Wanderlust: Colorado’s Front Range

Just got back from a relaxing weekend in Summit County. It’s about an hour’s drive from our house in Denver, but feels like an entire world away. I love the smell of pine and the gorgeous mountain views. Went on some beautiful hikes, sat on the deck and enjoyed the view, and came back totally recharged.

Cheers, Amy

PS – Image from here


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Rural Cabin Dreams

For the last ten years or so, I’ve had a pretty consistent dream of buying land and building our own cabin/camping lodge on it. Nothing too fancy – the point would be to get closer to the land and practice small living when we’re there.

These semi-prefab kits are extremely appealing:

Have you heard of Shelter Kit? I love their unit 1s. I could see putting up one the first year, then adding on over time. Would also make a great guest cabin or writer’s retreat.

I’m extremely drawn to the barn models from CarriageShed.com. I’d build one and use the stalls for semi-private bedrooms. I’m picturing built in bunk beds, kind of like summer camp.

Sunset Magazine has a cool feature on prefab homes. Beautifully simple and spare – just room for the essentials. Their models might be a little too designed for my taste, though.

With a newborn baby, these are still just dreams. But I can’t resist looking at land listings online and planning it out in my head.

Of course, it would be *the* place for family reunions. Stargazing, campfires, hiking…

Maybe someday… For now I’ll continue to dream. What about you?

Cheers, Amy

PS – Unit One image found here

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Wanderlust: Human Nest

How cool is this? Treebones Resort on the California coast has a “human nest” that you can stay in. Imagine ‘camping’ on a pile of blankets, listening to the surf, smelling the tang of salt in the air, and staring up through a mesh of tree branches at the stars.

Might have to add this one to my life list. For full details, check out the resort’s website or read this post by Oh Happy Day.



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Portland Pack List

Portland in the spring is a flighty little thing. Sunshine one day; pouring rain the next. It can play havoc with your emotions if you’re a year-round resident. Happily, those of us who are just visiting can plan ahead and enjoy what the city has to offer. Just pack layers and applaud the stoicism of those locals who are nearing the end of a six month grey stint.

Here’s some key items to bring:

Messenger bag: Portland is bicycle city. This is part of the uniform. Plenty of room to hold your rain jacket, water bottle, and other sundries. Shop local and check out this one from Ellington, my favorite Portland store.

Raincoat: Nobody in Portland uses an umbrella. Resist the urge to stick a mini one in your suitcase…instead, bring a lightweight raincoat. You’ll want one that’s fairly lightweight and crushable, so it can fit into your bag in case of sunshine. Marmot makes a good sporty option.

Cadet or Newsboy-style hat: These are practically a uniform in Portland. Snag a lightweight one for spring and you’ll blend right in. I like this one from Outdoor Research. It’s subtle, but the checkered pattern adds a little bit of flair.

Jersey skirt, dress, tops: Build your outfits around jersey layers. They’re comfy and easy to add/subtract as temperatures dictate. I like a base of black and grey pieces, with a few colorful pops.

Leggings: Chic, yet practical layering option. Wear with skirts, dresses, and tunics. You’ll want them for warmth on rainy days.

Scarf: Easy chic, plus helpful when you need a little extra warmth. I found this option here.

Cardigans: Did I mention layers? I’d bring one lightweight and one heavier, almost jacket-like option.

Ballerina flats: You want a full coverage shoe to keep your feet dry. These dress things up nicely.

Toms: The other shoe in your suitcase. Comfortable for around town wear, plus you’ll blend right in. Take a look at their website here.

Jeans: everyone in Portland wears skinny jeans. I personally hate them, but you won’t go wrong if you bring a pair.


You may also like reading:

Austin Packing List
Wanderlust: NW Portland Morning

In Love with Etsy: Appetite
Wordy Type: Wildwood Chronicles

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Packing a handbag for Austin

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m a little homesick for Austin. If you’re planning to travel there anytime soon, here’s a few essential items I’d suggest packing in your carry on bag:

The Goods

Handbag from Etsy shop missibaba
Micro umbrella found on Amazon
Crushable hat from Roxy
Scarf from French Truckers
Nude lip gloss from Aveda
Suntan lotion from Neutrogena
Orange Tic Tacs
Sunglasses from Rudy Project
Water Bottle from Sigg

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Wanderlust: Hidden Austin Picnic Spot

Mayfield Park is a hidden gem. Tucked back at the far end of a residential neighborhood, it’s easy to miss if you’re not a local. As picnic spots go, it’s hard to beat.

The park’s website tells a bit about it’s history: Mayfield Park is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This entire estate was presented to the city of  Austin in 1971 by Mary Mayfield Gutsch for all Austinites to enjoy as a park. Mayfield Park includes an historic cottage, 2 acres of colorful cottage gardens with towering palm trees, brilliant peacocks and delicate water lilies, all blending in beautiful harmony. Mayfield Preserve is the 21 acre natural area that surrounds the park, containing walking trails and wildlife habitat.

