Monday, December 31, 2012

My Outfit Monday - Irish style

I made corned beef and cabbage for the first time today.  What can I say?  We love our Irish food.
So in honor of Ireland and our trip there in 2011, I also decided to wear my sweater purchased in Ireland.

Sweater: Ireland
Skirt: Calvin Klein
Tights: (?)
Shoes: Born

I love this sweater, as it's the warmest (and most special ) I own.  I also love it because of the memories it brings to mind.
I hope you're as warm this winter as I am today.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lovely liquered bread pudding

I've been a naughty little person lately.  For one, my last post was a week ago (oops). Secondly, I decided to give in to my deep craving for comfort foods via a bread pudding recipe passed down to my by my Great Aunt, K.  The original recipe was Amaretto Macadamia nut bread pudding.  However, I did not have amaretto or macadamia I substituted (what's new, right?)
My bread pudding contained Frangelico..oh yum!  So, I'll include the original recipe with noted substitutions.

Anyway, it's easy and delicious and will most definitely add pounds to the body to stock up for hibernation.
Here goes..

Amaretto Macadamia Bread Pudding

(serves 12 to 15)

  • 1 loaf (1 pound) white French bread, danish or croissants
  • 1/2 cup diced macadamia nuts (didn't use)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (I used golden good!)
  • 1 quart half-and-half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Amaretto (or Frangelico)
Sauce for bread pudding
  • 1/2 cup Amaretto liqueur (..or Frangelico)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whipped butter

For the bread pudding: Cut bread into 1 inch cubes.  Place bread, nuts and raisins in a deep dish (8.5 x 13 inch pan is recommended). Toss until well mixed and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the half and half, sugar, eggs and liqueur and beat to blend.  Pour the mixture over the bread and let it soak in the fridge 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Bake the bread pudding for 1 hour or until golden brown.  Cool to room temperature and cut into 12-15 squares.
For the Sauce: Combine the liqueur and sugar in top of a double boiler over simmering water and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Remove from heat and whisk in the whipped butter.
To serve: Place squares of the bread pudding on dessert plates and spoon the sauce over the top.
Eat and repeat!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Where I've been and what I've seen- part 4

Aack! I'm really falling behind on past trips, yet we keep taking more that I want to talk about.
So I'd best move along and bring you up to speed about our trip to Eugene, OR.
We love Eugene so much that we've thrown around the idea of moving their several times.
Obviously, it's only been talk though, since we are still here in our depressed little community (but enough about that..)
What makes Eugene so special to us, you may ask?
For one, the bike paths.  The few we've been on are layed out well, scenic and make you want to just keep riding off into the sunset.  Speaking of bikes, the city itself is very bike-friendly too. They have actual bike lanes, bridges, even on/off ramps linked through parks for access and people who know what they're doing on bikes.
Restaurants are eclectic and delicious (hiya McMennamin's and Beir Stein!).  Shopping is pretty sweet too.  There are two shopping centers for full retail (hello DSW and Loft!) and a lot of really good second hand store (like St. Vinnie's- I got a super nice wool Eddie Bauer jacket from there for $16...not too shabby!)
Also the weather and general lush surroundings (things are actually green and grow there!) is quite lovely.
This time though, we mainly went to Eugene to spend time with our friends R and J and their littles.
R is just as passionate about riding bikes and micro-brews as Aaron is, so they look forward to riding around town then taking a break and grabbing a few pints before the come back home.
We didn't go and see a lot, but what we did end up doing was relaxing and enjoyable. 
The first day we were there was Friday night and visited and caught up.  The next morning we all slept in, then decided to go second- hand shopping and figure the rest out from there.
So that's what we did.  We stopped at several St. Vinnie's (as I mentioned before) to see what we could score.  That's where I found my jacket.  I think we all managed to score something, even the littles. Then we stopped in at a bike parts store, Eugene Bicycle Works,where the guys rode these crazy bikes (just click the link to see a picture of them) from their "rideable museum" around the block.
  But then we all felt pretty hungry.  Aaron and I love to stop by a restaurant/bottle shop/bar called the Beir Stein, where we first had (and fell in love with) beer-cheese soup. So, we obviously requested this place when asked where we wanted to eat.
We all ordered our meals and sad to say, I can't remember exactly what I had there.  But it was so tasty that I ate it all and finished it off with a nice, cold stout.  I do remember stealing a bite of one of the kid's homemade sauerkraut and wishing I'd ordered that instead.
We then went home, all stuffed to the gills and relaxed....or at least J, the littles and I did.
Aaron and R. hopped on their bikes and went for a ride and then stopped in at Oakshire for some beer.
I hear it was good, but what would I know? I was in my stretchy pants at home.
The next morning, we all hung around the house and decided to go for a bike ride.  This particular trail skirted along roads, then on it's own trail through some wetlands.  It was so peaceful and relaxing.
I fell in love and wished we had something, anything, like that here.
As with other trips, it was only a weekend one, so we had to get back home.
Thanks for another great weekend, R, J and the littles!

