Last October was our 10 year wedding anniversary. For fun, we loosely follow the traditional anniversary gift list. For example, one year the gift was ‘iron,’ so we got ourselves a waffle iron. The ten year gift is tin, so we decided to get tintype portraits taken. 

Tintypes are made using metal plates painted with light sensitive photo emulsion. The image is developed and fixed right away…a fancy, old fashioned polaroid, if you will. Tintypes are now considered an alternative photography process, but they are actually at the roots of photography. With modern lighting techniques the process is fairly quick and easy, and can be more relaxed than in the past. Each one is unique and the chemistry involved makes striking images.

To be honest, I think I’d like to do my part all over again with a glass or two of wine and a shopping trip…but it really is a raw, honest snapshot of the moment, and I love having a set of unique family portraits. Thank you so much to Kari Orvik for the beautiful photos.

Mansfield Family, 2015 by  Kari Orvik

Mansfield Family, 2015 by Kari Orvik

Hike: Purisima Creek

We try to do a family hike every Sunday, and we most often find ourselves north of San Francisco. Today...we were too tired. We went out for breakfast sandwiches instead. But last Sunday we mixed it up and had one of our best hikes in a while. We headed south to Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve


Purisima Creek is just south of Half Moon Bay, California and can be accessed from off Highway 1 or from Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard). We chose the smaller, western access point up Purisima Creek Road, which allowed us to stop off in Half Moon Bay for trail food and a quick side adventure. The drive up Purisima Creek Road is a lovely roll through horse ranches and farms...and while the parking lot at the end of the road is tiny, there's ample room on the side of the quiet road. 

Purisima Creek seemed like a great area for hiking and getting a dose of nature with kids of all ages, even just by doing short, simple out-and-back walks along the creek. We saw several other families there throughout the day. Many of the trails are wide, and the creek itself is great for picnicking and tossing rocks. Fast mountain bikes and poison oak are the main hazards. 

You can view a trail map HERE. Our route was Harkins Ridge Trail - Craig Britton Trail - Purisima Creek Trail, which came out to about 7 miles. Harkins Ridge Trail is the steeper part of this loop and we decided to tackle it first. 


The views were full of forest, hills, and even a peek of the ocean. We saw lizards & butterflies, and heard many birds. There were flowers blooming here and there, including trillium. We'll definitely be trying some more loops in this area. Perhaps tomorrow.


We are lucky to have a kid who loves to be outside and who can sleep easily in a carrier on the trail. It means we can usually plan our hike to incorporate a nap and get more mileage. After a picnic down by the creek our girl slept in a chest carrier most of the way up Harkins Ridge. She's quite petite still at 2.5 years, but is nearly too big for her carriers now. Our kid is getting pretty good at hiking on her own, though, too...she more or less ran down most of Purisima Creek Trail...once we got past the really oaky bits and let her down.

Have you tried a new trail lately or otherwise mixed up your routine?

Sweet Monday

Daylight Savings seems to be hitting us a bit hard this spring...we couldn't quite make it out for our usually Sunday hike. But then we stumbled into a Monday without anything on our schedules. We celebrated with a leisurely hike thru Tennessee Valley for a picnic and some beach exploration. Weekday hikes are always just a little bit sweeter, don't you think? 

Austin is for friends.

Texas state capitol dome

Texas state capitol dome

We recently went to Austin, Texas to visit friends we hadn't seen in awhile. It was our first visit to Texas. We consciously decided to do no research and make no to-do lists....well other than eat BBQ. It was refreshing to have no other agenda but spending time with good people. And I think that's exactly what Austin is good for. It's got the quirkiness of Portland mixed with Southern hospitality, so everyone can feel at home...everyone is nice. There are a lot of outdoor spaces at restaurants, a river to play in and walk along right thru downtown. I get the feeling that early summer would be a great time to go...play outside, swim, see a million bats, eat outside, hear good music, and hang out with friends. 

Some highlights from our trip that you may enjoy: 

  • Dahlias Cafe for crazy good breakfast (this is actually 35 miles away in Liberty Hill...I would say it was worth the drive. They also have a playground for the kiddos).
  • Texas State Capitol for history and architecture and a reminder that Texas was a Confederate state
  • South Congress neighborhood to wander around for quirkiness, shopping, and food
  • BBQ, preferably at Matt's house (invitation only)

It does feel like you need a specific reason to go to Austin...a festival, friends, college, a job, or that sort of thing. Will we go again? Probably...we really like the people we know who live there (they all petitioned us to move there, but...no). Next time? There were vague mentions of caverns and "mountains" and lakes that would be fun to explore. I would love to see the bats fly out of the bridge. Maybe take a side trip to NASA in Houston.

opie's bbq, spicewood, tx

opie's bbq, spicewood, tx

Two little birds...

Two little birds arrived on our doorstep.

My crafty mother-in-law has started working on mixed media works of art, and she sent these lovely pieces to grace the walls of her granddaughter's room. Our little one admires them everyday and reminds us that GramSam made them just for her. I am grateful that every single person in our family pursues their interests and sets a good example for our girl. I try to do the same. 

