{inspired} a summer of fun

I've been having some thoughts on summer lately. After our hard wood floor + back entryway projects, Chris and I agreed that we were not taking on any more major projects this summer. Mostly because the next big project on our list is the bath and gutting the room that houses our only shower scares me. This doesn't mean we won't do some little projects. I will finish my craft room. And, we will finish the back porch we started last summer. 

Ultimately, my goal this summer is to have fun. Period. It seems a little silly to say out loud, but for the past three summers we've tackled pretty major house renovations. We've painted the house, landscaped the front yard, built a garage. The list goes on. This summer though, I want to hang out with my friends, I want to go antiquing, and hiking and on little weekend getaways. I want to wake up on a Saturday morning and spontaneously decided to drive over to the coast. Or up into the mountains. 

It was with this mindset that I ended up in Hood River, OR on Sunday. Hood River is about an hour east of Portland, in the gorgeous Columbia River Gorge. Chris was heading up there to buy a car (I'll explain in a minute), so I tagged along to explore the area a little .... something I've never done, even though it's so close.

This is the car *we* bought. Chris has a vintage car obsession hobby and he's sooooo excited about this guy. I think it'll be pretty fun to ride around in :).

After we checked out the car, we explored. It's amazingly beautiful country, so I thought I'd bring you all along for the ride.

Our first stop was a charming lavender farm. I've always wanted a covered patio area overflowing with plants and flowers. It's so English-garden to me, and I this lavender farm really brought this idea to life. It was so cozy and sweet, and I took a million pictures.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that this was the view from the patio tables. That's Mount Hood. It keeps watch over Portland and the Columbia River Gorge.

Loving the vines, and all the wild flowers bordering the seating area.

More seating. They actually have weddings in the far-off grassy area, and I welcome anyone who is having a wedding here in the near future to invite me. I buy great wedding gifts. :)

We also stopped at a winery ... and suddenly this blog is about my adventures drinking my way through Oregon. What can I say? Wineries are great fun.

One thing this area is know for though, is the number of farms. We stopped at a quite a few, talked to the farmers and bought up delicious strawberries, cherries and veggies.

I'll be taking lots of photos on my adventures and sharing some of them with you here. I hope you don't mind! But even more so, I hope you join in. Here's to a summer of fun .... who's with me? :)


{inspired} blogging with Joy

Happy Monday friends! I hope you all had a great weekend and that your introduction back into the week hasn't been too brutal.

A couple weeks ago, I had the great honor of attending a blogging workshop hosted by Joy Cho, of Oh Joy. She was in town for Summer School, which sadly I couldn't attend. (And, there's a sentence I never thought I'd utter.) Luckily for the 20 of us who attended, Joy added an additional blogging class Sunday morning.

If you don't know Joy, hop over to her site. She's the incredibly talented author of the Oh Joy blog, and the Oh Joys Eats blog. She is the designer of a beautiful line of paper products, a line of gorgeous wallpaper and has recently published the book Creative, Inc. What interests me most about Joy's work though, is Oh Joy Rx, her brand consulting company. I have a personal interest in branding, and am completely impressed by the brands Joy has worked with and helped launch. All in all, she's an incredibly talented lady!

The blogging class that she taught felt a lot like an intro to her Rx business. The class was three hours of everything you need to know to create and maintain a successful blog, plus more. I was completely impressed with the amount of information she covered and how well she covered it: types of blogs, how to find your voice/niche, creating unique content, images, giveaways, and a the most in-depth discussion of blog advertising I have ever heard.

I'm not going to go over everything (you should hire Joy for that! :), but I thought I'd share with all you the key ideas that really resonated with me. You know, what I'm still mulling around more than a week later.

Blog Musts:
  • A great header. In fact, Joy believes this is the area that is important to spend money on in the beginning. A great header makes your blog stand out among the crowds.
  • Unique point of view. 
  • Mix in the personal. Even if just a little. People like reading about your blogs focus, as well as you.
  • It's okay to keep it simple. This is one of my favorite pieces of Joy's advice. It's okay to post a pictures and a brief description and call it good for some posts. Not every post has to be a huge and complicated.

Growing Readership: 
  • Be part of the blogging community. Read, comment actively and comment thoughtfully. 
  • Reach out to other bloggers you admire. Introduce your site, because what's the worst that can happen? This one hit me hard, because I am awful at putting myself out there.

Social Networks:
Joy recommends picking only one or two that you can manage. It's not worth doing all of them, if you can't keep up. This came as a relief. Although I admire bloggers that keep up their blog, facebook page, twitter and pinterest, but I just can't manage doing the same. In my case, I've chosen not to create a facebook page.

