Summer Adventures: Tunnel Falls

If you've got several hours on your hands, might I suggest this hike?

This past weekend I had my oldest friend, Emily and her boyfriend Garrett in town and we had an event filled weekend from start to finish. On Saturday we initially planned on hiking on the Eagle Creek trail for about 6 miles and those 6 miles quickly became 12. But it was all worth it for the views you see here.

On the way to Tunnel Falls, you get to see many other waterfalls along the way. One stop you can make is to Punchbowl Falls. Here's me taking the shot above and there's the actual shot below. This hike has been on my list since the very beginning and it was so fun to see the actual place. We definitely didn't swim around since it was probably 11am and not that warm, but I've heard that's a fun thing you can do.

Here's another waterfall along the path to Tunnel Falls. 

It was one of the longest hikes I've done in a long while but it was absolutely worth it. It also helps to be hiking with people who are up for whatever and we were all on the same page the entire time. On the way back, we were starving and tired so we booked it and made amazing time back to the car. 

Some recommendations if you choose to do this hike: BRING SNACKS! We did not and I definitely got hangry at one point. Make sure you have lots of water and take your time! Go off to the other paths a bit and stop for the waterfalls. Give yourself plenty of the day to hike this route. :) Also, the exit to take is exit 41.

We went into Hood River after the hike and I'm going to put together a post for that next! 
Stay tuned!

Summer Adventures: Painted Hills

There are some places in life that are truly spectacular and the Painted Hills are definitely included in that list. Nestled in eastern Oregon, outside of Bend, sits rocks that alternate in shades of reds and whites and truly take your breath away. The only place I could equate this to was the Grand Canyon. All of a sudden you look to your left and there's this incredible natural wonder just asking to be admired.  

 (the three sisters)

My friends and I drove the 4 hours there and the 4 hours back all in one day and would do it again in a heartbeat. It was absolutely worth it. On the drive there, we took the Mount Hood route (always beautiful) and took the Santiam Pass on our way back so we were getting different views throughout the day. We stopped in Sisters, OR for some coffee and ate dinner in Salem, OR to break up the ride home. 

Driving through Oregon never ceases to amaze me. I am definitely a west coast girl through and through. 

Next up on my list of Oregon wonders is The Wallowas and Crater Lake!

Why Knot {Explore}: Oregon Wine Country

This past weekend, my mom flew in to spend some time in Portland (where it's not 106 like back in Sacramento).  I knew I wanted to do a day trip while she was here and because neither of us had seen Oregon wine country, we figured that would be the perfect spot. So it was off to McMinnville, OR we went!

Here's a little (or maybe not so little) run through of our trip:

 First stop, Coeur de Terre. This was the absolute best place to begin our trek. The tasting service was great, the view was unbelievable, and they had little slots in the chairs for wine glasses! The winery is family owned and you can see the family's home from the tasting room. There's something about that level of service that will always make me choose a small, family owned winery over one that is large and well known.

Then we went to Coleman Vineyard. Another family owned winery with the family still very much hands on with the process! We had great service here as well and even got to try from the barrels! That's one of my absolute favorite parts of wine tasting if the place allows. 

We ended the day relatively early, a) so one of us could drive still and b) because the place we were staying at was a winery!! We did try to taste at one more place but there was a wedding about to begin! We stayed at Youngberg Hill and you need to put this place on your list for either a place to stay in McMinnville or just to taste their wine. It's another family owned winery with 3 of the wines named after the three young daughters and the owner greeted us with a nice glass of Pinot as we checked in. pleaseandthankyou

I can't rave enough about this place. It was definitely not cheap but absolutely worth every penny. We went to dinner in McMinnville (at Nick's) and drove back early enough to watch the sunset from our private patio while sipping on some complementary tea in the giant mug you see above. In the morning they provided a gourmet breakfast and we got to chat with people while sitting around a family style table. The inn is at the top of the hill and the views are breathtaking!

On Sunday, after breakfast, we drove out to Bella Vida Vineyard in Dundee for one last little excursion. I'm so glad we did because the views from this location were unreal. You taste in the home of the farmers and if that doesn't scream hospitality, I don't know what does. This vineyard is unique in that the owners only farm the grapes and outsource to local wineries. Five of the wineries they outsource their grapes to, make wine specifically for Bella Vida and that is what you get to taste on location. 

It's almost like going to 5 different wineries in one stop! A win-win in my book!

My mom and I couldn't rave enough about McMinnville, Youngberg Hill and all the wineries we went to. Growing up near Napa and around vineyards in general, I was used to larger wineries or ones that have outsourced almost too much and it was so refreshing to get back to that small town feel with the Willamette Valley Vineyards. We are already trying to plan another and longer trip back!! 

Have you been? If so, which wineries?!

(hover over the names of the wineries to get links to their sites)


coffee, please.:

The other day I was walking to my car, yoga mat tucked into my bag, texting my friend I was on my way, texting another friend how excited I was about her new apartment and the bay windows (!! #goals) and it hit me. I am living the life I always dreamed I would when I was 12 years old. 
In middle school or elementary school I would fantasize about my 20-somethings. I imagined waking up to the sound of the coffee maker, hurrying to work, wearing amazing clothes and having a tight knit community that I loved. Oh, and we would always end the day with cocktails because we were so sophisticated. 
It's fun to say that my life is not all that different from the one I imagined. Most mornings I make myself tea (no coffee every day for me anymore, unfortunately), spend quiet time with the Bible, hurry off to school, sometimes attend a yoga class after, and always make plans for cocktails at some point in the weekend. Usually fit some adventure in there as well. 
Oh, and did I mention I'm living in a city? Even my young heart couldn't dream up some of this stuff. 
All of this to say, sometimes it's nice to allow ourselves to be content with where we are. To stop wishing for just one more thing to "complete" me. I don't ever want to be "completed" till I am long gone and dead! Who determines what we need or don't need in life?? #society that's who. 
I am a 23 year old badass grad student who will have her masters by the time she's 24, has lived in a city, has made great friends, gotten involved, explored, dated, traveled, etc. and still has so much more living and learning to do! If you don't mind me tooting my own horn, I'm doing juuuuuuust fine. :) 
And I can bet, so are you. Exactly where you're at. 
Celebrate the everyday and the now my friends! 

