Uncategorized

Red off-shoulder tie sleeve top

I’m loving these off-shoulder tops that are super in this season, aren’t you? They are so flirty and fun! This one I bought at the same time as the cold shoulder bow tie sweater I posted earlier this month. You can view that post hereI did my usual Kohl’s magic and shopped the clearance racks with a $10 off coupon and had either 15 or 20% off. I ended up buying both items for $2.55! For real. So that made them like $1.275 an item. Hahaha. Yes. I love a good deal. What can I say. 

 

Mountains majesty (Mt. St. Helens to the right)
Mountains majesty (Mt. St. Helens to the right)

 

Old ties, new ties...
Old ties, new ties…

 

Off-shoulder tie shirt
Off-shoulder tie shirt

 

Red off shoulder top, black jeans + black patent leather flats
Red off shoulder top, black jeans + black patent leather flats

 

 

Details
Details

 

Black corduroy jacket
Black corduroy jacket

 

Black patent leather penny loafers
Black patent leather penny loafers

 

We went up to Gresham Butte to take these photos. I didn’t realize there was a hiking path up there and hiked up it in my super cute, but not trail ready, black patent leather penny loafers. Yeah. Don’t recommend that, but at least they were flats and somewhat comfortable. Just maybe not quite right for that long of an uphill/downhill hike. (Sometimes being fashionable isn’t sensible…)

All photos except the self-portrait of my shoes were taken by Calvin Hodgson.  You can find his work on Flickr and on his blog.

 

 

 

Book reviews! #bookwormsunite

All right, book lovers! I’ve got some more books for you to check out.

I just finished a trilogy series from Brodi Ashton called the Everneath series. A modern take loosely based on the Persephone myth.

In this series, Nikki has just returned from the underworld, called the Everneath, where she was lured by Cole, one of the everliving. Now she is allowed 6 months before she has to return to the Tunnels where her life will be drained away to feed the Everliving – or choose to become one of them after surviving the Feed. Thus needing to feed off other Forfeits like herself every 100 years.

 

Everneath
Everneath

 

Her boyfriend, Jack, ends up getting sucked into the Tunnels in her place, and she must now try and gain the help of Cole, the Everliving who lured Nikki into the Everneath in the first place. Nikki and Cole come to an uneasy truce as they decide to face the labyrinthine to save Jack before it’s too late.

 

Everbound
Everbound

In the final installment, Nikki and Jack face the Underworld in an attempt to destroy it to free Nikki of it’s power forever. Cole, while suffering from amnesia, agrees to help them take down the queen and the Everneath forever. Thus sealing his own fate in the exciting conclusion to this series.

 

Evertrue
Evertrue

 

And I just discovered a little novella from Cole’s point of view, which I have not yet read.

 

Neverfall
Neverfall

 

If that’s not enough, I also just finished a 3 book series from author Jodi Meadows. I really enjoyed this series.

In a world where the same souls have been reincarnated for as long as anyone can remember, Ana is the first newsoul born in almost 5,000 years. On the night she was born the Temple went dark and one old soul was not reincarnated. In her place, Ana was born. She was raised outside of the city by a mother who was full of animosity towards her for being born in place of one of the old souls. When she is 18, her mother sent her out on her own. She runs into Sam on her way to find the capital. Many people living in the capitol fear her as a ‘no soul’, and treat her with anger and disdain. Sam and his friends welcome her in to their group of friends.

 

Incarnate
Incarnate

Ana’s father creates another Templedark and more old souls are lost. Tension is high in the city and aimed right at Ana and any other new souls born after Templedark. Ana is determined to protect the new souls being born and finds out the truth about reincarnation. Sam declares his love for Ana, but after a lifetime of abuse and rejection, Ana has a hard time believing it.

 

Asunder
Asunder

Ana must make an attempt to stop Janan the Devourer from consuming more newsouls, but has been banned from the city. She flees the city with a group of her loyal friends, and makes plans to try and stop Janan from ascending. She has found unexpected allies in the Sylph, and journeys to the land where the dragons live to try and win them over to her cause before chaos breaks out over all of the Range.

 

Infinite
Infinite

 

The ending of the last book is left open, leaving you to wanting more and hoping another book will follow. There is also a smaller Novella written from Sam’s point of view – available only on E-book at this time. I have not read that one yet as I don’t own an e-reader at this time.

 

Phoenix Overture
Phoenix Overture

 

What’s grace got to do with it?

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but will sometimes pick a word to define the year – a tradition my sister started years ago. This year, my word is grace. (Not sure I even remembered to do this last year. I think the year got off to such a bad start I didn’t even bother.)

Why grace, you ask? I’m not even sure myself. But after finding out my mom’s cancer had spread to her lungs which meant she had stage 4 cancer and was then given a time frame for how long she would live, I was devastated. I found myself sitting in church hoping to find some sort of encouraging word or miracle or just some sort of hope to cling on to. During the worship, I was just sitting there trying not to cry. Not singing. Praying. They were singing some song and the word grace popped out at me.

Later, as I sat there – again, not listening very well to the pastor – just praying during the service, the word grace popped out at me again. I left feeling kind of confused. I’m praying my little heart out about my mom’s cancer and the word that I keep hearing is grace. But I shrugged it off. It’s a church, they talk about grace, but it didn’t really make sense to me as far as my mom’s cancer goes.

