A PNW Summer & Cold Brew

A Pacific Northwest summer is perfection.

I grew up barefoot and blackberry stained. “Be home by dark!” was the only rule. We made tree forts in the graveyard and slept out on the grass until the dew and sunshine woke us up. My childhood summer was bug bites and campfire hair.

Summer is, and always has been, the most magical.

I spent the weekend with 7 girls who make my heart full, walking through tall pine trees. The river was always on our right, a reassuring noise that we were headed in the right direction. We caught up on each other’s lives and celebrated the beauty that is my best friend getting married in 20 days. While other gals drink and go out on the town, my sweet, precious Keelin wanted a camping bachelorette party, because she’s a gem.

We dipped our feet in the freezing water and ate apples, our reward for our 5-mile trek. We met a group of 50-something women, who applauded our unique bachelorette adventure. We will be those ladies someday, always friends, always taking hikes and moving towards something bigger than ourselves.

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Sunburnt and tired, we called a campsite by the river our home for the night. Over beer and tacos, we reminisced around the fire. We talked about growing up together, how we stayed friends, and what our futures will look like when the 20-something dust has settled.

Summer brings everything back together. It gives us an excuse to abandon responsibility, to stay out late and make reckless decisions. It’s the season for late night drives to the beach and creating beautiful scandal. Who says the magic has to stop when you grow up? This season will always bring back mischief, adventure and a sense of purpose.

“This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek.” – Terry Tempest Williams

Orange & Almond Iced Coffee

My apartment is sticky belly hot, which means after my morning walk all I want is something cold. It’s not summer until you have perfected iced coffee. Cheers to hot mornings and cold coffee.

  • 4 cup French press
  • 4-5 tbsp coarsely ground coffee
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dark cocoa powder
  • dash of almond extract
  • 4 cups cold water

Combine the coffee, orange zest, cinnamon, cocoa powder and almond extract in the french pass. Pour in the cold water, and let this delicious concoction brew over night. Press in the morning and enjoy with ice and almond milk. Yum.

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Lopez Island & S’mores

There’s an island in the San Juans that is magic.

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Every summer, the people I hold closest to my heart leave behind their lives and we get on a ferry, 45 minutes later and we’re home. The first year we felt brave and found humor in our ill preparedness as we ate cold veggie dogs and tortilla chips. Each year additions and changes have been made, and while I put my heart back together in the south, they carried on the tradition.

I am so blessed to have these beauties in my life. There is such a comfort in knowing that you have people who know you down to every last insecurity, and love you throughout. Lopez is like coming up for air. Stripping down to my most basic self. Waking up when the sun hits the tent, and watching the fog roll out of the bay. We explore the island by bicycle, making our way past farm stands and curious horses. Everything slows down, from the way we make breakfast to never knowing (or caring) what time it is. Even our coffee is slower, more perfect than the usual morning rush.

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My goodness… how I love this place, these girls.

They hold such strength and grace and humor! While they dream of weddings and babies, I dream of careers and cross country bike trips– and we hold each other up in our differences, an endless stream of support. To have this kind of friendship is a blessing, and I will be forever grateful to know this kind of love.

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We made wishes on stones, tossing them over our shoulders and shouting our hopes to the sky. We stayed up late over our campfire, sinking into those conversations you’ve been meaning to have with someone, but forget to make time for. No matter what we’re doing, it’s right. It can be getting lost on the backroads of the island, or sitting on a park bench over some of the best iced coffee we’ve ever had. We come up with grand life plans: raising our families together, owning houses next to each other, someday buying a farm on our beloved island.

When I leave Lopez I feel whole again. I leave that island as my best self.

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Until next year, Lopez. You have my heart.

“Walk through rivers. Climb steep hills. Stay hungry. Keep cool and good natured always. Possess courage and ingenuity. You will endure to the end. Stake your claim.” 

Handy Dandy Zippy Snippy Snappy S’mores (thanks for the name, Kee)

My darling friend has more dietary restrictions than anyone I have ever met. Because of this, she hasn’t been able to enjoy the quintessential summer treat… s’mores. This would not stand, not on Lopez. Leave it to the three of us to figure out how to make this happen. And while this isn’t REALLY a recipe, it is what summer is meant to be, so deal with it.

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  • Dandies GF/Vegan marshmallows (we got them at PCC, of course)
  • Mary’s Gone GF/Vegan Gingersnaps
  • Theo salted dark chocolate with almonds

Build the perfect fire. Drink cider and talk about the things that make your heart heavy, happy, full or curious. Wait until the embers show up, so hot you can feel it warming your cheeks. Find the best stick you possibly can, stick on a mallow or two, and roast away. Monica always catches hers on fire. I like to brown each side evenly. Keelin wanted to wait until she got the perfect char.

We all have our roasting techniques.

Once you’ve reached your perfection, grab two gingersnaps, pop on chocolate and then enjoy; sticky fingers, the smell of campfire and spending time with your best friends, exactly what summer should be.

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