Monday, December 17, 2012

No we didn't go anywhere, but...

...we did get some things DONE (around the house that is)!
I mentioned a couple posts ago that we've been weeding things out, in effort to simplify our house and hopefully, our lives too.
So we did just that.  This time we tackled pretty much every cabinet and drawer in our kitchen and cleaned off the counter tops.  It looks amazing and somewhat like we just moved in. I'm still not sure what to think of it (remember, I like a little clutter/decoration going on.)

We also decided to update and paint our spare room.  
It used to be a bright blue color, with clouds painted on the ceiling.
the only picture I could find to show you the colors...

Several people used to call it the nursery, which would be fine if we had a kid, or at least planned on it.
But we don't.
Six years after painting it and never really loving it, we decided it was time to make some changes.  
We painted three walls an awesome, calming green color and the other an almond/cream color. We also painted over the clouds on the ceiling with an off-white.
Then we bought a new light and installed it.
It looks 1,000 times better already!
No pictures have been taken because we aren't done with the room yet!
(I don't want to ruin the surprise!)
We also plan on laying down matching laminate flooring.
So when all of that is finished I'll let you know!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Be still my Ginger heart

I feel like I'm meant to love ginger(s).
Why? Well several movies with red-headed girls as the main characters were a pretty big thing growing up.
In fact, one of my favorite was "Annie", featuring an singing-orphaned-ginger.
The sun will come out, tomorrow indeed...

Little Orphan Annie, as pictured here
As I grew a little older, I was fascinated (didn't love her...she kinda, really, annoyed me) with Pippy Longstockings. She was so peppy and definitely marched to the beat of her own drum, but she wore the best striped tops ( I love stripes) and mis-matched clothes before fashion blogs made it cool.

What's not to be annoyed with in this picture
Then as I grew older, I found out just how much I love ginger- in the form of these spicy candies called Ginger Chews...soooo good!

After that, I figured since I liked these candies so much, I may as well try some ginger beers (not to be confused with ginger ale, I'm told, though I have no idea why.)  It was spicy and refreshing. 

Reed's ginger beer- one I've tried that I love!
 From that point on, I became hooked on all things ginger.
Including "ginger" babies.  I LOVE babies with red hair!!
( I thought about posting a picture of a red-headed baby, but figured that would be creepy and weird, since I don't have any in my family, groups of friends or co-workers and would have to google an image and end up with some random child....not gonna happen).
After all of that, I hope you now have a more complete picture of just how much I love ginger.  I feel the need, to tell you that I felt the need, to tell you all of that, to tell you this:
I made ginger beer (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) in my kitchen last night and am crazy excited about it!  It was from Coopers ginger beer kit from Australia, two packs of raw sugar and a couple very important being love.
I decided to name it "the Orphannie ginger beer" after lil' orphan Annie.
What have I got to lose?

  Aaron (my personal brew-master) instructed me along the way and helped do all of the "technical stuff."
I can't wait to taste it and see if it's hot as I like it.  Also, I've never had an alcoholic ginger beer, so this should be interesting!
The bad news is,  I have to be patient and wait a whole 3 weeks to taste both versions.  Talk about killing my slowly.  But I'll let you know how it tastes (if you remind me and ask) when that time comes!