A week or so later, I was telling a friend about my mom’s cancer. She prayed God’s grace on my mom and our family. As I was walking to my car, I glanced down at a text from my sister, also about grace. I’m feeling like I’m supposed to be getting a message from God here, but I’m really confused. What’s grace got to do with it?

So, on the way home I found myself wandering through the Japanese Garden at the Main City Park in Gresham. Pondering this question and taking photos. I didn’t get any answers then about why I’m feeling the word grace so strongly in conjunction with my mom’s cancer…

 

Holly bush in the Japanese Garden
Holly bush in the Japanese Garden

 

Another month goes by. And I’m still not getting a clearer picture on the grace thing. I’m telling God I don’t understand this word grace. I think of it as meaning forgiveness for sins or wrongdoing. Or being saved from sins.  Being graceful. Having grace. I just don’t understand.

 

Pink Camellia
Pink Camellia

 

That week in church, the pastor was talking about grace again. With an example:

Have you ever been in a long line, say at they bank, and you’ve been waiting and waiting and the line is barely moving. You’ve finally managed to shuffle a few feet forward when a friend comes in and says “Hey, come outside, you’ve got to see this.” 

You don’t want to go. You tell them you can’t, the line is barely moving, you’ve made it a few people forward, if you go outside, you’ll have to go back to the end of the line again. 

But, your friend is insistent “You need to come outside now and see this.”

Finally, you reluctantly go outside, only to find out that a bank robber slipped into the bank and held it up right after you walked out the door. You feel relieved. You feel grateful to your friend for insisting they needed you to see something outside when you didn’t want to leave the line. You realize that it was only by God’s grace that you were spared from being inside of that bank at the time it was robbed.

 

Japanese Garden - Gresham Main City Park
Japanese Garden – Gresham Main City Park

 

Grace.

 

A touch of color
A touch of color

 

Ephesians 2:8; “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God”.

 

Zen
Zen

 

Still feeling like it’s a wimpy word for the year. My sister picked Fierce. (You can read what she wrote about it at the end of this blog post.) I want to be fierce. Dressed for battle. Wearing my cancer kicking combat boots. Armed to the teeth. Instead, I feel like, with my word, I’m standing here, at the bottom of a glass mountain. Wearing a long flowing white dress. Barefoot. Looking up. Trying to figure out how I’m going to scale this slippery glass mountain to get to the other side. My armor isn’t going to help me now. But maybe some of those grippy socks would help. Better yet, suction cups on my hands and feet. Pretty sure this is not going to be a graceful assent, but I’ll do the best I can. Tuck that dress up, PNG style so it’s out of my way, and up I go!

 

Graceful curves
Gentle curves

 

If all else fails, by the end of this year, I’m going to give up on this grace thing and start smashing this stupid glass mountain to pieces with a gigantic hammer!

 

 

When faced with a mountain, I will not quit.
When faced with a mountain, I will not quit

 

What’s grace got to do with it, indeed? Still not sure, but I’m guessing for me and my journey with my mom’s cancer – everything.

 

 

My sister’s word for the year post:

 

Been trying to wax poetic about the New Year for days. Last year may have been an enigmatic weirdo.

This year has dubbed itself,
“the Great Unknown.”
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Picking one word isn’t gonna cut it for 2017. So far the veritable weirdsmobile has suggested: courage, light, hope, and perseverance. This makes me cry.
It’s already a year in which the other shoe has dropped. My Mama found out she has stage 4 cancer a few months ago. What does one say to that? (nothing ladylike, I can assure you)
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
So, 2017, I’ll tell you what I think.
I’ll take your pile of words, the shoes that won’t stay on your feet, and throw in an adjective:
Fierce.
You better believe it.
Fierce Love, Fierce fight, Fierce hope… Fierceness to all of the nonsense and hogwash going on the world.
And I ain’t the only one.

There’s a whole posse of us up in here.

 

Fierce
Fierce

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Art: Cory Godbey

 

Edgefield Mcmenamins – A brief history

I managed to get back to Edgefield McMenamins in Troutdale, Oregon one more time before all the fall colors were gone last month. And once in the evening, but my night pictures are bad, so let’s just not mention those ones…

Edgefield McMenamins used to be a poor farm. When it opened in November of 1911, 211 residents moved in. It’s population peaked at 614 in 1935. Eventually, the name changed from Multnomah County Home and Farm, to Edgefield Manor where it became a nursing home. The former tuberculosis hospital became Edgefield Lodge for emotionally disturbed children.

In 1985, the county wanted to remove all of the buildings except the county jail. Troutdale Historic Society challenged the decision to destroy all of the buildings, stating that they had historical importance and needed to be preserved. In 1990, Edgefield was named in the National Register of Historical Places and that same year was purchased by McMenamins.

The grounds feature a hotel, restaurants, many tiny pubs, a golf course, a winery and tasting room, a theater, a spa, a Glashaus (I love that this is spelled out in a Pidgen English version of the English words!), a gift shop, and a wonderful clay artworks shop called the Halfway House run by my Instafriend Am: earthartam ~ In the summer they even hold concerts in the outdoor amphitheater.

I usually make it down there a several times each year, and am still finding new unexplored areas on the grounds. This place has so many little hidden gems. It never ceases to delight me when I stumble upon one more new area I’ve never seen before when I go to visit.

