Seattle and Treehouse Point

Wednesday of this week Zach left for a jet convention in Seattle.  We agreed that because I couldn’t get work off, I would fly out on Friday after work and join him there for a short weekend trip.  First, I must explain a tiny detail…

Just in case you didn’t know, and a reminder to those who know me well, I am obsessed with tree houses.  I told my parents when I was younger I was going to design tree houses “when I grew up”.  So when I heard about Treehouse Point a while ago and then realized it was only located 23 miles outside of Seattle – I booked it with my credit card pretty last minute before even discussing it with Zach.  It was a MUST on my list of things to do before I die.  I knew he would understand – besides the only part of Disneyland I even like is the model of the Swiss Family Robinson tree house…and he has seen my collection of tree house literature.

So, Friday I was off to Seattle and arrived in the early evening.  Zach picked me up from the airport and we went straight to dinner at Anthony’s 66.  It is a great seafood restaurant right on the water.

After our meal we set off to Falls City, WA for our night at Treehouse Point.  We stayed in a darling little tree house called the “Upper Pond” – named for the view of the tiny pond on the property.

There are several tree houses – some even have two stories and sleep large families!

It was pretty late when we arrived, so we explored a bit and then got ready for bed.  Obviously, trees don’t have bathrooms – so the washrooms were located in the lodge.  The lodge also had a full kitchen for use of the guests, a piano, and a little library.  We hung out for a while and then spent the rest of the night in the tree.

The next morning, we awoke to rain.  Not hard core rain, but a soft drizzle.  We opened our door to the patio and continued to snooze while the rain was coming down.  It was so peaceful.

The little space was even cozier than I had imagined.  We didn’t even have to use the built-in heater or the piles of extra blankets they had left us.

After getting ready and packing our bags, we decided to explore the property.  Guests were provided with a little map of where each tree house was located, so I made Zach walk to every tree house they had, taking pictures of each one and trying to figure out how they were constructed.

My favorite, by far, was the Temple of the Blue Moon.  It has a huge rope and plank bridge that leads to the front door.

We also walked down to the river and took in the scenery.  There were little wood patios with lights strung around the big mossy trees.

After exploring the entire area, we drove back into the city.  We ate lunch at Pike Place Market [clam chowder, of course], sorted through all the flowers and fruit, and stopped at the amazing Cupcake Royale.

We also did a little shopping at the University Shopping Center and at the stores nearby our hotel.

For dinner, we made a reservation at the Pink Door – a recommended Italian restaurant near Pike Place Market.  By far, in my opinion, the best meal of our weekend.

The place is pretty interesting, complete with a swing from the ceiling, gaudy candlesticks dripping with wax, a real fountain in the middle of the restaurant, and gold cherubs floating from cables.  I can’t hate on the food though, because the creamy pesto lasagna was the

After, we casually walked around the surrounding area, stopping in boutiques and other shops before heading back to the hotel.  We decided to watch the Utah football game…but Zach had to have snacks.  So we ventured on over to a nearby convenient store.  We got some snacks and drinks but Zach suddenly wanted popcorn. Obviously the microwave packet wasn’t going to cut it from the store.  So he made me sneak into the AMC movie theater a few blocks away to buy popcorn.  He was really happy about getting away with it.

 The two of us walked into our hotel room with a giant bag of movie theater popcorn and a ghetto brown paper bag full of drinks…like I was a homeless person.

The next morning we checked out of our hotel and went out for breakfast at Urbane.  Zach was tripping because the entire menu boasted about their “cage free chicken eggs” and “grass fed beef” – he came around quickly, however, when he tried his first delicious bites of their bacon.

Then we were off to Safeco Field to watch the Mariners play the Rangers.  The weather was perfect, 60 degrees with the sun shining.  We enjoyed some stadium food – including some very pungent garlic french fries a spent half of the game sneaking down to better seats.

After the game we drove to Ballard for some dinner – a neighborhood of northern Seattle.  It is such a cute area of town, the streets are filled with little boutiques and speciality shops.

We arrived just as the Farmer’s Market was shutting down and there were people everywhere.  We decided to stop at Bitteroot for dinner, a charming little BBQ joint that served all of its courses on metal trays and served you beverages out of vintage glass bottles.  We had their famous nachos and corn bread.

