Author Archives: msmeljones01@gmail.com

day diaries bend oregon

Day Diaries: Bend, Oregon

Micro-breweries.  Homemade kombucha.  Fire pits.  A stunning view of the Three Sisters mountains.  These are a few of the staples of character-filled Bend, Oregon.  Bend is a charming and well-rounded city, celebrating the arts as well as rugged adventure.

Keep reading for all of our recommendations after the jump!

Stay
One cannot talk about downtown Bend without mentioning the historic McMenamin’s Hotel.  Once the Old St. Francis Catholic School campus, McMenamin’s is now a pseudo-resort featuring a 60-guestroom hotel, movie theater, restaurant, pub, cigar bar, and more.  Perhaps its most unique feature is the Soaking Pool — a former chapel which has been converted into a cross-shaped hot tub.  Surrounding the pool are breathtaking mosaic murals.


Play

In addition to the aforementioned features, McMenamin’s also features the Fireside Bar (with cozy fireplace, billiards, and shuffleboard tables); weekly live music, and a movie theater.  Available inside the theater is a full-service bar, pizza, and of course popcorn.  We also stumbled upon the vintage arcade called Vector Volcano. V.V. included all of the classics including Street Fighter 2, Mortal Kombat 2, Space Invaders, and a slew of old-school pinball machines.  


Every first Friday of the month (spring and summer only), downtown Bend becomes a sprawling art show.  This is called the First Friday Art Walk.  Art galleries and various shops open their doors to exhibit local artists, and many will serve refreshments.  We also encountered a marching band, and a scantily-clad group performing tribal music and dance.  

Eat

To our amazement, the Old St. Francis Pub was able to accommodate 25 of us without a reservation.  The service and the food were stellar.  I highly recommend the Expedition Elk Burger with coffee-bacon jam, black garlic aioli, and white cheddar.  

Later that week, we visited Toomie’s Thai Cuisine.  Their Red Curry was to die for; as was their Kauteo Heng noodle dish.  Caution: when it comes to spiciness Toomie’s are extra generous.

When it comes to coffee, Thump Coffee Roasters has got it figured out.  The exceptional ambiance, service, and espresso made Thump our go-to java joint for the week.  Lastly, we cannot forget to mention the food truck lot called The Bite.  Representing at The Bite were
high-quality food trucks such as The Rogue Chef, Rico’s Tacos, and Nuthin’ Fancy BBQ; as well as an open-air taphouse.  The taphouse serves a slew of local brews, as well as fresh kombucha. In true Central Oregon fashion, The Bite has a Cornhole game setup, live music, and a cozy fire pit. 

We loved adventuring in Bend and can’t wait for our next trip!

Are you a company looking to sponsor travel posts? Contact us here.

iced lavender dirty chai

Iced Lavender Dirty Chai

There’s something about lavender. I absolutely love it. If I’m looking for a workspace away from home I usually head to a favorite coffee shop and get their honey lavender latte. It’s my favorite and is the perfect start to my workday. With summer temperatures on the horizon, it’s time to break out the iced drinks with a touch my favorite, lavender. Paired with the nuance of chai, this drink uses a homemade lavender syrup with fresh lavender from the garden.

Keep reading for the full recipe after the jump!

Iced Lavender Dirty Chai

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 C organic milk, 2%
  • 8 chai tea bags
  • 8 oz of water
  • 1 C water
  • 1 C sugar
  • 4 shots espresso or 1 C cold brew coffee (find our recipe for cold brew here)
  • 10 lavender blooms, plus one stem for garnish


Directions:

Begin by placing equal parts sugar and water on the stove. Bring to a boil and reduce heat until sugar is dissolved. Add lavender blooms and steep. (Keep blooms in sugar upon storage for richer flavor. Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.) Place to the side.

Brew tea bags in 8 oz of water to create double strength chai.

To assemble drink:

Combine 2 T lavender syrup with 2 oz chai in the bottom of a tall glass. Stir. Add 1/4 C cold brew and milk. Finish with ice and serve. Soak up the sunshine and enjoy!

spring wreath diy

Spring Wreath DIY

It was time. Our winter pine wreath had sat on the front door for far too long. It was time to welcome in light blooms, neutral feathers, and something fresh as guests entered our home. Using a coupon and some artificial blooms from the dollar store, this wreath is the perfect note of spring for under $10.

Keep reading for the full how-to after the jump!

Spring Wreath DIY

Budget: $10

Supplies:

Grapevine wreath form
Artificial blooms (picked up from the Dollar Store)
Floral wire
Sharp scissors (these are our favorites, functional and beautiful)
Wire cutters
Jute twine
Feathers
Hot glue gun
Glue sticks
Directions:

Step one: Trim blooms and remove excess leaves. Using floral wire begin to gather your blooms in bunches and plan out wreath. Lay bunches of flowers in a circular fashion until satisfied with composition.

