every flavor is delicious and it is hard to pick my favorite — they are all so good.
humm humm humm humm
For new readers of the blog (thanks The New Potato!), I live in New York with my husband Ken and two kids. But I “summer” in my hometown of Eugene, Oregon with my parents, and Ken comes back and forth. New York and Eugene couldn’t be more different, and I have come to love the contrast, and appreciate the positives (and negatives) of both. Here are some of the reasons I love Eugene, my first and always true home… (I bleed tie dye)…
And I am trying my hardest to make tie-dye a big part of my kids’ life, too.
Truth be told, I am not a big drinker (I am constantly in a state of my own drunkenness) and when I *do* drink, I am a super cheap date lightweight (aka fall asleep before double digits)…nonetheless, I am so excited by this Oregon Wine Company, hallelujah-ohmygoodness-bless-the-lord-maybe-ill-start-guzzling-now! WHAT IS HIPPER THAN DRINKING WINE OUT OF A CAN? Big kudos to Union Wine Company … (Flashback to drinking champagne out of a can…)
Here we are, Oregon Summer 2015! I arrived just a little over 24 hours ago from New York and it feels like I never left. I must say that I have had a hard time adjusting the first week….I always want to make a plan and have a hard time not having a “busy schedule”. That said, after a week in Eugene, I get the hang of doing nothing and get to be way more mellow and relaxed (all of it disappears the moment that I land in NYC). Totally jet-lagged, exhausted, and tired, here is a quick look at some photos of my first 24 hours in Eugene.
A walk to a flat area (we live in a steep hill in every direction) where Tata (my father) was able to teach Cruzzie how to ride a bike. (and yes, That’s Life!)
Best Granola Ever. I am addicted and obsessed with granola and this is HANDS DOWN MY FAVORITE brand. No other type of granola comes close to this heavenly bowl of goodness! For the past several years (at least 5 years, or even more!), my dear mother in Eugene, Oregon, has been sending me boxes of this granola from the bin in our local grocery store (which is ten times better than any Whole Foods) to New York City. I never knew that it was sold elsewhere! Until I found it in a random Korean Deli Store in Upper Manhattan. It was startling, exhilarating, and life changing! Grizzlie’s Granola — Aunt Maple’s Crunchy Granola — the best of the best.
Heaven in a bag
Last Friday of August.. Yikes! Grilling dessert post from Ken in 13 easy steps!
Locate (peach farm… Bush’s Fern View Farm in Junction City, OR)
Spencer’s Butte. My favorite stomping ground in Eugene, Oregon. My home away from home. Thanks for letting me share pictures from over the years…
Summer 2009, Cruz in belly.
I JUST DISCOVERED HEAVEN!!!!! Holy god, thank you Lord! South Bend Chocolate Company Malt Balls! The absolute best cure for Monday blues!
Enamored with anything Oregonian and delicious, I recently stumbled upon (in my mother’s kitchen) the most INCREDIBLE, tasty unusual, and delicious treat, made by a Local Company, Jacobsen Salt Co. A little background: my parents met and married in Stockholm, Sweden, 42 years ago. I also lived there as a 5 year old for a year. Soooo, I feel a connection to anything Swedish (add that to my long list of special connections: Oregon, Paris, hippy, etc..) One of the many Swedish food loves is black licorice, and especially salted black licorice. It is definitely an acquired taste, but if you do like it, you LOVE it. And my mother is royally obsessed with black licorice and stocks up on it when in Scandinavia. So it was a treat for her to find her favorite candy made by a local company. Hip hip hooray!
Catchy name, classy presentation.
As Ken told me at the Butte to Butte, “Going to a road race in Eugene is like attending a hedge fund conference in NYC. Everyone feels at home.” And he is so right! Eugene, Oregon is “Track Town USA.” Most everyone is sporty and either bikes, runs, or does both. Eugene frequently hosts the Track and Field Olympic Trials (in 1972, 1976, 1980, 2008 and 2012, and will host again in 2016). Additionally, it is the birthplace of Nike, Steve Prefontaine, and the historic Hayward Field.
Over the weekend, we went to the Lavender Festival on the McKenzie River with the family, including our nieces and nephews. What’s at an Oregon Lavender festival? Lavender. And a couple of lavender vendors. And, well…that is about it! That said, we enjoyed the scenery, smells, colors, and ummmmm lavender.
