Jun 27, 2011

Hang onto your hats! Tom's Shoes founder commented on my blog and I sold our Condo!

I'm very sorry...it has been a very busy month, week, day.  I am trying to wrap my mind around what has happened.  It started very simply.  My Granddaughter and Grandson had birthdays.  My son and his family flew in from China.  Then the grandson graduated from high school.  My blog was recognized on Virtual Granny and I received a comment from Brent Mycoskie, founder of Tom's Shoes, for a piece I wrote for Blog Critics. AND to top it all off my house sold today.  Two offers came in within 24 hours and it seems we have sold the condo.

But other than that nothing much has happened.  Sorry to disappoint you.  Life as a retiree can be very slow.  But not today!!!!

The house sale was huge and greatly desired.  My grandson graduating from high school was the best.  Being recognized by Virtual Granny is so important to me.  But a comment from Brent Mycoskie is beyond anything.  Really.  He has done such a wonderful thing by creating a for profit business that supports itself and also provides one pair of shoes for a child that is barefoot for every pair sold to people like you and me.  I am sure that my grandson would hope to do something as meaningful during his lifetime.  I want you to read his comment, go to his website and reflect on what he has done:
Thanks for the mention of TOMS in your blog. Yes, the ATT ad was a driving force in moving the company to a profitable position which has now allowed the launch of a new one-for-one giving vision back to people in under-developed countries. Hopefully, there will be more to follow. ATT continues to be a great partner with TOMS on many fronts. They sponsored a "shoe drop" in September during which the 1 millionth pair of shoes was given. ATT execs traveled with TOMS to Argentina for that milestone event.

Read more: http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/tv-ads-with-a-social-conscience/#comments#ixzz1QXdMfbWQ

So what does a retiree do all day?  She just hangs onto her hat.

Have a wonderful week.


Jun 25, 2011

How a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) Can Help You Retire In Style!

When I my husband and I are ready to buy another piece of property we will be looking for a real estate company and agent that serves senior citizens. I decided this when I discovered a REALTORS® certification for agents called SRES® (Senior Real Estate Specialist).  This guarantees that the agent is trained and certified to serve seniors (50+). I just makes good sense.

Yesterday I  discovered a real estate agency that not only employs SRES® agents but they have a whole division that serves clients 55+.  The agency is located in NYC and the division is called Seniors on the Move
Real Estate Ad:  Established in the late 1990’s, Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Seniors on the Move Division is a dedicated team of real estate professionals that focus on the specific needs of the 55+ buyer and seller. Our Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) are certified and have completed the educational requirements, which ensure they offer the best service to this growing community. 
We launched our Seniors on the Move website to make that the process of finding your new Senior Lifestyle home easy and our SRES® specialists are always just a phone call or email away to assist you. Inside you’ll find properties which have been designated for Senior Living to make your search easier. 
I love the idea of a real estate company offering a whole division designed to serve 55+. I think a large percentage of newly retired people fantasize about moving. The idea that they can live anywhere without worrying about finding a job is very enticing. My husband and I were those people 15 years ago. However, we were on our own. We were not aware of any real estate companies or agents trained to help us find the perfect forever house. So we had to set our own criteria and educate the person we chose as a real estate agent. We wanted our dream location to meet these needs:
  • Financing
  • City life
  • Reasonable price
  • Aesthetics/luxury
  • Amenities
  • Square footage
  • Services
Oregon Condo for Sale
We bought a condo in a planned community with restaurants and a grocery in walking distance.  Now we have our condo for sale and we are thinking of moving to another "perfect" location. Our list of needs has not changed that much. We live in Portland, Oregon metro area so NYC is just a dream. We are in our early 70s and common sense says no!  Sigh!

FIY:  The SRES® designation by the National Association of Realtors carries education requirements with it. Once an agent completes the program, the agent can then add SRES® as a title after their name.   The SRES®  is a certification available to REALTORS® across the USA.  They describe the certification like this:
Seniors Real Estate Specialists® or SRES® designees are REALTORS® qualified to address the needs of home buyers and sellers age 50+. The SRES® Council awards the SRES® Designation to those members who have successfully completed its education program.
This type of agent could be very valuable for you!

I need to let you know that what I find to be a good idea may or may not work for you.  It is your choice and I don't guarantee anything.  I can only give you the information.