Step two: Using wire or jute twine, attach flowers to wreath.

Step three: Using hot glue, place a dot of glue on the tips of feathers and tuck into wreath.

Step four: Add door hanger and place on door!

5 ways to improve instagram

5 Ways to Improve Your Instagram (Business) Game

Around here we love Instagram. It’s our favorite social media platform. (With the Introduction of video and stories, it’s become incredibly entertaining as well.) As the years have gone by, many are trying to navigate how to use Instagram for business. How do you show up consistently, presenting your services to the world? Are you finding creative ways to engage your audience? How do you stay true to your creative voice and raise it into a raving, paying tribe?

Keep reading for our tips after the jump!

1. Show up with your work. Everyday.

For many posting on Instagram feels arbitrary or another thing to do. If this is the way you’re thinking about Instagram, it’s time to develop a strategy. Spend an hour a week developing a content calendar. Focus on the writing first and the imagery second. Then, write and create content for your dream client, rather than yourself. How would you engage your dreamies? Write to inspire and delight. Bring original photography, type, and your work for the table. Ask yourself, do people know what I do? How am I representing this visually? Is there consistency?

2. Have a dedicated account or profile for your business.

If you’re still wanting to post less curated items, think about developing two accounts, one for personal and one for professional use. This will keep your account curated on your offerings, work, and content, rather than having to be filtered through by your audience. Once you have a page dedicated to your Instagram, create a mirroring Facebook page, allowing to utilize an Instagram business account.

3. Know lighting and study photography.

Ditch dark and dingy pictures. Make a commitment to shoot in natural light and avoid harsh shadows. This will work wonders on your photos. Look through your existing feed. If there are images that aren’t amazing, delete them. As you shoot think of a consistent color scheme and editing filter for all of your images. This will bring visual continuity. We love using the VSCO app on our phone for quick edits and using Lightroom on our computers. It’s a game changer.

4. Your Instagram bio and contact information are incredibly important.

Can people tell what you do through your business? Do they know your physical location and hours? What are the services you offer? Are you driving people to your website or email? Spend time crafting your message and a strong call to action in your bio.

5. Get your life back, use a scheduling platform. 

You don’t want to spend hours on social media. Make a commitment to yourself that you will only spend time on social media that is valuable in contribution. This means likes have no value. Choose to write authentic comments instead. Only focus on contributing content that will grow your tribe. This removes pressure that can come from social media and comparison that can occur as you spend time online. If you’re on an adventure you want to photograph or capture, spend 15-30 minutes getting your shoots and then put your camera away. Confession: almost all of our images are latergrams. They are all shot ahead of time, edited, and then scheduled using Later app. This allows us a steady workflow and keeps our mornings freed up for client meetings, emails, and correspondence rather than spending hours on social media indexing.

Ready to take your Instagram to another level?

I will be teaching a half-day workshop in Redding on May 6 talking about Instagram for Business. Find out more information for the event here.

naturally dyed easter eggs

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

As a little girl I would obsess over my easter egg craft project. I would wander up and down the aisles of my local Meijer grocery store. Whether it was a simple Paas kit, or marbling, glitter, or wax resists, I would dream about all the creative exploits that would land on the simple substrate of a white eggshell. Any moment for creativity was a welcome sight and regardless of the years that have passed, there’s something about dyeing Easter eggs that brings back a welcome DIY staple. This year we ditched artificial color and ventured into the world of natural dyeing processes. Whether dyed with tea, turmeric, or red cabbage, it’s was a fun project to explore.

Keep reading for the full how-to after the jump!

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

Supplies:

  • A dozen eggs
  • 2 T white vinegar
  • 1 t iodized salt
  • 4 C red cabbage
  • Coconut oil or butter for resist

Directions:

Place eggs in a large sauce pan. Cover with water. Set on stove to high. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. In a separate saucepan, place 4 C of shredded red cabbage. Cover with water and boil for 30 minutes. Strain cabbage and discard, leaving purple liquid. Add salt and vinegar to the cabbage dye. Rubbing butter or coconut oil on the egg, create a resist. Place in dye in small mason jars. Allow to sit overnight for a deep blue. For a paler color, keep in liquid for only 5 hours. Remove eggs from dye liquid. Run underneath cold water to remove the resist. Continue to dab with paper towel for a beautiful sponged effect. Place in a basket or small wooden bowl for the perfect casual centerpiece at your Easter gathering. Until Monday and happy Easter!

Missed any of this week’s posts? Find them below.

Work to Live | Easter Brunch | Whipped Goat Cheese Bruschetta (Sweet + Savory)
Crustless Spring Vegetable Frittata | Rosemary Roasted Potatoes