Napa Weekend

For my birthday this year, Cole decided that he wanted to do a combined birthday/Christmas present. At my birthday dinner, he surprised me and told me that we would be going to Walla Walla (Eastern Washington) to do a wine tasting and getaway weekend. I couldn’t have been more excited! I had never done a wine tasting before, and was very excited to see what was in store. I’ve heard great things about Eastern Washington, and have only been once or twice.

So…as I was packing for the trip I was told to bring warmer weather clothes…which was totally not a giveaway as Eastern Washington had been up in the 70’s. Then…the night before the weekend trip Cole surprised me and told me that we weren’t going to Walla Walla anymore, but we were actually going to Napa, California! He proceeded to pull an itinerary out of his jacket, and I swear I must have lifted off the ground out of sheer excitement! I have been living on the west coast for nearly two years, and still hadn’t been to California. This surprise was the one to top all other surprises I’ve ever had. The trip was phenomenal, and he had everything planned to the very last detail. I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

claire and cole cade







For someone who is entirely used to drinking $10.00 bottles of wine from Trader Joe’s, this wine-tasting trip completely pleased the senses. From the warmer climate, beautiful scenery, and alone-time with Cole, it was just perfect…and the wine just the bonus. In case you’re planning a trip to Napa anytime soon, we stopped at Cade and Tamber Bay wineries and highly recommend both. Both were exceptionally relaxing and personable.

Of course, I won’t be going to Napa on a regular basis but I do hope to go again for another special date in the future. 🙂



Weekend in Photos



Great company.

Let’s let the pictures do the talking shall we? The weekend was spent at Hood Canal for my boyfriend’s sister, Kristen’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Kristen! Thank you for inviting us to be part of such a fun weekend!

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Getting the party started…

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Kristen opening gifts and Bronco being adorable as usual…

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The Izzy and Charlie #littledogs

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Bogey (bear dog) and the newly engaged couple!

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Jordy (pregnant with 13 puppies!), Cole and his other love, Kona

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World’s biggest jellyfish, and two beautiful sisters

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New roommates, Kristen and Amanda…me and just the best guy I’ve ever met 😉



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A meal of a drink, #whatswrongwiththispicture, and an outdoor dinner

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No words needed on the left, and the whole gang (minus MJ who is taking the photo)

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Sunset and the queen on quinoa salad!


Cole the breakfast chef! Such a good host!

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Enjoying nature, the leisurely way 🙂

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Kristen & Boey (so cute!), and the one and only Kirk enjoying his time with his ladies on the water!


Goodbye Hood Canal, until next time…

French Cottage

Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to live in a “country cottage” as we Midwesterners so affectionately call any home that is quaint, cozy, bright and airy, and full of fresh flowers. Luckily, I stumbled upon an apartment that fit the bill for decorating in such a manner. Without the floral wallpaper and couches, of course. Gotta keep it real.

While there may not be a white picket-fence on your walk up to my door, there are many other things that bring me to feel as if I am in fact living in my dream cottage: bright walls, crisp flowers, white linens/towels, and a few equestrian pieces here and there. Luckily, I did not own any furniture of size before moving and deciding on my “life theme”, so I am starting fresh-as-a-rose, if you will.

My general idea is to keep most things white/tan in color, only adding bright accents through fresh flowers (hello hydrangeas!), and novelty items. I’d also like to throw in some antique equestrian accents (bridle coat hanger, anyone?).

Here’s a few pictures of what I’ve acquired:

Re-purposed Vintage Trunk:


If you follow me on Instagram, you have already seen this nifty little trunk that I came across on Craigslist! I was instantly in love with it, and thought it would make a great “hope chest”. No, I am not 12. I just like the idea of saving special things for the day when I am married. Too LHOP (Little House on the Prairie) for you? Sorry I am not sorry. 😉

Equestrian Magnifying Glass and Letter Opener:


I came across these two items awhile back when Cole and I were shopping an interior design store that was going out of business. I thought they would be the perfect addition to my ever-expanding at home office!

Butcher-Block Island:


What can I say? I love everything about this island! My friend Elisa responded to my cry on Facebook for the need for additional counter space since I literally have one counter (behind island) to prepare food, etc. on. I have already used it, and it’s the perfect height/size. Thanks, Elisa!