Jun 23, 2011

Small Spaces in Hot Weather: The Affordable Heat Pump by Air & Water

     Part of my job here at Retire In Style Blog is to share products that will help you be comfortable living in a small space.  I have told you about downsizing, products that you might need and how to make that small space beautiful.  In every case I have told about things that I know first hand.  I am not an expert unless you want to call "living" an education but I do know what I love.
     A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a company that sells home appliances.  The email started like this:

NewAir AC-10000H 

10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner 

and Heater with Remote Control

My name is Andreah, I work in the marketing department for an independent online appliance retailer called Air & Water, Inc.  We sell a variety of home appliances on our website Air&Water.com.  I heard about your blog through my mom, who is a regular reader.  She's always talking about your great travel ideas and looking in to day trips that are closer to where she lives.  It's great to see her so active and enjoying her retirement!
     She had me at the "I heard about your blog through my mom....".  When I read the rest of the letter, I felt as though I were talking to an old friend.  What the company wanted was for my husband and I to try out a new product they are marketing this summer.  I agreed to test it and then give you my review here on my blog.  The portable air conditioner and heater came in the mail last week.
     Air&Water is a company that sells everything from air conditioners to BBQ grills.  Their tag line is The Way Online Shopping Should Be.  When I clicked on their website I was immediately offer an chance to chat online with a representative.  I don't know about you but I like it when a company makes it that simple to get information on a product I want to buy.

About Us
     We live in Portland in the summer and Tucson in the winter.  Our heating and cooling needs are very unique.  Here in Portland the humidity is high and we may require heat part of the day and cooling at another time. 
     In Arizona we live in a park model with a TOTAL square footage of about 400 square feet.  It is very small.  We have a very old heat pump that is not working properly.  Replacing that unit would cost us somewhere around $4000.  We do not use either the heating or cooling daily there but when it gets cold or very hot we do need a little help so we can be comfortable. As a result we have been looking for a more affordable way to heat and cool our tiny space.

About the NewAir AC-10,000H.
     So the question we asked ourselves turned out to be "would we use something portable and carry it back and forth?"  After we opened the box, set it up the NewAir AC-10000H in our condo upstairs, we both knew the answer would be "yes".  It was easy to install, inconspicuous/sleek and very quiet for a portable AC unit.  Best of all it included a remote control. (Specs for it are on the webpage.)
     The NewAir AC-10000H can 1) cool, 2) heat, and 3) dehumidify.  We will make use of all three of these functions this summer.  Our condo here in Oregon is 1400 square feet but our upstair bedroom and office is a total of 350 square feet.  We will close unused rooms off upstairs when we are heating or cooling.  This unit is designed to heat or cool 325 square feet.  It also features a timer so we can set it for the heating/cooling to come on in the early evening before we go to bed.   Perfect!
     What I have discovered after trying both the AC and heating unit, the performance meshes with the information from the manufacturer.
From the Air Water Website:  The NewAir AC-10000H also offers 10,000 BTUs of cooling and easily covers areas up to 325 square feet, making it ideal for both primary or supplemental cooling of individual rooms or areas.
     The price is $469.00 but they are offering free shipping for a limited time. Today I see they are offering a price break of $110.  My husband and I thought the cost sounded a lot better than the $4000 for a new heat pump in Arizona.  
     I only tell you what I know.  I can't guarantee that you will love what I love.  Take a look at the information, guarantees and pictures.  You will have to decided for yourself.  I can only send you in the right direction.


Jun 22, 2011

TV Ads with a Social Conscience? Chrysler and Tom's Shoes Show the Way

Note: Article first published as TV Ads with a Social Conscience? Chrysler and Tom's Shoes Show the Way on Blogcritics.
From Blake Mycoskies bio on Tom's website. 

An article posted by AARP this week talked about a business that had found a way to connect consumers with a social conscience to a wonderful product. I had been aware of this small company for several years, but up until its commercial-within-a-commercial TV campaign, I had not been aware of the concept. It was pure genius on the part of some advertising agency.

Tom's Shoes
AT&T partnered with a small shoemaker, (Website informationTom's Shoes), which provided free shoes to children around the world. The young Blake Mycoskie saw a need for children's shoes in poverty-stricken communities and he was looking for a product he could sell. So he started a business based on this need and found a way to do it profitably. As I remember the business plan, he hired people in third world countries to make the shoes and marketed them with a tag line telling the consumer that every pair of shoes sold also included a pair of Tom's shoes for a barefoot child in a third-world community—a sort of two for one sale. Enter me, a lover of children, and you have a senior with a social conscience who is wearing a pair of Tom's shoes! That was back in 2009 and I still wear that original pair. Read more at Blog Critics Business....

