HBD Little One!

Sending the very best, extra-special birthday wishes to my little sister today!  Woo woo!  :D  Please enjoy the following photos from the past two years of this sweet pea, honey bear, cutie pie!  So full of spunk and light.  Here’s to many more years of shining bright!  I LOVE YOU, BOO BOO!


IMG_2861 IMG_3072 IMG_3369 M1 M2 M3 IMG_0679 IMG_1366 IMG_1461 IMG_1480 IMG_2516 IMG_2603 IMG_2638

Lots of love, hugs and kisses —


Home Sweet Home – Father’s Day Edition!

As some of you may already know, I got a new job!  Fortunately, I had some time off before starting, so I decided to fly home and surprise my family!  The catch?  I only had a few days.:/  But, it had been almost a year since I was last home, so I needed it badly and it just so happened to align with Father’s Day.

It all started early Saturday morning at the very awesome PDX airport with a standby flight.  I missed the first two flights (granted, we changed from the first flight to the second before I even left the apartment), but it was all good.  Had a safe flight over (full of photo editing and Anchorman 2) and spent the night with John’s parents.  It was so sweet spending time with them and Clarence!IMG_5686Areh came to pick me up bright and early on Sunday morning.  The plan once we got home was for her to go inside, take Daisy potty, then have me bring Daisy back inside.  I apparently looked like a ghost to everyone.  It was an awesome surprise!

I had such a wonderful time at home and took a ton of photos, so without further ado, I bring you a photo dump of home in Georgia in June.  Enjoy!

Mikey Art 2The products of art camp.  He created all of these entirely by himself!!  He’s so talented!  I couldn’t be more proud!Mikey Art 1A girl and her kitty!IMG_6903Cassie boo boo is so silly! IMG_6898 Ava BBallI had forgotten how hot GA summers are and agreed to walk with the little ones to the neighborhood playground…in the middle of the day.  We didn’t last very long…  :PSilly Cutie Pies IMG_6938 Malina Jumprope Mr Mikey IMG_6946IMG_6963 IMG_6964 IMG_6966 IMG_7000 IMG_7005 IMG_7012This picture makes me so happy because she wouldn’t have jumped in the pool last summer if I had candy!  And now look at her go!🙂

IMG_7015Obligatory Father’s Day dinner pic.😀  My apologies for the poor lighting but this photo is pretty epic in that it was the first time all the kids were at home in YEARS!  IMG_6971And here are the Father’s Day gifts.  The kids created some awesome handmade gifts. IMG_6975I just love this one!

IMG_6978 IMG_6982 IMG_6983We made a hand print tree for Daddy.🙂IMG_6990 IMG_6997 IMG_6998This shirt is funny because it’s true!  My dad preeetty much knows how everything works and can fix anything.  He used to help me with my math & physics homework even through college…many years after he first learned it!  He has a very kind heart and a hilarious sense of humor.  I love you, Daddy!  :DDaddy IMG_7064 IMG_7066 IMG_7071 IMG_7095 IMG_7097

IMG_7137Mr Mikey2Well, next up will be pics from the second half of my vacay…camping in the high desert.  Woot woot!


Ahsa Eats: Ginger Tea

“Ahsa Eats” is a new series in which I share my latest experiments in the kitchen.  I focus on a whole-foods, plant-based diet; all vegetarian and mostly gluten-free. I’m not a doctor nor dietitian, but a girl who loves nutrition and natural, healthy living.IMG_7767Before I go any further in life, I must share this recipe for ginger tea.  It is such a wonderfully healing elixir that can be enjoyed any time of day!  It’s especially helpful for headaches, cramps, gastrointestinal issues, and cold/flu symptoms.  With ginger, honey, cinnamon and lemon, it’s anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antihistamine, anti-all-the-nasty-things…🙂IMG_7763Here are the key benefits* of each ingredient:

Ginger – anti-inflammatory, antiseptic (making it beneficial for GI infections), antiemetic (meaning it decreases nausea), circulatory stimulant (which helps high blood pressure and reduces fevers), carminative (helps with gas), and is soothing for respiratory problems.  It’s practically a panacea.

