Tag Archives: Vanessa

Back in the Hood, Surrounded by Friends

Hood River, Oregon is in the Columbia River Gorge about an hour east of Portland.  I first came here in 2006 on an interview and shortly afterwards sold my house in Georgia, moved across the country and have never really looked back… and while I’m still full vagabond mode, it is still the place that I consider home to me.

Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls lower falls en route to Hood River from Portland, Oregon

So I’ve been back here in this special place a week now and each day I have been fortunate to be surrounded by people who have followed me virtually the last eight months of my adventures, have listened when I pour my heart out on Facebook messenger and now that I’m home they are here with me daily, both laughing and crying as I talk about the last eight months and my thoughts on life and as I sit and listen to get up to speed on theirs and everything that I have missed.

One of the biggest things that has changed this travel period is that my friend gave birth, and I’m now Auntie to the handsome Hiko-san.

Some days are full from Breakfast to lunch to dinner, and its these moments that I hold on to when I’m gone because truly the best gift we can give to each other is time.

It never hurts that we all live in a place I still consider one of the most beautiful in all the world and an outdoor mecca.

Hood River
Mt Hood over Hood River Airport

Which has allowed me accessibility to mark items off my bucketlist, like my climb of Mt St Helens….

mt st helens
Mt Helens Sunrise Summit

Enjoying mosquito free evenings outside drinking wine and talking about future life and future babies…

Adam and Vanessa

As well as a plethora of other adventurous activities like my day spent rafting the White Salmon River with Robin and Dani from our Kilimanjaro hike as well as more old friends :)

And of course, this week we also got to celebrate 4th of July together… which is my favorite holiday and a day that generally incites memories that I never want to forget.

How lucky we are to call this place home and how blessed I am to have these fabulous people here to enjoy it with.

//The I.A.

A Classic Hood River Double Barrel Thanksgiving

I was pretty excited that my insane schedule worked out and I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my friend family in Hood River this year.  I feel like I miss practically every birthday, holiday and every other celebration… so it was pretty awesome that I got to do Thanksgiving, and not only once today, but twice today…. and both times it was surrounded by friends, delicious food, happiness and laughter.

Hood River Friend Fam

My first round was an early afternoon Thanksgiving hosted at my friends, Corinne and Bronson’s home.  Corinne is a beautiful glowing 8-months pregnant and she was still gracious enough to host for all of us… AND make the turkey which was really appreciated.  Bronson also got up at the wee hours of the morning to smoke a prime rib for us.  Meat meat meat, I love meat.  Food get in my mouth….

I had made a cake with essence of lemon, fresh mascarpone crème and summer berries macerated in sherry for dessert.  Not very Thanksgiving-ish but don’t judge me.  I had my reasons.


I also got a special phone call from Africa, from two of my friends who used to be part of the Hood River Clan, so it was awesome to be able to facetime with them.

Hello From Africa!

Once the evening football game started, I headed across town to Thanksgiving round two.  This was an evening soirée at my friends, Adam and Vanessa’s beautiful new home.

Adam and Vanessa

And look who else joined in the Thanksgiving round deuces merry-making festivities… Robin and Dani, who I did Kilimanjaro and most recently the Tran-Siberian Orchestra concert over the past weekend with.


We were also joined by Vanessa’s Dad, Brian who did the honors of carving a delicious chardonnay marinated turkey.  What did I just say? Turkey marinated in A LOT of wine?  That’s right.  I like your style Vanessa…

thanksgiving thanksgiving

As this was Robin, Dani and myself second go of Thanksgiving for the day, we tried to conquer all the great dishes with loads of flavor.  Can you say siracha string beans, shredded brussel hash with caramelized shallot,  cranberry salad, mashed potatoes, bread dressing, marinated beet salad, homemade cranberry sauce… and I had also marinated goat cheese Tuscan style and two pounds of Tiger shrimp all afternoon for Dani who is pescatarian.

Now here’s where the day gets ridiculous (aka ah-mazing).. after a lot of food and a lot of wine, most people want to veg out in food comas… but not us.

We played hours and hours of Cards Against Humanity… which is of course, “a card game for terrible people.”  Think Apples to Apples but lets just amp that to a rated R version.  I haven’t laughed this much in months, I highly recommend….but only if you too are a horrible person.

I bought Cards Against Humanity on Amazon…  $25 dollas will make you holla.

We practically played through the entire deck.   After my kidneys couldn’t take any more wine and hurt from all the laughing it was time to roll home.

Admittedly days like today make it hard to always be gone….but I am always more thank thankful for these people. <3


Trans-Siberian Orchestra Concert in Portland, Oregon

For a late birthday celebration when I got back to Oregon, my friends wanted to go attend the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert to get everyone in the Christmas spirit at Moda Center in Portland.

trans-siberian orchestra

I wasn’t sure if we should go formal… I mean… their name says Orchestra, or casual…. so I wore a red and black dress, black tights and boots… and that worked well, although many people were just in jeans and a T-shirt and there were also many children at the show.

trans-siberian orchestra

The concert actually lasted 2.5 hours, which was really surprising but it went by quite quickly.  There is some narration during the concert which got kind of annoying, I mean, we are here to listen to music, and not someone talking… but I could overlook that, and it gave me time to mess with some of my pictures while nothing else was going on.

trans-siberian orchestra

They did “The Christmas Attic” theme for the first 1.5 hours…so narration, song, narration song… and then they decided to have some fun with the last hour and just went straight 80s hair band.  No christmas songs, at all.

trans-siberian orchestra

While I’m generally not a huge fan of 80s music, it was still very good and everyone’s voices were incredible.

Then at the end, for the finale, they played my favorite….

Overall concert was good, I’m glad I got to finally see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Would I see them again?  Probably not, but I think we’re all ready for a rockin’ Christmas now :)

//The I.A.