Wander amongst koi ponds, community garden plots, and limestone ruins. Bring a bit of bread to feed the resident flock of peacocks. Yes, you read that right – about twenty brightly colored peacocks roam unfettered around the property. If you’re up for a longer walk, there are several hiking trails to take advantage of.

The scenic beauty of Mayfield Park has long been recognized by the local community. Each year sees several weddings and fashion shoots on the site. As a city park, it’s free and unrestricted for anyone to use.

Cheers, Amy

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Austin Pack List

It’s April and, as usual, I find myself a little homesick for Austin. Texas in the spring is a gorgeous thing, with wild flowers galore and relatively moderate temperatures.

This year, Country Living is holding their annual fair in the city…which means I am acutely jealous of those folks lucky enough to attend.

If you’re planning a trip to Austin in the spring, here’s a few items I consider essential:

Flip flops – You won’t look out of place in cowboy boots, but Austin is really more of a laid back college town. Plus, it’s pretty warm and your tootsies will get toasty in anything but sandals. I recommend bringing a pair that you can dress up or down, depending on the occasion. My favorites are these bad boys from Reef.

Sun hat – You’ll want something with a brim, especially if you’re planning any outdoor excursions. I like the option of a crushable straw hat. Easy to pack, vaguely cowboyish, versatile. Here’s one that I like.

Light wrap – What?! But Austin is hot on the spring! Yes, but it gets cooler at night. You’ll want to take advantage of the outdoor patio dining, so come prepared. Something in linen or a *light* wool is heavy enough. Maybe something like this

Summer dress – I figure this one is obvious…I just wanted an excuse to link to my current favorite dress from Kara-Line. Austin is pretty casual, so don’t worry about packing anything more formal than this type of dress.

Tank tops and cardigans – if there’s a uniform for Austin, this would be it. Easy to dress up (see wrap option above) or down. Plus, they don’t take up much room in the suitcase. Toss in a cardigan, and you’re covered. (in addition to chilly nights, the air conditioning can get a little out of control)

Bermuda shorts – I prefer either khaki or jean. Either way, easy to pair with the tank tops you brought and perfectly appropriate for anywhere you might want to visit in the city.

Funky jewelry – Austin is a creative town, so have fun with a statement piece. I like this necklace, especially paired with the jean short and tank top combo. Why not? Go a little wild…

And that’s about it. Austin’s pretty casual, so it’s easy to pack light.

Cheers, Amy

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Wanderlust: Austin’s Perfect Dessert

Do you ever associate a specific flavor with a memory? I grew up in Austin and my favorite dessert has always been Texas French Bread’s carrot cake. Perfectly moist and rich, with raisins and shredded carrots bursting out of each piece. We had it at our wedding, so now each bite brings back happy memories for me.

Cheers, Amy

Image from here

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Wanderlust: NW Portland morning

We just got back from a trip to Portland, OR with Griffin…March isn’t the best month to visit, but we did get one *beautiful* day of sunshine.

One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning in Portland is going for a hike and brunching in the NW part of the city. There are miles and miles of hiking trails available in Forest Park. For best access, try heading up Thurman St. You’ll hit the end of the road, then walk up an old stone fire road with trails splitting off to the left. Great views through the trees off to the right of the Willamette River and the Portland Shipyard.

After hiking, I’m usually ravenous. Portland is a foodie’s dream city and there are plenty of places to brunch in NW. My two favorite are Stepping Stone Cafe and Industrial Cafe. There’s usually a humongous line outside of Stepping Stone, so get there early and put your name on the clipboard outside.If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, order the mancakes…they were featured on Man vs Food and are huge!

Industrial Cafe doesn’t draw quite the same crowds, so it’s easier to find a seat. It’s hard to go wrong with an order, but I specifically recommend the cheese grits and the gingerbread pancakes.

After brunch, wander down NW 23rd for some local boutique shopping. My favorite store is Ellington Handbags. Beautifully handcrafted bags that are well-designed and durable. They just moved locations, so stop inside and say hello!

Cheers, Amy

Image Sources:
Forest Park photo found here
SteppingStone photo found here

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Wanderlust: Italian Grotto Hotel

The hotel ‘Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita’ has been bouncing around the blogosphere lately…and oh my goodness, it’s now been added to my bucket list. From the pictures, it looks part monastic retreat, part luxury spa, housed in an old set of cavern/catacombs. I can imagine few things more relaxing than slipping into that soaker tub in a limestone cave, lit only by candlelight.

For a full set of beautiful and inspiring pictures, you’ll want to check out the hotel’s website.

Cheers, Amy

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