Jun 19, 2011

How Yelp.com Portland helps us + Thai Flombe in Hillsboro, Or

First Day of Summer is coming!
If we are going to eat in a restaurant in downtown Portland, we check with Yelp.com to see what other people think.  Words like "dirty" or "terrible service" make us take pause, especially if there are several agreeing opinions.  But out here in the west part of the metro area things are different. We are overrun with franchises and drive through in Hillsboro, so we are more apt to try a family owned restaurant no matter what the reviews.  If we are planning a special evening out we will check with Yelp but we know that the reviews may be submitted by people that are not locals.  That is very important.

So yesterday when I had a very good meal at a local main street restaurant, I knew I had to tell you about it. My husband and I were shopping for a screen door knob at the antique stores in downtown Hillsboro when hunger hit us both right between the eyes!  Main street is turning into a trendy place for busy working people meet for lunch.  Local government workers along with Intel employees fill restaurants during the lunch hour. We went to the Thai Flombe Restaurant. I ordered the Red Curry with chicken.  Yum yum yum!  This dish was so creamy, spicy with a touch of sweetness.  I have never tasted Thai food locally that was this good.

When I got home I looked at Yelp.com to see what other's thought of the restaurant and to add my review.  I was not surprised to see that 85% of the reviews were favorable.  I thought that the reviewer, Spawna, said it the best:
I love this little jewel of affordable deliciousness [Thai Flombe] in the heart of downtown Hillsboro. The restaurant is owned and run by an extremely friendly Thai couple who provide excellent and quick service. This is one of the few restaurants in the Hillsboro area that is not a corporate chain, and the difference is dramatic. 
After reading this comment I suddenly realized that, when we talk about the best ever restaurants, we really are talking about the choices in a specific community.  It is all relative and relatively speaking, Thai Flombe is very good...especially for here in Hillsboro, Oregon.

A special thanks to Yelp.com for providing reviews for the best eating places around.  It really is a great help.


Jun 17, 2011

Buying a BETTER mouse trap at Target!

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (If You Give...)We own a cat that loves to hunt.  If he were a human he would be a card carrying member of the NRA. His need to hunt exceeds his need to eat by about 200 percent.  How do I know this.  Well, once he is full, he brings them into the house and turns them free in our kitchen. That, my friends, is where the quest for a better mouse trap began.

In this day of miracle poisons and cardboard set them free traps, a real mouse killing machine is very hard to find.  There are so few hardware stores anymore that we must drive many miles to find one, so we generally opt for Target or the grocery store to get the mundane things like a package of various sized screws or nails.  But a mouse trap in the grocery store?  That didn't seem right. So we headed out to look for one.

I encouraged a trip to Target.  You can buy clothes or a purse at Target even if you don't find a mouse trap. The trick at Target is choosing the right department. We thought that traps should be among the hardware items but it turns out Target did not see it that way. So we headed for the groceries department because we were pretty sure they were not in electronics or down the baby clothes aisle. And there they were, between the bread and the peanut butter.  It was a much better mouse trap, made in China.  I whooped a little and did the "discovery" dance in the aisle.  We were going to be the proud owners of a better, Target designed mouse trap.

The mice (meaning more than one) were camping out under the stove and under the fridge. We saw them wandering around in the dining room.  I think they had parties at night since there were three of them.  I think the female was promiscuous and loved the night life. Or maybe there were two females and one male and he was having a party.  Being a female myself, I new by instinct that this was not going to have a happy ending...not for the mice and certainly not for me.

The better mouse trap did not look right to me.  It had an orange square on the top and didn't have the right advertising stamped on the wood.  Somehow I was a lot more comfortable with a mouse trap that looked like the one I was raised with.  So my husband, the fearless human hunter in our house, set two traps, one by the corner of the stove and another near the refrigerator.

We had pancakes the next morning and my husband was the cook.  When he looked to check on the stove. mouse trap it was no where to be found.  We accused the cat and searched the house high and low for the device.  Finally, after disassembling the stove we found the trap buried deep under the drawer. The peanut butter was licked up clean and the mouse trap was empty. Yikes!  How smart were these mice anyway?

