Category Archives: free time

hiking! wahclella falls

My mom, sister and brother-in-law are in town and I wanted to take them on a beautiful and simple hike after we visited Multnomah Falls. Multnomah Falls is gorgeous but the hike to the top is steep and not for those who don’t hike steep trails frequently.

Further down a few more exits is Wahclella Falls. It’s an easy hike with lovely forest views and a trail along the river. It’s only about a mile before you arrive at the end and it opens up to a large pool of water and a spray of mist.

Triple Falls

Today I went hiking in the Gorge to an area called Triple Falls near Multnomah Falls. It was a “moderate” four mile-ish hike and I haven’t done much hiking lately so it was challenging for me. I went with a group from work that regularly hikes to prepare to walk the Portland half marathon.                                    

Punchbowl Falls

This morning I hiked to the lower bowl of Punchbowl Falls in the gorge. Pretty “beginner level” hike although the trail is pretty rocky. I also would be wary of small children or dogs on this trail since there are some pretty narrow portions of the trail the border on a very high drop.


interview series moving forward and some reflective thoughts

unicorn portland

Last year was one full of great changes for me.

David and I left Phoenix to move to Portland at the very end of February. I had lived in Phoenix my entire life. My original plan was to move after college, but it took a little over ten years.

We went from owning a large home to renting a small (725 sq ft!) house! We learned and are still learning to pare down what we have. It helps that we don’t live close to any big box stores full of inexpensive and tempting things. There’s a sense of accomplishment to let go of things we’ve been holding on to both physically and emotionally.

After finally getting my health under control in 2012 and moving at the beginning of 2013, I was finally able to get a job in a new career. I am so grateful for those who saw my potential and ignored my lack of experience. I am grateful for the teammates who help me with the steep learning curve everyday and make my job a fun place to work. I am full of joy to move forward and learn new skills and grow. Thank you: Jarnigan, Jesse, Wael, Jordan, John, Kenny, Mike, Ian, Robert, Lucas, Matt, Will, Grant, Raul, Charlie, Mel and Alison.

I am thankful for my friends and family who have visited me here in Portland bringing pieces of home. I love showing my new city to you. I still have so much to discover each day about this magical place full of artists, trees, and quirky shops. Oh and the food. Thank you Tom, Sarah, Jill, John, Stacy, Erica, James, Tim, Anke, Judy, Chanelle, Gabe, Susan, and Bree. (Am I forgetting anyone?)

And speaking of food, what a perfect city for me! Restaurants that label their menu with gluten free indicators (GF)! Chefs who understand special diets and embrace the diversity of their patrons! Hooray!

Just under the gun, Stephanie slid into Portland. She left Phoenix before I did, but overshot and landed in Seattle. She just moved to the neighborhood last month! I am thrilled to have one of my best friends back again.

We visited Phoenix in May for my little brother’s wedding. It was originally going to be a destination wedding, but they changed their plans. It ended up being just perfect for them: full of friends and family. Dancing, eating, toasting, drinking…so full of emotion and celebration.

I rode my bike to and from work about 10-11 miles round trip along the river on a bike path from the beginning of October to the end of November. So maybe about 460 miles? I suppose that isn’t much for you regular cyclists, but quite a lot for me. I am excited for the mornings to warm up a tad (50 degrees please!) and the sun to extend it’s daylight hours so I can ride again.

In some sense, my blog has suffered because of my new life. I feel compelled to be outside so often. I love exploring and when I am at home, I like to unwind with my knitting. I have met so many wonderful people here though, so I want to continue my interview series and increase the frequency. I can’t believe I only interviewed three people in 2013!

2013 Interviews




2012 Interviews:






2011 Interviews:












2010 Interviews:






recipe: brandied cherries

brandied cherry recipe

I like whiskey and bourbon. I like to order an old fashioned.

I don’t always enjoying paying a bartender eight to ten dollars though.

Cherry season has come (and almost gone) here in the Pacific Northwest, so I thought I would try my hand at making my own cocktail cherries since we all know maraschino cherries are super gross.

brandied cherries

Brandied Cherries:

2 lbs of red cherries

4 cups of drinkable brandy 

2 cups of sugar

2-4 sticks of cinnamon

4 cloves

4 allspice berries

Rinse the cherries in a colander. Remove the stem and pit the cherries. Place the cherries in a jar.

In a saucepan, heat the remaining ingredients on medium low heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. Pour the liquid over the cherries. Let the mixture come to room temperature (or ice bath it) then stick it in the back of your fridge for six weeks. You could alternatively water bath can it, but I am too lazy for that at this point. Although I might have considered it if I had gone cherry picking.

In six weeks, you’ll have perfect cocktail cherries, but I’ve also put them in a homemade chocolate chili ice cream. 

old fashioned recipe

Old Fashioned:

1/2 -1 tsp of sugar

several dashes of Angostura Orange Bitters

1 tsp of club soda or water (optional)

1 brandied cherry

1 giant ice cube or sphere

1.5 ounces of Bulleit bourbon or whiskey

1 orange wedge or peel (optional)

Put the sugar, bitters, and water in a glass. Mix or muddle them together. I like to muddle in my cherry too at this point and it would be a fine place to throw in an orange peel or even lime for something crazy, but try it without muddling fruit for your first time so you know what it really tastes like. Add one big ice cube. This is important. It’s preferred to have one large ice cube, so there is less surface area to melt. The original teaspoon of liquid is going to get your flavors melded together, and now your ice cube will slowly melt and the extra liquid will open up the flavors of the Bulleit, but you don’t want lots of little ice cubes because they will just water down your drink. Lastly, pour the Bulleit over the top and enjoy!

old fashioned recipe




knitting: driftwood

So I FINALLY finished this sweater. I have been working on it since September of last year. Not that I knit that slowly, but I was also working on another lace weight sweater at the same time. And the holidays, and then packing, and moving, oh and a beaded shawl

striped driftwood

It’s a gorgeous pattern called Driftwood by a designer I admire named Isabell Kraemer. She has a blog here. I knit mine up with Rowan’s Creative Linen which is a 50/50 blend of cotton and linen that I purchased from Wildfiber in Los Angeles. It’s kind of my spring sweater, really comfy and casual. I originally sewed on some mother of pearl shell buttons, but decided with some turquoise plastic buttons so I could throw this thing in the washer and dryer.

So yay! It’s finally done!!!

Portland Food Photography: Portland Juice Press

Okay seriously. This place is so good! I heard about it through someone on Instagram (can’t remember who), and I rode my bike up Milwaukee to visit it. It’s right by Bushwacker’s Cider.

portland juice company

They juice hundred’s of pounds of vegetables, fruit, and nuts every day. They specialize is juice fasts-you can actually have them deliver to your house or work. I just happen to like fresh juice and had a craving for a thick nut milk. So I picked out The Ohm. It was perfect. Exactly what I wanted: hazelnuts, dates, cinnamon, and filtered water.

portland juice company e -8909

If you are undecided, they have no problem opening up bottles for you to sample the flavors. Next time, I am getting the lemon, ginger, honey one.

e -8910

They even have these vintage inspired postcards -FOR FREE! I took one or six.

portland juice company