Category Archives: Washington

Is North Idaho romantic?

It’s that time again. When everyone gets all twitterpated and I gorge myself with chocolate and sour gummy hearts (Speaking of which, the Chocolate Affair is this Friday!).


Photo By: Jennifer Haas Photography

I’ve always thought of North Idaho as a romantic place because of its pretty lake beaches, starry nights and great food (is it a surprise that I equate love and food? It shouldn’t be). But I recently read on Time Magazine’s website that Amazon release a list of the “Top 20 Most Romantic Cities” and good ‘ol Cd’A wasn’t mentioned.

Normally I don’t mind when we’re left off a national list like this, for two reasons:

  1. We’re very small and not many large-scale publications and businesses know we exist.
  2. The more people that know about Cd’A, the more people will want to move here rather than just visit. And we don’t need that.

However, when you look at the list, number 9 (go ahead, I’ll wait) you’ll notice that our neighbor to the west is listed. Spokane doesn’t strike me as a romantic city at first thought. Especially in comparison to one of the many quaint North Idaho towns. When I think of Spokane (or Spokompton as I lovingly refer to it as) I think of the homeless problem, the many robberies and crimes I see on the news each night, bikini barista controversies, getting high, and extremely awesome minimum wages.  But then I stopped to think about some of the more unique spots in Spokane – I don’t really know of many actually. Come to think of it, the most romance I’ve seen come from Spokane are the sad souls looking for love in the “I saw you” section of the Inlander.


Here are some spots (the few I’m aware of) that offer a bit of romance:

  1. Manito Park (and the Tap House!)
  2. Riverfront Park – the gondolas over the falls are beautiful!
  3. Davenport Hotel
  4. Italian Kitchen
  5. Fox Theater

So I thought of five. Please keep in mind that I know very little about Spokane other than how to get to the parks, malls and Trader Joe’s. And actually, I would add Trader Joe’s to the list. I do love that place.

I attempted to look up a few places to add to my list via KXLY’s Facebook post. What I ended up getting was a great laugh – apparently the majority Spokanites aren’t very passionate about their city. Read their hilarious comments. My favorite is, “Smoking meth in Riverfront Park,” or, “Nothing brings a couple together like being mugged downtown, such a bonding moment.”

I have to add that Amazon’s list has more to do with who’s buying what off of Amazon than the actual romantic-ness a city has to offer. Which makes me feel better. Maybe we’re not on that list because we are romantic enough in real life and don’t need to buy the entire box set of 50 Shades of Grey.

I’m compiling my own list of favorite romantic spots in North Idaho and I’d love to include yours! Send them my way!


How many Oktoberfests can you pack into one weekend?


Here’s to the weekend! A weekend full of fall celebrations and probably more drinking than the average person should partake in.

Before I tell you all about all the merriment to be had, here’s a little factoid about how everyone’s favorite fall kick-off event got started. Courtesy of Wikipedia, of course.

So apparently Oktoberfest began in 1810 when Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. They had a grand celebration in Munich that ended with horse races. The celebration and races continued each year with new additions such as an agricultural show (which is still a part of the Munich Oktoberfest every three years) and of course food, beer and other festivities.

2013 marks the 180th Oktoberfest in Munich. It’s now a 16-day festival running from late September to the first weekend in October with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year.

Talk about crazy.

So now on to our local celebrations of this event which has little to no relevance or historical significance in Coeur d’Alene.

Coeur d’Alene
The downtown Oktoberfest is today from 4-9 p.m. and tomorrow from 1-8 p.m. The cost is $20 and includes a mug and six tickets for tasting. There’s live music, family festivities and food. You can pay and pick up your mug/tickets in the Plaza Shops.

Daanen’s Deli’s annual Oktoberfest is tomorrow beginning at noon. This event is very family-friendly. There’s great food, music, fun activities and of course good craft beer.

The downtown Sandpoint Oktoberfest is actually on October 5 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the old Granary. There’s live music from four bands, a funky waiter race, dachshund derby, fire dancing, magic, arts and crafts vendors, and food by Trinity and Jupiter Jane. There’s also a beer taste-off featuring Bitterroot, River City Brewing, Laughing Dog, Selkirk Abbey, and Mick Duff’s. A wine walk featuring wine from Pend d’Oreille Winery will also be happening and of course dancing all day long.

The Inland NW Craft Beer Festival takes place in downtown Spokane at Riverfront Park on Friday, September 27 from 4-8 p.m. and Saturday, September 28 from noon to 8 p.m.