Cinnamon – antiseptic, antiviral, carminative, antispasmodic, warming stimulant…i.e. very similar health benefits to ginger.

Honey – antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cough suppressor, reduces cholesterol and if you get the local kind, it can help alleviate allergies.

Lemon – antibacterial, antiseptic (making it great for arteriosclerosis, infections and fevers), antioxidant, antirheumatic (because it has an alkaline effect once digested, it aids symptoms of arthritis which are largely due to excess acid in the body), reduces fever…i.e. also amazing.

*from my trusty “Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine” by Andrew Chevallier…and some Wikipedia.🙂ginger


Sweet and Tangy Ginger Tea

Serving Size: 2 Cups


4 cups water

2″ chunk of ginger, chopped (you can leave skin on or peel it off)

spoonful of honey

couple shakes of cinnamon

juice of 1 lemon


Boil water.  Add chopped ginger.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20min.  Strain into mugs, add honey and cinnamon.  Cut lemon in half, split juice between both mugs.  Breathe deep and enjoy!


See that chunk of ginger?  It was only $3.50…and it’s organic!  At first glance, $6.99/lb of OG ginger might make you hesitate, but it’s actually pretty lightweight. I think I grabbed a 2″ piece the first time I bought it and was surprised to find it mere pennies. With just one inch of ginger per cup, it will last a good while.  You could also use powdered ginger if you can’t find quality ginger root.  The ginger should be a bright, warm yellow color inside…not green or gray.  Keep that in mind while grocery shopping.  I’ve always been happy with the ginger at Whole Foods.🙂

It’s so, SO tasty and incredibly beneficial to your health!  Let me know if you give it a try!


Happy Belated Birthday, Daisy Boo Boo!


Happy happiest of birthday wishes to Little Miss Sassy Pants Daisy Cakes! ;)  This is Areh’s puppy who I had the pleasure to meet and photograph during my surprise visit home a few weeks ago.  She is spunky, yet sweet; silly, yet smart.  She could play tug with her baby doll for hours and is fiercely protective of her family (she gave me an earful when I picked up any of the kids).  I’m sad that I don’t get to see her daily, but thankful that Areh sends me lots of pics, often!  Sending big hugs and kisses and cuddles to Daisy for her 1st bday! IMG_7107 IMG_7113This one looks like she’s winking!😉IMG_7119 IMG_7121 IMG_7121BW IMG_7079 IMG_7080

I love my darlings!


Explore OR: Salem

IMG_6220_2From our apartment, Salem is an easy 30 minute drive down I-5 South and a city definitely touched by the past.  It is the Oregon state capitol with a population of around 150,000.  There are a few possible sources for the name, but my favorite is that it was derived from the word, “shalom,” meaning peace. 🙂

While laying in bed the night before Memorial Day, John and I were brainstorming things to do on the day off and decided it was high time we visited Salem!  So the next morning, we woke up around 5am, shortly before sunrise, ate breakfast and hit the road.  It’s a sweet drive, with the sun gently rising on your left as you pass miles and miles of farmland.  We arrived in Salem around 7am, parked the car downtown and started wandering.

IMG_6155Only the pigeons and a handful of people were awake this early on the holiday morning.IMG_6172IMG_6183Salem is full of vintage signs and historic architecture.Untitled-1Book Bin and PigeonIMG_6186The Native Americans who originally inhabited Salem called it Chemeketa.  In Santiam, the language of the Kalapuyans, it means “meeting or resting place.”IMG_6199We found this sweet artwork depicting the chakras in the window of a building, but couldn’t locate the artist’s name. 😦 IMG_6188Stone Figures IMG_6263We walked around downtown, sipped on a cup of coffee at The Beanery, then wandered towards the capitol mall.capitol IMG_6212Perfect timing! 😀amurica IMG_6226 J and churchThe YMCA building, which has been at this location since 1926 (and in Salem since 1892) houses this beautiful artwork.IMG_6250IMG_6252John enjoys being a subject for the paparazzi… ;)  Also, we are lovers of the color blue!J and ALast but not least, we have the juxtaposition of the past, present, and future of the automobile.  One day we will own a Tesla!😀tesla and old carAfter Salem, we jumped down to Eugene (where the University of Oregon is located), ate lunch and dropped by a sweet natural grocery store, then headed back home, stopping by the Tesla supercharging station in Springfield.  John and I both agreed that Salem is definitely worth another visit in the future since most everything was closed due to the holiday and we didn’t even get a chance to visit the waterfront.  I will keep you posted!