My outfit Monday

I've fancied colored tights for quite some time now.
Alas, I have finally pulled up my big girl panties and embraced them as a trend I can actually have fun with.
I feel like they add a little whimsy to an otherwise serious outfit.
World, meet the sunshine tights.

Earrings: Etsy
Cardigan: Loft
Skirt: H&M, old
Tights: Target

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cleanin' house

Time spent at my grandparent's house was often like a treasure hunt.
Allow me to explain:
 I don't know that I was ever really told to hold on to every rubber band, well-constructed box or magazine, but somewhere and somehow (maybe through the process of osmosis), I learned that it was a pretty good idea.
When asked if I want to hold on to something, the ol' motto: "You never know when you'll need it," is the first thing to pop into my mind.
Truth be told, I come from a long line of hoarders.
You see, my Grandpa grew up during the Great depression, then down the road, both my grandparents lived through shortages through WWII.  They learned how to use what they could and keep what they needed (everything I guess) to do so. Drawers, closets, shelves and rooms held countless prizes for a little kid and things they "might need" down the road.

A real-life junk drawer, pinterest
They then passed this legacy down through the years to my mother, then to me.
And that is why I am where I am today:
living amongst countless numbers of things I haven't used in quite some time, with less and less space in our house.
But then something changed.  I had an "Aha!" moment when we stayed with some friends in their newly built and carefully re-decorated house.  The floor plan of their house is so open and relaxing and the way they've chosen to decorate is simple yet tasteful, with no clutter.  I found myself at such ease in their house.  Then, when we came back to our house, it felt confining, cluttered and stressful. Aaron said he felt the same way.
So, we've started to go through everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) in every room in our house and get rid of it, either by selling or donating it. 

Clutter, pinterest
At first it was a little overwhelming and scary to me, as I'm afraid of getting rid of something I will deeply regret getting rid of it.  But I remind myself that these things are really just that, things, and in the end, none of it really matters too much. Because of this constant reminder, it's become easier and easier to get rid of the clutter.  As more space opens up on our shelves, in our closets and in our home in general I catch myself feeling less stressed by the clutter and wanting to get rid of more. MORE!   Now I fear I'm headed in the opposite direction and may end up with a house with absolutely no comfort.

Simplify, Pinterest
But I have a long, long way to go to get there.
I hope you notice the difference in our house the next time you stop by!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Where I've been and what I've seen- Part 3

I know, I know....
It has been a while since my last installment of "Where I've been and what I've seen," and you must've chewed all of you fingernails off in eager anticipation by now.  But you guys, I've been both really busy and lazy.  Despite both of those conditions, I solemnly swear that we have gone on other trips worth talking about (at least in our estimation).  Here's one of them:
Our next visit was "over the hill" to the Medford/Jacksonville/Ashland area for another weekend getaway.
We had no real plans other than to A) get out of town and B) stay and visit with friends...and hopefully eat.
We completed all requirements and quite well, if I may say so myself!
So we arrived in Medford in the late afternoon and found that we were starving (surprise)!
We decided to try a restaurant we had heard a lot about and that was somewhere new to us:  4 Daughters Irish Pub 

It was really good and did not disappoint!  It was as close to an authentic Irish pub on the inside that we have come across so far.

The food was equally as good. We started out with deep fried pickles, and they were SO good
(I haven't stopped thinking about them since...)

Sadly, no other photos were taken as the food was delivered, all conversation stopped and we dove in like the two starving little people we are (obviously...)
I ordered a whisky and coke and "fish and chips"- replacing the fish with jumbo shrimp and choosing sweet potato fries as my chips. Aaron ordered a corned beef burger (with both the beef patty AND slices of corned beef). We both really liked our food and plan to return soon.

