Melissa Kaylene: June 2013

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Partner Opportunity

I'm so excited! Thanks to everyone who has and is supporting me on my journey. I love sharing my ideas, creations, and life inspirations with you. I've been very lucky lately to have worked with some local companies and events, including In Good Taste PDX, Portland Annual Ladies Day Out, Portland Aquarium, and I have several more lined up for the next two months.  I have a passion to share local happenings in the NW as well as small businesses and other bloggers. All promotions are done on a case by case basis, and I would love to hear any offers/ideas you have. I also have very affordable ad space available through Passionfruit, and your ad will be seen on average 13,500 a month.
for some more info check out my media kit here , and feel free to email me:
I can't wait to work with you!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ladies Day Out VIP Reception

Oh how I wish I would have taken more photos and these would have had better clarity! But I just  had to share with you, so today you get stuck with grainy selfie pics!  Last weekend my friend and I attended the first annual Ladies Day Out VIP reception, and was it ever worth it. For $35 we received two glasses of wine, unlimited Hors d'oeuvres, swag bags, and an amazing atmosphere. The lounge area was furnished with white couches and tables, with a pink glow from the lighting. Live music was played, and it was so much fun to 'window shop' prior to the show opening the next morning. There were giveaways and wine tastings - the evening flew by so fast! And proceeds from the event went to Girls Inc. of NW Oregon. ( read my original post here  ) In fact, the show was such a success that it will be back this December for a holiday edition! I can't wait for another excuse to go up to Portland and be treated like VIP ;)
~ Melissa

Friday, June 28, 2013

5 Reasons You Should Take Your Kids to the Park // FBF

parks and kids 
Happy Friday Everyone! Did you make it? ;) This weekend the weather here in Oregon is finally starting to look like joke, we are supposed to jump 30 degrees in just a couple days! Talk about a shocker for your body :) Today I thought I would throw in a Flash Back Friday, and in lieu of the summer time, I would share a post a wrote over a year ago giving you 5 excuses (as if you need any) to take your kids to the park!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #23

It's here! Week 23! Thanks everyone for linking up all the wonderful posts last week!

If you are new and haven't linked up before, this is a page where we can share some of our favorite things we created, or things that inspire us. If you are a blogger, link up to your post. If you aren't a blogger you can also link up from your Instagram or other social media page that you share on. This is a weekly post for us all to share our inspirations. Thanks so much for helping me make this happen!


Create.Simplify.Inspire. #23

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Willamette Valley Wonder Woman" width="250" height="250" /></a>

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Why a Summer Bucket List is So Important.

bucket list
Our Summer Bucket List

So, to start out I'll confess - I love writing lists. I feel so much more organized and accomplished when I have my list to go by and can cross off the things I've done, one by one. In fact, half of the time when I actually write the list down before I go to bed at night, I don't even need to look at it in the morning. The day runs so much smoother and I can actually fit more tasks into one day that way.

So, why should a Summer Bucket list be any different? Its a great excuse for everyone to sit down as a family, and storm up ideas of things you want to experience together before summer draws to an end. The kids get almost as excited as me when we cross something off the list, and so far we have crossed 5 big (four on the photo) things off of ours.

We have our list out for all to see this year, and I know at the end of summer (we usually have a big BBQ) we can all reflect on our list and talk about the things we did.

So what are you waiting for? Have you started your list yet? Comment and share one of the things you are most excited to cross off this summer!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Bracelets Galore



 I adore simple statement pieces of jewelry. I have created several collections of complementary beaded stretch bracelets that can be worn as a single piece, or together for a more dramatic display. All are handmade and vary slightly in size so that they will fall into different places when placed together. Many are in earthy colors that compliment many outfits. Shown above are ones I have just completed before the ends are trimmed and secured.

I also do custom colors if interested.

Visit my Etsy shop here:

Melissa Kaylene


Friday, June 21, 2013

Portland Aquarium


Oh my kids. They (like many children do) just adore watching animals and sea creatures. They look at everything with fresh eyes and stare in wonder at the magic of life.

