Sunriver Trip 2016

Happy summer everyone!

Have I even said that yet? Summer is basically like half way over and I am like already depressed. A family trip to Sunriver was just what the doctor ordered.

I arrived on Wednesday night after the entire Britney Spears Greatest Hits album as well as 1.5 Red Bulls and half a tube of Chewy Spree. The fam had just returned from dinner so I toasted myself up an english muffin with gobs of Country Crock and mixed a vodka + fresca for sustenance. We then discovered the cabin we rented for the week came equipped with THEE most necessary board game ever:

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 You guys, this game is somethin’ else, I highly suggest it #zitstickers.

The house also had this enormous deck, in which Tate looooved to run around in his walker on. While we played Girl Talk, he happily ran around like a banshee, baby babbling and drooling away. Then he came over and put his hands up so Nan plucked him out and his little feet were SO filthy and his big toe had popped through his jammies! So, we grabbed a pair of scissors from the kitchen and just whacked off the ends #whitetrashbaby.

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And then he fought sleep for a million years and Nan ended up getting him to take a snooze while I stole a pic:

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The next morning I woke up and of course played with Tate.

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As did Nan and Gare:

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Ok maybe Gary was watching TV

We ate some brek and the gals + Binny decided it would be fun to go for a float down the Deschutes! So we rented tubes, filled a cooler with ice, vodka, red bull and puffy Cheetos and hit the water.

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After we floated, I came home and PTFO took a princess-like snooze. Then I woke up and did some Snaps with the folks.

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That night after dinner, we went for a walk and I wore Tate on m’back. He was being the cutest ever.

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The next morning, we woke up and explored the little Sunriver “village”. Tate found a little kids play area with rocks and a rope walk to be quite enjoyable.

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After that, we ventured over to Lava Lands to walk through the Lava Tube, which sounds really weird. Nan and I decided to stay put in the car with Tate, but we did walk around a little first.

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Next up was lunch in Bend, at Deschutes Brewery.

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This was just my show beer. AKA my Dad’s. I would never drink this grossness.

Then we did a little shopping around Bend (such cute shops) and David joined! I got these cool shades:

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The next day we all went to Cultus Lake and Nan rented us a party barge for the morning! We did a little fishing (unsuccessfully) and drank a bottle of wine (successfully). Tate roamed around the boat, bein’ all cute and I realized that I pretty much reallllly need a boat.

 

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What a beautiful lake! I highly recommend it. as far as bodies of water go. Meg HATED the name cuullltus. It IS kindof a gross name for a lake.

So anyway, that was basically it. Fun times for us!

Disneyland & Universal Studios Trip 2016

Yes, my friends. Your eyes do not fail you.

I went to Disneyland. And Universal Studios. And California Adventure. And Morphe Brushes!

It was as amazing as you would expect from two large young-at-hearts. And really, I am so glad to have found someone as profoundly goofy as I am. There aren’t many out there who would GLADLY wait in 45-min lines to ride Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. Or who understand the injustice that the age cut off for the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is 12. But David gets it. He loves it. Together, we bum-rushed the gates of Hogwarts to be FIRST IN LINE for the Forbidden Journey. We bought his and hers Slytherin and Ravenclaw shirts. We DID IT UP. And instead of writing an entire post with “and then we______” (got a fast pass, stood in line for Dole Whips, etc) I figure I’d let photos do they thing.

So here is a humble video I made commemorating our glorious 3-day trip to Cali. I would like to thank my boy David for whisking me away on this adventure and being my (very literal) dream come true ♥.

French Pharmacy Haul

Bonjour my little bon-bons!

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I know y’all are just pining to see the French Pharmacy Finds I recently procured whilst traveling in Chamonix, France. Read about the whole trip here!

I did an astounding amount of reaching in preparation for the French pharmacy not only to discover what those sprightly french gals are usin’, but also to enjoin myself from buying a bunch of crap that is cheaper in the U.S

My research indicated there were in fact a few brands that are produced in France and therefore, a better deal over there. Such brands include Bioderma, Vichy, La Roche Posay, Klorane and Caudalie. A fact I discerned to be true was that cosmetic brands that seem French, like Dior, Chanel and Clinique are actually MORE expensive to buy over there.