Then we were off to Sea-Tac to fly home.  It wasn’t a long trip, but just enough time to cross something off our bucket list and see the city.  I know it sounds dramatic, but so far…sleeping in a tree house has been the highlight of my year!  It is something I will remember forever, which is only sounding more pathetic and obsessive.  If I start my own tree house design firm, nobody should be surprised.

I love spending time with Zach – he is the ultimate travel buddy.  Taking this trip just reaffirms my love for the Pacific Northwest, and I plan to take my minis to Treehouse Point someday.  Maybe, if I am lucky, they will love tree houses like I do.  If not…at least I can pray that they are not afraid of heights!



Birthday Boy’s Birthday Week[s]

Yes, we are still celebrating Zach’s birthday.  Technically, his official 27th Birthday was on Wednesday – but everyone loves Zachary so much that we celebrated three times!  My whole family and myself chipped in to buy him a season pass up at Park City Mountain Resort.  He is going to be spending many a Saturday on the slopes.  I also got him a card with penguins on it, because that is his favorite animal.  Interesting fact:  his second favorite animal is a goat.

We ate his traditional dinner at Benihana – it was delicious, and that dang steaming onion gets me every time!

Our company was officially awarded the Browning and Winchester booths at SHOT Show!  I couldn’t be more excited.  I will have designed TWO booths at an exposition, and I talked my boss into sending me to the show in Las Vegas to see them.  The day the boys found out in the office, several of them took their lunch break up in Morgan to go buy guns with a pretty hefty discount without me.  Men…they definitely don’t waste time.

I had a lunch date with my Mom at Zupas – we gabbed over our bowls of soup.  She has a lot of school spirit [she works at Salt Lake Community College] hence the neon shirt.

We also stopped at Sweet Tooth Fairy – at which we bought some cake bites that I had the intention of sharing with my co-workers.  I ate them all myself in the 15 minute drive back to the office.

Zach and I went out with his parents to celebrate his birthday on Friday after work.  We took them to eat at a new place that we love and then took a stroll over to the Gateway.  We shopped for BYU [Mark] and Utah gear for the upcoming rivalry.  We then caught a late movie.

I love that Mark brings his own blanket to movies, by the way.  Because sometimes, you just want to cuddle up in a blanket in a movie theater!

I stocked up on some good reading material.  I really shouldn’t be allowed in bookstores in general – I want to buy everything!  I had a friend reccommend some great books [thanks Ang!] and I found them all…and then some.  I even purchased an “on-the-go” language learning tool.  I realize I am not going to learn French from this stupid CD, but I was suckered into it at the check-out line and couldn’t leave without it.

I tried out a new recipe: pumpkin muffins with two ingredients – a can of pumpkin and a box of yellow cake mix.  So easy, for the lazy baker like myself.  I am going to try a spice cake mix and a chocolate cake mix next time!  It is finally starting to feel a little like fall.

Speaking of fall…we attended the Utah vs. BYU football game at Rice Eccles Stadium on Saturday.  We dined at the OG before hand with my brother and then made the trek up to the University to battle the crowds.  It took two more times than neccessary, but Utah did finally walk away with a win…and at the stroke of midnight, no less!  We were so happy to be there to witness the Holy War and spend time with our family and friends.

Sunday after church we met up with Zach’s sister Lori to see the progress on her new spa.  She is expanding and moving her spa to a different and bigger location in Layton.  It is going to be a modern marvel, and we can’t wait to walk through it when it is all completed!

After our tour we had dinner over at her home with her cute family.  It was delicious, and dessert was an “old man” cake [please notice the two blonde hairs on the top] that his sister made for Zach’s birthday!

It was the perfect ending to a fun week – filled with family and friends.  Everyone that knows Zach loves him.  It was so much fun to celebrate with him and all of our loved ones, even though it was HIS birthday…he’s the best gift I could have ever been given!

I love you Zachary Mark!

So Long, Sweet Summer

Summer is officially over.  Labor Day came and went.  All my nieces and nephews are back in school, our friends and neighbors are going back as well.  Football is here.  Fantasy and reality football.  Even some of the leaves are changing already.  I couldn’t be more excited!

I love short work weeks.  Having Monday off for Labor Day was amazing, but the best was that it made the rest of this week fly by!

Tuesday I went to a friend’s place and she did my hair.  Something I’ve been wanting to do forever, but never had the guts on my own to actually go through with it.  Luckily, she convinced me that it would be a good change and I really do love it.  Lighter hair for the first time in 6…or so years.  I know, it is still dark, but for ME…it’s a huge change that I still am not used to.  I don’t even recognize myself in the mirror still.