Wine Tasting in the Sierra Foothills

 While my friends were visiting my hometown of Sacramento, we decided to stop for some wine tasting in the Sierra Foothills. We stopped at Miraflores (where the first couple photos were taken), Villa Toscano (where the last photos were taken) and Terra d'Oro.

 Wine is my drink of choice with whiskey or bourbon behind that so I'm a sucker for any wine tasting trip. I think it's because of my time in Italy but I have such an appreciate for wine and the many different varietals. I also loved getting to spend time with my family and my friends on this day. 

I just got this Free People dress and am obsessed with the dramatic sleeves. It was a blast to snap some photos of the dress in the vines. I bought it to wear for my sister's grad party but it was in the upper 90's that day so I opted out. :) I can't wait to wear it around Portland this summer though. (Although it was in the upper 90-100's this weekend so who knows!)

What did you do this weekend? 
I went to the farmers market, saw Me Before You with some friends, went to the Starlight Parade for the Rose Festival and today I tried out a new church and watched my Warriors absolutely destroy the Cav's. Even though I did quite a lot this weekend, I still felt antsy the whole weekend! It was so frustrating! I think I'm ready to get back on a routine even though it's been nice to just breathe the last few days. Anywho, happy Monday!

The One Day Guide to San Francisco

 I recently showed two friends from Portland all around San Francisco and the day went so smoothly that I had to share. It not only was smooth though, it was a blast! So here is my one day guide to SF! 

We started the day at around 11/11:30 and went straight from the Bay Bridge to the Golden Gate so we started at the furthest end of the city first. This way we wound up towards the Bay Bridge when it was time to head back into Sacramento. I absolutely love Chrissy Field and the old military buildings so we started here.

We then followed signs for the walking path that leads you to the Golden Gate and walked halfway across the bridge. It was such a beautiful day and the city was truly showing off. This was, somehow, something I had never done before (at least from what I remember) so it was fun to incorporate something new for the person who has done almost everything in the city.

 We then drove over to the Marina District/ Cow Hollow for some more incredible views and lunch. My friend Stephanie had seen that a coffee shop recently put in Rifle Paper Co.'s pineapple wallpaper in this area so that was our main attraction. We walked to Umami burger from the coffee shop and had the most amazing truffle burger as well!

 How fun is the wallpaper?? The coffee shop is called Wrecking Ball Coffee and you should definitely stop in next time you're in the city. 

 We then went to Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies! Unfortunately the park is under construction so you can't sit and admire them from the park slope but they're still fun to look at! 

 San Francisco has the largest Chinatown and exploring this area was something the three of us had never done so we figured, why (k)not?! (had to) It was quite the experience to say the least. We also walked into Little Italy and the church of Saint Francis (the patron saint of San Francisco) just to look around. I felt like I was back in Italy for a minute and walking into all the little churches in tiny alleyways throughout Italian towns.

We ended the day in the Mission District at Dolores Park. We picked up some smoothies and Acai Bowls from a place right down from the park and ate them sitting on the stoop as dinner. I think sitting at a park and people watching is one of my absolute favorite things to do. 

There is still so much more to see in that beautiful city but we definitely hit some great spots and never felt exhausted. I don't recommend doing a city like SF in just one day, but if you have to, I think planning it out a bit like this is the way to go! 

95% of these photos come from my talented friend, Dominique!! Check our her instagram HERE!

Why Knot {Explore}: Yosemite National Park

Are you ready for a ton of Yosemite photos? :)

We just got back from one of the places that means the most to me and I can't wait to share all that we did. You see, starting before I was born, my dad's side of the family has been going up to Yosemite every single year for 30 years!! The first year they didn't go (and now my sisters and I plus cousins are included) was when my grandpa passed away and then they started again but it subsided again with the passing of my grandma four years ago. My family and I have now gone the last 2 years and each time it feels like coming home.

 Yosemite Falls

 Bridal Veil falls- so much water!!!

 This is the tunnel view outlook! 

climbing down from Nevada Falls (behind us)

 Glacier Point- hi Half Dome!

 There's Nevada Falls again!

There are so many photos of my sisters and I as little kids and babies at these exact same spots. I'm so grateful that a place as beautiful as this is also as familiar as a second home. Also, what a diffrence from last year with how green it was and how much water was everywhere!! We stayed at Yosemite Lodge and you could hear the pounding of Yosemite falls in your room! 

On this trip we wanted to lie low a bit and not exhaust ourselves. We really wanted to soak in the atmosphere and pay homage to my Grandma Ginnie. The first evening of being in Yosemite she would always make homemade potato salad and grilled chicken with some homemade lemonade as well. We continued that tradition this time and my sister made my grandma's potato salad just right! We all sat around the table reminiscing and being grateful for the many, many years we have spent up there. 

As you walk around the valley floor and look up at the giant rocks surrounding you, it's easy to be humbled at what a giant and beautiful Earth we live on. There's truly nothing like it. If you haven't explored Yosemite yet, I highly recommend booking a trip. But act fast, everything fills up extremely quick!! (like, book the lodge a year ahead of time!)

Happy Monday!! 
I've still got a full week at home and I'm soaking it up prepping for my sister's graduation and my friends coming into town for Memorial Weekend!!