Edgefield Hotel – Troutdale, Oregon

You all already know my feeling on concerts. I mostly dislike them. But if I can sit, and sit outside while we are making demands then I mostly don’t mind them. The Oregon Zoo has a nice summer concert series  which I enjoy. But in my opinion the best venue in the Portland area is the Edgefield Hotel.

The Edgefield Hotel is much more than just a concert venue. It is, as surmised by the name first and foremost a hotel. It also includes a winery, a brewery, a spa, a golf course, a movie theater, and includes several bars and restaurants all on property. The property a former poor farm was bought and restored by the McMenamins company and has been operational for more than a couple decades now.

The summer concert series that they host are some of the most popular in the area and sell out quickly. And the venue is so popular people generally book hotel stays nearly a year in advance of the concert schedule being published on the off chance that a coveted band will happen to be playing that night.

This last summer I went to see Blonde and Garbage both of which were quite fun. But as it is with cell phone photos, the zoom isn’t stellar so none of the picture turned out very well.

I have in the past had the pleasure of seeing some of my favorite bands while sitting outdoors in the large lawn, munching on pizza and ice cream from the food and drink vendors inside the concert area. All in all if you are a concert goer, or even if you are not like myself I would highly recommend the experience.

One Shirt – Five Ways

I am a big fan of fashion. I had at one point wanted to be a fashion designer, but my lack of sewing skills provided a reality check. Now I just own a lot of clothes. Probably too many, but I do try to keep it in check. I stick to sales and thrift stores and I make sure to only buy things that can be worn a number of ways.

Enter my favorite summer tank. I have been waiting out this miserable Oregon spring for some warmer days so I can slap on the tank and not cover it in three warmer layers. It is still not quite there every day, so I decided to try to style it for a variety of spring climates and adventures.

 

Overalls
Farmers Market

This week is shaping up to possibly be warm enough to sans sleeves and in celebration of my farmers market opening again I couldn’t resist paring it with my favorite overalls. Anyone familiar with the 90’s classic ‘Clueless’? Every time I wear my overalls (which is a lot) I think of the line “She could be a farmer in those clothes.”. Yes. Yes I could.

Hat is last season Target – similar // Sunglasses are old Betsy Johnson – similar // Shoes are many years old Birkenstocksimilar  // Tank is thrifted Caslon – similarsimilar //  Overalls are GapFactory

 

dress
Date Night

 

Next I tied it over a strapless jersey dress. Perfect for date night and perfect for warmer weather. The denim jacket is at the ready in case the night turns chilly.

Hat is last season Target – similar // Sunglasses are old Betsy Johnson – similar // Shoes are many years old Birkenstocksimilar  // Tank is thrifted Caslon – similarsimilar // Dress is thrifted – similar // Demin Jacket is H&M

 

casual sunday
Running Errands

 

We all need a good comfortable outfit for running errands. No one likes them, and hitting up endless stores in uncomfortable clothes just makes for an even worse experience. I tend to stick to boyfriend jeans and a long cardigan. Easy, cute and no need to be constantly adjusting when getting in and out of the car endlessly.

Hat is last season Target – similar // Sunglasses are old Betsy Johnson – similar // Shoes are many years old Birkenstocksimilar  // Tank is thrifted Caslon – similarsimilar // Cardigan is old Zara – similar // Jeans are Anthro

Super Casual
Sunday Fun

Sunday’s are for ultimate comfort. Yoga pants, an oversized terry cardigan for ultimate comfort.

Hat is last season Target – similar // Sunglasses are old Betsy Johnson – similar // Shoes are many years old Birkenstocksimilar  // Tank is thrifted Caslon – similarsimilar // Cardigan is old JCrew – similar

black jeans
Girls Day

 

One of my favorite girls day adventures is visiting our local wineries. Even if you don’t drink the views are worth the trip out here in Oregon.