We have been to aquariums before, but mainly when we were on our way to somewhere else along the coast. The children always ask me when we can go back, but it honestly gets pushed aside on our must-do list because of the distance and time it takes to get there.

Well my friends, summer is officially here today, and we have made our bucket list. There is one that needs to be checked off.

The Portland Aquarium opened its doors last year, giving locals a great option to see and touch the ocean animals without having to travel far. They offer summer camps and birthday parties; field trips and even sleepovers with the sharks!

This summer, the Portland Aquarium is inviting my family to explore their facility and share our visit with you. We plan on taking one afternoon in the first week of July to mingle with the stingrays and fish.

You can get updates and follow along on  Instagram and Twitter before the review is written!

And in the meantime, you can explore for yourself online at the Portland Aquarium website.
Right now they are offering some great membership sales!

Portland Aquarium, we'll "sea" you soon!
Full Disclosure: The Portland Aquarium is offering me a n annual family pass in exchange for a review, but 100% off opinions expressed will be my own. Photos  and logo used with permission.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #22

It's here! Week 22! Thanks everyone for linking up all the wonderful posts last week! 

If you are new and haven't linked up before, this is a page where we can share some of our favorite things we created, or things that inspire us. If you are a blogger, link up to your post. If you aren't a blogger you can also link up from your Instagram or other social media page that you share on. This is a weekly post for us all to share our inspirations. Thanks so much for helping me make this happen!


Create.Simplify.Inspire. #22

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Willamette Valley Wonder Woman" width="250" height="250" /></a>

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wine Barrel Summer Salad

Okay, I will begin with this: I don't have a green thumb. Probably because I don't feel like I have the time it takes to keep up with everything, or perhaps because I just am super forgetful with watering. BUT we have found something that lets us have a little something without being overwhelming. A little salad garden in wine barrels. We have several different kids of lettuce, leeks, carrots, peas, celery, and tomatoes (not pictured). How fun is it to be able to walk into your yard and make a little salad for dinner? Doesn't get any fresher than that! And it teaches the kids how to grow and appreciate the food, and makes eating salad a little bit more fun, knowing that you grew it yourself.

What unique garden ideas have you done?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Family First.


 As I briefly mentioned before in a previous post, we decided on a last minute trip down to Canyonville and Grants Pass to see my family. My dad moved back down to that area a few months ago, and my mom still lives there. My great Aunt June on my dad's side flew in from Texas and I knew the importance of visiting with her.

So after working all night Thursday, I came home and we loaded up for our road trip. We took the longer trip down the coast because the weather was gorgeous. Friday evening we pulled into Canyonville at my Dads temporary home (he's in the process of purchasing one) and got settled in.

Saturday my Dad and his wife April took us over to see where they would be moving in a couple weeks, and then we all caravanned down the mountain passes to Grants Pass; my home town. There we visited with my Aunt June at our friend Chuck's house, and the kids had fun wandering outside looking at the chickens and fish.

Saturday evening Dad and April headed back up and we got pizza and visited with my mom. When the kiddos began getting sleepy we drove back up to Dads and got them tucked in. I had contacted two of my best friends earlier in the day (who happen to be sisters) that I've known since Kindergarten and we all met up at for a couple of hours that night to catch up.

Sunday I drug my sleepy self out of bed, because it was Father's day! We got all ready and headed to my Dad's church with him, which was probably the best Father's day present I could have given him.
After church we headed back down to Grants Pass to see my Grandpa (my mom's dad). There the kids fell in love with his wife Melinda's horses, and the girls got to ride one for the first time. The smiles they had were priceless. I was so happy to surprise my Grandpa with a visit on Father's Day. I only see him maybe once a year, and I hate it. I was so glad to see that he is looking really good and healthy right now. Wayne and my Grandpa could just sit there and talk for hours and hours. They get along so well.

I didn't want to leave.

But, I also wanted to have a BBQ with my Dad, and so we said our farewells and drove back up to Dads house for dinner. I think it made his day.