Trick or Treat


This girl is always a treat...and today she's a sweet little homeybee. Although this year I had to make a trip to Old Navy & the fabric store for supplies, we continued our tradition of a homemade costume. We're heading out in a few hours for her first trick-or-treat trip to houses (last hear we did shops on a local street). We live fairly close to a "fancy" neighborhood, so we may wander that direction to see if there are fancy treats...they have to be split three ways, after all.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Summer is gone. Long live summer.


Woosh. No...more like clackity clackity clackity clackity. The sound of the calendar days turning over quickly like a train station schedule board. It's mid-September already and the calendar says summer is ending. But in San Francisco it's really just beginning. The fog lingers less each day. It's a bit disorienting...beach weather is coming soon. I'll get my apple cider on ice. Travels and visitors and new work schedules and new nap schedules and new ideas swirl around me even faster than my daughter does. Blink and it will be fall. Take a breath and it will be Christmas.  Wake up and find it's a new year. I must rememeber to keep my eyes open. To jump in...participate. Choose. Take pictures...unless I'm just enjoying the moment. You never know, I might find someone small took the perfect picture for me.

Hike: Ring Mountain

Today we did a quick 2 mile hike at Ring Mountain Open Space in Marin County. It was just enough to shake the fog and stretch our legs...perfect after a long and slightly lazy holiday weekend. Ring Mountain (also known as Turtle Rock) is one of my favorite quick escapes out of San Francisco because it's five minutes from the freeway, has beautiful views all around of the bay, the city, and Mt. Tam, and the geology and plant life are really interesting, too. I highly recommend exploring here. It's a great spot to take kids, too. Park on the north side to head up the loop trail and you'll get a good climb up to the summit through wildflowery grasslands and California bay laurel stands. As always in this part of the word, do watch out for poison oak! 

november flashback

I know it's February, but I still have things to document & remember from the end of last year. Today, just a few snaps from our Thanksgiving adventures in Yosemite.  After our fab dinner at the Ahwahnee we spent the rest of the weekend hiking and exploring.


We walked the 13 mile Valley Floor loop. The trail is in the forest most of the way...where we saw a zillion different mushrooms. The next day wehiked about 13 miles again while trying to get to a place called the Diving Board It has no marked trail and is on the 'shoulder' of Half Dome. This famous photo was taken from there. We didn't have precise directions or a lot of daylight, so we didn't quite make it, but had a pretty little corner of wilderness all to ourselves and are looking forward to going to the Diving Board sometime this year...well, one of us anyway...we'll see if this little mama feels up to it. Because of the weird warm weather, bears were still out and about. We didn't see one, but found evidence. I was looking at some of the pictures of me from this trip and I look a little beat up in every one...a combination of miles of walking, no makeup, and, as we later found out, my body starting to switch to pregnant mode. Our last morning we hiked the Mirror Lake loop...scrambling over a huge rock slide on one side. Have you ever noticed that going on a loop in the opposite direction than the one recommended is often more interesting? Try it next time you're hiking.

Attic Whispers


We all know that pictures tell stories...but what if the stories get lost? Well, you just have to invent new ones.  My dear mother-in-law Sam's new blog called Attic Whispers does just that...she has a collection of old family photographs that no one knew the details about anymore, and she writes new short fiction stories about the people in them. She's found a new antique store photo-hunting hobby too! Sam's stories are delightful, with just the right vintage tones to go along with the photos. I love that she has found this new creative outlet. If you have a moment do stop by and take in a story or two...you'll be hooked!


here's to another year


Happy Birthday to the love of my life...I hope you had a pleasant day and enjoyed your apple pie and "powerful Welsh cheddar" (note the coal miner on the wrapper...i hope he did not eat coal dust with his cheese. do not note the quality of that photo...I had to take it quickly before you gobbled it up...and I had to edit it before it wasn't your birthday anymore).  I can't wait to see what 34 brings to you...or rather what you bring to 34 ♥

P.S. Good job actually purchasing books on our traditional bookstore date :)


October 1st was our 6th wedding anniversary...yay us! We have two traditions that we have kept since we got married.  One is to have our portrait taken.  Each year's photo goes into the back of one of our wedding albums..this one is a contender for #6, although we've got some cute non-Hipstamatic options too:


The other tradition is that we give each other a gift according to the "Traditional U.S. Anniversary Gifts" listed on Wikipedia. We usually keep it simple, and we like to try to make each others gift.  But Year 6 is Iron.  Seeing as how we have neither a forge, nor the skills of a blacksmith, we came up with a creative solution.


We bought ourselves a waffle iron. Get it...?  Iron...?