 

Edgefield vineyards in the fall
Edgefield vineyards in the fall

 

Red edged leaves
Red edged leaves

 

Fall grapes
Fall grapes

 

Edgefield water tower through the vines
Edgefield water tower through the vines

 

Barrels of wine
Barrels of wine

 

White rose against an ivy covered wall in autumn
White rose against an ivy covered wall in autumn

 

 

The Pittock Mansion in the fall

The Pittock Mansion was built in 1909 for the London born Oregonian publisher Henry Pittock and his wife Georgiana in the west hills of Portland, Oregon. This 46 room house on 46 acres of land is now owned by the city. The mansion is modeled after French Renaissance and Victorian architecture. The city of Portland purchased the estate for $225,000 in 1964 and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Though I’ve been there a few times now, I still have yet to go inside. I need to find one of those buy one get one free deals!

I have, however, now managed to see it in all seasons except winter. This year was my first time going in the fall. And what beautiful colors there were on the Japanese maples! My all time favorite thing to try to photograph this time around. I waited for all the other visitors walking by to clear out of the area around the Japanese maples and then started sneaking around underneath the trees to get some photos with all the wonderful twisty branches and beautiful red leaves. Of course, there were other wonderful things to see and take photos of. And the view from the West Hills looking down into Portland is amazing.

I hope you enjoy!

 

Japanese maple in all it's fall glory
Japanese maple in all it’s fall glory

 

I’m just glad I didn’t get my car towed or ticketed because I parked right in front of a sign leading off to the water tower in the parking lot that said ‘Do Not Block’ and didn’t even think about it until after I looked at the photo I took of the sign when I downloaded my photos onto the computer after I got home. Whoops!

 

Do not block
Do not block

 

The Pittock Mansion through fall leaves.
The Pittock Mansion through fall leaves.

 

Small and white
Small and white

 

Ornate details
Ornate details

 

Decked out in leaves
Decked out in leaves

 

 

Bejeweled off-shoulder knit top – #fashionfriday

This purple bejeweled top was definitely calling my name when I went to scour Kohl’s clearance racks to find something to use my $10 off savings coupon and 20% off discount. Coming in at just under $10, I had to find something else to go with it so I could use my whole $10 savings card. I found these soft olive green skinny jeans on sale for $10 as well. Armed with my savings card and discount that I pulled up from my e-mails on my phone, I headed to the registers. The grand total for this outfit was $8.16 – a savings of $89.84. Oh how I love a good deal!

The top is made out of smooth, shiny t-shirt material with shoulder cut-outs lined with big diamond-like jewels. How fun is that? On a side note, I wore this with my hair down, and kept having my hair get stuck in the enormous shoulder bling. But they are still a nice touch.

The jeans are so soft. They feel almost flannel like, they are so soft! My cats hair decided it really liked this material, so if you notice tufts of cats hair sticking to them, just know, no cats were harmed in the wearing of my fashionably furry pants. My cats just want me to remember them everywhere I go. In fact, sometimes if I lay my outfit out somewhere they can get to it before wearing it, they really like to lay down right on top of it. They just want their kitty mama to wear a nice soft kitty hair outfit – just like them – without having to turn into Cruella De Ville to get it.

 

Side view of jewel-toned purple ruched cold-shoulder top
Side view of jewel-toned purple ruched cold-shoulder top

 

Ruched side open shoulder bejeweled top & olive green jeans
Ruched side open shoulder bejeweled top & olive green jeans

 

Purple bejeweled top + khaki skinny jeans
Purple bejeweled top + khaki skinny jeans

 

Jewel-toned purple top, skinny jeans + combat boots
Jewel-toned purple top, skinny jeans + combat boots

 

Back view of purple cold-shoulder bejeweled top & olive green skinnies
Back view of purple cold-shoulder bejeweled top & olive green skinnies

 

 

No words

Wow. I have absolutely no words today. That the majority of Americans see Donald Trump as fit to run the country just blows my mind. But, I’ll go back to my frame of mind yesterday, and that has nothing to do with who’s president and who’s not.

I was starting to feel angry. Not about who may or may not win the presidential election. But about cancer. And the fact that my mom is about to embark on a journey involving chemo and radiation that will wrack her body, but still not kill the type of cancer she has. About the fact that there is not enough money being given to people trying to find alternate cures for cancer – other than chemo with all of it’s awful side effects – because pharmaceutical companies and doctors make big money by supporting the use of chemo. Which, in the end, is highly ineffective to some strains of cancer and extremely hard on the body. And I’m angry about the fact that there is nothing I can do except support her and help her along on this awful journey. And find a purple t-shirt on etsy about f-ing cancer.

 

Keep Calm and F*@# Cancer Tee
Keep Calm and F*@# Cancer Tee

 

So, being as it was a beautiful fall day, I went off on a photo walk. Stopping to appreciate the beauty around me – signs of an awesome God. I put the election in His hands, because I had worse stuff to worry about. Stuff that was hitting way closer to home. Then tried to put that in His hands as well.

I don’t know what the future holds for our country, or for my mom. All I can do is try to be okay in today. There are too many uncertainties in the future.

