Foodie Pen Pal | My First Experience

So I've heard rumblings in the blogging world about these fun blogger "swap parties" that are happening all over.   I was totally jealous when my Instagram and Feedly were full of fun reveals of the goodies my friends were receiving when joining in.  So I put a call out on social media asking for a heads up because I wanted to join in on the fun!  My friend Sarah at Will Run For Pasta sent me info on a monthly swap hosted by The Lean Green Bean called Foodie Penpals and I jumped on the chance to be a part of it!

After signing up I received a lovely email from Kara at Domestic Endeavors introducing herself as my penpal for the month.  After we exchanged pleasantries and told each other a little about ourselves I went shopping and put together a fun little package showing off a little of the best Portland has to offer (starting with Moonstruck Chocolates of course!).  I'll you check out her blog post about what I sent, but here's what showed up on my doorstep last week...

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The Kettle Corn (holy yum!), Trail Mix and Marshmallows are made by companies that are local to her area, and the peppermint tea from TJ's is one of her favorites (and one of mine!) during the winter months.  I've been savoring each of my treats, and already cozied up with a good book and a cup of mint tea on more than one evening.

I've already signed up to join in again next month and can't wait to "meet" my new penpal!

The Lean Green Bean

Have you ever participated in a blogger swap?  How was your experience?


Turning 31

My 31st birthday was this past Wednesday, and boy was it a great one!  I'm that person who LOVES their birthday.  I love getting to feel special, just for one day.  I spent the day getting love from friends and family over Facebook, phone calls, Instagram, tweets and texts.  It was wonderful!

The day started off with 2 hours of pampering - a one hour massage followed by a one hour facial.


If you've never had a facial, you should do it.
Don't hesitate, just call and book.


Here's me all glowy and relaxed and sad to be leaving heaven...

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After my relaxing spa morning I headed up the road to my favorite coffeeshop, JoLa in Johns Landing, for some lunch and coffee while I worked on some Motormouth Studios stuff.  I instagrammed a photo of my location, and next thing I knew this delicious and sweet treat was brought to me.  The owner, Brad, had seen my photo, called the shop and had his barista bring it to me.  Is that not the sweetest ever?! (oh, and it was delicious too!)

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After some time at JoLa, I headed to get The Kid from school.  He sweet talked me into going to Starbucks to get his homework done - it was a fabulous idea, and one I think we'll be repeating fairly often.

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When I got home these beautiful flowers were waiting on my doorstep.  Every year since I started kindergarten my dad has sent me a bouquet of flowers on my birthday.  It's hands down the thing I look forward to the most each year.  He followed it up with a text that read "you'll always be my baby girl."  Aren't dads the best?!

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About a month ago I saw a groupon for a painting class in Sellwood and gave a shout out to some of my gals on Facebook to check it out.  6 of us ended up purchasing, and the only night we all had free to go happened to be my birthday!  It seems to never work out that we're all free the same time, and it was extra special that I could use it as a way of celebrating with my friends!
Sadly Kayla got caught up at the last minute and couldn't make it.  She was missed, but the rest of us had a great time!

Don't you just love our sexy smocks? ;)
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Here's my painting!  I love it!

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Do you love your birthday as much as I do?  How do you usually celebrate?


Catching Up | End of August through Labor Day

Holy crap I'm behind on blogging!  Guess that's what happens when your life takes off on an insanely busy fall season.  Fall (September specifically) is my favorite time of year though, and I thought I definitely owed it to myself to post a little update on how it's been going so far!

First of all, my cousin Jared got married!  My family loves a good excuse to get together, drink, party, drink, catch up, drink, dance, and drink!  And what better excuse than a wedding?! (None I think.)

So we all got together at my aunt's house in Longview and enjoyed some time catching up (and drinking.)

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After the wedding my mom's littlest sister, Saleen, and I drove back down the coast toward her casa in the Palm Springs area.  I posted this little update on the first half our trip - down the 101 and through the Redwoods toward Santa Rosa.  We continued on to SoCal after a few days rest in NorCal.  The weather was glorious, and the sunsets were amazing!  I got in a few runs and LOTS of swimming!

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I got home on a Thursday, worked Friday, ran 8 miles Saturday morning, took pictures of this adorable family then heading east toward Baker City to meet up with my brother and cousin and their families for some Labor Day camping.  We had fun chatting, playing card games, and making s'mores with, as my niece calls them, 'smarshmellows.'  It was a great weekend filled with family, and I thoroughly enjoyed time with my niece and my cousin's baby, which I can never get enough of.

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Since my return I've been working my rear off with lots of creative projects.

I'll be back soon to update more!  What have you been up to??