Hat is last season Target – similar // Sunglasses are old Betsy Johnson – similar // Shoes are many years old Birkenstocksimilar  // Tank is thrifted Caslon – similarsimilar // Yoga pants are GAP // Denim Shirt is GAP

 

**Disclaimer:  I do not have paid affiliate links. I receive no cash or goods payments of any kind to advertise or link these items. All opinions are my own. **

 

 

 

The Rainflower – Amity, Oregon

Despite the Portland Metro region Oregon is a fairly rural state. Lots of small towns, lots of old buildings, many of which have been abandoned. It does seem like though as Portland has become more a more popular destination the tourism and money that comes with it has started to trickle out into the smaller communities.

It is not uncommon these days to drive through a one stop light town that looks all but abandoned, which actually houses at least one or two gems worth stopping for. Amity Oregon is one of these towns. Founded between 1848 and 1849 by by two Oregon Trail survivors the town today is home to about 1600 people. There is a school, a store, a gas station, and a whole lot of houses that look like they have seen better days. The downtown houses an antique shop, a pretty decent coffee shop and then right in the middle of the main street is a little shop called The Rainflower.

Almost other worldly in how out of place a boutique flower and chocolate shop are in this tiny little town, especially one so perfectly styled. A blend of 1940s architecture and modern day simplicity it is worth the stop if ever find yourself in the area.

It quite honestly feels like something that all the big city gift shops are trying to pull off, the high ceilings, antique fixtures, minimalist paint, sumptuous details sprinkled around.  But you get the feeling that unlike other shops this wasn’t intentional, but an organic result of the surroundings. It is perfection. As are the chocolates, of which I ate far too many. For hours and other details check out their facebook page, and visit soon it’s worth it I promise.

LACMA – Los Angeles, California

As far back as I can remember visiting art museums has been a tradition between my dad and I. No matter where it was that we were at, there was always a museum, or gallery or store full of art to be visited. He is an artist and I have always wanted to be just like him. Real life happened  and I didn’t go into the arts, but I do appreciate them as well as paint from time to time.

There is nothing like one of the best art museums on the west coast to light the artistic fire in you. After visiting the LACMA I spent the rest of my summer afternoons painting in our backyard.

The LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) opened in 1965 and has expanded in both its collection and physical size ever since. The museum is huge, far too much to see in a single day but worth every minuet if you enjoy the arts.

We wandered around for a few hours, had lunch in their cafe which is actually pretty good and then wandered around for a few more hours. Our taste in art differs a lot but mostly in the type that we create. In many cases we do tend to like the same things in other people’s work. Which means spending a lot of time standing around a few pieces and then breezing through entire exhibits that don’t interest us as much.

Aside for the exhibits, the museum itself, like most museums has some pretty impressive architecture as well as exterior installations.  The museum shares a campus with the La Brea Tar Pits, so even if you don’t have time or the energy to go through the museum itself just walking around and taking it all in is an experience. All in all it was a really great visit!

Tocaya – Los Angeles, California

You know when you travel how your schedule gets off and you just start to feel icky. Then on top of the schedule your eating is off because you don’t have your kitchen, your stores, your meal prep and you start to feel more off. I almost immediately start to feel like that. I LOVE food, all kinds, but my system seems to prefer simple unfussy foods. Mostly veggies, no sauces, simple fats and lean protein. This can be very hard to find when traveling, less so on the West Coast but still a challenge.

I was so pleased to find Tocaya on Sunset Blvd, right down the street from where we were staying. It is a build your own food type of place, mostly in theme of Tex-Mex but with the typical SoCal organic flair. I can take or leave the organic thing, but I did very much appreciate the simplicity of the food and the ability to add what I wanted and nothing more.

I ate here more than once in three days, I loved the outdoor seating. Cannot pass up the chance to sit outside in the mild California weather. And the food always left me feeling satisfied but not weighed down. Sword Fish salad for the win, olive oil dressing, simple greens, manchago cheese and mixed fruits/nuts. Perfection.

Greystone Mansion – Los Angeles, California

Back in June my husband had to be in Los Angeles for work so I tagged a long for a semi cheap vacation. I did a lot of walking while down there, since he had the rental car and I was mostly on my own. I spent a lot of that time wandering around the Sunset Blvd. And one of those ended (not really ended because I had to walk back) at Greystone Mansion. Greystone is the former home of Ned Doheny, son of oil tycoon Edward Doheny .  Ned’s life ended in scandal in a mysterious murder suicide with his male secretary only a short while after having moved into his newly completed home.

