Blue Skies and White Sandy Beaches

The rain and grey skies are already making me wish I was back in sunny Florida. Sissy and I made the 2-hour drive to beautiful St. Petersburg Beach on our trip to Florida and spent the day basking in the sun, drinking ridiculously delicious cocktails, gabbing about our futures and even found time to play with her new DSLR in between the bronzing.     


Wine Tasting {Dobbes Family Estate and Sokol Blosser}

I know what you must be thinking. Amanda, might we have a drinking problem? Perhaps I should change the name of this blog to “Wine Romance” because let’s face it, vino has pretty much been the content filler for this blog all summer long. But fear not, I simply enjoy delicious wines, great company, gorgeous countryside views and road trips. Wine tasting just happens to mesh all my favorite things into one activity. So really, what else is a girl to do??

A few of my lovely girlfriends came down from Seattle to enjoy the wine country we Oregonians are always bragging about! Plus, my sissy surprised my papa for his birthday so she tagged along with us. It was one of those perfect days that made me fall in love with this state again and again.

For those of you who are actually interested in the wine (ha!) I’m going to do a post on all the wineries I’ve visited this summer with information on the tasting room, the wines, the ambiance, etc.for anyone who might be planning a trip out this fall!

When City Meets Country

Well folks…I know what I’m about to say might be a little shocking but I have never attended a rodeo. Well, until now. Oh yes. I popped my county fair/rodeo cherry lat week when I attended the Clackamas County Fair Rodeo.

My company sponsors a lot of county fairs and I’ve never understood the draw. So as part of my research duties I put on my borrowed cowboy hat and boots and headed for the fairgrounds with my two favorite country girls.

I’ll spare you the multitude of embarrassing comments I made during my time at the fairgrounds. Let’s just say I wasn’t quite expecting some of the rodeo events (cough calf roping cough) and the regular fair-goers were less than amused by my mortified expressions. But what was supposed to be a one-hour trip resulted in us closing down the fair! We were quite the naturals and dare I say, I can’t wait to go back!

Playing Hooky

Can you believe August is here?! Holy smokes this summer has flown by. I’ve been cracking down on my summer to-do list and checked one more off the list today! My best friend from high school is in town for the week so I decided to play hooky today and spent it getting tan, catching up on girl talk and drinking the northwest’s best vino.

There is something about being reunited with old friends. It half feels like no time has passed and half feels like so much has changed. Conversation and wine never stopped flowing today as we reminisced about the days of our youth and dreamed about the possibilities of our future. We’ve come such a long way since we sat next to each other in orchestra class 13 years ago and I’m so grateful for the influence and role she has played in my life. She has always been my biggest fan, my toughest critique and my constant motivator. I adore her to pieces. Please don’t go back to Cleveland, Gracie!! I’m going through the dozens of photos I took but here is a sneak peek of our day. More to come including details on the wineries (aka possible wedding venues) we visited!

Summer BBQs and Perfect Sunsets

Barbecues are a right of passage into the summer season. I’ve been taking full advantage of the gorgeous weather and going on a full BBQ binge. There is something about that smokey aroma, charcoaled-flavored food, fire pits and ice-cold beer that has me blissfully dreaming of more of these perfect summer nights. As part of my “learning to be more domestic” education, I had one of my favorite grill masters show me how to make the perfect salmon dish on the barbecue. This is a super easy recipe that even I can execute so it is pretty idiot-proof.


  • Alaskan Sockeye Salmon
  • Brown Sugar
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Salt

How to:

  • Poor Tommy had to fillet the massive fish. However, if you are preparing this dish, most grocery stores (cough cough, go to Fred Meyer, cough cough) will fillet it for you.
  • Cut the salmon into pieces of 2 x 4 and season with pepper and garlic salt.
  • Then dash about 4-5 drops of low sodium soy sauce on each piece of fish.
  • Take a finger full of brown sugar and sprinkle over each fillet. Pack down the sugar with your hand.
  • Grill each piece of fish for about 7-10 minutes. Be sure to flip sides half way through.
  • Pair this entrée with a fresh summer salad or some grilled veggies and you’ve got yourself a perfect summer meal.

oh, and what’s a summer BBQ without beautiful florals and best friends…

And the evening ended with a picturesque sunset. 