I wanted a warm and natural look, and that’s exactly what she gave me.  Thank you Jenn for being SO patient with me and being so very talented at what you do!

Wednesday was a big football game for Zach – one of his big fantasy football players was playing in a real life game that we had to watch.

It was so relaxing.  Watching sports on the sofa, reading my book I bought just before the flight to OR.  I finished it too, and hated the last two pages of the book so much that I threw the book in the garbage and told Zach I didn’t even want it in my house.  It was that bad.

Thursday night was a friend/almost family member’s baby shower.  She is my brother-in-law’s sister, and her name is Katie, too!  It was fun to go to my sister-in-law’s house and see everyone and celebrate Katie!  I had to leave a tiny bit early beacause I had promised Zach we could go out to dinner that night.  So we went to our personal favorite, Rodizio Grill.

Friday was a Utah Football game – it was an away game up at Utah State!  So obviously we went, being that we attended both universities.  We had a whole clan attend as well, including my parents, brother and some friends.

The game was intense, and I will be the first to admit that I couldn’t believe how well the Aggies played.  After the most stressful 4th quarter in recent memory, and a “sudden death” style overtime – the AGGIES WON!  I seriously cried, I couldn’t help but tear up as the students rushed the field.

 Saturday was super productive [I wore my Aggie gear the entire day] and then ended the day with a date – sushi and a movie.  I did receive a long awaited package – my Aunt’s friend owns an online jewelry source.  I have had my eye on this monogram charm for a while, and I gave in and ordered it.  It finally arrived Saturday.

 Sunday we spent with the whole clan – my grandma, grandpa, aunt and uncle, cousins…you get the idea.  We had roast and potatoes and chocolate zucchini cake for dessert.  My grandma also told me that she thinks her neighbors are growing marijuana and that’s her theory behind their extra large vegetables – made my whole night.

We also officially retired the 50 Days of SUMMER list.  I’m actually sad, it’s been the best summer of our lives together.  We accomplished all but twelve items and had a blast doing the rest.  So long, sweet summer…you’ve been so good to us.


[Here’s the whole list in it’s entirety.]

1.  Farmer’s Market downtown

2.  Picnic in a park

3.  Road Trip – Moab – The Grand Canyon

4.  Henderson Cabin Trip

5.  Bear Lake Trip

6.  Boating with friends

7.  Go on a Hike

8.  Tin foil dinners up in the canyon

9.  BBQ Dinners at home

10.  Make s’mores

11.  Park City day visit (Outlets, dinner on Main Street)

12.  Try a new restaurant 

13.  Date at Ruth’s Diner

14.  City Creek visits

15.  Have breakfast in bed

16.  Water park

17.  Take an ASAP trip on the Jet for a flight that Zach books

18.  Go to Cucina Toscana for dinner

19.  Sneak into a second movie at the movie theater (Double Feature)

20.  Fireworks 

21.  Drive-in Movie

22.  Have a tennis match

23.  Go fishing

24.  Go to the Flowrider

25.  A quick Vegas Trip

26.  Go out to a fancy dinner

27.  Make our own popsicles

28.  Make something from ingredients in the garden

29.  Eat lunch outside

30.  Grill pizzas

31.  Sushi and a Dollar Movie

32.  Overnight in Logan – see our dream home

33.  Bees Game

34.  Go to dinner at the Oaks in Ogden Canyon

35.  Unplugged Day – entire day of NO electronics

36.  Test drive our dream cars

37.  Pedicures (both of us)

38.  Run in a scheduled race

39.  Plant something

40.  Make gallery wall for the front room

41.  Finish my maxi skirts (Girls’ Craft Night)

42.  Go to the driving range/play mini golf

43.  Concert at Red Butte or Galyvan Center

44.  Go Horseback Riding

45.  Practice Archery

46.  Travel somewhere we have never been

47.  Wendover

48.  Massage at Beyond Spa

49.  Go stargazing

50.  Rock Climbing




Mt. Hood / PDX [#46]

When I told my coworkers and friends we were going snowboarding over Labor Day – they looked at me like I was nuts.  I don’t blame them, I thought it was pretty wild too until we were actually there.  We had been planing on how to make this trip work for some time, and everything just kind of fell into place.  And so we set off…

In three bags we packed all of our snowboarding clothes [our snow pants, jackets, beanies, gloves] – two snowboards, two pairs of snowboarding boots, and all of our normal clothes.  I still can’t believe it worked.  Zach was determined to only check ONE bag – he is a freak about checking bags.