Furthermore, did y’all know that all cosmetic brands are usually owned by larger companies? For example L’Oreal owns YSL, Georgio Armani, Lancome, Kiehls, Urban Decay, Essie and The Body Shop. Shocking, I know.

Anywee, here is what I picked up at the Pharmacies in Chamonix:

1. Klorane Dry Shampoo

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Hat tip to my pal Nicole for this recommendation! This dry shampoo cost about €10 and is formulated with Oat Milk. I got the version for all hair types because the other option was for dark hair only. Interesting they don’t make a blonde option…#hairscrimination.

2. Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution

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If you read my recent post about our trip to Whistler, you’ll know I finally found Bioderma! I paid $20 for the bottle and have been using it non-stop. To be honest, there is nothing totally spectacular about this stuff. What I appreciate about it is the simplicity. It has no smell, is great for sensitive skin and removes makeup nicely.

I picked up the giant 500 ml bottle of this in France because it was only €14!

3. NUXE Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm

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This product is on EVERY french person’s pharmacy favorite list. The brand actually had a few things I considered buying, like the body oil. I decided not to get that because I’m not really that big on body oils and honestly, our suitcase had like 1 millimeter of space left.

4. Caudalie Beauty Elixir

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I have wanted to get this from Sephora sooo many times but it’s $50. It smells like a spa and is very luxurious. I have used this a few times since we’ve been home and I can confirm: it is HEAVEN. It works amazing as a makeup setting spray and I just loooove it after I wash my face and before serum and moisturizer. I paid €29 for the big bottle!

5. Fletagex

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This product used to be known as Avibon and Gwyneth regarded it as a miracle product for keeping wrinkles at bay. When I inquired about Avibon, the gal at the pharmacy went into the back and produced this stuff, saying “It eez the same.” DONE. The packaging reminds me of hemerroid cream but whatevs if it works. Also, it was €7 so the price was right too!

And that’s all I bought! I KNOW you guys. I could have filled a suitcase but given the fact that we packed our own skis and ski boots, there was srsly no room in our luggage for 44 ounce jars of face cream.

*Side note about clothes shopping in France:

All the clothing shops in Cham were filled with mountain stuff. Alot of Burton, North Face and ski stuff I don’t care about. The few non-outdoor apparel stores I went in were fascinating for one reason…the men’s section was in the front of the store.

In the US, most clothing stores that carry both mens and womens apparel smartly put the women’s section front and center. We spend the money. We like our stuff right up front. In most places, I find that the men’s section is either off to the side, in the back or just really tiny. Well NOT IN FRANCE. In most stores, like Superdry and Quicksilver the women’s sections were not only in the back but UPSTAIRS. I pointed this out to Bryan (who is the LAST person on earth who would notice a clothing store’s layout) and he was all, “that’s awesome!”. Ew.

My opinion? GO AMERICA!

Chamonix

And before you go mis-pronoucin’, it’s CHAMONIX – as in shaw-mah-nee. Ever heard of it? It’s in France.

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OH how I miss the Nard Dog…

Anyways, back to the vacay.

If you haven’t figured it out already, I married a mountain-man. A crazy, oxygen-filled, iron-lunged, skiing, ice-climbing, beer-drinking sonofagun. And ever since this Heeman was a wee-man (baahaa) he has wanted to ski in Chamonix. And being the kind of gal who will NEVER turn down a trip to France ever, I obliged and went along.

Our flight over could not have been more perfect, save for flying first-class international in one of those mini-suites where they do everything except birth you a child. We left around 2 pm out of the ol’PDX, carpet and all, and 1o hours later arrived in Amsterdam. We jumped on another hour-ish flight to Geneva and were picking up our rental car in no time!