But the fun-eating did not stop there.
We ran around and shopped a bit then drove to meet up with our friends and Southern Oregon Brewery.
We sampled a few beers, chatted for a while, then made our way to our friends home in Jacksonville.
But we only stayed there for a short time.
Our friend C. wanted to take us to a newer tasting room that had opened in the Rogue Valley: 2 Hawk.
It was laid back, yet still up-scale.  It had such a good vibe!  The inside was glowing and packed, as well as the outside- with fire pits, a live band and even more people, sitting around, enjoying the wine and surroundings.
Now, I can not tell a lie.  I am by no means a wine connoisseur and am still working on figuring out what I like-  but I did find one wine I fancied.
We spent the rest of our evening there- enjoying the company and our surroundings like many others that night.

As we left, we decided it was a pretty awesome place and agreed we would definitely go back.
We retired fat and happy- ready for the next (food packed) day.

The next morning we slept in and decided we needed to eat. C. suggested another restaurant to try.  Of course we were game.
This time we traveled to Ashland- to Smithfields.  It was yet again, another awesome place to go.
Instead of going on and on about what I ordered, let me just show you the exact description:
"“Neil’s brekkie”: Corned beef, duck fat fried potato cake, bacon-braised collard greens,
fried egg, stone mustard cream, rosemary cheddar, worcestershire sauce."

and Aaron got this:
SF’s sandwich: open faced, corned beef, rye toast, spinach, stone mustard cream, fried egg
Yes...that all really happened.
We all ate as much (if not all of it) as we could.
Then, we rolled down the hill and stopped by a few shops in downtown Ashland, ogling shoes, picking up new beers at local markets to try later and then thrifting (awesome Goodwill!).
However, after the morning's Olympic eating event, we did eventually get "snacky."
Since we were near one of my favorite cupcake spots, Larry's we decided to stop by.
Larry's is amazing.  As you walk down the stairs to the bakery, you are instantly greeted by a case full of 30+  beautiful and different (think beer and pretzel,  tres leches, apple pie )cupcakes to try. 
This time around, I picked out a Vanilla Champagne cupcake and a Chocolate Port cupcake.
They were both so amazing, I passed out....not really, but it was pretty good!
After that we decided to move on.  We hoped in the car and drove to another vineyard: Dancin Vineyards.
Our friend C. is lucky enough to work there and so she showed us around a bit.
Since we were still stuffed from the morning, we didn't eat, but the food looked just as amazing as the vineyard itself.  Outside was a large pond filled with fish (koi?) that lights up at night.  Surrounding the pond is a path to walk around.  It was equally as impressive as 2 Hawk, just in it's very own unique and special way (think Tuscan style).  I would definitely go back there to eat and drink!
Sadly, all good things must come to an end.  Weekend trips can't last forever.
We had to pack up and head home.  But we did so with several new places and good company enjoyed!
(Thanks again C & C! )

Monday, November 26, 2012

My outfit Monday- Fact!

This video (along with several others from the same user on YouTube) has been seen playing a lot on our laptops lately.  They are too funny and I because of these videos, I now have several new phrases to add to my everyday collection- one of them being "Fact!"

So in honor of the above video...some simple facts that can be learned from this picture:

Cardigans are my friends.
( I do own more than 20 in every shape, size and color.)
I was trying a "new pose."
This pose (and my expression) is neither normal or attractive.
I was going for a normal face.
This is my normal face.

Cardigan: Loft
Shirt: J Crew
Tights: Rue 21
Boots: Bass Outlet

Monday, November 19, 2012

My outfit Monday

So the other day, my very good friend and I showed up to a meeting with almost-identical outfits.
While my outfit included a light navy striped colored blazer, red tank and tan skirt, her outfit was a black blazer with white stripes, red tank and black skirt.
Oh, and we sat right by each other.
What can I say? We have a lot in common.

Blazer: Maurices
Tank: Old Navy
Skirt: Romy
Shoes: Two Lips

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Whatever blogger...

So I pre-wrote a blog post, that was supposed to be published today.
HOWEVER, blogger chose to place it right after the first installment of "Where I've been and what I've seen."  The new post was the second installment of our travels.
Anyway, if  you're interested click here to read today's post.

Monday, November 12, 2012

My outfits Monday

I've been going through a closet overhaul lately, deciding what to keep, what to show a little more love to and what to get rid of.  
So, why not show you what I've been digging out of the worm hole I call my closet and wearing?
(although, I realize now that some parts of these outfits may need to be changed or altered before they are worn out in the public again)

I finally found some yellow/gold shoes!!