We also checked our last and final item off our summer list.  We completed #46 – Travel somewhere we have never been.  We flew into Portland and as our plane descended into the city, we passed right over Mt. Hood [our snowboarding destination and home for two days].  I have to admit, I was super skeptical when I saw that mountain.  It was gorgeous – but wasn’t covered with much snow at all, at least not what I was used to for snowboarding back in SLC.

We touched down in Portland around 9:00 PM.  We got really lucky this trip with accommodations – when we picked up our rental car the Enterprise chick had a major crush on Zach [her name was Katie oddly enough], so she gave us a free upgrade to an SUV.  It was a serious stroke of luck because we had a LOT of gear.  The ride was crazy cool too – a brand new 2013 Ford, with all these sweet gadgets.

After we loaded up the rental, we drove into the city.  We stopped for dinner at Pizza Fino – recommended by a friend.  It was delicious.  The garlic knots were to die for.

Then, at 11:30 pm we stopped at the infamous Voodoo Doughnuts.  They are conveniently open 24 hours.  Luckily we had time waiting in line to decide what we wanted – there were quite a few options.

I got the ODB [oreo and peanut butter] and Zach picked his solely because it had cocoa puffs on top. We also bought a Mango Tango to share.  They were as good as I had hoped and dreamt they would be.

With our doughnuts we then made the trek up to Mt. Hood.  The mountain/resort is about an hour and thirty minutes from the City Center.  We made the drive up through Sandy and then the tiny little towns on the way to the Timberline Resort.  The Timberline is the only year round skiing resort in the Western Hemisphere.  And it’s really old.  When we arrived it was after midnight, so we didn’t get to see the Timberline in all of its glory.  When we checked in, our room wasnt available.  The night manager started apologizing a hundred times – telling us that we wouldn’t have the “fireplace room” we had booked.  Then with another stroke of pure luck, he told us they would comp our room for the night and give us a different room.  We seriously didn’t care, and weren’t upset one bit, but we ended up staying the night for free!

The next morning we woke up bright and early to hit the slopes. That’s when we saw the lodge for the first time. I felt like I was in a scene from the Sound of Music – which makes sense considering that the lodge was built in the 1930’s.

Rustic, no?  It felt like we were characters in Moonrise Kingdom.

We purchased our lift passes with that glorious gift card and were on our way.  I was still skeptical.  As we rode up the lift they call the Magic Mile there was still no snow on the ground. And all the tourists were wearing shorts and hiking gear.  Zach calls hikers “forest fairies” – I wonder where he got that one from?

After you ride the first lift you strap on your board [or skis] and ride up the last stretch; the Palmer lift.  That is where the snow finally came into play.

When we got to the top there were all these signs stating “for experienced riders only” and “black diamond runs only”.  I was trippin’.  I hadn’t been riding in over two years.  As soon as we set off down the steep hill, it all felt natural again.

We spent the majority of our time in the park – Zach’s favorite place to be.

We took a short break for lunch and then went right back at it.  The weather was perfect, and the snow was fantastic.  Under our coats and snow pants we had light layers and were totally comfortable the entire time.  Don’t worry…I’ve been rocking the same snowboard/boots since the 7th Grade.  NBD.

Towards the beginning of the day the snow was crusty and hard – and come 2:00 PM it was soft and slushy.  It felt like riding on a snow cone.  When the lifts closed we returned back to the lodge and showered up.  We then took the scenic drive along the Columbia River to Wahkeena Falls and Multnomah Falls.

Both were amazing and beautiful, but Multnomah Falls was breathtaking.  The largest waterfall we both had ever seen.

When the weather started to get cooler we drove back into Portland to dine. We ate at another great recommendation – Equinox on Mississippi Street.

Mississippi Street is this great area with amazing restaurants and shops.  The food was delicious.  Zach was having a love affair with his beef.  Our waiter recommended we grab dessert at a place called Ruby Jewel Scoops nearby, a homemade ice cream shop.

I wanted to buy a whole pint of their hand-crafted sea salt caramel and dark chocolate, but knew it wouldn’t bode well with my body.  Why did I have to be cursed with an ice cream addiction and lactose intolerance?  The rest of the night we walked around Mississippi Street before we returned back up to our last night at the Timberline.