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The Renault was a nice lil ride and the drive to our hotel in Vallorcine (about 20 miles outside of Chamonix) was wonderful, until we realized we had missed our exit…

Many of the roads in France are on tolls which is FINE when you have a credit card that works or euro. We had neither. And after we flipped a B to head back to where we had missed the turn, we immediately hit a toll booth. Assured by the rental car company that our Visa would be fine, we were very surprised to learn that we had no viable currency to pay with. Yippeee!

“Autre card!!?” (Other card!?) yelled the middle-aged French women through the crackly speaker.

“No autre card!!” we retorted (for the 10th time I might add).

After 10 minutes of explaining we DID NOT have euro OR another card, she had us hold up our Passports to the closed-circuit cameras so she could write down our home address and bill us. Whatevs, madame.

After spouting off over 20 cuss words we were on our way and headed in the right direction!

Upon arriving in Chamonix we immediately found a petit cafe (get used to me using French where I can here, folks) and ordered a cheesy, delicious hot sandwich with pomme frites!

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We pinched our little selves and just couldn’t believe we were there. Colossal mountains just spewed out of the ground, and felt like they were just feet away. Somber French couples, sporting his and her messy buns, being chic and chain-smoking while probs laughing at my clothes from the Gap.

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We stayed at the Residence and Spa Vallorcine, which was quaint and perfect. Our room was a decent size, with a little sitting area, dining table and kitchenette. The bedroom was small and the bed was even smaller. I kindof felt like Shaq sleeping in that tiny European bed.

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The only thing that would have made the room perfect would have been carpet. You guys KNOW I love me some carpet, especially in cold environments such as Chamonix. The cold tile flooring did not help the fact that the heaters in France are just NOT up to snuff. I need that central heat, yo.

The first night we threw on our ski sweaters and I debated making Bryan call me Bunny (or Muffy) all night. I would call him Carl…as in,”Oh Carl, we just have to order the brie!”

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We went to the cutest little restaurant in Vallorcine (one of like, three restaurants) and ordered fondue, a goat cheese salad and wine, obvi.

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 The next few days went something like this:

Wake up around 7, consume croissants and/or pain du chocolate.

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Gear up

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Go skiing

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Ski more

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Annnndd ski some more

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Stop for café au lait

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Make some videos

Have lunch

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A bit more skiing

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Apres

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Our late afternoons and evenings were spent in a variety of ways. A couple of days, it was shopping around Chamonix, buying macarons and stopping for wine and crepes.

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If you can believe it, my favorite crepe turned out to be plain ol’ sugar. Something about the crunch I think. Another funny thing that happened in Cham, was that I got a bit of altitude sickness. Nothing crazy – just a bit of dizziness paired with a loss of appetite. You can imagine how great is was to lose my appetite while in FRANCE! No – actually it sucked. And when it finally came back I was hungry AF.

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One day, we took the tram up to the Aguille du Midi which takes you to about 13,000 feet, which makes it the highest cable car in Europe. It is interesting how I never learn my lesson, agreeing to do these things. The St.Louis arch = meltdown. Top of the Space Needle = no thanks. Yet somehow I let Bryan whisk me up in a shaky tram and walk along a staircase clinging to the side of a precipitous cliff. Oh, and did I mention the steel staircase was see-through? I would have snapped a pic had it not been for the mounting terror surging through my body.

Dinners out occurred daily and the fare ranged from elegant French cuisine to the nachos I ordered on our last night, made with DORITOS. God bless those clever little Frenchies.

I was left on my own a few times and Of COURSE y’all know I frequented the French Pharmacies I was so excited about. I spent a good hour in one, picking up product after product and trying unsuccessfully to read ingredient lists. I did ended up with a few GEMS so stay tuned for a WHOLE post on that, mon cheres!

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I also did a fair amount of pretending to be a cool photographer, taking pics that were all arty and deep. Really, my point-and-shoot and I just kinda mozied around, taking sub-par pics.

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It’s meeeeeeeee

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So there you have it, our super -relaxing ski vacay in the French Alps…I think it’s time to go back to Hawaii :).

Allergens, Milk Duds and a Trip to France

HEE HEE, HAW HAW.