Overall great Joy advice:
  • Be true to your own voice.
  • Create as much unique content as possible.
  • Don't fall into comparisons. As long as your content is strong, you have no reason to compare.
  • Create a *cocktail party* speech. This way you can tell others about your blog as efficiently as possible, any time.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people. They will help you grow.
  • Know that is doesn't happen overnight.
  • Work hard and respect others. Is there really anything else you can ask??

Fellow bloggers, what is a great piece of blogging advice you've heard recently?


{create} summer in a bowl

In honor of the first day of summer (well, a day late ;), I thought I'd share you my most-favorite-ever June recipe. Because June in Oregon marks local strawberry season! We have strawberries imported year round from California, but they aren't the same. 

Oregon strawberries are small, juicy and oh-so-sweet.

And, because it so happens that today is Wednesday(!), I'm linking this post up over at What I Ate Wednesday over at Peas and Crayons. Although, this doesn't really apply because I've actually eaten this everyday since Sunday. June only comes once a year, after all :).

Strawberry Shortcake (aka Summer In A Bowl):

Flaky White Chocolate Shortcake Recipe:
Adapted from: Scrumptious Strawberry Shortcake


  • 2 cups Gluten Free All-purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Xantham gum
  • 5 Tablespoons Suga
  • 1 stick Frozen Butter
  • 1 whole Egg Beaten
  • ½ cups Cold Half-and-Half
  • 1/2 cup chopped white chocolate

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. Grate butter and put into freezer for 10 minutes.
  3. Mix flour, salt, xantham gum, baking powder and 3 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl. Add frozen butter to ingredients and toss to coat.
  4. Mix egg and half-and-half; pour into flour mixture. Toss with a fork to form large clumps. Add white chocolate. With your hands, lightly press clumps into a ball.
  5. Turn dough onto work surface; press into a 7 1/2- by 5-inch rectangle. Cut into 6 squares, placing them 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. Sprinkle dough tops with 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool 5 minutes.
Or not :).

What's your favorite *summer* dish. What's your favorite way to eat strawberries ... besides by the handful :).


{inspired} along the vineyards

Hi friends! I'm excited to be back here on this fine Monday. Again, I really appreciate your patience during this time of transition in my personal life. First day of my new job is today! I have some fun posts lined up for this week, but I am still behind on reading all of your awesome blogs. Hopefully I'll be able to tend to my Reader soon. I'm completely going through withdrawals :).

Last weekend I attended a friends bachelorette party, which just happened to be an entire day of wine tasting. Best bachelorette party ever, right? While most people think of California as *the spot* for wine tasting, Oregon has become internationally known for it's Willamette Valley wines, especially their Pinot Noirs. But, what I love about heading to the Valley for wine tasting (about an hour South and/or West of Portland), is how beautifully inspiring the landscapes and vineyards are.

I thought I'd share a few parts of the day that were particularly inspiring and recharging for me. Hopefully you'll find them inspiring as well! First, as goes without saying, is the scenery.

This was the first winery we stopped at. Wouldn't this table be a perfect location for spending an afternoon chatting with friends, drinking amazing wine and eating locally grown/produced appetizers? Or spend a romantic evening enjoying dinner at sunset? Yes, please :).

This winery was also setting up for a wedding later that afternoon. I caught a few shots of the simple, gorgeous center pieces. I love the rustic wood and pebbles, and I really like the lime green, pink and purple color scheme. The arrangement has a little color, lots of texture and would look brilliant when the candles are lit in the evening.

Spending the afternoon with my girls is also inspiring, especially when it's good friends I don't see that often. I love hearing about what they're up to, reliving awesome times from the past and dreaming about the future.

The second winery we stopped at was equally inspiring. I would love to spend an afternoon lost amongst the grape rows.

They specialized in Pinot, and it was so good. We also had a fantastic behind the scenes look at the operations, which was fascinating, and provided some completely unexpected decorating inspiration.

First, were these jugs. They were HUGE, and I wanted a couple. They would make great decor just as is, but I also think they would make a very cool, over-sized terrarium of sorts.

Wine barrels. Kate at Centasational Girl recently posted a number of creative ways to use wine barrels, and seeing them in person had my mind spinning with ideas.

This is a vintage copper cold wine storage holder. Yes, that's the technical name I made up for it :). But, it's beautiful, and would be a great addition to a room as its intended purpose, as a talking point, or as a vase. It really is a quirky, unique piece. Have you seen one before? This was first for me.