Scarf: Maurices, old
Cardigan: Old Navy, new
Skirt: Thrifted, Goodwill
Shoes, Dr Scholl's: DSW, sale

A bit blurry because it was taken on a phone :/
Scarf: Boutique
Shirt and Quilted vest: Fred Meyer
Grey pants: Ross, purchased last week 
Shoes: Ross, old

I LOVE the prints on these scarves.
That's it for now...until next Monday...maybe :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall's lazy Sunday

I've been craving a lazy Sunday and dying to try a new recipe.
So, I pre-scheduled today to be just that in order to complete both.
I'm so happy I did!

Today's recipe came from (yup, you guessed it) Pinterest.  It is Pumpkin Pull Apart bread with salted maple glaze.  Oh my goodness! It was a little more time consuming than I anticipated ( I really have to learn to read through recipes before I begin them...) but still completely worth it!  Just to let you know, the original recipe I followed does not have directions for the salted maple glaze, that came from another recipe, so I'll include it in the recipe below, along with a few more minor tweaks I made while cooking.  Also, don't be deceived by the pumpkin as you can't really even taste it.  A bit counter-productive if you ask me, but it still tastes great!

Pumpkin Pull-Apart Monkey Bread with Maple Glaze
yield: 6 servings

for the dough
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup warm milk
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 2/3-3 1/3 cups bread flour ( I used whole-wheat flour and it turned out fine)

for the coating
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

for the glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt

In large stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir milk, water, yeast and sugar together ( I stirred mine with a spoon, to fully dissolve the sugar). Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to proof yeast. If mixture is foamy, then you can continue (I kinda skipped this stage....who has the time?). 
Stir in salt, egg, butter, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, and half the flour and mix. With mixer on, pour in remaining flour bit by bit until dough pulls away from the sides and is sticky but when touched doesn’t really stick to your hands. Once you reach this stage, turn mixer on for 4-5 minutes to knead. Lightly grease dough and bowl and cover to rise for 1 hour. Stick it somewhere warm and draft-free.
Lightly grease a bundt or angel food cake* pan with non stick cooking spray and set aside. Create a coating station by placing sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and melting the butter in another bowl. Punch down dough and remove from bowl. Cut dough into small pieces about 1 tablespoon in size. Roll in butter, coat in cinnamon sugar and place into prepared pan. Repeat until no dough remains. If there is extra butter or sugar, pour over the top of the dough pieces in the pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and let rise another hour in a warm spot in your kitchen.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake monkey bread for 25 minutes or until the top begins to brown slightly. Remove from oven and cool 20 minutes.
While monkey bread is cooling, prepare glaze by mixing powdered sugar, maple syrup, milk, salt and vanilla together in a small bowl until smooth.
Remove warm pull aparts onto serving dish and drizzle with glaze. Serve warm.
*I used an angel food cake pan that had a removable bottom and some of the butter and sugar mixture leaked out of the bottom and made a mess of my oven! If you are going to use a similar pan, make sure to place on a baking sheet, or wrap the bottom of the pan with foil.

We had our pull-apart bread along with some turkey bacon as part of our very unbalanced but truly delicious breakfast.
It is so worth the effort if you feel like you want to try this recipe!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The grass was pretty green here yesterday...

(What I'm listening to as I blog...come know you're curious!)

We always have humble plans to stay home and take care of the important/not-so-important/small/great things in our everyday lives.
But then we.....wait a minute, I'm going to stop here, throw Aaron under the bus, and just say it's 99% Aaron's fault (hi baby!).  Aaron gets bored and we just have to do something...anything, about it.  But, every once in a while, I'm guilty of "just wanting to get away," too.  There, I said it.
Anyhoo, yesterday was one of those days.
We finished a full morning in our ministry, but then we weren't quite sure just what we wanted to do.
We thought driving to Medford to eat at a good restaurant and maybe shop, sounded like the perfect idea.  We asked some friends if they would like to go, but they had other plans.
So then we re-considered our feelings on this matter and decided we didn't care if we stayed home OR went somewhere else.  So we decided to do the mature thing and stay home to "save money."
But we didn't really save money at all.
We decided to stop by some of our favorite spots here at home and leave a little money trail as we went.  As a result? We had a lot of fun spending time together and seeing, at that moment, that home isn't always as bad as it seems.