19 Things You Should Do Before the Summer is Over

Someone so unkindly reminded me that summer is more than half over. Sigh. And while this summer has been quite idyllic there is still so much I want to do! One of my best friends sent this lovely summer to-do list from Thought Catalog the other day and it quickly brought a smile to my face. I plan to check each of these lovely tasks off before the days grow shorter and the leaves begin to change. I’ve checked a few of these off already but I’ll need to document them this time around so it’s official, right? What about you? What have you checked off your summer to-do list? Any other additions to this great list?

Here’s the complete list from Thought Catalog:

1. Go to the beach, duh! Beaches and summer go together like fashion and anorexia; you really can’t have one without the other. Spend a day frolicking in the ocean and laying in the sand with a mindless book. (I suggest Most Talkative, Andy Cohen’s light and ultimately forgettable memoir, if only for the embarrassing “I’m gay in the 80s!” photos.) Let the sun delete five years off of your life and leave feeling like a baked clam who just took five muscle relaxers.

2. Get day drunk with your friends on a lazy Sunday. Drink sangria like it’s water and then go shopping. Purchase the most random crap ever before passing out on your couch at 5 p.m. Wake up and wonder why you purchased a 20 dollar wooden spoon at Crate and Barrel. {A: I’m pretty sure I’ve already accomplished this task more than once…Sunday Funday, anyone?}

3. Go to a concert. I know, I know, concerts in the summertime can be a complete clusterf-ck that’ll have you running for your anti-anxiety meds but on a rare occasion, they can actually be quite delightful. I recommend attending Bumbershoot in Seattle because it’s exciting without being TOO overwhelming. Plus, the weather in Seattle is amazing only in August and September. {A: Accomplished this one this on Friday with my two favorites. We went to see The Head and the Heart from Seattle, WA, at the Oregon Zoo. If you live in Portland and love live music, check out this year’s lineup of summer concerts at the zoo – It is a fabulous concert venue. See a few pictures below from our evening!}


photos taken on our phones by me, Emily, and Shelli

4. Go see The Dark Knight Rises because it is seriously the only movie event of the summer that matters! Christopher Nolan has that rare talent of making a summer blockbuster popcorn flick that doesn’t feel as shallow as a kiddie pool. Plus, Anne Hathaway as Catwoman looks intriguing…

5. Call in sick to work to go to the park all day by yourself and read magazines and listen to music. Maybe go stoned if you’re worried about being bored.

6. Break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend because being single in the summer is ACTUALLY fun. You can come crawling back to them when it’s cardigan weather again and just explain to them, “Sorry, babe. I just needed to be in a committed relationship with summer. You understand, right?”

7. Listen to as much top 40 pop songs as humanly possible. Maybe even reunite with Ashanti and The Murder Inc. era.

8. Hang out on someone’s rooftop till the sun rises.

9. Go swimming in a pool! Seriously, go find someone who has a pool and offer them your money and friendship in exchange for a full day of lounging and swimming. (Sidenote: I’m so obsessed with swimming pools that I once snuck into my ex-boyfriend’s apartment complex to use his pool. TALK ABOUT DESPERATE.)

10. Go out of town. August is the only month out of the year where it’s socially acceptable to tell your work that you’re going to be off on vacay for a minute so take advantage. If an actual trip is out of the question, go away on the weekends and mooch off of someone’s “summer home.” Whatever you do, just get away!

11. Throw a BBQ for all of your friends, or if you can’t cook/have a grill, make someone else do it. {A: I’m pretty sure we’ve done this at least one day every weekend this whole summer!}

12. Find out where the nearest county fair is and go to it wasted, eat funnel cake, and ride the rollercoasters. See a kitschy band like Foreigner because chances are, they will be performing at every county fair this summer.

13. Go on an internet hiatus. The internet is so boring in the summertime. Real life is exponentially better.

14. Tell your crush that you like them because they’re more likely to like you back in the summer than in the fall. There’s like scientific proof.

15. Go to a free event. There is so much free stuff to do in the summer. Winter = we’re annoyed that it’s cold out so we’re going to charge for everything. Summer = OMG, we’re so laidback! Come hang at our cool event for free!

16. Go home to visit your parents for Labor Day. Or not. If you hate your parents, save your money and don’t do it.

17. Make a conscious effort to be happy. After all, you can always be miserable in the winter!

18. Have one insane night of debauchery. Not The Hangover status. More like Marie Antoinette “I’m hanging out in a mansion, drinking champagne, and doing bumps of 18th century coke.”

19. Eat healthy. Salads only taste good in 95-degree heat so you might as well eat them now before you start craving comfort food again.