With my trip to the northwest coming to a close, I tried to enjoy every single minute of it. The days have been gray and crisp, but on the day I was leaving home the skies were clear blue. After a lazy morning, we went to Latourell Falls to explore the waterfalls and enjoy the last bits with my family outdoors. So we drove up the winding roads to the short hike down to the falls. When we got to the bottom you could feel the spray and wind from the power of the waterfall – it was such an amazing feeling.
From there we took a short drive to the Vista House where you get the most amazing panoramic view of Washington, the Columbia River, and Oregon. My sister-in-law told me there is plenty of salmon to be fished in the Columbia River. Some day when I come back with my husband that will definitely be on our to-do list!
I could spend all day admiring the beautiful scenery, but alas our stomachs were rumbling with hunger. So we made our last stop to The Local Cow for lunch.
The beef is from a local grass-fed only farmer, and I could seriously taste the freshness! My burger had fried banana peppers and guacamole on it with a side of fries…come one now! And as always, we washed our burgers down with some local beer.
I would fly back to the northwest just to have this burger again. I really like that a lot of the cafes and restaurants get their meats and produce from local farmers. LA has plenty of places that do the same thing. I’d like to think it’s because I was with my family that made everything taste that much better.
Portland is such a pleasant city. They have everything from quirky vintage shops to beautiful forests showing off their fall colors. During my visit my family took me to Bob’s Red Mill for breakfast. I use a lot baking goods by Bob’s so needless to say I was excited to go to the store. Not only is the selection jaw-dropping, the the food there is also excellent! I ordered muesli and french toast, and it was delicious.
After breakfast we meandered over to Laurelhurst Park to enjoy the fresh air. The weather was perfect – grey skies and crisp air. You may think I’m weird for calling that “perfect” weather, but I’m from the land of eternal summer. I enjoy watching the seasons change, and don’t mind when the temperature dips low.
My husband and I really enjoy the outdoors, so I have to mention this part. We went to a store called Cabela’s to find a little gift to take back for my husband. Cabela’s is like REI meets Bass Pro Shop,it was massive! You may not share my passion of the outdoors, but they also had a plethora of workout and sports gear.
Walking around the park had us craving cider, so we made our way over to Portland Cider Co. to quench our thirst and relax while the kiddos play. I ordered the Winter Spice, my brother got the Mojito, and my sister-in-law tried Hop Nectar. I can’t remember the last time I had cider, but this place did some really good cider! If you find yourself in Portland, I would definitely check this place out. They have board games, dart boards, and shuffleboard to keep you occupied. If you’ve got the munchies, they also do pretty good pretzel and tater tots.
Do you ever get the feeling where you just need to take a break from life and get away? That’s precisely how I felt last week. So I decided to spontaneously visit my family up in Oregon for a long weekend. LA was expecting another heatwave in the following days so I was escaping just in time. Before leaving home I felt mentally exhausted and was starting to question my spur-of-the-moment trip. However, when the plane descended into Portland and I saw the colorful sea of pine, fir, and cedar trees in their beautiful red, orange, and yellow hues I felt this immediate assurance that I made the right choice. For the next couple of days I spent the hours catching up with my family and playing with my nieces and nephews. Since I hadn’t been to Portland since before I was married, my visit to Oregon was long overdue.
My adorable nieces and nephew wandering about the garden, resisting the temptation of getting into mischief.
Wanting some reprieve from the rain, we went to The Stickmen for lunch. The meat was from a local grass-fed only farmer, which explained why it was so delicious. I washed it all down with the Gaijin Dream beer and I was ready for dessert!
We went to the original Salt & Straw for dessert. It was my first time there, but it certainly won’t be the last. While the ice cream options aren’t abundant, they do have some interesting combinations. I ordered the Honey Lavender and it reminded me of of the ice cream I had during my trip to Lyon. Super tasty!
I never get over the beautiful colors of autumn. It’s such a magical time of year that it makes me happy to be alive. Do you ever have that feeling?
We went to Moonstruck Chocolates in downtown so I could pick up some goodies for my husband. With their amazing truffle options, I had a difficult time choosing which ones to pick. I was lucky enough that my husband shared them with me when I got home. They were decadent!
Throwing a pumpkin carving party has been on my list of things to-do for the past few years. It’s never worked out for one reason or another, but this year I was determined to make it happen. A group of us met up at a local park the other weekend and hacked away at our pumpkins. In my personal opinion, meeting up at the park was so much more fun than meeting up at someone’s house. It’s less stress for the person hosting, and it encourages everyone to get outside and enjoy their community. Actually, a number of people mentioned how much they enjoyed being at the park. In reality, everyone’s a kid at heart.
Here are some things we brought to our pumpkin carving party that made our it easy and enjoyable.
- Plastic sheet to cover table – when it came time to cleanup, we just rolled up the sheet and threw it in the bin. Easy peasy.
- Tools – we had everything from Dollar Store Knives to proper tools. While both tools did the job, the actual “pumpkin carving toolset” was much easier to use.