He was survived by his wife and five children. The house is now a city park, or at least the grounds are. The house itself is used privately for events and not open to the public normally. Though tours can be arranged through the Friends of Greystone, the organization that currently manages the park.

However the grounds are free to the public for 10am to 6pm daily. To see the interior of the building however, you can check out the wide array of movies and TV shows that used the location. Such as my all time favorite Gilmore Girls, where it was used as Rory’s high school, Chilton Academy. It was also used as the Royal Children’s Hospital in Star Trek into Darkness, where can watch Benedict Cumberbatch stand outside the building looking ever so dreamy.

The rules of the grounds are quite strict. Though given how incredible they are and how impeccably well kept I can’t blame them. No dog, picnics, skate boarding allowed. And professional photography is only allowed via permit attained at the park office (so please forgive my unprofessional photos, which they always are, because I am lazy).

To get into the grounds you surprisingly go past the main gate up the road….and turn left. Then continue up past the house to the parking lot. The hill is steep, and I was on foot. I thought I was going to keel over, I was so thrilled when I got to the top and caught my breath enough to enjoy the gardens. I walked all over the grounds, snapping unprofessional photos and enjoying the view.

The mansions exterior is stunning. I walked so far around the grounds I wound up at the bottom of the property on the inside of the main gate, which was not an exit. I was promptly turned back around by the security guard and told to exit the same way I came in. Which was at the top of the giant hill I had just walked up and down. I may have whimpered a bit at the realization that I had to walk back up it. Oh well, I took the stairs with my chin held high, well I was actually watching the stairs because I was about 8 miles into my day and my legs were getting a little jello-ie.

The voyeuristic side of me wished I could have toured the interior. And I may have more than once tried to tiptoe through the rose bushes to see into the windows. That being said, the grounds were truly stunning and the view unforgettable. For everyone with time on their hands and an affinity for architecture or garden design I would highly suggest a visit.

La Conversation – Los Angeles, California 

During my recent trip to Los Angeles I mentioned that I was mostly on foot. Which meant long days of a lot of walking. One such day wound up being 12 miles in total, I had intended to just walk to Greystone Mansion and back but as luck (and lack of planning) would have it I wound up at the mansion three hours before it actually opened. So I chose to hit the bricks and explore the area and if I could find a place to grab breakfast. I wandered around Beverly Hills for a while leering at beautiful homes.

I started to get hungry so I looked up a coffee shop, I wasn’t thrilled with my options there was a Starbucks or a extremely popular local place both still about a mile off.  I toyed with the idea of just not eating but that seemed unwise. So I chose the local spot and headed in that direction. About a half a mile later I walked passed a small store front that just said ‘cafe’ on the awning. I was REALLY hungry at this point so I popped in.

The cafe’s name, La Conversation, I eventually figured out was a really excellent last minute choice. The wait staff sat me right away, at my choice of table. The coffee was delicious and strong. The menu had a lot of really great healthy options without being terribly unsavory (no green juice or other non-food foods). I settled in and enjoyed a leisurely brunch in this heavily antiqued restaurant.

I ended up wishing that I had more time in LA and more time at this end of the Sunset so that I could have gone back, but our time there was limited and I never got the chance to return. Hopefully in the future we will make our way back and I can revisit this charming little shop. Should you chose to give it a go, La Conversation can be found at  638 N. Doheny Drive West Hollywood, CA  90069.

Mel’s Drive-in – Los Angeles, California

When I was last in Los Angeles I twice saw an “Original Mel’s Drive-in”, in two different neighborhoods. I am a huge movie buff so I of course recognized the name as the diner from the movie American Graffiti. However it has been years since I had actually seen the movie and couldn’t recall just by looking at the diner and surrounding area to recall which of the two locations were actually used in the movie.