This festival features 28 Washington-based breweries and two breweries from Idaho. They’ll be pouring over 90 beers, including a unique selection of pumpkin beers. Live music and food will be on site.

So there you have it. All the places to celebrate your Bavarian ancestry – or love of beer.


What a weekend

What a weekend. I think this is the first time I’ve been able to sit down and collect my thoughts in a couple days. Between friends, family, a golf tournament, and a football game it’s been a bit crazy. In a good way though. I feel like there is so much to do all the time and every once in a while it’s fun to try to cram in everything you want to do. Although I must say a lazy weekend will be in order soon. This girl needs some downtime!

The weekend started with hangout time with our friends. Stayed up playing Rock Band into the wee hours, but it was really fun and totally worth the sleep deprivation. After five hours of sleep, I joined my dad and father-in-law for a golf tournament in Post Falls. It was my first (and most likely last) time playing this season (sadness) but it made me want to practice and get better for next year.

All in all, it was a lot of fun, and any time spent with my dad is great. The fact that John was able to join us made it all the better. Gotta love dads.


After that my dad and I packed up the Mustang (love my dad’s car!!) and headed down to P-town (Pullman for those unfamiliar with the lingo) for my first Cougar football game of the season. Definitely hoping it’s not my last. To make it better, it was homecoming weekend, so festivities were on high. We played UI and totally kicked their asses all the way back to Moscow. I don’t even feel a little bad (sorry to my UI friends out there!).


It felt great to be back on the Palouse. I miss all the excitement and camaraderie. Every time I cruise down 95 I relive my weekend drives to and from Wazzu. The excitement of turning the corner and seeing the lake and resort in the distance (home sweet home!), the fun road trips with my friends listening to music and singing at the top of our lungs. So many awesome memories of Pullman.


I think most of all, it was just great to spend a day with my dad. I have a really special and close relationship with both my parents. I think it’s because my sisters are so much older than me. I didn’t hang out with them much, and really sometimes it felt like I was an only child. But because of this I really treasure the time I get to spend with them. Especially the rare one-on-one time; it really doesn’t happen enough. There’s no better way to hang out with Dad than golf and a Cougs game.


After a sleepy drive back from Pullman, Sunday morning wasn’t all that welcome. But it was Race for the Cure day, so Kyle and I were up and at ’em by 7:30. We rode the beach cruisers down to NIC and brought Juneau for her first race experience. Her and I played photographer and cheerleader for the morning and she was thrilled with all the extra attention. Boy that dog loves pets :)




Kyle did great, finishing second in his age group. Woot, woot! It’s awesome to see the community come together and support a cause. Both of our works had teams there and we saw a ton of friends and acquaintances. I think if the blog ever becomes something larger I’d like to have a presence there. Would you join the SINI team if it existed? Hmmm… perhaps next year that will have to happen.




Hope you all had a fantastic and fun-filled weekend like I did! Tell me about it, and tell me what you’re doing in weeks to come. I always want to hear from you guys.

Happy Monday!


Fall Favorites

I know it’s still 90 degrees outside (for now) but fall is definitely on its way. Last night it was dark by 7:30, the mornings are cool and crisp and on my way to running group I saw a tree starting to turn gold. So call me crazy… but I sense fall is near.

I love the fall in North Idaho. I know I say this every year, but it is definitely my favorite season. I think because of its energy. Probably the reason so many people like the spring too. I feel like whenever nature changes hats we feel the energy it creates. There’s something about the vivid colors and the little bite in the wind that just sparks creativity and brings our area to life.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing better than a summer spent downtown Cd’A, but the fall is just different. Kyle says it’s my favorite because my birthday is at the end of October – and that very well could be the case – But I choose to believe that autumn is my favorite season because of the festivities, cozy clothing and the  creative bursts it gives me.


Here’s a little preview of my favorite fall activities:

Coeur d’Fondo – I have never actually participated in this ginormous biking event. Admitted. But it sounds amazing and beautiful AND I swear if I had a bike with gears I would totally participate. A beach cruiser doesn’t really bode well for long distances and hills. But I do love this event because it includes family riders and distance riders.

Downtown Oktoberfest – So. Much. Fun. This is the one time of year that drinking outside in public is totally doable. Just don’t get out of control and ruin it for everyone, OK?

It seems like every year this event gets larger. Participants get to bounce around from shop to shop testing different beers. There’s live music, German food and a lot of lederhosen. There’s a lot of family activities too. So don’t bail because you’re afraid Jr. isn’t welcome. This year the downtown Oktoberfest is two days, Friday, September 27 and Saturday, September 28.