Purple lavender haze
I had the opportunity to go on a day hike with my Papa yesterday without the kids (Thank you, Nana!!) and it was a gorgeous 8 mile loop. Iron Mountain is known for its wildflowers — with over 300 species of flowers scattered throughout the meadows and mountain. It was a gorgeous terrain with a mixture of fields, forest, views, flowers, and trees. Enjoy the pictures!
Oregon trees. The very best.
We are in Florida now after an incredibly relaxing and enjoyable week in Sunriver, Oregon with my parents. Although not as bad as last year, we missed a connection on the way out and had to rent a car and drive four hours from Portland. No matter what a pain in the arse traveling across the country is with two kids, two car seats, a stroller and five million bags, it is worth every second to be with my parents. Enjoy the pics!
The area around the Sunriver resort is usually covered with snow this time of year. Not this time. So no ski-out cross country skiing. At least we got to enjoy the high desert scenery.
Denim + Pendelton = DREAM COME TRUE.
Born in Portland, Oregon, as of September 2013 (brand stinking new!) Camp Wolf was inspired by a love for Pacific Northwestern life and a passion for making cool clothes for cool kids. Everything is hand sewn and one-of-a-kind — recycled vests with Pendleton fabric — to create a cheery, hip, and stylish look for kids ranging from newborn to 5 years old. Original and unique!
The backs of two jackets.
Because everything “cool” that I discover is from my mom, here is the most recent find: whole grain, organic, artisan cookie mixes! Made in Oregon (obvi), these mixes come from Southern Oregon’s Butte Creek Mill. And it has been in operation since 1872 — long standing coolness.
Butte Creek Mill
OK OK OK, totally hippy, totally Eugene….and yet, totally awesome *and* totally on trend. BIRD SHIRTS! How can you NOT fall in love with them?
3 amigos all in bird shirts! (Me and one of my besties Bridget and her husband Joe)
Not that there is much difference between a weekend and a weekday during my summer vacation in Oregon, but we have had a great last couple of days. My brother and his family came down from Seattle, and there was a constant influx of noise, commotion, and chaos, combined with love, laughter, and happiness. When the two of our families are at my parents house (minus Ken, who is working in New York but coming out on Friday!), there is A LOT going on, but we all love being together so much. Here is a look at what we did. A lot of outdoor activities, as normal:
We set up a tent in the backyard for the cousins to sleep in.
My husband likes to joke with me that my stories need to be “shorter and funnier.” So, this post, although not funny, is short with no words. Just pictures. A recent field trip adventure to the Oregon Coast a la Ansel Adams.
Eugene is located in the Willamette Valley in Oregon and has recently become the new Napa of the West Coast. People from all over travel to the Valley (um, like, totally) not just to go to the Olympic Trials for Track and Field or to check out Nike’s birthplace, but also to sip on Pinots (Pinot Noir, mainly) and to eat local and organic food (sounds heavenly right?). Due to the rainfall, climate, and soil, Eugene is a perfect location to grow pinot grapes. One of the most famous wineries of the area is King Estate, a premier wine company that distributes nationally.
Willamette Valley is the green section -- Northwest part of the state of Oregon.
Founded in 1991 by the King family, King Estate produces wines using organic & sustainable farming methods. It is located on 1,033 certified organic acres — including 460 acres of organic vineyards and 30 acres of fruits and vegetables produced for the vineyard restaurant. The rolling hills, open sky, and fresh air make King Estate an ideal location to spend an afternoon. It truly is heavenly. A dream day would be to ride my parent’s tandem bicycle (one of their three tandems) with my love (no trailer behind us with the kiddos), bike the 20 miles to King Estate, have a leisurely and filling meal, then bike back to Eugene. PERFECT day.
The Willamette Valley is a lush green due to the 10 months of rainfall. Although it is on the west coast just like Napa and Sonoma, it has a very different feel to it. Much more relaxed, and less occupied and traversed.
The Olympic Trials for Track and Field.
With school out for the summer, I am in Oregon for the next two months with my parents and the kids, and Ken is going to be back and forth from New York. New York has the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Jets, and Giants. Eugene, Oregon has the Track and Field Olympic Trials! Eugene is actually known for its track (nickname: Tracktown, USA). It is the home of Prefontaine and is where Nike was born.
Even if you don’t love track (I do), watching Olympic Trials is pretty cool. Hundreds of athletes from around the U.S. come here after training for years. What transpires at Hayward Field determines if all of the blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice are worth it. Lots of emotion, suspense, drama, and great track and field. Enjoy the pics!
Hayward Field. Big crowd. Despite the rain.
Anatomy of a successful Pole Vault: Part 1