My husband reset the trap and we waited.  That night we heard the cat coming up the stairs chattering all the way.  He had the mouse in his mouth and attached to the mouse was the new improved mouse trap.  He took it in the bath room and had a celebration of his own.  What a deal he seemed to say...his humans were catching the mice for him now!  He was soooooooo happy.

We finally caught three mice in the kitchen.  The last mouse we caught was attached to the mouse trap by his leg. We found it deeply hidden under the stove too..she/he was not dead so now my husband became a mouse murderer.   That is just so wrong I can't even begin to tell you.

A better mouse trap??? I think not.  I like the old kind with the red stripe around the out side and blue advertisement in the middle.  No orange thingy for the bait to be put on.  Just a piece of wire and a trap the will spring on your finger if you are not careful.  I want that kind. So Target, are you listening?

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Jun 16, 2011

Question #2: What 10 things would you buy?

I am inviting you to think about this...10 things that you could not live without.  I am retired, 69 and live in a small space.  If you were wanting to shop for my favorite things this is what you would look for:
    Bird Themed Metal Wall Hooks Branches Nature Rustic Home Cabin Decor Organizational
  1. My Microplane Zester...I yearned for one of these for years but just could not make myself buy one.  I even used a rasp from my husband's shop for a while.
  2. The exfoliating gloves I use in my shower.  
  3. My Kindle reader...this device has made it possible for me to read again.
  4. My Mac computer...how would I ever live without it.
  5. The counter top oven/toaster Pacific Coast ® Down Around ® Standard Pillow(good for small food items).
  6. The Pendleton blanket that belonged to my parents.
  7. Hooks for clothing.
  8. The magnetic wall rack for my spices (a great space saver).
  9. My Dyson vacuum.  Really, I will never own another brand.  It is the best.
  10. My iphone...I even take most of my pictures for this blog with it.
There you have it. Give me a list of 10 things you like for your small space.


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Jun 15, 2011

A Hobby for Retirement? Dabbling in Genealogy

In a recent article on the AARP website the writer talked about how easy the Internet has made genealogy research. "Your Family History is Just a Click Away" was the name of the article. The article includes many links and lots of information. This what they had to say:
There's a bonanza on the Internet for anyone searching for their family roots.
As more records go online worldwide, a click of a mouse can take you back in time by hundreds of years in a matter of minutes via websites designed to help you hunt down your past.
I love it when a website like AARP does a lot of the hard work.  However, because my husband and I are nerds (all be it old nerds) we would rather do at least part of it ourselves.  Here what happened this last week.

Genealogy our way!
Genealogy is not my bag.  I just think "let sleeping dogs sleep" and I can not even remember what my Great Grandmother's first name was.  I'm funny that way.  My husband, on the other hand, has been dabbling around with it for quite a while.  He is curious and I suspect he has always been looking for a jailbird in my background. Then he found a little golden key hidden within the cemetery records of the Baker City, Oregon. When you type Baker City Cemetery in the google search a web site called Access Genealogy comes up. He began following the pathway it opened for him. 

Eventually he was led to a website was called Find a Grave where serious genealogist, usually family members, can post a virtual memorial and pictures of grave sites along with photos and synopsis of the information about the person and their ancestors. There is also a page that will allow you to see the comments and exchange of idea that have gone into the research. It is very interesting and it was all free...my husband liked that a lot!  

All the research had been done for him and he found answers to my families ancestry going back to 1715 on the Find a Grave website. It seems that a cousin of mine several generations removed had done a great deal of research into the family. It was like a family tree just grew up in the front yard.

If you are a reader and love a really good story, I think you would love this hobby. I found the information on my grandfather's ancestors just fascinating. They are not famous or related to the king but they were remarkable in their own way.  For example,  Pheobe, wife of my great grandfather Isaac Boyle was a very strong willed and unbendable woman. She married Issaac Boyle when she was 15 and he was 40.  She managed to get herself arrested by the county constable and her daughter was arrested at the same time. My grandfather left her when he was 70 years old. She was buried far from the rest of the family in the community cemetery.  Like my cousin that did the research, I too wondered "What was that all about?" Great Grandmother Phoebe, what were you really like?