And in all reality. I may not be okay in every moment of every day. I got back from my relaxing, rejuvenating walk yesterday, and within an hour I was worked up and hopping mad about cancer. And I scared the cats. Somehow between the yelling and taking time to be one with nature, I feel just a wee bit better today. Ready to face the world. To put on the my armor and do this thing. Whatever that is. To be okay. Today. In the now.

 

Yellow leaf
Yellow leaf

 

On fire!
On fire!

 

Catching sunshine
Catching sunshine

 

Sun rays
Sun rays

 

Day's end
Day’s end

 

Cute little toadstool
Cute little toadstool

 

And apparently, I found my words, whether you like them or not…

 

Upper McCord Creek Falls – #waterfallwednesday

Continuing on from last weeks post – on up the trail to Upper McCord Creek Falls! If you go back along the trail you came from on the way to Elowah Falls, you’ll see the turn-off for Upper McCord Creek Falls. This one is a bit more of a hike as you are going up above where Elowah Falls is, on the same river.

 

Upper McCord Creek Falls - through mossy branches
Upper McCord Creek Falls – through mossy branches

 

Along the way you’ll see these old rusted pipelines. I have no clue what they were for, however, I stumbled upon an article that explained there used to be the Warren Cannery operation on Warren Landing – off of the Columbia River, and it’s assumed that these old pipelines were used for this cannery somehow.

 

The mysterious rusty pipeline running down the mountain
The mysterious rusty pipeline running down the mountain

 

Along the side of the trail as you go up further, you’ll see stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge – to the east, the lower part of the Bonneville Dam island is visible, but not the dam itself. And to the north, you can see Beacon Rock on the Washington side of the river.

 

Looking across towards Beacon Rock
Looking across towards Beacon Rock

 

As you go around the bend in the trail, you’ll find yourself looking down on Elowah Falls in all her glory. You can even see the tiny footbridge off in the valley below. (not pictured below)

 

Elowah Falls from up above
Elowah Falls from up above

 

At this point in the trail, there’s not much further to go and you’ll soon be at Upper McCord Creek Falls. This waterfall is made up of two waterfalls pouring over the edge, down onto the riverbank below. If it’s been a really dry summer, you may find only one side of the falls flowing, but this past summer wasn’t unusually dry, so both falls were visible.

 

Upper McCord Creek Falls
Upper McCord Creek Falls

 

Once you get to the top, there is a big flat rock top you can walk out on near where the falls start to tumble over the edge. This is where my son and I stopped to have lunch. What a view! A bit cold at the top of the waterfall, though. We only had a few other visitors the day we went. We were too far off the beaten path for their to be big swarms of people out here. One group didn’t even bother coming to the top of the falls where we were enjoying our picnic lunch.

 

Lunch with a view!
Lunch with a view!

 

It’s always a bit of a bittersweet moment turning around and hiking back down the trail again, knowing that the days adventure is almost over…

Vine pattern pom pom Shorts – #fashionfriday

These pom pom edged shorts are pretty cute! They only come in Medium – X-large for some reason, so I decided to order the medium hoping that if they don’t make a small, the medium would fit a small person as well. They do fit, but seem just a tiny bit baggy. They are not going to fall off or anything, but it would have been nice if they actually made a small in these – cut to fit a smaller person better. If you are a true medium, just note they are made a bit small to fit a medium/small person. The material is lightweight and lightly textured and the teal green color is really pretty – I love the pom pom details! You can find this item here.

*Although I did receive these shorts at a discount to review on Amazon, I was not paid or asked to review them on my blog and am doing that just for fun. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

So, I may have gone a bit overboard with all the discounted stuff to review for Amazon, as I received these the end of August and am just now putting them up on the blog. I have since stopped reviewing stuff from Amazon for the time being, but still have several more clothing items to review before I get to the end… You’ll just have to be patient and wait if you want to see what all I got.

Seems to be the story of my life lately. Always waiting. Waiting to hear the test results from my moms surgery. Waiting again to hear an ‘All’s clear!’ on cancer for her. Waiting to hear back if I got parts I auditioned for. Waiting to hear from people… Sometimes life seems to be a big waiting game. But in the meantime, let’s have some fashion fun!

 

Vine patterned pom pom tassel shorts
Vine patterned pom pom tassel shorts

 

White tank top + pom pom edged shorts
White tank top + pom pom edged shorts

 

White tank top + pom pom edged shorts
White tank top + pom pom edged shorts

 

Cat ear sunglasses + teal vine patterned pom pom shorts
Cat ear sunglasses + teal vine patterned pom pom shorts

 

Loving these pom pom edged shorts!
Loving these pom pom edged shorts!

All photos were taken by Calvin Hodgson.  You can find his work on here on Flickr and on his blog.

A day hike to Elowah Falls – waterfallwednesday

A few weeks ago my son & I did the Elowah Falls, McCord Creek hike. This is a very easy hike, good for beginner hikers – especially if you just go to Elowah Falls, but I’m sure in the winter, parts of the path are really slippery as there were some soggy parts when we went and there hadn’t been much rain yet at that point.