Explore OR: Newport


A lil bit ago, John and I took a short trip to Newport, which is along the Oregon Coast.  Did you know that all Oregon beaches are public?  The Oregon Beach Bill of 1967 granted free beach access to everyone!  Isn’t that awesome?

So anywho, we briefly visited the beach and had the most amazing breakfast at a French restaurant in a tiny, old house.  It was so cute and I still dream about that meal!  I had the Loire valley omelet, which came with a fresh baked croissant (and delicious jelly) and a fruit/hazelnut/brown sugar/cream cup.  Oh man, I’ll never forget it…

Okay, back to the point of this post…the photos!



I got a new zoom lens from Craigslist right before this, which allowed me to get these close shots of the seagulls, or shall I say, the Larus occidentalis.😉


That would be a drop of water in between his beak.  I also got a shot of a seagull with something hanging out of his beak, which I later discovered was part of a starfish.  It’s not for the faint of heart.😛


My favorite part is that cute little footsie!!  And that distant seagull is all like, “Psssh, yeah right, dude.”




You talkin’ to me?  I said, ‘You?  Talkin’ to me?’  ‘Cuz I don’t see anybody else around here, so you must be talkin’ to me.”



This one is my favorite.  He’s got a lot on his mind.😉




We only had a few hours in Newport, so we just got a taste of it.  The Oregon Coast Aquarium is in Newport, so we might find ourselves back there one day.  Hope to visit more towns along the coast this summer!


Explore OR: Angel’s Rest Trail

I edited these photos awhile back but have been waiting to upload them, since I’m in the middle of rebranding my site (big news coming soon!), but a recent email from my dad that said, “AHSAMON, what happened to your website?!” encouraged me to share this little update. 😉 These photos were taken on my only day off in February (thank you, President’s Day!).  With one day off per month, I found myself so appreciative of time off from work and determined to make the most of it!  We love to go hiking, so I Googled some easy, notable hikes around the Portland area and found Angel’s Rest Trail.  It was an easy, 45min drive from our apartment and boasts 270 degree views at the summit!  It was AMAZING and I cannot wait to go back!

4.6 total miles was a perfect warmup hike for the season since we hadn’t been hiking in quite awhile.  The air was crisp, the light was bright, and the earth was squishy!

AandJ1Along many parts of the trail, one side will literally just drop off like this…

IMG_5376Do you see the puppy dog face in this mossy tree branch?🙂IMG_5397There were two sweet waterfalls along the trail which allowed me to experiment with shutter speed.IMG_5407John balancing amongst what resembled an old, elven tree entrance.IMG_5420Mount St. Helens…maybe??IMG_5427Approaching the golden hour, almost to the summit.  We stopped to eat our packed lunch around here…on a couple of rocks on the edge of a cliff!  Huzzah!IMG_5444It was breathtaking!

IMG_5448I enjoy striking yoga poses whilst in nature…and crocheting cute ear flap hats with pom poms.

IMG_5457Enjoying the sunset.  We didn’t have flashlights on us, so we needed to get down the mountain before the sun set.  So, we didn’t make it to the actual tip-top summit.  Next time!  Also, I love this picture because John is wearing a vintage Cowboys jacket and his pants look like bell-bottoms — very 70’s!


IMG_5471The sky turned a colorful cotton candy color while we walked down.IMG_5473

The weather is warming up here in Oregon, so I can’t wait till our next adventure!  Weatherman’s calling for some 80 degree days next week…uh oh!  Beach camping is on my “14 for 2014” list, so hopefully we can make that happen soon.

Stay tuned for big, exciting news happenin’ around these parts this summer…