So, the obvious question here is: what's your favorite type of wine?? And, if you've been wine tasting, where's your favorite spot? :)


stripe mania

Hi friends! Thank you for hanging in there with me this week. I know this little space has been light on posts, but it's my last week in my job, and I didn't realize what a toll that would take on me. Mostly emotionally. 

Today I thought I'd share a fun little blogger activity I participated in last week. Holly, from Decor8, thought it would be fun to have a stripe-mania party. All people had to do was post a picture of themselves wearing stripes, and they'd be tagged in a Pinterest album. Of course, I had to throw my photo up (scroll down to see my entry). I love stripes! Even better though, was how inspiring the submitted photos are. There are some seriously stylish people in the online design community, and I was feverishly taking notes :). Below are my favorites, but there are so many more here.


Doggy stripes! YES!

My favorite stripe-y scarf. In front on the stripe-y curtain. Obviously :).


{create} inspiring inspiration board

In the process of updating our office/craft room, I decided that I needed up also update my inspiration board. I originally compiled an inspiration board back in January of 2010 (you can read about my magazine addiction + original inspiration board here). I used a bulletin board we already had, and tacked on my favorite of all favorite inspiration rooms and projects:

It was fine. I guess. The board served it's purpose of holding my inspiration, but I've been wanting to give it a little face lift for awhile. Make it a little more fun, colorful and inspirational in and of itself.

Out came the spray paint. It's the same color as the file cabinet, which you can see in the bottom right corner. I told you I went a little spray-paint crazy one weekend! :)

Next came orange stripey fabric. I simply cut the fabric to size and spray glued it into place. Now anyone who has ever added fabric to a bulletin board knows, it's really hard to get a perfect edge. Like, impossible, without taking the whole frame apart, adding the fabric and then putting it back together. I was so not in the mood for that type of project. So, pulled out some ribbon to add to the edges. The orange stripe has a lot of brown in it, pushing it more towards terra cotta than bright orange. Love it. But, and it's hard to tell in the picture, that bright orange ribbon looked hideous. So did both blues. Hmmm. I started digging through the craft room looking for something I could use instead of ribbon.

I came across a package of cork that I'd bought for another project and hadn't used. I'd been meaning to take it back to Target, but thought I'd try it as an *edge* instead.

Clearly the squares were a little too big, so I cut the cork way back and into thin half circles to add a scalloped detail.

The result was an entirely new cork board. My first thought was .... this is a little circus-y. I added back a bunch of inspiration shots to see if it broke up the look a little.

I added my magazine cut-outs, along with my favorite Curly Girl quote, which I mentioned in my risk post (which you can read here).
 I also added my most favorite snapshot EVER. This, friends, is my mom and her family, circa 1968-ish. Top left: my mom's aunt, top right: my mom's mom (my grandma!), bottom left, my mom's sister and bottom right, my mom! It's just classic. I love their shift dresses, I wish I could see more of  my grandma because that neck line is amazing and the huge pink pattern on my great aunt makes me endlessly happy. And the colors! And the flocked tree! Endlessly inspiring, for me.

And, here's the final product. I think I like it. It's definitely colorful and fun, and over time I'll add more to it, and I think it'll be great. I'm still a little worried about its circus-y feel, but I'm going to wait until the room is all put together before I make a final judgment call.

Do you guys ever have projects that you finish and are just not sure about? Do you have any old photos that are just endless inspiring to you?

Happy friday friends! 


{renovate} stylish filing

Confession: I went on a bit of a spray paint spree a couple weekends ago. See, we've had an incredibly rainy *spring* and the weather cleared for a couple days and I was worried if I didn't do it THEN, it wouldn't actually happen. 

So what did I paint besides my orange light? A very BROWN file cabinet. Friends, I really don't have anything against brown. But, I think brown office supplies are a little boring. As illustrated:

See? Borrr-ing.

But, it was nothing a little spray paint couldn't handle. When I first started planning the office/craft room makeover I was determined to just buy a new one. This one is actually quite a bit bigger than what we need, and well, it's brown. And scratched up. BUT, it's FREE. I've seen other people paint file cabinets and I thought it'd be worth trying to save a little money.

I'm so glad I tried. Because three cans of spray paint later and the file cabinet looks brand new. Even the scratches are long gone.

I decided to keep it simple for this makeover. I don't want it to draw attention to itself. And I think the cream does a great job of helping it appear not so bulky and file cabinet-ish. But in terms of the office, I have big plans for this cabinet, and how it'll be used.

For now it's a great perch for my new bulletin board. More details + a how-to about this one on Friday!