One of my great grandfather's son's, my grandfather's brother, was named Joseph Lane Boyle. It is possible he was called after Joseph Lane, the man Lane county and Lane Community College is named for. Lane was the governor of Oregon Territory and after a lifetime of politics, retired in Roseburg, Oregon. Roseburg is located just north of Canyonville, Oregon. Because Issac Boyle was one of the first settlers/explorers around Canyonville and they were contemporaries, it seemed entirely possible that the two men may have known each other. At any rate, I love the idea that there could have been a connection

I will leave the genealogy to the true history lovers. As for me I love filling in the gaps with what I imagine might have been. WOW!

Are you interested?
Are you interested in looking at your family tree?  This may be something you should look into.  I think that we need to keep learning all through our lives. Many retirees are seeking SOMETHING to engage their minds. Genealogy could be a very interesting hobby. I have a friend that has traveled all over the United States digging through court house records and newspapers to find out about her family. She sees it as a treasure hunt and who wouldn't like to do that?  She has collected a serious amount of information.

Sometimes we are just curious about the past but don't want to turn it into a full time obsession. I am finding that many many others are doing the work for us and love to share that information. My husband did email my distant cousin and her reply gave us permission to print and share the information with our children. We thought it was common courtesy to just say "please" and "thank you".  

Links for beginners: 

How toGetting Started on about.com. WhereFind a Grave Lots of LinksGenealinks  App for ipad/iphoneAncestry (free on itunes)
Family TreeTech tips
Family TreeTech tips  LDS church. We are not LDS but I do know that the church has accumulated a great deal of information and you can go to their website to link with that library data base. I think Family Search is part of that group.14 day free trialAncestry.com       AARP:  Relationship/Genealogy

Have fun with this...I know I certainly did. And leave a comment to let me know what you have done in this area.

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Jun 13, 2011

How to appear younger: 7 Restaurant Behaviors + Wassabi in Beaverton

Wassabi on Cornell near Streets of Tanesborne
Great Pan Asian Food + a sports bar!
Las Vegas, NV.
 Giant California Roll

Many of my friends are not biting, literally, when it comes to sushi. YUCK! they will say. The idea that something might have a raw fish in it or on it just does not rock their boat! Not that I am judging but I have an opinion retirees. Here it is!

Last year I wrote a post on "looking old".  It included advice like don't wear a watch - just look at your cell phone and don't be the office archivist...even if you know you are right be quiet and buy some new clothes because polyester is out of style and get a new hair style because long gray hair drags you down.  

Now I'm on a new kick... please don't act old when you go out to eat. Here are 7 things that bother me:

  • Don't complain about the prices on the menu. Honestly, if you aren't in the Cracker Barrel or McDonald's, things are going to cost more. A very middle of the line non-franchise restaurant is going to cost you a lot more. $16-$25 is not high priced. Remember the cost of putting that item on the table involves more than the cost of the food. It really doesn't matter what you think and it just makes you look bad when you complain...don't even gulp! For example, here is a review about Wassabi in Beaverton posted on yelp.com. Notice the price was mentioned (other people think about the prices too):
"probably the most stylish sushi place in Hillsboro. I don't remember the first visit because it was quite a while ago. Anyway, when I first looked at the menu, I thought the price for their specialty rolls was overpriced. But when the order arrived, I realized, they're twice ..."‎ - Denise M. ‎ - Apr 27, 2011   www.yelp.com/biz/wassabi-hillsboro
  • In the Portland area a tip of 15-18+% is expected. Don't be cheap.
  • Please leave your ills at home. Order what you can eat and don't give the people with you an "organ (internal organ) recital" listing why you cannot eat spicy. No one wants to know and it ruins everyones appetite.
  • Include a new taste in your "things you will eat" list. Try curry or Thai food. You will find they can tone the spices down and your children/friends will think you are very cool.
  • Learn to use chop sticks.  It is not that hard I discovered. When we travel, we have to use chop sticks or our fingers. I am so glad we took the challenge and learned to do this.   
  • Eat sushi!  Now listen here...not all sushi has raw fish on it or in it. A California Roll for example, is made with rice and vegetables.  It is delicious and so good for you. The best part for seniors is that it is really inexpensive!!!!  I thought you would like that.
  • Don't share a meal...order appetizers instead. Now here is the deal...my husband and I share a meal at the local franchise.  Sometimes I don't care how old I am. But when I am eating at a nice restaurant, we order just the entre or an appetizer.  It is plenty of food and we aren't acting like we have just climbed out of the 1950's. (This helps with that "cost" thing too.)
  • Wassabi in Beaverton Oregon...great!
  • If you are a nose curler/yuck sayer, stop that. Living a full life requires that we learn-to-learn new things...even when we are old!  
I think that people who are not willing to experience new tastes and experience age at the speed of light.  It seems to me that we do not get old because our body ages. We get old because we don't continue to learn new things. For those that get stuck, the world shrinks with each "yuck" or "it is not safe". So there you have it.  Live life and you will look young! It is not rocket science people.