Ferris Wheel:


This is probably one of my favorite items in my apartment right now. Seattle has an amazing Ferris wheel downtown, so I felt that it would be representative 🙂

Restoration Hardware Housewarming Gift (from Cole):


I am so happy that my boyfriend has an eye for design, friends. I mentioned to him what look I was going for, and he delivered! It probably helps that he is a Creative Director, too 😉 Major boyfriend points for him (only redeemable if you’re reading, Cole).

Ottoman (project):


This ottoman (and an identical sister ottoman) were found a few weekends ago at a Madison Park garage sale. I can’t claim credit for them, because Cole had the “eye” and recommended that I get them. I am thinking of re-painting the wooden part white, and possibly re-upholstering the tops with a fabric something like this print…except possibly in blue and yellow or blue and white. Thoughts/recommendations on this one?


So, there she is in a nutshell. Progress in the making! I am trying to work slowly and just let ideas come to me…there is nothing worse than rushing design and regretting what you’ve bought! If you have any suggestions/recommendations for anything else, I’m all ears. My next highly unrealistic project considering I am not a seamstress is to learn how to make curtains out of french linens…after all, Pinterest says it’s possible.


Have a great Friday!

Protein-Packed Dinner

I have a recipe for you all today (finally)! This is something that I like to think of as an easy weeknight meal, full of protein, and something that can either be dressed up or dressed down…so fashionable, right? The ingredients are simple, and would be  great on top of a salad with a creamy ranch dressing (more like a buffalo chicken salad then), or even in a few corn tortillas for a heartier version if you are super hungry!


Bold & Spicy Turkey Bowl

1. Ground turkey (I get mine from either Central co-op or TJ’s)

2. Taco seasoning (TJs: spicy!!)

3. Authentic Mexican salsa (again, TJs)

4. Daiya cheddar or pepper jack cheese (from Central co-op or Whole Foods)

5. Fresh avocado (TJs)


1. Cook ground turkey over medium heat in a frying pan until golden-brown. 

2. Add taco seasoning to your preference (more=spicier in my opinion)

3. Remove from heat, spoon ground turkey into bowls

4. Add authentic Mexican salsa, Daiya cheddar/pepper jack cheese, and avocado pieces

5. Enjoy 🙂

See…super easy and only five steps!


Turkey not pictured because, well, it’s ugly


Just Juice

I have been enjoying fresh, organic juices quite frequently this Summer. Something about warmer weather makes me crave the liquid fruit/veggie combo!

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In case you haven’t noticed, fresh juice is not cheap. For as much as I love consuming it, I am realizing that going to a store for the finished product may not be the most economical choice! It is entirely cheaper to buy the produce and do it yourself…especially if you plan on making it a regular thing in your home.

For that reason, I have begun researching juicers. My dream-machine would be the Vitamix, but at $500, I am not certain that I am quite ready for that type of investment. I also wonder if the juice is really that much better from the Vitamix? I have to think that if you are using quality, organic ingredients, there are plenty of others machines that will get the job done. I have used a Vitamix (a friends) and have used a cheap-o juicer and found that the quality of juice was quite similar.

Here are a few of the brands that I have been researching:

Breville ikon 5-speed juicer

Breville juicer

This juicer seems to be the best one that I’ve come across besides the Vitamix. It offers the ability to make an 8-oz juice in five seconds! The extra large feed tube allows you to insert whole pieces of fruits, so this eliminates slicing! Pretty awesome 🙂 The juicer is supposed to extract up to 40% more vitamins and minerals than comparable juicers. I like the sound of that!

Cuisinart Compact Juice Extractor

cuisinart juice

For a fraction of the price of the Breville model above, here is another juicer. The pitcher holds up to 16 oz, which is just about as much just as I’d make it in one sitting. Reviews mention that this is perfect for small counter top areas, and gets the job done. Some recommend using soft fruits first and then doing the harder fruits/veggies (carrots, beets, etc.) as it can take awhile to get the juice out of the firmer produce.

Omega Silver Mega Mouth Juicer

Omega juicer

This juicer is made for high capacity juicing (according to Sur La Table’s website). There were no reviews on this product, but it does seem to be a very high powered juicer. Similar in price to the first item listed (the Breville).

Question: Do you own a juicer? Can you recommend one? 