We were pretty busy when we were in LA, so I completely forgot to look up while we were there which location was used. And then as we were headed out town we needed to grab a bite to eat so we popped into the Sunset Blvd location, which my dad had also suggested as a decent place to eat. I later looked up filming locations of the movie and it turns out neither of the LA locations were used, as the movie was mostly filmed in San Francisco and the original location has since been demolished.

Despite not actually having been used for the movie the Sunset location is full of movie memorabilia and holds true to its 50s style decor and menu.  There isn’t a lot of information out there that I could find out the diner’s history or at least there appears to be some contradictory information. But the general idea is that Mel Weiss and Harold Dobbs built the first location in San Francisco, a true drive in style diner which catered to the ever growing car traffic on the west coast.

Several more locations were added over the years and ownership has since changed hands from the original families that built the drive through empire. Regardless that the location we ate at was not the original we thoroughly enjoyed our experience. As I mentioned the waitstaff was incredibly friendly, helpful and prompt. The diner was clean and while we were there blissfully empty. Which was a nice reprieve for us from the busy LA mood.  I would most certainly go back if I find myself near a Mel’s location, the kitschy decor and delicious diner food made the whole experience quite fun.

Book Soup – Los Angeles, California 

Book Soup is an independent book store and mainstay on the Sunset Blvd since the 1970s. Popular with tourist and celebrities alike the store specializes in hard to find and high end art books but also has a very comprehensive fiction section as well.

The store will suck you in from the street with a beautiful New York style newsstand display at the front door. Where you can then see the curved and towering bookshelves that are begging to be explored. Once in a person could spend hours (and I did) browsing the displays and finding all sorts of new books you want to read.

I found no less that 10 books immediately that I had not heard of and wanted to read. And that doesn’t include the pile of glossy art books that I would have snatched up had I not been on foot and several miles away from where I was staying. I went in more than once, spending at least an hour on my own. But I also wet in once with my family. Every time we were ready to leave we would be missing a member of our party, and in going to try to find them we would find more books that caught our attention and then again someone would be missing and the cycle would continue. Like I said it sucks you in, in the best possible way.

I sadly did not have the pleasure of being there on days with any special events or while one of the many famous locals made their way into the shop. But it is known to be a popular location for celebrity sightings and hosts a large number of events including talks on art and literate as well as book signings.

If you are a fan of books this is a Los Angeles sight not to be missed, but come with dollars because you will windup spending a lot. Even if not on their perfectly curated collection of books, their gifts and souvenirs are impossible to pass up and I wound up spending way too much money on greeting cards which I in no way regret doing.

Sunset Blvd – Los Angeles, California

Back in June of last year as I have mentioned in the previous few posts we were in LA for a part work part play trip. We were also lucky enough to stay with extended family rather than the hotel my husbands office wanted to put us up in.

So while we was off working for half the week (with our rental car) I was on foot. Luckily the house we were fortunate enough to stay in was in a nice part of town and near some pretty  fabulous areas to walk, the Sunset strip being one of them.

The strip, long famous for its night clubs such as the Viper Room, is still packed with venues of all sorts. But the streets are clean, the sidewalks wide and it is dotted with shops, countless restaurants, and plenty of watering holes if you fancy yourself a drink.

I spent a couple days walking around the area, one day I walked east and found myself down at the Farifax Farmers Market. And another day I walked west and found myself on palm lined streets of Beverly Hills.

My favorite spot to stop was of course the book store called Book Soup which famously takes its name from the Groucho Marx movie Duck Soup. I went to the store more than once, wandering around the winding stacks. I never did quite figure out their system. There was certainly a fiction section in the center of the store. Off to the right seemed to be books on California and celebrity biographies. Where as the left offered up art books of all kinds. I didn’t buy any books as I was already toting three library books with me, but I bought some fabulous cards to send to some friends in the upcoming months.

Needless to say, whether you are a person who likes urban hiking like myself or if you would rather tour via a tour bus. Or anything in between, I think the Sunset Strip is well worth exploration while in Los Angeles. There is a lot of see, a lot to eat and plenty of opportunities to see filming locations or possible celebrity sightings.