Our first stop was the Mermaid Garden Cafe downtown on main.
They specialize in lunch only that consist mainly of panini sandwiches, salads, wraps and special pizzas.
I went there years ago and remembered liking it, but never returned for some reason.
So in the name of adventure and trying something different, we chose to go there.
We loved our food!  I ordered the smoked salmon pizza ( thick crust, brushed with olive oil and garlic and topped with a white cheese, smoked salmon, capers, pineapple and fresh parsley) and a beautiful, green side salad.  Aaron ordered the blue cheese chicken wrap (chicken breasts, dried cherries, blue cheese, spinach served in a spinach tortilla) with the same salad.
The food was awesome and so was the service in this bright and cheerful cafe.
We are so going back!

The colors in the room are aquas, greens
and the orange-yellow you can see here

Each table has a different painting of a fish

Their crazy/cool fridge

From there we walked to a specialty clothing and gift store, Royal Touch.
This store has brands of clothes that can be found in the likes of spendy boutiques and even Anthropologie.  They also carry cute and trendy home decor.  Several times now, I've ended up finding the perfect thing to finish off a gift or gift basket at this store.  I just love this store and feel wrong if I haven't bought at least one thing from it before I go. 
However, I kept this visit short since Aaron was stuck holding my leftover pizza at the front of the uber-girly store.....all in the name of love ;)

We then walked further down main to our local the Oregon Gift Store.
If you aren't familiar with this type of store, everything available to purchase is made somewhere in Oregon....but that's not why we went there.
They also have a wine and beer tasting room downstairs.
A seasonal beer for Aaron is why we went there yesterday, but it's nice to know that we finally have a wine bar of sorts to stop by.
As a bonus, the owner is so friendly and we stayed and chatted with her for a while.  We finally parted ways then headed to our next stop downtown.

Aaron likes to go to a local bike shop, Hutch's Bicycles and needed to, to pick up a bike he was having work done on.  I always like to walk through the rows of bike to check out the different styles of frames and colors and found my next want: A bright turquoise bike with brown leather-like grips and seat.
A lot like this:

But while Aaron was in there, I got bored and skipped (no, not literally) across the street to the liquor store to buy some peppermint schnapps for my hot chocolate.
(I wonder why I needed to tell you this....full disclosure in the name of blogging?)
I always feel like such a phony/drunk because they always put it in a brown paper bag.  So as you step out of the store, all the passerbys driving by can see the loser carrying the paper sack.  In this case, me! Bleh.  Anyway, don't judge.  It is winter time and Whitney needs hot her drink to warm her bones.
True fact, yo.
Speaking of drink, after Aaron finished at the bike store,we went in search of another type of beer for me this time: Elysian's the Great Pumpkin beer.  The label is ugly, but the taste divine!
Anyway, we found this beer, and maybe a couple more, at the beloved Portland Street Market
(referenced by me many times before)
I also snagged a couple packets of Pop Rocks and Zots for Aaron to try since he had never had them.

After that, we did some other random shopping for things we actually needed and headed home.
Home sweet home.  On the way home, we both agreed that it was a pretty good day and we were glad we did stay home. 
By the way, maybe if some of you out-of-towner's want to come visit us, we could drag you to our favorite places too!?
Hope you had/have a good day too!

Where I've been and what I've seen- Part 2

Our next scheduled trip fell on the last weekend of September.
We were invited by friends to camp/wake board for 3 days at Shasta.
(You may remember me mentioning my attempts at being active here.)
And camp we did.
In the dirt. With no flushing toilets (just the good ol' outhouse crappers) showers.
Oh! And crazy-hot, face-reddening, sweat inducing weather.
(the above mentioned scenario include three, no! FOUR things I hate by the way:
dirt, sweating, outhouses and then no showers.)
But I went for it anyway.  This video may as well have been me:

Here I am after the first night:

I have little pride.  Not pretty at all.  So happy.