The next morning was as before – snowboarding even earlier [Zach never gets up before 7:00 AM unless it involves something spectacular] and time spent on the runs and in the park.  Zach is quite the trickster, and I love to watch him do his thang.  I just do small box rails and feel happy about it.  

By the time we were done with our runs, it was time to check out of the lodge and drive back into Portland.

We checked into our next hotel downtown and then decided to eat at one of the hundreds of food trucks in Portland.  There are food truck “pods” on every other corner.  I wanted some dumplings at the Dump Truck, but wasn’t brave enough to try their famous bacon cheeseburger dumbling with special sauce.  All well, our plain jane version was amazing.  

Then we were off to take another road trip out to Cannon Beach.  I honestly wish I would have noticed how many miles we put on that brand new SUV.  It was another hour and thirty minutes from the city. It didn’t take long before we were cruising along the Oregon Coast.  The drive was half of the fun.  That sweet car was synced up with our music and we danced and sang the whole way.

When we arrived at Cannon I was memorized.  The beach houses were all covered in grey weathered shingles and looked so picturesque.

The beach was gorgeous. If you have ever seen one of my all time favorite movies, the Goonies, you might recognize this spot…

We explored the beach, lounged in the beach chairs, and then made the trip back to the city for our last time.

We ate at a restaurant not far from our hotel.  There was a band playing next door and got to enjoy the free concert.  Zach ordered a giant platter of meat – their signature dish.  I had their BLT.  Probably the best I have ever had.  Then, at the recommendation of our waitress we walked over to a place called Salt and Straw [apparently recently featured in O Magazine, hence the reason the line was out the door and around the block].  There are a lot of Foodies in Oregon.  The kind that will wait 2+ hours to get a freakin’ scoop of cold cream.

I know…another ice cream spot.  But I couldn’t resist.  An interesting detail about Portland is that the restaurants and shops have garage doors as facades – so they just slide up the door and the whole shop is open and more inviting.  You could smell the place from a block away!  The design was amazing too [including their killer website] and the dessert was well worth the wait.  I got Cinnamon Snickerdoodle and Zach…got Vanilla.  I am not kidding.  Farm fresh ice cream, shakes, and cookies and he gets the most unoriginal flavor.  That guy.

The next morning we ate breakfast at Slappy Cakes.  I found the place on a list of Portland’s favorite dining spots.  It was my favorite.  They had a griddle built in to your table and you could make your own pancakes!  You picked your batter [there were a lot of options – buttermilk, whole wheat, vegan] then your toppings.  I picked blueberries, bananas, and chocolate chips.  Zach? He had plain.  No toppings.  He did enjoy the flipping – it was like Benihana but with flap jacks!

After our breakfast we decided to go to the Pearl District and stop at Powell’s Books.  This is a must see for Portland visitors, so I was told, and I am obsessed with bookstores anyway.  It is the largest independent bookstore in the western United States.

You know how you go to a bookstore like Barnes and Noble or Borders and there is usually one small section of books on your selected topic?  Try AISLES at this joint.  There was a whole section of just treehouse construction.  I am obsessed with tree houses, and thought I owned every book on the subject, until I walked into that glorious place.  The building takes up the whole block – Zach got lost trying to find the restroom.

After Powell’s we ventured into the Farmer’s Market for some goodies.

We then found another food truck pod and ate a delicious lunch.  We also stopped at a friend’s favorite – Moonstruck Chocolates, and nubbed on our chocolate while we shopped around downtown.

Then it was off to the airport to return our rental car and board our flight.  We were not happy to be returning home.  We had such a blast.  I am in love with PDX.  In my mind Heaven looks like Wahkeena and Multnomah Falls.  Add the beauty of the falls, the beach, and mix in a crazy quirky city and you’ve got one amazing place.  I thought Portland would be full of Hippies and Vegans, and I was right…but it had such a great energy.  All I would change about that whole place is deodorant.  I wish people there would just slap on a bit more deodorant, that’s all.  Do they make Vegan deodorant?  I sure hope so.  I could live in Portland.  I would just have to become a deodorant missionary.

Until next time, Oregon…I will continue to support your Ducks Football, crave your crazy doughnuts, and dream of your tall trees and falling waters.

[For the record, Zach does not in any way support the Oregon Ducks, it is solely myself.]