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The three aforementioned items could not be more dissimilar. But in my little world, they are inextricably linked. I could have also added Recent Exercise as another topic item, but 4 things seemed a bit much, no?

Let’s start with the state of my allergies! A topic I’m sure so many of you are absolutely thrilled to hear about. WELL. Every summer I die of allergies, which y’all have been privy to on more than one occasion (like here & here). Since Spring has Sprung like 89123 days early this year, I decided to book an allergy appt straight away!

I was poked (hee hee) 40 times with various extracts from trees, weeds, insects, you name it – and had OFF THE CHARTS allergic results to…drumroll please….

GRASS. I am allergic to grass. The doc told that it’s basically the most common thing to be allergic to. Which makes me so disappointed in myself. I was hoping it would be something really unique and specific, like Russian Thistle! But no, it’s just grass – and it’s EVERYWHERE. I am on a BRAND new medication called Grastek to treat my severe allergy, so holla at me if you share the same distaste for Grass!

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And then there are Milk Duds. I could eat Milk Duds all day, everyday. After years of dormancy on the candy shelf, they have quickly become a favorite, winning out over popular favorites including (but never limited to) Junior Mints, Jujyfruits and Snowcaps. I realize that the combination of sugary chocolate and caramel are likely wreaking havoc on my pearly-whites, but thankfully I have been limiting myself. I also find them completely irresistible when frozen! Who am I?? Elsa?!

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And lastly…FRANCE. In less than 2 weeks I will traveling to Chamonix, France with none other than Bryan-Arthur.

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I do not know if France is ready for another dose of my high-school French (of which I am way too confident in) and demands for ice in my soda. We shall see. One thing is sure, I will buying Bioderma for the masses and possibly a couple liters of Caudalie Beauty Elixir if the budget allows. I hear it just flows from rivers there!

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And then there’s the delicate matter of skiing. Which thanks to Bryan’s encouragement and a few positively WONDERFUL ski days, I am completely ready for! A couple of meltdowns are likely, but so it the possibility of fondue and wine…and LOTS OF IT.

I wish I could become the photographer I know I’ll never be, and capture our trip to perfection. But you guys know what you’re in for. Expect my usual slightly blurry, dancing-in-the-hotel-with-wine-in-my-hand repertoire, mmm-kay. Anything else just wouldn’t be me ;).

Adieu beautés!

Whistler 2015

But first, let’s take a mome to address the fact that I have been skiing five times this year. FIVE. I’m pretty sure that’s worthy of the Guiness Book.

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Anyways, if you can get over the fact that I am basically Lindsay Vonn then let’s move on. We had a wonderful long weekend in Whistler a few weeks ago and it is high time I write about it.

We went with our pals the Lipes (see Melissa’s post on the trip here) and it could not have been more fun. Well, maybe if you added in a couple a’ sassy gays and five rounds of tequila, but STILL. I love these three humans and the fact that we hadn’t hung in nearly 7 months made this reunion that much better.

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This time around, we rented a two bedroom/two bathroom  condo in Whistler Village with our own hot tub! Since we had a kidlet, this set-up was absolutely perfect and the hot tub was much-appreciated after a long day on the slopes.

After the Lipes’ arrival the first night, we were all hungry so we did what any Canadian would do – we went out and ordered POUTINE. French fries + cheese curds + gravy.

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M’s voraciousness perfectly captured all of our feelings on the dish:

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The next day, Kyle and Bryan hit the mountain early while Melissa, M and I scampered around Whistler Village. Watching this little girl grow up has been such a joy and her almost 3-year-old repartree is just too much. Example:

Me: “What do you think about skiing, M?”

M:”I CAN DOOOO IT!!!”

We mozied slowly toward the base of the mountain, pausing to gather tiny globs of snow, inspect snowboards and skis and pet doggies. We had lunch together and the combination of the sun, 2 pitchers of beer and burgers made for a wonderful afternoon.

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That night, we went to a brew pub for dinner where Bryan’s artistic skills were tested at the demand of M’s requests for Anna and Elsa from Frozen. I have to say I was impressed at Bryan’s representation of the braids! Such a talent.

