Portland (kid-free!)

John and I recently celebrated our 1o year anniversary and traveled for the first time by ourselves since having babies. Portland is one of my absolute favorite U.S. cities. If you have not been, hop on a plane right now and go! This is the perfect time to visit.


One of the things John and I were most excited about was eating. Portland has some incredible restaurants and while most of them are kid-friendly, we could be a little more adventurous, wait in longer lines, and order whatever we wanted because we didn’t have to share with little people who can be picky. 🙂


Our first stop for dinner was the recently-opened Grassa, because our friend, Ian, is the chef there! And also, because he hand-makes pasta and makes amazing food. Grassa lived up to the hype and was delicious. We loved watching the pasta being made while listening to records.

Broder for breakfast has been on our list of places to go for a long time. We tried once before, but had the girls with us and couldn’t wait in line (there almost always is a long one on the weekend). Yum!

Several friends highly recommended tapa restaurant Toro Bravo (another restaurant with a usually-lengthy wait) where the shrimp was incredible.

Luce was insanely good. This tiny restaurant was absolutely adorable and the food was divine. I felt like I was in Italy again.


Of course, you must visit Salt and Straw – the famous ice cream shop. It was as delicious as we had heard; so good in fact that we went twice.



Albina Press is a friendly grungy coffee shop that we have loved for years.

John recently went to a conference in Portland and visited Secret Society, where he couldn’t wait to take me back to on this trip.

I found a little champagne bar called Ambonnay with a friendly owner and warm space, conveniently located next to Olympic Provisions that I loved.



We wandered the Portland Art Museum, leisurely, for hours. We were lucky enough to catch the Cyclepedia exhibit (John was so excited). I was entertained by the preschool class on field trip there (and even more so by the parent chaperones attempting to keep the preschoolers’ hands off the bikes). We also caught the Gaston Lachaise exhibit, (a French sculptor – we had the best timing!)

Of course, we wandered Powell’s for ages and found some adorable drawing books we bought the girls.

We strolled for a bit around Mt. Tabor Park (an ancient volcano right in Portland) until I got blistered too badly and had to go back to the car and change shoes for our antiquing trip through Sellwood.


Just a sampling of our favorites from our trip to get you started on yours! Bon Voyage!


10 Years!

Newport Bay

Newport Bay

John and I recently celebrated our 10 year anniversary (!) by retracing our steps of our honeymoon. We both grew up in Florida and lived there until 8 years ago. Neither of us had been to Oregon, but we both had a pull toward it and decided to travel here on our honeymoon. We actually stayed a night in the town we now live in because John thought there was a chance he would apply to grad school here.


Boiler Bay


Bob Straub State Park

My parents came out for a couple of weeks and John and I left the girls with them – our first trip away from them – while we drove up the coast, ate our way through Portland, and spent some time in wine country. It was my first vacation away from the girls. I went away for a few days to visit friends several years ago, but I’m not sure if that counts because I was pregnant and sick the whole time. 😉


Bob Straub State Park

Cape Lookout State Park

Cape Lookout State Park

We stopped on a whim at Cape Lookout State Park and hiked along a steep, rainforested cliff hoping for a clearing and view of the ocean. It was one of my favorite things about Oregon – the wet, green forests full of ferns and moss that open up into incredibly dramatic views of the ocean.

Cape Lookout State Park

Cape Lookout State Park

Twin Rocks

Twin Rocks

We stopped for the night in a small, loveable coastal town in a motel that looked out on the ocean. We were charmed and dreamed of having a place of our own on this coastline.



I missed the girls terribly, but enjoyed the spontaneity, leisurely pace, and ability to do things that we couldn’t have done with the girls tagging along. I’ll try to post more adventures from Portland soon. These photos were all from the first day!


We just got back from a week long trip in Florida to visit family (including my two new nieces!) where we were surrounded by so many people we love and who love us.

Yesterday was my birthday, which doesn’t get much better than when you celebrate with a 5 year old. There was much whispering, running feet, and surprises.

I started my day at the breakfast table with my little family, opening handmade cards from the girls who were so proud. John gave me a wonderful gift and then explained that he wanted to get me something special this year because we had such a stressful summer and I took the brunt of it.

Photos by Melissa Shontz

Partly because I have been in such a tense state the past several months, I am walking around filled with such deep appreciation these days. I love my beautiful family, our bright fall colors, our backyard, a warm cup of tea.

I am a happy girl.

a giveaway!

Hello, faithful blog readers. Oh, its been a long couple of weeks. I wish I could blame it on the start of school like most people, but a lot of it is just a plain lack of energy around here.


We spent a couple of days in Portland and stayed at the Kennedy School. We ate as much as we could in Portland, I got to visit Anthropologie (bliss), and we were able to meet up with John’s cousin who was visiting from Florida.

Then I flew out for a long weekend in New England to visit a couple great friends. It was my first time away from Ruby which was so bizarre. I didn’t quite feel like myself. But it was nice to have an adult conversation and be able to finish it. My friend lives 3 blocks from the coast, so we spent a lot of time on the water in beautiful, incredible old towns. I loved it!


I returned home, tried to dig my way out of laundry, emails, and piled up mail and then Ruby got a fever and was pretty miserable. We spent a lot of time snuggled up on the couch reading books. She hasn’t napped in a couple days, which is making everyone cranky. Today she finally did, though, so I’m starting to feel a little more back to myself.

Anyway, thanks for sticking around during my longer-than-planned absence! I appreciate all the music suggestions – keep them coming! This is my 3-year blog birthday, and I’ve enjoyed it so much. I really love sharing little bits of our lives, hearing about yours, solidifying friendships, and meeting new blogging friends. Thanks so much!

I’m giving away one of my favorite products – the French Clay Facial Scrub.

il_fullxfull.64687056-1Just leave a comment on this post by midnight Monday, Sept. 28 to be entered and I’ll randomly choose a winner. If you want another chance to win, blog or tweet about the giveaway and send me a link.

Edited: Congratulations, Amy, you won the scrub!

Happy Fall!

Ahhhh, the coast…

My parents just finished a trip of a lifetime. My maternal grandmother passed away just before I became pregnant with Ruby. The only state she had never traveled to was Hawaii and she always wished she had. So my mother and her brother decided to go to Hawaii together in memory of my grandmother. They (and my dad and aunt) spent about a week cruising the islands together. My aunt and uncle live in Pennsylvania and my parents in Florida, so it was fun for them just to spend time together, let alone in Hawaii. On their way back home, they all stopped in Oregon to visit us. They drove down the coast and Ruby and I met them in Lincoln City. We had gorgeous weather there and had a lovely spot to stay too. Ruby and I took my parents back to our house for another week or so.