Monday we got to lounge around with Dad and April until after lunch time, then we drove over to April's Mom Mary's house to check in with her. I hadn't seen her since Grandpa Howern's Funeral in January. She looked really good. Finally we had to say our final farewells to everyone and load up for our trek back home, and after 3 potty stops along the way, we made it.

It was a crazy weekend, but worth every minute of it. Life is about the relationships you have with people, and I'm glad we got to begin our summer seeing some of the ones I love so dearly.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer is here.

Hello! If you haven't seen or heard from me for a couple days, its because you don't follow me via Instagram or Twitter. :) We took a last minute trip down to Southern Oregon to visit ALL of my family.
I worked Thursday night and quickly packed and we took the scenic route down Hwy 101 on the coast and cut over to Sutherlin and drove over to Canyonville where my Dad lives now.
It's been quite a weekend and we got to see not only Dad and April, but Chuck and my Great Aunt June, my Mom, Mary, Becka, Cassandra, and My Grandpa and Melinda.
The best part was being able to spend Father's day with the three men in my life that mean the most to me. It was a real big surprise for my grandpa to see his great- grand kids.
We are heading home today. I'll share more soon. In the mean time you can look at a few of our photos on Instagram.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #21

It's that time of the week again! Link up your creations, blog, pictures. Something that inspires you, and will inspire us! 

Here we go in 3....2.....1.....
Create.Simplify.Inspire. #21

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Willamette Valley Wonder Woman" width="250" height="250" /></a>

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fun Times // Grassa Dinner Preview

Last week I, the person who never wins anything, won something! I had forgot that I entered a giveaway from the Portland Monthly Magazine for tickets to a preview dinner for a new pasta restaurant called Grassa in downtown Portland. At first when I was contacted via email I thought it must be spam....but low and behold it was the real deal! I had 48 hours to figure out a.) who was watching the kids, and b.) who I was taking with me! My husband graciously suggested I take a friend while he stayed home, which worked out well because I had to work night shift right after dinner. (Which is not to much fun after stuffing yourself with a delicious and leisurely meal!)

So a friend and I battled the rush hour traffic up to Portland, and made our way to the review.
It was packed! We ordered our food when we walked in and were handed a number and waited for a seat to open up. There were a few booths on the sides and then some cozy long tables for everyone to share.

We over indulged with several pastas, their own "Grassa" bread and antipasto salad. My friend Carolyn and I both agreed though, the Lasagna was the best - and she doesn't even normally like lasagna!

All in all it was a fun experience. I love trying new restaurants and eating good food. I think I'm going to have to enter a few more contests and try my luck at those too!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Visits with Papa

A couple weeks ago my Dad and April came up to visit with us,
and to see little miss Emma graduate from preschool.
The kids cherish these times with their grandparents,
 and they miss them so much when they are gone.
We hope to get to travel down to southern Oregon
one weekends before the end of the month to see
 our family,
because family and friends is what life is all about.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Peach Mango Cocktail


It has been so beautiful this week in Oregon. Its sunny, warm, and dare I say...summer like? I whipped up this little cocktail with some Tropicana Farmstand fruit/veggie juice that I got on sale at the store (it was in the refrigerated section with the orange juice) but if you can't find it, use Odwalla or Naked juice...something with 100% fruit purees... its so much tastier!
Peach Mango Cocktail
5 ounces peach mango juice
1.5 ounces vodka
.5 ounces triple sec
mango slice to garnish
Place all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake until thoroughly mixed. Pour into martini glass and enjoy!
What flavors will you create? :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Date Night Idea // In Good Taste PDX

