Our last day in Portland took us to the breathtaking Columbia River Gorge! We rented a car for the scenic drive along the Columbia River, which cuts through the Cascade Mountains, with numerous stops to take in the views and gaze at the multitude of waterfalls.

Our first stop is the view from The Portland Women’s Forum…recommended by our Uber driver the day before as the best place to start our sightseeing.
that’s the Vista House on the next mountain over…a memorial to Oregon pioneers and a place of rest for travelers.

Multnomah Falls...the most popular of all the places to stop along the way. (pic by Val)…where you can have lunch or just coffee in a beautiful stone Lodge. There’s a gift shop too. I’d recommend getting there very early, because the parking fills ups pretty quick (we arrived around 11:30 and I waited in the car while Val & Jan ran up to take pics…but I could hear the roar of the water)

We stopped at the Bonneville Fish Hatchery…another rec from the Uber driver…where they raise Chinook and coho salmon. They also have viewing ponds of rainbow trout and sturgeon…pretty interesting place!

notice the new Doc Martens…made in Portland!
feeding the rainbow trout

path to the underwater sturgeon viewing area

Stopped in Hood River for lunch before making our way back to Portland

some really good fries at this place…recommended by a local we had met at the Portland Women’s Forum

Our final meal of the trip was on New Year’s Eve at the rooftop bar, Portland City Grill, with 360 views of Portland and the surrounding areas, as well as distant views of Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier. We just ordered wine and appetizers and then stopped on the way home at Afuri…those dumplings are delish!!

Mount Hood (the pics of Rainier & St Helens were too far in the distance for a decent pic)

Portland is also a very artsy area, so here are some cool murals and random sculptures we stumbled upon around town…

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!


I’ve actually never watched the show Portlandia, but it seemed like an apropos title.

We arrived late at night on Dec. 27th and settled into our Airbnb in the Ladd’s Edition area of Portland, Oregon. We woke to a normal, cloudy Portland, day and walked around this adorable neighborhood on our way to a yummy breakfast at Junior’s Cafe. Ladd’s Edition is made up of four quadrants, each anchored by a beautiful rose garden. We were wondering who takes care of all those roses?? We were so happy to get some cold, rainy weather…wearing gloves & jackets.. and loved strolling by the charming area homes.

One of the first things the waitress at Junior’s told us, after we said we were visiting from California, was (I’m paraphrasing) ‘say you’re from Idaho, Portland people are not happy with all the Californians that are coming and changing our way of life.’ It was kind of funny, but we heard the same throughout our trip from Uber drivers, etc…but everyone was super nice, and I think, happy, that we weren’t planning on moving there.

Our trip can be described as shopping and eating…neither disappointed!! Here’s a rundown, with pictures of all the areas & restaurants we visited…

Pearl District…Powell’s books, Deschutes Brewery (shared a crab roll with fries), Doc Martens…

On the recommendation of my friend/neighbor, Breanna, we made reservations at a cool place called Beast. There are only two sittings of a six course prix fixe menu, served on long communal tables. I didn’t want to be totally obnoxious, so only took a couple of pics of the amazing food. I would highly recommend!!

marinated dungeness crab, lobster-citrus sabayonne, picked fennel, tarragon sauce gribiche, finger lime
chocolate date cake, brillat-savarin ice cream, cara-cara orange chocolate sauce, pistachios

random multiple mini santas display

Day 2 was NW 23rd St shopping & more eating…we agreed this was the cutest street and reminded us of Union St. in SF. Made a stop in at Kell’s pub to watch the Notre Dame game (disappointing), then Afuri for dumplings & ramen on the recommendation of Val’s cousin…(I think we did over 20,000 steps this day)

Day 3…Jan visited with her cousin, who lives locally, while Val and I hit the store Urbanite, which had a cool vibe and was an eclectic mix of all things for the home, then on to Mississippi St for some strolling (not as charming as NW 23rd) We met up with Jan on Hawthorne St. for more strolling, shopping, a stop in a pub for more football…before finishing off the day with yet another amazing meal at Trifecta , also recommended by Val’s cousin….

one of the many food truck pods throughout Portland

….time to rest up for our last day, where we drive out to witness the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge…stay tuned!!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…the purpose of life

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Friday Fun Project…book folding!

there’s a cute family story about the backwards Noel on top

I saw this idea in a magazine over a year ago and then went on Etsy to check them out and possibly buy an already finished one. At the time they were over $100 and I just never followed through on the purchase. A few weeks ago I was at my friend/neighbor Kym’s home….so unbelievably talented…and saw this (above) in her hallway. Not only is the book that’s folded cute, but she took other books and worked them into the frame around the book. So clever!!.