I am looking for something relatively inexpensive (when I say this I mean below the cost for a Vitamix), that is still high quality and quick! Any suggestions are appreciated 🙂




Recapping Life Lately

Hello friends! This past weekend was jam-packed full of fun activities, I just had to share! Here we go:

Saturday: The day started with an 8-mile training run for my upcoming half marathon. Cole and I headed out to the Burke Gilman trail that morning and ran, ran, ran. For some reason, this run was incredibly difficult. Usually I can feel comfortable with around 6-7 miles, but 8 totally did me in. I guess this is the point of doing long runs once a week…to increase your endurance for the big day. Race day is August 24th so a little over one month away!



After the run, we headed down to Madison Park beach to enjoy the sun and water. It felt so good to lay around and soak up some rays! 

Saturday night, Cole, me, my friend Emily, and Cole’s cousin Ryan went to Ballard for the Seafood Festival. I was pretty excited to get my hands on some fresh salmon, which I did 🙂


The night was complete with a detour to Hotcakes. I enjoyed the gluten-free molten chocolate cake with caramel and ice cream! Well deserved after than morning run!



As you might imagine, I came home and crashed that night. Rightfully so because I knew the next day that we were going on a hike with Cole’s cousins.


Little did any of us know that the hike would end up being 10 miles…5 of which were uphill! Regardless of the distance and my screaming legs, we had a fabulous time. We hiked up to Myrtle Lake and I couldn’t wait to jump in! Freezing cold yet refreshing. My favorite part of the hike was having four dogs with us. Something about hiking with lots of dogs makes me feel really safe. I love our little pack 🙂


On the way home we stopped for some DQ. A blizzard has never tasted so good in my entire life. Serious. The rest of the evening was spent…zzzzz….Dogs included 😉

Madison Park Apartment

Happy Friday! If you’re a Seattleite, you already know how gorgeous the weather is today/is going to be this weekend. I am noticing that my office building is less-than-full, and the bike trail and ship canal are busier than usual. I am going to follow suit here in a bit and work remotely from a cafe’. Something about just being out of the office feels so…good! Taking full advantage of my flexible career choice!

In other news, I am getting ready to settle into my new apartment this weekend in Madison Park, and couldn’t be more excited! I recently relocated from North Seattle to Madison Park and can’t wait to get everything set up and decorated.  Luckily, the boyfriend has been more than kind in letting me store my entire apartment inside his condo for the past few weeks while I have been in between locations! Luckily, we will be living less than a mile apart. Hooray!

So, here’s the view of the front of the house…no it is not all mine. I will be renting a mother-in-law style apartment. I am thrilled to be out of the condo/apartment neighborhoods and into a residential location.


Since I virtually own no furniture, I am thrilled to finally be at the point in my life where I can start buying things that I will keep forever. No more college-style Ikea furniture for this girl! I want things that will last, and to create a style this is classic and will not go out of style in five years. With that being said, I haven’t been able to find anything yet that I am 100% certain on, except for a bed…because it’s white…and will match my French decor…

For decorating ideas, I have been checking out a lot of design magazines, books, and of course Pinterest. Here’s what I’ve found that I would like to replicate:


so cozy looking. great for TV room or seaside cottage


The classic white couch is something that I’m finding ties in all aspects of a French decor living space. While I am not certain that I’ll be getting a full sized couch, a love seat or over-sized white chair is definitely on my radar! The mirror is something else that I’d love to have. It adds depth and light to an apartment with minimal light/space.


French apartment

It seems that collage walls are all the rage these days, but I want to do one anyways. Trust me, I’ve done my fair share of horrid collage walls (ex: my first apartment in Seattle if you had the pleasure of viewing…), and I’m ready to invest in a few art pieces that I absolutely love and will hold onto forever. No more haphazard collage walls without aligning/measuring first! Listen to me, I sound like an adult…


Set of 3 French inspired vintage look kitchen by mysweetsavannah, $48.00


The kitchen is probably something I am most excited about! It is a small  kitchen, but is openly facing the living space, and would have the best space for a cute butcher-block island so I need to have the decor coordinating with the general theme of the apartment. Lucky for me, I do not own any plates, bowls, etc. so this will be something I can start 100% from scratch, besides a few utensils and mugs of course. I am thinking of keeping the colors neutral with a few pops of colors with floral arrangement (see example in picture above). I love the idea of a monogrammed plate and some simple white roses.

If you think of anything else that I must incorporate, please let me know! Or, if you’re in Seattle and looking to sell any French furniture, I might be your gal. Enjoy the weekend!