I've always wanted to try a cooking class. I've been baking and experimenting in the kitchen since I was little. (Back when I used to do it for fun, before I got stuck into the 'mom! What's for dinner?' routine every night.) Even though day to day cooking can be a bit of a chore as a busy mom, I still love when I get to try something new. I had heard about In Good Taste over a year ago and checked out their website. They had many classes to choose from with different themes: Thai, Spanish, comfort foods, even kids courses and dessert classes. I wrote it down on my mental to-do bucket list then and there.
Well, I finally did it.
All of our lucky stars must have fallen into the right alignment, because low and behold we had a date night. My father was in town for Emma's graduation and I convinced him that it would be a wonderful early birthday present to babysit for me.
It gets even better. The Theme for the cooking class was Casual Italian Cuisine. Italian? My ultimate favorite food and dream vacation? (seriously it is, read about it here.)
The class started at 6:30pm and we were warned it was hands on - meaning bring your apron. We arrived and were greeted with a lovely glass of sparkling champagne and seated. It was an intimate class of nine students, the chef, and two sous chefs. We all sat semi-circle around a bar with out place settings and pamphlet of recipes for the evening. The chef introduced himself while we sipped our bubbly and were served bruschetta. He explained what to expect for the evening and with his Brazilian accent and sense of humor I knew we were bound to have a good time.
We split into groups and quickly began. The chef showed us what to do and gave some great pointers. I had know idea that for the past twenty years of my life I had been cutting onions wrong! No joke! The way he showed us was so simple, and there were no burning or watery eyes in the building!
We began with Polpetti and Pomodoro, which is traditional Italian meatballs in tomato sauce. Then we created our Pizza Marguerita and our chef made tossing the dough into the air look so simple! (We did not get that advanced, but still learned how to make a beautiful crust.)
While the pizza baked we whipped up a Caesar salad and watched how to make Calamari Fritti. Next we attempted to make our own homemade pasta. Ours accidentally got a little too much flour mixed in and didn't look so pretty! Everyone else's turned out fabulous, and well, somehow ours ended up in the shape of Italy! We all burst into laughter at the site of it!
As the cooking frenzy came to an end we gathered back to our seats and were greeted with glasses of Pinot Grigio and the calamari to nibble on while they dished up our pizza and salads.
The Chef kept us all very entertained with many stories from living all over the world, and we all had great conversation of delicious foods from around the country. I now have another thing to add onto my must try bucket list. Brazilian stroganoff. No joke. It's made with fillet Mignon and sounds amazing.
Next the Polpetti and Pomodoro was served with glasses of Pinot Noir, and we all enjoyed the flavors of our hard work.
And last but not least the chef had prepared the grand finale for us: tiramisu. The best tiramisu I have ate in my life, hands down. Lucky for me I now have his recipe. I've already informed my husband that I want this instead of birthday cake this weekend!
We wrapped up the night with coffee and a few more stories from the chef. He had us daydreaming of life in Brazil, France, Italy and New York.
This was such a wonderful alternative idea for a date night. Rather than just dinner and a movie, we helped create this magnificent feast, met some new people, and learned some great techniques. Now I've been looking at their website and seeing which other courses I can put on my wish list...and who knows? Maybe next time it will be girl's night out!
Check out their website and tell me what you think! Is your mouth watering yet? :)
Full Disclosure: In Good Taste PDX gave me a complimentary cooking class in exchange for my review. This review and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Create.Simplify.Inspire #20

   Week 20!! Can you believe it? Thanks to everyone who has linked up in the past...I love looking at all of your great posts. If you are new and haven't linked up before, this is a page where we can share some of our favorite things we created, or things that inspire us. If you are a blogger, link up to your post. If you aren't a blogger you can also link up from your Instagram or other social media page that you share on. This is a weekly post for us all to share our inspirations. Thanks so much for helping me make this happen!

I can't wait to see what you have to share this week!

Here we go in 3....2.....1.....
Create.Simplify.Inspire. #20

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Willamette Valley Wonder Woman" width="250" height="250" /></a>

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Campus Book Rentals// Operation Smile

    Are you in college? Know someone that is? I'm not currently enrolled, but having went to college in the past I know how ridiculously expensive textbooks can be! You can easily shell out $200 for a book, then come to find out your college won't even buy it back for the next term because they are using a newer updated version! Then you are left with a small piece of your fortune that you can't do anything with.