We were also going to do the McCord Creek Falls hike, and took off on the path to the east of Elowah Falls thinking maybe there was some sort of loop. After a bit of hiking, the trail just started aligning with the freeway, and I had a funny feeling there was no loop. I remembered looking it up online and it didn’t look like the trail from Elowah falls connected to the McCord Creek one, but that you had to backtrack along the trail you’d been on to get to the trail that led to McCord Creek falls. So, I stopped. My son wanted to keep going, but I was almost certain this wasn’t a loop to the falls upstream. Luckily, that close to the freeway, we had cell phone reception, so I could look it up and discover that, indeed, I was right and we needed to turn around and go back to get to the trail head going to McCord Creek falls. Considering I had a headache by the time we got to Elowah Falls and had to take aspirin, I’m glad I figured it out pretty quickly and we didn’t continue on miles out of our way in the wrong direction at that time. Yeah for looking things up on a map online before taking off for our trip so I’d know when we go off track. And yeah to being near the free way so we could still utilize our phones to get turned back around in the right direction!

I had not done this hike yet before this. It was far enough from the tourist traps that not too many people were on the trail. Which is a big plus in my books! I’m still pretty amazed at how many waterfalls and hiking trails there are in the Columbia River Gorge and the fact that I can keep finding new and different ones all the time! I am truly blessed to live near the Columbia River Gorge and have all of these trails in my ‘backyard’.

 

The trail head to Elowah Falls.
The trail head to Elowah Falls.

 

Elowah falls in black and white
Elowah falls in black and white

 

Mossy tree on the side of the trail going east of Elowah falls.
Mossy tree on the side of the trail going east of Elowah falls.

 

Elowah falls from on the bridge
Elowah falls from on the bridge

 

Portal through the trees.
Portal through the trees.

 

Who's that tripping over my bridge?
Who’s that tripping over my bridge?

 

Red jumpsuit – #fashionfriday

This jumpsuit is so cute! I ordered it in red and it is a wonderful color! The material is very lightweight, feels like chiffon, and did not wrinkle easily. I ironed it before wearing it to get out the creases it had from being folded up while shipped to me and was afraid to put it on or I’d sit down and get wrinkles all over it again. Nope. Once ironed it stayed relatively wrinkle free. The back has a keyhole slit and there is a button at the top. The loop the button goes into is stretchy elastic and easy to get the button in and out of. I would definitely recommend this item to anyone who wants a cute summer jumpsuit. *Although I did receive this item at a discounted rate to review it on Amazon, all opinions expressed are entirely my own and I was not asked to review it on my blog. You can find this item here: Sleeveless Halter Shorts Playsuit

 

Red romper
Red romper

 

Red romper, back view
Red romper, back view

 

Red playsuit + cat ear sunglasses
Red playsuit + cat ear sunglasses

 

Red jumpsuit - side view
Red jumpsuit – side view

 

Red romper + Denim bow wedge heels
Red romper + Denim bow wedge heels

 

I must say, though, this was the self-photo shoot from hell. I had a gut feeling I should bring along a pair of flip flops before leaving the house. But did I? Nope. And as soon as I got to my destination for the photo shoot and stepped out of the car, the top of my wedge heel started peeling off of the wedge. So I had to hobble along from one spot to the next with my shoe falling apart more with each step. (If you look at the 4th photo down, you can see where the top of the shoe has totally lifted from the wedge heel.)

Then, there were some prickly blackberry vines by the first tree I tried taking photos by. I got poked in the leg a couple of times, then one worked it’s way under my big toe. I tried to pick it out and it broke off on the outside, leaving the rest inside of my toe. So then I had to limp around with a pricker in my toe and my wedge heel coming undone.

I couldn’t get the camera to stay put on the tri-pod. After quite a bit of fiddling around with it I finally figured out which lever tightened the part the camera was attached to so I didn’t have a crooked camera and crooked photos. I was really wishing for Calvin’s help right about then and frustrated beyond all belief at that point. But, I had only a few more days to get my photos done and my review written up for Amazon, so the show had to go on! I did manage to get my photos done all by myself. Then I tried walking through the parking lot with my shoes off, but decided the bottom my feet just weren’t tough enough for that so put the heels on and did sort of a shuffle slide walk back to my car. And yet, if I didn’t tell you, would you even know I had a shoe falling apart, a pricker in my toe and got poked by prickers on the insides of my legs? No. Probably not. So I guess we can call that a successful photo shoot now that it’s over. But I thought I’d tell you the back story, just to keep it real!

 

Dahlias for Days!

A few weeks ago I went on a trip to the Swan Island Dahlia Farm out in Canby, OR. I have been wanting to go there for years and finally made it this year.There were dahlias, dahlias everywhere! I was drawn to all the reds, pinks and purples. But really, there were lots of other colors. Those were just my favorite.

If you go on Labor Day weekend, they have a Dahlia Festival. Unlike the tulip gardens, they don’t have a lot of stuff going on regular days outside of the Dahlia Festival, but that was fine with me. There were less people walking around, so much easier to get the photos you wanted. Some year, though, I’ll have to check out the festival just to see what all fun stuff they have going on. Normally though, I’d rather go on ‘off’ days because I can get better photos without all the crowds of people walking around.

They do have a nice gift shop open Mon-Fri during the day and a Koi pond. They also had bouquets you could purchase, but didn’t seem to have very many of those the day we went. None with all my favorite colors. 🙁

All in all, a nice end of summer day trip to go on.

 

Let the light shine through!
Let the light shine through!