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The next day was Bry and I’s ski day. We waited in line at the base of the gondola for about 30 minutes (ugh!) and the start of the morning included my usual problems and subsequent complaints. Boots too tight, boots to loose, my heel moving too much, my toes being numb – you get it. We had luncheon at the “fancy” restaurant Christine’s where we shared a salad and a burger on a pretzel bun. Two glasses of wine later and I was ready for a couple more runs.

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We called it quits around 4 pm and immediately headed back to the condo for a hot-tub party.

The next day we said our goodbyes and while Bryan checked out I popped into the drugstore to obviously check out the cosmetics. As I was browsing, I was elated to see ONE solo bottle of BIODERMA on the shelves. I gasped and probably scared the people next to me. I paid $22 for this size and of course promptly went outside to take selfies with it. Hahahaaaa I’m so weird.

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the eyebrows are soo bad

 

Then we made the 7 hour drive back to Portland. Per usual, Bryan drove home and I watched Netflix (a new show called The Fall! SO GOOD). These weekends in Whistler are NEVER long enough – maybe next year we’ll do week!

OH, CANADA.

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Mt. Bachelor/Bend, OR Weekend Trip

Yo yo yo!

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To kick off the new year, Bry and I decided to plan a mini-holiday ski vacay to Mt. Bachelor and here are the highlights.

We left around 10 am on Saturday morning and immediately encountered heavy monsoon-ish rain. I always feel bad when we do a road trip with horrible weather. Bryan always drives, grimacing and white-knuckling at the wheel, while I sit comfortably in the passenger side, seat-heater on high, with my pillow + blanket and usually a Starbucks. This time around, I had my new iPhone 6 (I am sooooo cool you guys) and new tablet! Of course I am addicted to a new show, The Walking Dead… anyone else? So I have my little earbuds in, warm and entertained by zombies, while Bry gets us safely to our destination with only minimal complaints – what a guy!

We arrived in Bend and stopped for lunch at Deschutes which was packed. We ordered soft pretzels because, duh – and I actually ordered a beer! I felt like a true Oregonian, drinking my craft brew in distressed denim. All I was missing was a forearm tattoo and flannel.

After lunch, we wandered around the town of Bend, making a couple pit-stops at Patagonia (or Patagooch as Bry and I say), Savory Spice and a store for real cowgirls called Desperado where I found some GEMS.

Baby Patagonia

Baby Patagonia

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$14K Swarovski Mirror

We checked into our room at Sunriver Lodge around 4 pm, cracked open a couple of beers, flipped on the fireplace and then headed out to the hot tub. That night we went to dinner at Zydeco and split the Swordfish with a side of truffle mac and cheese. It was incredibly delicious and the ambiance was great too.

The next day we woke up early and went to the little coffee shop in Sunriver Village, called Brewed Awakenings.

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After that, we picked up some supplies for the upcoming Seahawks game and mentally prepared. And WHAT A GAME. I died. Then I came back from the dead. Then I died again. Too much Walking Dead perhaps? It was like nothing I’ve seen before.

First half

First half

Right after THE WIN

Right after THE WIN

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After the game I started feeling sick and Bryan had been fighting a cold for over a week so…we did not ski the next day. We had all our gear and everything, but we simply opted out. It was sad, but Bryan is taking an avalanche training class this weekend so we wanted to make sure he would feel good enough to go to that (4 straight days on Mt.Hood in a yurt – ick).

Before heading out of town on Monday, we stopped at McKay’s Cottage for breakfast. It was super busy and for very good reason. During our 15 minute wait, we had complimentary coffee and coffee cake bites which were scrumptious. For breakfast, Bry ordered the Smith Rock Benny which was Applewood smoked bacon, fresh spinach, tomatoes & roasted red peppers with poached eggs on grilled focaccia topped with hollandaise sauce. I got pumpkin pancakes, which tasted MAJESTY.

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The drive home was much less eventful and we got home in plenty of time for a couple loads of laundry and dinner. All in all, a wonderful weekend in the PacNW!