     Well, the way we buy textbooks is changing. Campus Book Rentals is a website that lets you rent the textbooks you need at a fraction of the cost! They even cover shipping and handling both ways.

     They also have a program called RentBack that will help you rent out your own used textbooks to other students in need, allowing you to earn more money back than you would if you did sell it.

     Forbes Magazine has even called Campus Book Rentals "One of America's most promising companies...", but what really grabbed my attention was Operation Smile. You see, Operation Smile is a non-profit organization that provides free cleft lip and pallet surgery for children all around the world, and Campus Book Rentals donates a percentage of every rental to the organization.

  So, if you know someone, check it out for yourself! As for myself, I'm going to pull out those math books and see if I can rent them back! Here's a short video that explains the company oh-so-well...


                                                                                                                                  Full Disclosure: I was compensated for this post but all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Preschool Graduation

My little purple princess Emma is now a Preschool graduate.
Last Thursday we loaded up and went down to the church for her graduation program. The kids sang a couple of songs that they had been practicing, and the teacher handed out their diplomas and goodie bags. Then we all sat back and watched their annual slide show that they put together.
After that was finished we all filled our bellies with a potluck.
Emma's officially on summer vacation now, and will be headed off to Kindergarten this fall. Noah is excited because Emma's old school is now going to be his new school.
They grow up so fast.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Goodbye May, Hello June.

Some random thoughts today:
Well where did May go? I can't believe that summer is (nearly) officially here! Wasn't it just January? Our Mom's were right. Every year just goes by quicker and quicker after you have children, doesn't it? Last week was full of work, meetings, fieldtrips for Pioneer Days, fieldtrips for swimming lessons, and my Dad and April drove up and stayed with us for this little thing called Preschool graduation! My little Emma is growing up and going to be a Kindergartener now. Which means Noah will officially be a preschool boy and Anika.... 5th grade! It's hard to believe.
I've been busy behind the scenes working with some local businesses and events that I feel connected too, that I'd like to share with all of my fellow Oregonians (or vacationers!)
 More and more I just love everything local; everything community.
It was a little scary taking that next step with my blog which up until recently only my close family knew about; not even my friends. I don't know why it seems so much easier having 2,000 people you don't know read it versus a few people you know. But I just thank each and every one of you who have followed along and left me sweet comments and emails. I really truly enjoy sharing things with all of you.
Above are just a few random pictures from my week last week, you may have seen a few of them from my Instagram account :).

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Portland Annual Ladies Day Out Event

     If you knew me in "real life", you would know that I'm a sucker for fun events. Lots of different kinds. I love fairs, farmer's markets, holiday expos, I mean, if it has good food, music, and or shopping and wine, I'm when I found out that Portland was having a Ladies Day Out I got really excited. What a perfect excuse for an afternoon of fun and pampering? Plus, my birthday is on the 8th, and I didn't really have any other I told my husband I was celebrating with a girls day a couple weeks late!

     The Portland Annual Ladies Day out is at the Convention Center the weekend of June 21-23rd. They have over 120 local businesses that offer a little variety for everyone: clothing, jewelry, restaurants, wineries, artists, and more!

     It gets even better. Friday night (the 21st) from 8-10pm they are hosting a VIP Reception and show sneak peek! The reception features musical performances, special Swag Bags (with over $200 worth of gift certificates and samples), 2 drink tickets, Hors d'oeuvres, and a Champagne Raffle/Diamond Giveaway(worth $1600!) c/o Ben Bridge Jewelers!

    There will be workshops, fashion shows, door prizes,....I could go on and on, but if you are in the area and need an afternoon of fun you should stop by!

     Proceeds from the event will benefit Girls Inc. which is a non-profit group for girls in the northwest that helps girls build confidence and self esteem primarily through their after-school groups.

     Check their websites out and who knows? Maybe I'll see you there! The VIP Reception is limited, and tickets are only $35 so you'd better buy them while they are still available!


Full Disclosure: I was compensated an admission ticket in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.