Now that Danny and I have a fireplace, and actually have weather where it's practical to use it, we have been accumulating tons of firewood and not really having a decent place to put it in the house. So, I have been searching for cute, mid-century-esqe log holders, and, of course, I found one, and, of course, at a price that was NOT practical. So, I did some digging to try and re-create my own.

What you will need:

Steel Log Hoop
Brass Spray Paint
Twine or yarn
Steel wool
Microfiber cloth
Gloves (optional)



Place iron hoop on a surface outside that you can get messy. Using a steel wool pad, brush over the hoop to smooth out any bumps or imperfections. Then, wipe down with a microfiber cloth to remove any dust or debris. Make sure your hoop is dry before spray painting.


Then, smoothly and, in a steady left-to-right-right-to-left motion, paint the entirety of the hoop, holding the can far enough away from the hoop to avoid any patchiness and dripping. Let dry before flipping over to spay back side. 


Once dry, wrap yard or twine around the bottom portion, creating a basket, and secure with small knots on each side.


Wrap a small amount around the handle to tie in the basket design and...


Look at that! Your own DIY mid-century inspired hoop log holder! 








This past weekend Danny and I (& Steve) flew back to LA, loaded up my father-in-law's '89 Dodge Starcraft with the remainder of our belongings, and started our scenic route back up to Portland. The last two drives up were quick and to the point, all up the dreaded I-5. So, this time we wanted to take it slower up the 101, make stops, visit quiet towns, and take in the gorgeous west coast-line. And the best part: we were Van Camping, aka VanLife.

We began our journey just a few short hours after I touched down in Los Angeles. There was no time to waste! We figured we would start the drive up the redundant portion of California at night, being that it is a route we have already seen more times than we would prefer. This stretch includes the infamous cow-death-camp, which can be smelled for miles on end at night. The idea was to drive as long as we could, then stop for some sleep, and then cut over to the 101 at day-break. We spent our first night at a rest stop in Huron, and I was surprised how clean and quiet it was. The three of us cozily snuggled into the van's built-in bed, surround by all of our house plants and Danny's instruments. At that moment I thought: I could get used to this.


We started our crossover near San Francisco, traveling through Berkeley, and over the Richmond–San Rafael Bridge to the 101. It's pretty amazing how quickly the scenery turns greener once entering Northern California. And of course, what road trip on the west coast would be complete without some In-N-Out, amirite?


From there, we began passing through the towering redwoods of Humbolt County via the Avenue of the Giants. The air was so fresh and damp through this area that we could've hiked and explored for hours. There is something so majestic about California's Redwoods.


Our last stop before calling it a night was in Eureka, CA. We had dinner at Nooner Cafe, a small Mediterranean restaurant tucked in an alley up against a speakeasy. I recommend their falafel with their honey tahini - it was really good. Full & tired, we passed over the Oregon state line and stopped at another rest stop nestled in the trees across from the oceanfront. I couldn't wait until morning - it would be the first time I got to experience the Oregon Coast.

Waking up excited, I finally got to see in person what I had been drooling over for years via other's Instagrams. And man oh man, was it better in person. Cameras cannot capture the aqua tone of the ocean on this coast. There really isn't anything like it.

vanlife sbs.jpg

Left in awe from the scenic seascapes, we headed into Gold Beach for some caffeine before continuing on. We found a place called Rachel's Coffee Shop inside a pretty rad bookstore that also served some of the best homemade sticky buns we have ever had. Per recommendation of the regulars, go for the one with the nuts. I also have a hunch these bad-boys sell out fast, so get there early.


At this point, due to time, we headed back over to the I-5 to complete our weekend adventure, unwind, and get ourselves ready for the week. Although I am sad we didn't make it to Tillamook and other seaside destinations this time, it only makes me more excited to come back to visit and explore more soon. Now, we just need a permanent weekender van. 





Going out to eat on Valentines Day is for suckers. Romance is in the kitchen. I don't know about you guys, but staying in and cooking with (or even better, him cooking for me) is what it's all about. Since my first Valentines Day with Danny (this will be our 8th!), he has always made us his Chicken Tortilla Soup. It's so special, and it's one of my favorite traditions together. 
So, I have rounded up a couple of dinner ideas for all kinds of lovers. And you get to eat in pajamas, or be naked — if you're into that kind of thing.  


For the Meat Eaters - Asian Braised Shortribs : Beyond Sweet and Savory
For the Fishies - Garlic Butter Tuscan Salmon : Cafe Delights
For the Vegetarians - Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Quinoa & Spinach : Green Valley Kitchen
For the Vegans - Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry : The Endless Meal
For the Paleos - Chicken Kofta Skewers : Tasty-Yummies
For the Whole 30s - Spicy Southwest Stuffed Peppers : Jar of Lemons

Happy future Valentines Day, lovers. xo