I want to thank Wassabi's for being to gracious and allowing me to photo the interior. This is a very nice restaurant with excellent service and the appetizer menu was all we wanted or needed. The prices were not any more than any other Pan Asian food in the area. I would encourage you to try it out.
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Jun 12, 2011

Question # 1: How many Grandchildren do you have?

My husband and I have eleven grandchildren. We are very proud of them.  Retirement and grandchildren just seem to go together. Isn't that wonderful.  I wanted to share some pictures with you today.
Ethan with his parents (my daughter and her husband)
My husband and I with Ethan
Family party!

Taking care of  Brycen and Brayden (3 years old)!
Brycen (17 mos.)
Have a wonderful day.

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Jun 10, 2011

It's all Portland Metro Week: Farmer's Markets

I love our local farmer's market.  I walk the three short blocks on Sunday morning to pick up my produce, a bouquet of flowers and lots of information for my blog.  Hillsboro is the location for three of these markets. My Sunday farmers market is here in Orenco Station, Hillsboro Oregon and downtown main street hosts one on Tuesday evening and another on Saturday morning. Here in the Portland Metro area you can find a farmers market somewhere every day of the week.

Orenco Station Farmer's Market Sundays 10 AM-2 PM
Oregon Farmer's Market Association web page lists over 100 market from throughout the state.  The organizers like to support local farmer and artisans food creators as well as local artists.  As a result the market here in Hillsboro has some rules for what vendors can and cannot sell.  For example, importing vegetable from out of the area is not permitted.  The time the market can and cannot be open is set and a bell is rung for when sales can begin and when they must end. (Don't be late!)  The atmosphere of the market is friendly and welcoming.

The last Sunday I stopped and talked to two of the artisans that were selling their creations.  The first was a woman that owns a business called Basketry Bontanica by Carol.  Her beautiful baskets are available through her Etsy Shop and are priced very reasonably. She has over 100 people rating her service and the baskets she creates at 100%.  If you are a basket lover like me I encourage you to take a look at her artwork and maybe even order a custom designed piece. (503-336-1176) Tell her I sent you over.
...specializing in Appalachian melon and Cherokee style storage baskets, open-weave garlic and onion storage, Market baskets and other styles for household use. You'll find a number of basket designs here and if you don't see what you desire, contact us with your ideas...custom baskets can be woven just for you.
Botanica basket in Orenco Station Farmer's Market

Owner of Basketry Botanica

Garden Art by Roberta
The second booth that caught my eye was one called Garden Art by Roberta.  She will teach you how to recreate the beautiful items she has for sale. Her classes for creating concrete leaves are $30 and if you can get a couple more people to join you she will have a class just for you.  The $30 includes all the materials.  Her number is 503-350-2348.  Her class schedule for 2011 is:

  • June 18 Saturday 1-3
  • June 29 Wednesday 1-3
  • July 13 Wednesday 10-12
  • Jule 16 Saturday 10-12
  • August 2 Tuesday 1012
  • August 13 Saturday 1012
  • September 3 Saturday 10-12
  • September 3 Saturday 10-12
  • September 7 Wednesday 10-12
I always buy my vegetable from the Martinez Family Farms but there are many other local small farms that are selling each Sunday.  

If you are here from out of town be sure to check the schedule for the markets held downtown.  Artisans are always set up for you to enjoy their creations.

HFM Sunday at Orenco Station
Located in the parking area between NE Orenco Station Parkway and NE 61st Avenue, just off Cornell Road., Hi
Hillsboro, OR
Market manager name: Laura Conroy
Market phone number: 503-844-6685

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Jun 8, 2011

It's all Portland Metro Week: Links to Websites

NOTE:  all links are in orange.
Take a backroad to a Carlton, Or. winery!
Whether you are a visitor, new to the area or even a long time resident, there are things that you can learn about Portland if you do some research online.  While a few websites like City Search or Urban Spoon are just a given, there are others that give you a more personal and less commercial view.  Those are the ones I want to share with you.  I hope you find this helpful.