But besides those age-old gripes of mine, Shasta was truly beautiful!
(especially when we were on the water looking up!)

Photo not mine :(   go here to see it.
The first night we arrived at night and set up our tent in the dark, and chose to make our camp down a hill and a trail for a little privacy. 
We camped in a group camp spot (also never done that) with about 20+ other people: friends and friends of friends, etc.
So the next morning when I woke up, I found that we had a perfect view of the lake, as we were close to the edge (without falling off or down the hill.  We were in a safe spot Moms!) Since there was so many people, it also looked like a little tent city.  There was also a trail down to the water where the boats were parked, so there was also pretty good access that way.
Now, this was my first time actually being at Shasta Lake.  I've only ever driven past it on other trips and stared down at the ant-size boats floating in the blue water from the bridge. Of course, for this trip, we went in the off season, so there were no crowds and the water had dropped quite a bit from earlier that summer. Whatever, it was still beautiful.
We all pretty much did our own things (sleeping, reading, hiking, swimming, floating, boarding, boating or sweating),but then got together at night to eat/make our dinners.
Aaron spent most of the days and well into the nights wake boarding.  While I tried it out a little too, I also had a lot of fun meeting new people, sampling their food- (one girl had nothing but gourmet camping food: homemade marshmallows, spicy canned pickles...amazing!) and sitting around the huge campfire swapping stories.
Sadly, no pictures were taken of any of these things or people because I was too busy sweating.
This trip, too, reinforced our strong desire to own a travel trailer where you can actually stand up to get out of wet clothes, take a little shower and then relax with AC, if you so desire. 
Our tent had none of this.  Poor me.
Overall though, the trip was a lot of fun and we will most likely do it again.
After all, I did not die.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Where I've been and what I've seen - Part 1

When asked : "So what's new, what've you been up to?"
My standard answer is usually: "Nothing really, just working."
After the said exchanges, I usually re-evaluate exactly what I have been doing with my time (or at least my free time outside of working.).
The truth?
Not every moment has been awe-inspiring.  But, we have been on the move.  You see, sometimes I forget that trips were taken because of the simple fact that I forgot to snap thousands of photos.  So I decided to take you along with us on some of our trips, since I've forgotten to share them.
Not all posts will include photos from yours truly, but I'll try my hardest to include links to available websites so you can check it out for yourself.
I think some, if not most of the places we've hit are worth looking into.
P.S.  Most of our trips revolve around food, so beware if you're on a diet.

Our first trip was a quick one taken in July of this year.  We went to Portland for a day, then ended up in Salem.
As I've said time and time again, I (we) love Portland.
We are still exploring this grand metropolis and finding places we plan to return.  On this trip, we re-visited old favorites and found some new.  We got there around noon.  So our first stop was for lunch at a Cuban restaurant, Pambiche.
This usually crowded (good sign, in my opinion) restaurant is colorful and original, delicious and totally worth getting lost for (directions always lead you down one way streets that will get you lost).

I ordered a dish (I can't remember the name) with oxtail in a "special sauce."
It was delicious.
Aaron (the little plate across the table) ordered a Cuban Sandwich with plantain fries.
Oh and a mojito was mine to have as well.
Did I mention that all of it was delicious and always has been?

When we first reached Pambiche, we parked across the street from it and noticed a brewery.  After lunch, we ran across the street to a brewery: the Migration Brewing Co.
The vibe of the brewery was layed back, open and would be a great place to just be for a while.
As for the beer? Only Aaron had a pint here, as I was stuffed to the gills with oxtail and a mojito.  Verdict was that the beer was "pretty good."
That's saying a lot for Aaron to say that about a beer.

Our final destination was the Cascade Barrell House.
This was Aaron's choice as this brewery is known for its craft beers and sour beers.
We ordered some appetizers and a couple flights to test things out, mostly sours.
It turned out to be such a good idea.  I'm not a sour beer fan, but even I found some I liked.

As I said before, this was a quick weekend trip, so we didn't get to cover much else.
This pretty much sums up our weekend in NW Oregon.