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A Perfect Day in Willamette Valley Wine Country

Looking for a change of scenery (even if it means traveling an hour north) we headed to the heart of Willamette Valley wine country for a quick getaway.  Fall in the Willamette Valley is beautiful.  The heat of Summer has left, but it’s not cold.  The air is fresh and earthy and it’s the one time of year you get some contrast of color to all the green.  Also for those who live here, the rain hasn’t fully set in.  This is the time where you aren’t sure how you are going to make it through the months of grey skies ahead.

It was my Husband’s birthday we decided to celebrate up in the Dundee area in the heart of Oregon wine country.  We technically live in wine country, but this is where most of the action is if you are looking for a lot of wineries in a close proximity.  Our day started by checking in to our hotel in Dundee at the Inn at Red Hills.   We stayed here because it was central, and the spot for flexible pick up with the NW Wine Shuttle which I pre-booked online.

Next we hopped on the shuttle which had multiple stops in a hop on, hop off format every half an hour.  We had our stops mapped and were ready for some pinot.  The shuttle was great overall and I loved having an option that was flexible.

Wine Tasting

Our first stop was Domaine Serene.  It sits on a hill and is a grand main building.  I was not expecting something this fancy honestly since a lot of Oregon wine country is low-key, but it is a stunning property.   The views from the bar are spectacular and although it was busy they have plenty of seating indoor and outdoor.

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Digging out of the Darkness – Five things that helped me Manage my Postpartum Depression.

A Bundle of Joy

A baby is called a bundle of joy, but sometimes along with that joy is a host of emotions like desperation, loneliness, anxiety, or fatigue (just to name a few).  I am someone who struggled with depression for years.  I knew getting hit with postpartum depression was a real possibility.  It wasn’t until I was deep into it that I even recognized what was happening.   This is a subject that is raw, and real, but I am hopeful that more women can feel confident in talking about this issue.  The goal being those who are struggling know they are not alone.  

Why We Don’t Talk About Depression

Sometimes I wonder why I (and likely other women) have a hard time talking about this subject?  For me it’s two-fold.  One, there is some guilt associated with feeling anything but fortunate and lucky to have a baby in the first place.  Complaining about it feels wrong.  Two, with all mental health there is a stigma.  I feel it is sometimes judged as a weakness when that’s not the case.  An example is let’s say a doctor told me, “you have strep throat, the bacteria need to be treated to make you better”.  They would then prescribe antibiotics to help kill off the bad bacteria and make you healthy again.  It would be unlikely you would say, nope I don’t need help, I’m tough and my throat can heal itself.  

For depression it’s hard even taking the step to see the doctor let alone accepting that medication is needed to help make you healthy (or even just feel semi-normal again).  If you are diagnosed with any other medical condition it is unlikely it would be something you feel ashamed or embarrassed about.  

Five Steps That Helped Me

Being in the throes of depression it’s sometimes hard to even recognize you are depressed.  Life challenges are exacerbated after having a baby when you don’t feel like yourself and are exhausted in the first place.   I have found some key steps that helped me climb out of the darkness of postpartum depression.  Note I’m not a medical expert, but these are the steps that helped me through the process. 

1 – Do the opposite of what you feel like in the moment. 

When I’m depressed all I want to do is isolate myself from the world, lay on the couch, soak in my feelings and binge watch Bravo.  It is not easy, but pushing yourself to be social and meet with friends (or anyone) is healthy.  It also might be the last thing you feel like, but getting out for a walk and exercise can really help.  Even if it’s the last thing in the world you want to do, taking steps moving forward will help you get better.  

2 – Find a doctor you trust

It is key to have and go see a doctor you feel comfortable speaking with.  They can help assess your situation and help you with any needs for medication or therapy.  

3 – Try therapy

I was therapy-resistant but knowing I wanted to get better for my family I was willing to try.  There are a lot of options available with tech advancements as well.  I ended up using the Talkspace app.  It fit better into my life as a mom and they can match you with a therapist based on your needs.   

4 – Find support 

Find a mom group or other venue to know you are not alone.  Having people to go through this with you not is immensely helpful.  Within Talkspace there are also groups you can join where you can find support from peers. 

5 – Don’t be too hard on yourself

As a Mom, it’s so easy to feel like you are failing in one area or another.  Recognize you are doing the best you can and that’s what your family needs.  Finding the time and resources to help yourself feel better might not feel like it, but it is a priority.  Lastly, try not to be too hard on yourself.  Like most things in life you will get through the low points, just know there are brighter horizons not too far ahead.  

Thank you for reading.  If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.  I’d love to hear from you.


A Fun Family Weekend at the ​Oregon Coast

Few places are more fun for a family getaway than the Oregon coast.   The coast is majestic, ruggedly beautiful with vistas mixed with small towns along the way.  There is so much the Oregon coast has to offer, but I’m going to focus on a family-friendly itinerary on the central part of the coast.   Here is how my family would spend a weekend away to make the most of a coastal adventure. 

We will start our adventure in Newport, one of the larger cities on the coast and a core tourist destination.  Home of The Oregon Coast Aquarium, multiple lighthouses, Yaquina Bay, and Rogue Ales headquarters.  From there we will head North and hit a few more highlights. 

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Ten things delivering baby

Ten Things No​ One Tells You About Delivering a Baby.

One word of caution, this post has some raw (and somewhat embarrassing details) on the realities of childbirth based on my personal experiences. The actual birth of my first son was challenging to say the least. Some details I share here are unpleasant (that’s one way to put it I guess).  I honestly wished someone had told me the more gritty details before my first baby so I was better prepared mentally.

Sidenote – if you are in the process of packing for the hospital definitely check the top ten items you must pack

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Work & Life

AnyList – The Meal Planning App That Saved my Sanity

Meal Planning doesn’t have to be hard.  Have you heard the question what’s for dinner and had not clue what you could make?  Or if you just got back from the grocery store only to find you now had two apple juices, but forgot milk?  I was a fly by the seat of my pants shopper which worked fine when I was living alone.

 Fast forward and add in two little ones in the mix and a variety of grocery needs my “strategy” if you can call it that was not working and turning into going to the grocery store three or more times a week (who has time for that)?

Grocery store
This was too frequent of a view 
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Tradeoffs of Perceived Success and Happiness (Video)

From the outside everything looked good. I had an excellent career and was experiencing what I thought was success. In hindsight I wasn’t happy and healthy. Actually I was pretty miserable. Sometimes I think in striving to be so perfect in what we think we should be makes it impossible to be truly happy. Curious if anyone has felt the struggle between perceived success and happiness.

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