  • MIX Magazine (online edition) is published by OregonLive.com and is an arm of our local newspaper, The Oregonian.  We received this magazine with our newspaper for a whole year and I was hooked. The online edition will give you a lot of information.  The very best of all restaurants in town are featured along with enticing pictures and personal information on bartenders, chefs and owners.  I love this website.

Old Wheeler Hotel, Manzanita, Oregon
On the Oregon Coast

  • Portland Magazine (online) This online magazine aimed at the Portland Metro area consumer has it all. You can find information on everything from food to real estate. The current issue has an article on a day trip of even an overnight stay in Manzanita that appealed to me. The Old Wheeler Hotel is only $99 per night so it is affordable. While the magazine is available on magazine racks I find that the online version is enough for me! 
  • PortlandNeighborhood.com  bills itself as the "insider's guide to Portland".  Really, Portland is not a big city but the trendy and historical neighborhoods are spread out across the city.  Some of the best neighborhoods are not that easy to find.  If you take an insiders advice you can see a lot in not much time.
  • Around the Sun is a website for those of us that are looking for something to do but don't have a lot of money.  If you are just wanting to fill a day this may be the place for you to go.
  • Explore the Pearl Map  Portland's Pearl District is the location of one of my favorite book stores...in the world.  Powell's Books located on the corner of Burnside and 9th Avenue may be the largest used book store in the United States and even the world.  The online map of the Pearl is a must for any visitor to Portland.  In fact if you love to just look, shop and eat this is absolutely the place for you.  Be sure to check this map and the attached website with all the ads for businesses in the area.
  • BikePortland.org is a website devoted to people that love to ride in the urban area.  Bicycle is a big deal here in the Portland metro area.  I am not saying that everyone in the area loves it but it is not going away.  People here are trying to find ways to get around, exercise and enjoy the outdoors without climbing in their cars.  Events like the Criterion and Bridge Pedal are a huge draw for the downtown area.
  • Public Transportation Our metro area is linked by a beautiful and very useful train line that this supplemented by bus routes. We live outside the city and are about 3 blocks from a Max Line station. We can pay a senior citizen fee and ride Max to downtown Portland in less than 45 minutes. The trains run into the city center and after arrive downtown you can catch a trolley into the Pearl or even go as far as the PDX airport. It is a very good idea to check on this system if you are visiting. Parking, and traffic cease to be a concern. All you need is an all day ticket and a good pair of shoes. From downtown you can go to the Washington Park Zoo, Washington Park Rose Gardens, the Japanese Gardens and even the Children Museum. Hiking in Washington Park is very popular with locals.
  • Day Trips from Travel Portland Website You really should either rent a car if you have flown in a take at least one day trip.  You can go in any direction to find what you want.  Wineries, the Columbia Gorge, the Oregon Coast, Mount Hood are all possibilities.  This website lists several suggested day trip.  The concierge at any hotel can help you our with this type of planning.  Sometimes a drive down country backroad can give a person the most pleasure. The point is there are lots of choices.

    Portland is one of the most beautiful urban area you will find anywhere.  The climate, people and setting will just blow you away.  I hope you find something useful here.


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    Jun 7, 2011

    It's all Portland Metro Week: ANDINA RESTAURANT

    Living in the Portland Metro area is a delight.  Food, fun and friends springs to mind.  People from the Portland Metro area are friendly. Even new people to the region seem to pick up the vibe. Locals honk their horns when you are going to run into a tree not when you take a little too long at a stop light.  We use 4 way stops signs and yellow turn signals on red lights.  It seems to work out just fine.

    So I am going to spend next seven day taking about my favorites. I love to go on a date to a restaurant in the Pearl District in downtown Portland so I need to start there.

    On Mother's Day several weeks ago my daughter and her family took us to Andina for dinner. The byline for this eatery is "A taste of Peru in the Pearl!" My husband and I had stopped in for lunch a while back but we really didn't appreciate how unique this place is. The special event we attended featured a performance by a local jazz musician. The food was so spectacular I am not even going to describe it.