 

Pink & White Dahlia
Pink & White Dahlia

 

Dahlia - Up close
Dahlia – Up close

 

Standing out in a field of dahlias
Standing out in a field of dahlias

 

Pink dream
Pink dream

 

Yellow center
Yellow center

 

*Continue to keep my mom in your prayers. She is doing better after her surgery, but we still have a few more hurdles and obstacles to get past after her surgery to get her fully on the road to recovery.

Things to do on a day trip to Astoria

This past Sunday, I was invited to go on an impromptu day trip to Astoria. Astoria is almost on the Oregon Coast near the mouth of the Columbia River. It is one of my favorite places in Oregon. I love the quaint feel of the town with all of the Victorian architecture!

I had just gotten the invite that morning, so I hurriedly packed a small bag of stuff – Astoria is usually just as cool temperature-wise as the Oregon Coast so warmer clothes were packed, just in case – and headed out the door. Only to remember 15 minutes down the road that I forgot my camera! Oh horror! I pulled off the highway at the 181st exit to check, sure enough, no camera. For me, that is a big bummer. But, I decided not to turn around. After all, I’ve got my phone. It can take photos. Crappy phone photos… Grrrr. In the end, the few phone photos I took weren’t too bad.

So, off I went with a friend from my biker girl days. We stopped at the Maritime Museum just to get out and look at the cool paddle wheel boat, then off to the Farmer’s Market where we must have sampled just about every food item they had a sample of, and checked out all the crafts. We browsed through the cute little shops in downtown, had a late lunch at Bowpickers – across from the Maritime Museum. Then hung out at the Maritime Memorial for a while, enjoying the sunshine and cool breeze coming off the Columbia River. After that, we went by the Flavel house and accidentally ended up touring an upscale neighborhood on top of the hill with gorgeous houses that had great views.

It was a glorious day for a spontaneous day trip to the ‘almost’ Oregon Coast!

 

The American Empress paddle wheeler located behind the Maritime Museum in Astoria
The American Empress paddle wheeler located behind the Maritime Museum in Astoria

 

This goat entered the canine fashion show at the Farmer's Market in Astoria
This goat entered the canine fashion show at the Farmer’s Market in Astoria

 

Happy puppy waiting with his owner in the  line at Bowpickers - the best fish and chips in town!
Happy puppy waiting with his owner in the line at Bowpickers – the best fish and chips in town!

 

This cutie-pie had pink in her hair.
This cutie-pie had pink hair.

 

Fountain at the Maritime Memorial park in Astoria
Fountain at the Maritime Memorial park in Astoria

 

Under the Astoria-Megler Bridge
Under the Astoria-Megler Bridge

 

 

Boho Tassel Strap Beach Dress – #fashionfriday

Today’s Fashion Friday item is a cute Boho style summer dress made out of a nice lightweight cotton that has a cool feel to it. I love the varying shades of blue in this dress against an off-white background, and the patterns. This item was sent to me in the wrong size. I ordered a small and got a medium. But, I decided to see if it fit a friend of mine because it is super cute and I didn’t want to send it back. So, while I was disappointed to get the wrong size in the mail, it was nice to have something to give to a friend – especially a super good friend who’s stood by my side and helped me get through a tough time while going through a divorce and trying to get back on my feet again.

I found I was pretty much isolating myself from most of my friends during this time, but this friend just went through a divorce herself and knows exactly what I’m going through which then makes it so much easier to talk to her than others who haven’t been through it and are just trying to run you over with their opinions. She’s pulled me out of my ‘funk’ many times and bought me lots of coffee so we can sit and chat together. I am so thankful for her presence in my life!  At some point in the month of August, there is a ‘Friendship Day’ – this is the friend I choose to celebrate for that day.

I should also mention, my friend does wonderful Jamberry Nail wrap manicures which we also took photos of when we got pictures of the dress. You can find her Jamberry website here.

*Although I did get this item at a discounted rate to review on Amazon, I was not asked to review it for the blog and am just doing that for fun. You can find this item here: Boho Tassel Strap Beach Dress

 

 

Blue Summer Beach Dress - Back View
Blue Summer Beach Dress – Back View

 

Jamberry nail wraps
Jamberry nail wraps

 

Boho Tassel Strap Beach Dress
Boho Tassel Strap Beach Dress

 

Fun summer nails from Jamberry
Fun summer nails from Jamberry

 

Boho Tassel Strap Beach Dress - Side view
Boho Tassel Strap Beach Dress – Side view

How to get freebies for your birthday

I just had a birthday recently, and decided to see what all I could get for free for my birthday. I’m not counting restaurants, because usually most restaurants you go to have some sort of birthday freebie – I still have yet to get my free burger from Red Robin as it is. A few of these items are only for people living in the Portland Metro area of Oregon, but some are good across the US. I discovered you probably don’t want to be signing up for your freebie on the day of your birthday, because it will probably not process for 24 to 48 hours and you may risk not getting your free birthday item if you do it too late. However, if I did get my free birthday drink at Starbucks by just telling them I was signing up and asking if I could get the drink that day. And, when I still hadn’t received my free coupon for a milkshake over 24 hours after I signed up, I asked them if I would get the coupon if I signed up on my birthday and it processed the next day. The manager gave me the shake anyway. So, if you just speak up, you may still get your birthday treat.

Here are the ones I rounded up during my birthday week:

 

Coffee, coffee and more coffee!
Coffee, coffee and more coffee!