Of course, she made it herself, and I told her I wanted to do one. We decided to make it a group neighborhood project. We had a preliminary meeting of eight or so of us, with Kym giving us the logistics of the project and what we’d need before proceeding. Here’s the list…

pattern …she recommended the Etsy site www.looksinviting.com for easy templates, but there are so many options on Etsy. They’re easy to download and give you the info of what you’ll need in regards to book size, how many pages, etc…. I did like this site because there was no measuring, like some of the templates require.

book…I had quite a few and then went to the library bookstore to get some old inexpensive ones that had interesting inside covers. As Kym instructed, if the inside book cover is boring you can just use contact paper, wallpaper or some other pattern to make it more interesting/fun….or you can just leave the excess pages unfolded.

large hair bands…these came in very handy to hold the folded pages while you were working on the book.

ruler & reading glasses (optional)…you only need these if you download your pattern from a site that requires measuring , as opposed to an easy template…and the glasses are only necessary for those of a certain age!

One of the most important things is making sure you’re starting in the right spot at the beginning of your book, because there are blank pages or un-numbered pages before, after and sometimes throughout the book that you need to account for. I won’t give the whole tutorial here because it’s a bit confusing to explain, but, trust me, follow the instructions so you’re book looks even.

We got together the Friday before Christmas and sat for a few hours folding and helping one another to get the hang of it. Everyone took theirs home to finish.

Here are a few of the finished masterpieces….

Maggie’s masterpiece…an example of leaving the extra pages unfolded…so cute!


Breanna’s masterpiece…there are templates for animals, letters, favorite team logos…the possibilities are endless!
Carre’s masterpiece…cleverly placed in her bookshelf!
My finished product…because FAMILY is everything!

I can’t wait to do another one, just because it’s fun, but also, as I said, it’s like a puzzle or knitting…so exciting to see the progress as your going and the finished product is so satisfying.

Have a great weekend!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday….JOY

“If you’re not having a good time, find something else that gives you some joy in life.” — Penny Marshall (RIP)

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!


Foodie Friday…Broccoli Cheese Casserole

never any leftovers here…

Okay…so it’s not really a “foodie” item, but Broccoli Cheese Casserole evokes Thanksgiving memories, as well as the memory of my, recently deceased, Aunt Lorrie. She wasn’t much of a cook, according to her children (our mom wasn’t so great either!), but this is always a favorite, with rarely any leftovers, at the family holiday meals. So, in honor of Aunt Lorrie, (thanks to cousin Beth for the recipe) here you go…

10 oz. broccoli (you can just buy the frozen)
1/2 can cream of mushroom soup (Campbell’s usually..I just had this TJ version)
1 egg
1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese
1/4 cup of mayo
1 tsp. of dried onion flakes
salt and pepper
1/2 cup of ritz crackers, crumbled
few dabs of butter

Throw everything, except the crackers, together and mix well.  Put it into a casserole dish and top with crumbled Ritz crackers.  So easy!! Dot the top with butter and cook in a 350 degree oven for about 1/2 hour…or until bubbly golden brown (note from Beth…FYI – I usually quadruple this recipe for your Thanksgiving dinner)

My mouth is watering just looking at this picture. It’s such a 1950’s type recipe with the onion soup, Ritz, etc… but it’s a winner at every dinner table!

Bon Appetit!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…Happy 2019!

gin cocktail last night …fancy!


Love this sentiment for 2019…fun & thoughtful…Happy New Year!

You cannot direct the wind,
but you can adjust the sails

Irish birthday blessing for Jude

For sweet baby Jude on her first birthday…

May you live a long life
Full of gladness and health
With a pocket full of gold
As the least of your wealth
May the dreams you hold dearest
Be those which come true
May the kindness your spread,
Keep returning to you!

what a difference a year makes!

Happy Birthday to my birthday twin!


lá breithe sona dhuit!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…Merry Christmas…Believe

Believe in love.
Believe in magic.
Hell, Believe in Santa Claus.
Believe in others.
Believe in YOURSELF.
Believe in your dreams.
If you don’t who will??…Jon Bon Jovi

Nollaig shona dhuit…that’s Irish for Happy Christmas!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Happy Grateful Holidays!

Aaaaahhhh….The Holidays! …from Thanksgiving through Christmas, there’s so much to be thankful for…and thank God for our camera phones to capture the special moments.

an old friend comes to town…we had our children at the same time back in Illinois & now we’re welcoming grand=babies together
niece Alyse, husband Matt and 2 kids in town from Colorado

lucky to call these fabulous neighbors my friends too

…and some beautiful holiday decorating that I thought I’d share….

my sister’s festive holiday table
and a few fun vignettes from my friend, Julie’s home

yes, even her garden is decorated to the nines!

….in the spirit of giving, here’s a link to the Mandel Bread recipe I shared last year on the blog.

…and lastly…I’m off of work for two glorious weeks, so you’ll find me watching one of these warm & cozy holiday movies…

Can you name the movies?…and there’s one missing
that I’ve already watched. Can you guess what it is?

….or reading our book club book, The Heart’s Invisible Furies, that I’m loving so far…and a few more that are on my reading list…before heading out on a trip to Portland, OR.

Have a FABULOUS weekend!!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!