- Snacks – Eating is a social activity. In between carving pumpkins and catching up with each other it was great having some snacks to munch on.
- An open setting – carving requires quite a bit of movement, so meeting up at a park offered ample space for us to move around.
- A good attitude – maybe carving pumpkins doesn’t interest you, but the point of it was to be with friends and enjoy fellowshipping together.
Have you ever hosted or been to a pumpkin carving party? I’d love to know how it went!
Even though I’ve been married almost five and a half years, my husband and I are still creating new traditions. Since Halloween is slowly approaching we decided it was time to buy some pumpkins to spruce up our apartment. In prior years we would buy our pumpkins from the grocery store or wherever we saw them for a great price. This year we decided to go to a little nearby pumpkin patch. It’s been years since I’ve been to an actual pumpkin patch, and I forgot how fun it is. Even as an adult, there’s something so fun in the child-like enjoyment of picking pumpkins, and cooing at the animals. Of course, there were a handful of parents taking photos of their kids playing with the pumpkins. It made me happy to know my husband and I will probably do the same thing some day.
Topshop Shirt, J. Crew Skirt, T.J. Maxx Boots, Zara Bag
I love trying different cuisine. I’ve actually shared several of my favorite meals here: Lyonnaise Salad, Singapore Chili Crab, Indian Butter Chicken, Bouef Bourguignon, and Mee Goreng. I was craving Moroccan food recently so I decided to try my hand and making Moroccan meatballs. As the meat was bubbling away in the sauce I decided to put away some glassware. One of the glasses slipped from my hands, fell onto another glass, then shattered to the floor. There was glass absolutely everywhere thus making my meatballs uneatable. You can image my disappointment after all that effort! Feeling defeated, I ordered Indian for dinner instead.
Last that weekend I made it my goal to try the Moroccan recipe again. And you know what? I smashed it. It was so good! Everything I was craving all satisfied in this simple dish. Cooking new recipe can be daunting sometimes, but now that I have a couple of impressionable ones up my sleeve I feel confident trying other recipes. This meatball recipe is similar to one I used. I poured the meatballs and sauce on a bed of couscous, and had a fresh carrot salad to go with it. Next time you want to try a new recipe, give this one a try and let me know how you liked it!
Old Torrance is a quaint little town that has great restaurants and cafes hidden throughout it’s historic streets. During the day the city is buzzing with small businesses and shopkeepers catering to the locals. At night it takes on a relaxed vibe where friends and family get together and enjoy each others company.
My husband and I had some business to attend to in Old Torrance, and afterwards decided to check out a new local spot called Restoration Kitchen & Wine for dinner and drinks. What initially caught my eye was the outdoor dining area filled with bistro-style seating and heat lamps creating a warm, inviting atmosphere. It reminded me of the restaurants I visited in Europe, and had me even more excited to check it out. Inside, the quaint restaurant has an intimate ambience that makes you want to relax with good company until the end of the night. My husband and I grabbed a spot by the window, ordered ourselves a drink, and feasted on our amazing dinner. If you’re keen to explore Torrance, I highly recommend going here. I plan on bringing some of my closest girl friends here next time and sitting at the wine bar!
Great wine selection. I especially like that their beers are from local microbreweries!
Crab Cakes for starters. I can’t remember the last time I had Crab Cakes that were so good. Seriously delicious!
Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri and Brussel Sprouts
Braised Pork Belly with Udon Noodles, Peppers, and Greens
Chocolate Pot de Crème – the perfect way to end a tasty meal
I used to think I couldn’t pull off midi-cut skirts or dresses. Since I’m just shy of 5’4″ I usually opt for petite sizes that complement my frame instead of hide it. What initially drew me to this midi dress was the beautiful, bold print, and how luxurious it looked hanging there. I usually don’t buy pieces unless I’m 100% sold on it, but the price was right so I decided to make the dress work.
Surprisingly, I felt confident wearing it when paired with the right accessories. This dress is rather shapeless, so I used a skinny belt to give myself some shape, and wore fringe heels to keep the outfit playful. Utilizing those accessories I feel made the outfit wearable without feeling overdressed. I wonder how this dress would look when worn with white chucks and a black turtleneck underneath for colder days. Challenge accepted! Now I just have to wait for the weather to cool off…
Zara Dress and Purse, Ann Taylor Heels, Forever 21 Belt
As a kid I used to love having tomato soup with cheesy toast. After I could come home from school it would be my go-to snack. As an adult I still loved the idea, but wanted to upgrade from canned tomato soup and Kraft cheese toast. This simple recipe uses ingredients that are usually already in the kitchen, which makes it a great weeknight dish. Since this bisque uses mainly fresh ingredients, it allows the rich flavor of the tomatoes, garlic, and basil to amalgamate into a delicious concoction. In addition to the tomato soup, I made my sandwiches using gruyere and swiss cheeses, but this site shows heaps of grilled cheese variations. The next time you’re craving grilled cheese and tomato bisque, give this recipe combo a shot! It’s mighty gouda.