Did I hit the coffee jackpot, or what? Sign up for Starbucks rewards card.  My son said he did this without having to get a Starbucks gift card to get started, I ended up buying myself a Starbucks gift card with the minimum of $5 on it to get my Star code. I didn’t really want a gift card, but now I have one to me, from me. 

Dutch Brothers is awesome! No sign up necessary. Just show your I.D. on your birthday and you get a free drink. Voila! Couldn’t be easier.

The other one is a local coffee shop called Origins. They use the 5 star rewards card program for their business, and it sends you a text telling you that you have a free birthday drink to pick up on or before your birthday. Not bad.

 

Kitty treats
Kitty treats

Next up, kitty treats! No, not really for me, but the place I go to, Exclusive Pet Supply in Troutdale, Oregon also has a 5 star reward program card and I got to pick up free kitty treats (or dog treats if you have a dog) for the kitties for my birthday. So I can have spoiled, happy kitties on my birthday!

 

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.
My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

This is the free milkshake I had to ask about as I still hadn’t gotten my coupon after signing up on my birthday for. You have to join the Raving Fan Club for Del Taco for this one. Do it at least a day before your birthday. My coupon never did come. I did get the coupon for my two free tacos just for signing up, though. 

 

Mini Bun + Iced Coffee
Mini Bun + Iced Coffee

 

This one I did actually sign up for the day before my birthday and all of my coupons came in. You need to sign up to join Club Cinnabon After you join you will receive a Mini Bun for signing up and the free Iced Coffee for your birthday treat.  

 

Pip's donuts!!!
Pip’s donuts!!!

 

Pip’s Donuts are the Best. Donuts. Ever! Tiny little bits of deliciousness. They are mini cake donuts made fresh during store hours. Oh. My. Word. I love their donuts. And, if you notice, their box says ‘You’re the best’ on the inside of the lid. Not sure if that’s a birthday thing or if they do that on all of their boxes to go. This is a Portland only thing. Only one Pip’s Donut shop at this point in time. That’s okay. More for me, none for you unless you come to the Pacific Northwest. Ha.

 

DQ Buy one get one free Blizzard
DQ Buy one get one free Blizzard

If you join Dairy Queen’s Blizzard Fan Club you’ll get a Buy one, get one free coupon for a Blizzard. I tried the Royal Oreo Blizzard treat with a core of gooey, yummy chocolate inside. Yeah, baby! That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Technically I also signed up for the Cold Stone My Cold Stone Club as well and got another buy one get one coupon, but I was thinking you got that anyway just for signing up and didn’t take a photo of my ice cream before glomming it down. Looking at the website, it actually is a birthday deal, so it does count. So I’ll give it a mention even though I didn’t take any photos of my ice cream before eating it. 

It’s Independence day!

I’m going to keep this short and sweet because it’s a holiday here in America!

As a missionary kid, I grew up in two countries, so I recognize two Independence Days, one for America and and one for Papua New Guinea. (You’ve been forewarned in case you start seeing random photos from PNG in a couple of months!)

Today we celebrate 240 years of  independence from Great Britain. Whatever you’re doing today to celebrate, be safe and have fun.

Happy Independence day America!

 

Flying high
Flying high

 

Atlantic Festival fireworks display
Atlantic Festival fireworks display

 

A piece of Americana - American Flag Desk
A piece of Americana – American Flag Desk

 

Atlantic Festival fireworks display that took place in Funchal
Atlantic Festival fireworks display that took place in Funchal

 

Monkey & Flag
Monkey & Flag

 

Fireworks Galore at Magic Kingdom during Wishes
Fireworks Galore at Magic Kingdom during Wishes

 

What can you do in Portland in a day? {when broke}

People keep coming to visit lately – which is great – but then brings up the question of what can you do in Portland for a day? Especially when you’re broke. As my job pretty much was a sinking ship that sunk, I’ve been pretty broke lately. The good news is: the ban on affiliate links has been lifted on Pinterest! Yes, this has been verified by at least one source that the ban has indeed been lifted. Which is good news for me as an Influencer on Pinterest with over 4 million followers. (My Pinterest page here.) From the company I used to work with as an Influencer, it has not been verified to me in any words, but upon inquiring about the affiliate link ban being lifted, I was offered a couple of campaigns to get started back up again, which is a good sign! So, we are dredging up the sunken ship that was my job, patching it back up and trying to get it sailing again. Nothing is happening quickly, but it is slowly coming back together again.

But, in the meantime, I’m still living in Brokeville here. So when a wantok* came up to visit last weekend, I was trying to find free things to do in Portland. This is what I came up with:

1. Walk the grounds of the Pittock Mansion – it only costs money if you go inside.

Pittock Mansion, Portland, Oregon
Pittock Mansion, Portland, Oregon

 

2. Go to the Portland International Rose Test Garden – free except for parking.

Roses at the International Rose Test Garden in Portland, Oregon
Roses at the International Rose Test Garden in Portland, Oregon

 

3. Old Town, China Town – We were there on a Sunday, so even the parking was free. We only peered into the Chinese Gardens from outside, but if you have money to spend, it’s worth going inside and taking a walk around, too.

