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…


Graham Oaks Golden Birthday

On October 27th, I celebrated my golden birthday!  John had to work that day, so I decided to treat myself to a solo walk in nature.  I planned on hiking Powell Butte, but when I woke up that Sunday morning, it was gray, cold, rainy, and windy.  😦  I was still happy regardless because it was my birthday, but I didn’t feel like driving that far in the rain.  So, I decided to find somewhere closer to explore (I was still determined to spend time out in nature!)  I remembered hearing about Graham Oaks Nature Park and decided to check it out.  I enjoyed the morning inside, skyped with Silv and then, around 2pm, I saw the sun had emerged so I rushed to get out of the door A.S.A.P. in order to enjoy it.  Here are some photos from my golden birthday at Graham Oaks.

This park is very green!  Check out the green roof above the picnic shelter!  It keeps the water clean, improves air quality, and provides a habitat for birds and butterflies.


And look at this giant acorn statue!  It weighs 6,000lbs and was designed by local artist, Mauricio Saldana.acorn and moss

This visit, I took the Tonquin Trail (from the Gateway Trailhead) -> Legacy Creek Trail -> Coyote Way -> Oak Woodland Walk -> Tonquin Trail.IMG_5127Leaves as big as my feet, I tell ya!IMG_5139 IMG_5153My absolute favorite thing about the Pacific Northwest is the moss on the trees. IMG_5154IMG_5162 IMG_5169I wasn’t kidding about the moss on the trees…it’s everywhere!IMG_5172IMG_5195 IMG_5211 IMG_5214IMG_5223IMG_5256 IMG_5266So, funny story, I mistook this slug for cat poop!  Once I got closer, I saw it moving and realized it was alive…IMG_5275 IMG_5287I love this tree.  And apparently, oak trees form this mushroom-like shape when their branches don’t have to compete for sunlight with neighboring trees.IMG_529927 is my lucky number so I’m hoping this will be my lucky year!  Here’s to many, many more!


Little Golden Mulberry Park

Greetings!  I have been off here and there looking for a job and have neglected my photos!  I have so many waiting to be shared that I promised myself I would spend these weekend nights catching up.  I LOVE taking photos and am especially excited to edit them since my family got me RadLab for my birthday!!!  Anywho, when I sat down to edit the photos from our time in Colorado, I stumbled upon these gems that I had to share.

Before I moved, I took the little ones to Little Mulberry Park during the golden hour.  We had the most beautiful light!  These were all edited in Lightroom and Photoshop (using the RadLab plugin).


IMG_3375 IMG_3387

Malina and Michael


And, because I thought it might be fun…OUTTAKES!  Here is what it looks like behind the scenes when you take three kids under the age of 10 out for a photo shoot.

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Have I mentioned how much I love photographing kids? 😀


Berry Picking


This post is way overdue, sorry for the hiatus!   These photos were taken when John and I went to Washington Farms to pick strawberries back in April.  We picked a couple of gallons, which only cost about $12 each.  We had frozen berries for smoothies for almost 2 1/2 months!

I experimented with a different edit to these photos to reflect the warm, summery weather.  Enjoy!  🙂



Ahsa and Berries





Young House (Plant) Love

…get it? 😉

Come along and catch a glimpse of some of the beautiful plants we have sharing our home with us.

Take a big, deep breath and enjoy…


We got this peace lily for free on Craigslist in January 2011.  This is the first year she’s produced a lily!  We also have another, fuller peace lily in the bedroom that recently produced TWO lilies!!


Anyone know what this next plant is??


Now this guy, the sea onion, has since been relocated to a sunnier window and has a couple wooden skewers holding the vines up, like here.  I had no idea!  Also, we have two sea onions at work and everyone is creeped out by them.  I don’t get it, lol.IMG_2170

One of two lucky bamboos.IMG_2172

We’ve had some newer additions to the family that I hope to share soon.  Mint, jalapeno, tomato, bell pepper, and more.  Weeeee!

OK green thumb readers, you may have noticed that a couple of the plants have brown tips on the leaves.  What could that mean?


Exotic Birds & Reptiles Show at the Botanical Gardens


On a Saturday morning in early March, Daddy, Momma, and the little ones came up to Athens to go with John and I to the Exotic Birds and Reptiles Show at the Botanical Gardens.  Roy Hodge of Exotic Paradise Atlanta showed us all kinds of different birds and reptiles and shared with us some cool facts.  He brought cockatoos, parrots, owls, lizards, snakes, turtles, alligators (or was it a crocodile…) and more.  The presentation lasted about an hour and a half.  It was sooo cool!


IMG_1645This next snake is the kind of snake you want to find in your yard.  They keep the poisonous snakes away in Australia.IMG_1655At one point, he asked for a group of volunteers to hold an anaconda!IMG_1657This guy is a crocodile…or alligator…I forget 😉IMG_1674There were some blue & gold macawas…IMG_1676

IMG_1717A cockatoo…IMG_1688And a great horned owl…IMG_1701After the show, there were some arts & crafts for the kids to do downstairs.IMG_1704They made owl puppets…  IMG_1709…colored snake masks…IMG_1707

IMG_1706…and made bird feeders with pine cones, crisco, and bird seed (though I didn’t get a photo).

Then, they got to take a few pics with the birds!IMG_1712The birds were so sweet! 🙂IMG_1720I’m so glad they were able to come up for the show.  We are definitely a family of animal lovers! 😀