Cheers to love and breakfast options! May you all have both in your lives ♥

buried treasure


August was like a strange time warp...has it really been a month since I posted? Well, I'm still here, I assure you...wondering where I've been just as much as you are.  While we're on the subject of time warps I found these old disposable cameras.  At least one is from our wedding 6 years ago...I can't wait to see what comes out of them.  It was a bit of a challenge figuring out how to get film developed (I could have gone to the place the pros go, but figured it would be cheaper and less embarrassing to go elsewhere). I ended up mailing them out in pre-paid envelopes from the drugstore...We'll see what happens.

where wednesday [amberly]

[This week I'm pleased to have Amberly, with whom I have recently reconnected in the land of Facebook. I remember Amberly being thoughtful, kind, and cool in high school, and clearly she still is.  She now lives in Arizona with her beautiful family, running her household and an intriguing practice as an energy therapist...you can keep up with her and her hubby and her kiddos on her BLOG, and learn more about her work HERE.  I really like the subject of her post, and hope you do too!]

When we bought our first home six years ago, one of the first pieces of furniture purchased was a dining room table, complete with six chairs.  I was so excited for them to arrive.  It was as if a table made our home complete though in the decorator’s perspective it was far from it.  Our dining table has hosted many guests and been the setting of many meals.  It has served as the discussion ground for presidency and board meetings as well as small classes and book club conversation.  It moved to the kitchen for a time when we outgrew our kitchen table and has gone from long to short and back to long again often


Growing up I recall regular family dinners around the kitchen table.  Every night we made an effort to eat together as a family.  As I think about how busy we were, and now as a mother how busy my family is, I realize what an achievement that was- that we were able to eat together so often.  I loved gathering there.  It was a place to partake in delicious food and also to engage in stimulating conversation.  It was a place I remember having my thoughts challenged and being introduced to new ideas over dinner conversation.  It was a place we laughed, played games, did homework and worked on projects.  It was a productive, engaging, comforting place to be.


During my first married years we did not have a kitchen table, per se.  We had a folding card table that followed us from southern Utah to New York City and got pulled out when we had company or needed extra work space.  I didn’t realize how much I missed having a table to gather around although we laughed and bonded with friends over student-quality sofas and ikea rugs. 


The same table now sits in a new kitchen.  Well, a kitchen that is new to us but actually about 30 years old.  It is a dark wood table that clashes with the honey oak flooring but it is our space.  It is where my children gather for breakfast and where we do learning time.  It is where they color and draw and where homework gets taken care of.  It is where we spread out projects and sometimes race through dinner.  It is the place where we have gotten to know new friends as they share meals with us.  It has seen play-dough, water color paints, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, grilled shrimp and brownie trifle.  It has had silverware pounded on it and endless crumbs cleaned off of it.  I has had thoughtful elbows lean on it as chess moves are contemplated.  It has had tears shed on it as discussions turn emotional.


While I am not attached to this particular table anymore, I love what it is for our family.  I love the place it provides for learning, conversation and activity.  It is located next to a wall of windows that overlooks our backyard and I can see my children run and play while working on whatever the current project happens to be.  It’s our space.  And I love the memories and experiences it has the potential to provide for my children.

Where Wednesdays are         a  regular feature where I and a series of guest bloggers talk       about     places that are  important to us, be they work spaces,   outdoor      spaces,    sleeping spaces,  places we visit, places we   live,  places   we   drink    coffee, etc. etc.

[do you want to talk about a place or space that's important  to you? let me know and I'll set you up with a Wednesday!]

where wednesday [andrea]

Where Wednesdays are    a  regular feature where I and a series of guest bloggers talk  about    places that are  important to us, be they work spaces, outdoor  spaces,    sleeping spaces,  places we visit, places we live, places we  drink    coffee, etc. etc.

[do you want to talk about a place or space that's important  to you? let me know and I'll set you up with a Wednesday!]

[Where Wednesday this week features the stylish Andrea from Style Pie, a darling newish fashion and style blog you should definitely check out. Andrea always has a handful of creative and stylish projects up her sleeve. Oh, and she's my beautiful sister-in-law. Please welcome her to Sagebrush Coast!]

My Where Wednesday is a place I have always loved to play in, fill up, clean out, and put my morning creativity to the test: my closet. As a little girl, my basket of dress up clothes was a space I loved digging in for just the right combination of tulle and plastic high heels. The tulle may be long gone, but the thrill of finding just the right outfit for the day ahead fills my mornings.


My closet is a little place of refuge for me. I enjoy standing in front of my closet each morning seeing new possibilities in things I have worn a hundred times. Since I am a girl on a budget, finding those new possibilities makes it a little game testing my creativity with renewing the old. Some of my favorite items were found on sale or in a second-hand shop. Second-hand shops bring about the same feeling I get hunting through my closet, a place so full of possibility where I create the trend or style I want in that moment.


My favorite part of my closet is the jewelry collection hanging inside. I have always loved the look of solid colors and basic t-shirts paired with bold necklaces or large earrings. There is something about making a statement with jewelry that never gets old, pieces just waiting for that right occasion. Sometimes that occasion is buying groceries, but that’s what makes it fun!


I drool over the well-styled pages of Anthropologie and J. Crew when they arrive. I use those bursts of inspiration with my own closet by trying more prints, new textures, and bolder color combinations. My style is best described as bohemian chic. I am not afraid of a thousand layers as long as the fit is great and I look pulled together.


Thanks for having me! Maybe next time I will show you around my favorite street that also happens to have the best second-hand and vintage shops in Portland. xoxo, Andrea