Guarding the entrance to China Town in Portland, Oregon
Guarding the entrance to China Town in Portland, Oregon

 

4. Powell’s Bookstore – Biggest bookstore in the world. Since I’m too cheap to buy books (I just get them at the library), we just went in briefly, enjoyed the air conditioning, hit up the restrooms then left. A kind lady, seeing my huge camera hung around my neck, informed us as we were heading downstairs that if we were visitors to Portland, they also ship free to anywhere in the world. Good to know. In case I’m too lazy to head downtown in the cold days of winter and want books shipped to me for my book loving family members for Christmas or something. Just sayin’.

Powell's Bookstore - they claim to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world.
Powell’s Bookstore – they claim to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world.

 

5. Walk around Portland, taking in the old architecture. There were record breaking temperatures for an early June day of 100 degrees the day we were walking around, so kudos to us for surviving a walk around Portland in the soaring heat!

Old clock tower in Portland, Oregon
Old clock tower in Portland, Oregon

 

6. Go to Portland’s Central Library downtown. Also a good idea to get out of the weather, in this case, the heat, not the rain.

Skylight in Multnomah County Central Library, Downtown Portland
Skylight in Multnomah County Central Library, Downtown Portland

* For those of you wondering what a wantok is:

  •   Wantok dictionary definition | wantok defined:
    (Melanesia, Papua New Guinea) A close comrade; a person with whom one has a strong social bond, usually based on shared language.

A time to remember

Today I learned that Memorial Day is a day to remember those who died while serving in the countries armed forces. I always thought it was a day to remember all who had served at any point in the armed forces. For me, it’s always been a day to pause and remember my grandpa, who fought in World War II. Although he didn’t lose his life in that war, he did lose his leg from just above the knee and receive a purple heart. (He would have received two if he’d wanted to let them acknowledge the gun shot to his rear end, as well, but he chose to have a shred of dignity and save himself some embarrassment  rather than receive a second purple heart.)

I always remember all of us grand kids being rather proud of him as he hopped around on his crutches with his one leg, just as good as anyone with two. At some point, he took some small crutches and cut them down smaller so we could hop around after him. We always thought we were doing pretty good until he put the crutches down and used his big powerful arms to swing himself up onto things. I don’t think any of us had the upper body strength to be able to copy him then. I’m sure I still don’t have it now.

When my grandma went to park in the handicapped parking space when we went shopping, we’d wonder why we were parking there – our grandpa wasn’t handicapped, he could get around just as well as anyone else out there. I think we made her feel guilty, so she tried to just find a parking spot closer in rather than use the handicapped sign on the car. Really, she should never have even worried about our opinion and gone ahead and parked in the handicapped spot. We were just really proud of our grandpa.

What I never realized then, was that my grandpa went through a stage of serious depression as he dealt with the loss of his leg after the war. We never saw that side of him. By the time we came along, he was such a solid rock of faith, uplifting to be around and determined not to let his lack of one leg slow him down.

He will always be my American war hero.

 

Flag back lit by the sun
Flag back lit by the sun

 

Memorial Day
Memorial Day

 

Mark Morales, 12, of Portland, a member of the Young Marines, salutes.
Mark Morales, 12, of Portland, a member of the Young Marines, salutes.

 

Stars & Stripes
Stars & Stripes

 

Cub Scout Thomas Crouse, 9, of Portland, salutes as he reads the headstone aloud.
Cub Scout Thomas Crouse, 9, of Portland, salutes as he reads the headstone aloud.

 

In memory of...
In memory of…

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the adventures of Froggy!

This year, for Mother’s Day, I made my mom a silly book from photos I took a few years ago of her magnetic frog named Froggy that normally resides on her fridge, who I kidnapped and photographed for one whole month. I found this great website where I could put all of these photos together with captions to make a little story book out of my photos. I’ve thought of doing something like this before in the years since I took all of these photos, but I didn’t know I could actually make a little book out of them. I figured I’d have to just do a photo album. I was pleasantly surprised to find a website that had all the tools to make my very own book and create my own story line for all of my silly photos of my mom’s frog.  Today, after I give the book to my mom for Mother’s Day, I thought I’d give you a peek at some of the photos.

 

 

One day Froggy decided to take a trip to find a new home.
One day Froggy decided to take a trip to find a new home.

 

This house seems a bit snug.
This house seems a bit snug.

 

Froggy soon realized he needed money to buy a home, so he got a job at an accounting office.
Froggy soon realized he needed money to buy a home, so he got a job at an accounting office.

 

Froggy felt all alone in the world.
Froggy felt all alone in the world.

 

One day, Froggy made friends with some cats.
Froggy made friends with some cats.

 

This cat looks like she's going to eat him.
Uh-oh. This cat looks like she’s going to eat him.

A beautiful place to rest

We all have times where we feel overwhelmed with what life throws at us and need to take time to do something that makes us feel at peace with the world. I’ve been having one of those weeks. A couple of days ago I found myself walking around Edgefield Mcmenamins in Troutdale just enjoying the fall colors and taking photos. Taking time to appreciate the beauty around me. We are having an Indian summer and it seems the fall colors are only halfway here right now. Which means we may get to enjoy them for a bit longer this year. For me, taking a photo walk or hiking out into nature speaks to my soul. I stop concentrating on daily life and start looking for beautiful things to take photos of. I especially love benches & chairs with wonderful views. A beautiful and quiet place to rest, reminding me to stop and appreciate the beauty around me.