    My thoughts on Andina:
    Pure Luxury
    Ambience:  The feel of this space is pure Pearl! Classy, casual and artsy beautiful.
    Food:  I was delighted to find a non-gluten menu post.  Food prepared with quinoa allows people with diet restrictions to enjoy the tastes of Peru.  Quinoa is used in Peru in much the same way we use wheat.  The name is significant to their cultural respecting the earth.  Luncheon menu feature entres created with beef, chicken or Serrano ham.    My favorite is a vegetarian special:

      The Incas referred to quinoa as "chisaya mama" or "mother of all grains;" grilled market fresh vegetables on a bed of golden beet and local mushroom "risotto" laced with truffle oil  19.
      Location:  If you are wanting to spend an afternoon in downtown Portland or are a visitor to the city, you really should just take an afternoon to explore the Pearl District.  It is so rich in style and urban feel you will go away with the sense that you have traveled to a foreign country.  The restaurants website cannot help but wax poetic about it's location.
      "Andina is located in Portland's beautiful Pearl District, a unique area where you'll find antique shops, Portland's best known art galleries, traditional and trendy boutiques, and upscale lofts." 
      Cocktails: They serve the best cocktail I have ever tasted.  The item is written in Spanish but when you speak the word aloud its say SexyWoman.  The ingredients are just amazing and the drink itself is one of those that can fill the whole evening sip by sip:
      SACSAYHUAMÁN Habanero pepper vodka shaken with pureed passion fruit and cane sugar,served up with a sugar rim and a cilantro leaf garnish.
      Dress: If you want to wear on those new spiked heels and put on the dog you can do that.  If you are a more casual dresser, that is okay too.  Portland is more about good food, art, hip living and bicycles than it is about how you look.  Brush your teeth and put on a clean pair of pants or blouse.  You will be fine.

      Andina is a ***** as far as I am concerned and I would recommend it to anyone.  

      Have a great day!

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        Jun 2, 2011

        How to fit technology into a small space!

        Feeling a little crowded?  Have too much stuff but still want it all?  Sharing an apartment with a friend?  Let's talk about living a studio/loft apartment or even in your bedroom.

        My first apartment was a studio on the top floor of an apartment house in La Grande, Oregon. I had a view down the alley of Mount Emily. I loved that apartment with it's drop leaf table and small alcove that served as our bedroom.

        I wonder now why we ever thought we needed more. Had it not been for children we could have spent our entire life in that apartment. We could have upgraded the furniture and painted the occasional wall.  That small space was so perfect for all ages. I have a feeling I might live in something like it again before I am gone.

        However, the next time I live in that kind of space, I will find a way to fit in my computer.  Things have changed a lot in the last 50 years. In fact, in the world of technology, a lot has changed in the last 6 months. It is hard to keep up with the trends.

        Here are two toys I spotted at the Apple Store the other day.

        1. There is a device called Eye TV out now that allows you to watch TV wirelessly on any computer in your house.  The device works through your outlet for your cable. Imagine yourself in a very small space with only enough room for one TV.  Now imagine you have to share that one TV. Yuck!  My husband loves sports and I don't so much. One or the other of us will retire to the bedroom where our second TV is located. But, what if we did not have a second TV or even a separate bedroom?  Wouldn't it be wonderful if our computer station would become a second place to watch TV? We could add noise canceling head phones and pull up a very comfortable desk chair.  Bang! We have a second TV. I can see it now.
        2. image from engadget
        3. I talked about the magic track pad for my Mac computer the other day...I want it now. All the space I would need near my computer keyboard would be the space the track pad consumes.  My mouse requires a pretty large surface. These little babies sit next to the keyboard seamlessly.  Not only do they do what I would want, they also look good. I like that a lot.
          I have also seen a few other ideas that would make small space living techno cool. It is all about finding room for all your toys. Making it beautiful is nice too.
            Apartment Therapy Cable Decor

          • Apartment Therapy's idea for making all those cords work for you in the small space...gorgeous. It is called Cable Decor. You can create this look by taking that very long unsightly cord and painting it. Then you create a design on the wall using clips that you can buy at your hardware store.  I think those clips we use for the lighted cords would work. If you don't want to make a sculpture on the wall the cute little Power Curls help keeping the cords corralled.
          • While we're at it, let's talk again about the ipad keyboard dock. You can make that ipad your only computer with this device.  When you need to type on your computer, your ipad converts with the keyboard dock. While it is charging, you can type away.  It is small and works like a charm. We gave one of these to my son as a gift.  He is using it while he works on his masters program.
          It is raining here (still) in Portland Oregon.  I have spent the week shopping and dreaming about what we might do next in our smallish home and computer life.  It has been lots of fun.  AND tomorrow is another day.  Friday dreams are the best of all.

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