Daanen’s Deli Oktoberfest – Also a fun event for the whole family, Daanen’s Deli puts together an awesome event in their parking lot. Games, music, food, and great beer. I actually tend to like the beer at Daanen’s over the selection downtown. This year’s event is Saturday, September 28. Check out their Facebook page for more info. (linked above).

Apple Festival at Green Bluff – This is beyond my favorite thing to do in the fall – and it’s the most family-friendly. Pick a day in October to drive out to Green Bluff north of Spokane to pick apples, pumpkins, taste wine, listen to music, and participate in all of the merriment that is fall on the farm.

Two things to HAVE to do:

1. Go to Knapp’s and watch Punkin’ Chunkin’. It’s purely amazing.
2. Buy at least a dozen pumpkin doughnuts. When they get stale, microwave them for 5-8 seconds and they’re almost like new again. Yum! Chances are they won’t make it to the stale point – you’ll be lucky if they make it home.

Punkin Chunkin

Here’s a map to each of the growers.

Scarywood – Just when you think you can’t handle Silverwood’s awesomeness, they turn scary. Every year it gets better, with new attractions and characters. This may not be the best option for little kids. Only open at night, the entire park fills with smog and creatures roam around looking for the right person to scare. Several of the rides are turned into a haunted attraction and you can even ride the Timber Terror backwards. I didn’t like it that much – too jerky and it made me want to barf a little. Normally I’m good with coasters, but apparently not backwards. Overall, I don’t think this is the scariest option there is, but it definitely has its moments.


Post Falls Lon’s Club Haunted House – This is the scariest haunted house in the area. For the longest time it was a tradition to go for my birthday, but the past two years we opted for Scarywood instead. This is a more traditional haunted house, where you wait in a 2-hour line (no kidding, please dress warm!) and spend about 5-10 minutes inside. The scenes are terrifying and the actors are great.


So those are my favorite things to do every fall. I try to pack in everything because, like summer, it goes by so fast! What are you favorite things to do in the fall? What about in the outlying areas?

Please share!


Road Trip: A Long Weekend in Seattle

Long time, no see compadres. I’m sorry if you think I’ve deserted you. I promise that isn’t the case.

I’m not going to lie, I was feeling a little less than inspired and needed a break. Between work, a death in the family and some sibling struggles we’ve been a little preoccupied. I want to thank everyone who has been so supportive over the past couple weeks. And for those that weren’t in the loop I would like to say thank you for continuing to follow the blog and like me on Facebook. I have well over 100 likes now and for a little blog like mine that’s a big step.

So, thanks to all!

One good thing has come from my lack of posting, and that’s that we have been just as busy as usual so I have a lot of stories to share. I’ll start with Labor Day weekend and we’ll go from there…

For those that don’t know, we got married over Labor Day weekend in 2010. So we decided to celebrate by going to visit family and relax in Seattle.


Kyle’s parents got tickets for us all to go to the BSU vs. UW game (they’re all BSU fanatics) so that was our initial motivation to get out of town that weekend.


The game sucked. As a husky hater I was hoping to see some purple and gold blood spilled on the field. I don’t know what got into (or rather out of) the broncos, but we were really disappointed when they were slaughtered. Kyle is still recovering from the loss.

On the plus side, our niece Gabbi looked adorable in her BSU cheer outfit and we got to see the whole Nagel clan. I’d say that part was a win.


Kyle’s cousin Cassie and her husband live in West Seattle and always let us stay with them. I hope they come visit soon so we can return the favor! They always know the best restaurants to go to and sights to see. You know, the stuff only locals know about.



We went to a restaurant at Alki Beach called El Chupacabra. It was amazing! The decor was awesome, the food great and the margaritas were out of this world. And I’m not even a tequila drinker.


We also did a lot of fall shopping. Kyle needed some new work clothes, and I’m rarely one to pass up a shopping trip. We hit up the usual stores that we don’t have around here. I think I started losing Kyle by the time we hit up Anthropology by Sunday. Can’t say I blame him; I was shopped out too.


We headed out a little late on Monday and made a stop to hike up Wallace Falls. It was a challenging hike even though the trail was made for tourists and sightseers. I think I found it challenging mostly because I was tired from a busy weekend, and was sore from paddleboarding for two hours the previous day. By the end of the hike my quads hated me.


The views were totally worth it though. We hiked up to the upper falls, and apparently there was one more viewpoint after that. We hiked three miles total, but it was fairly steep and felt a lot longer than that (please keep in mind that I was SO sore and was being a bit of a baby).

After our hike we drove along highway 2 for about 45 minutes until we got to Leavenworth where we collapsed into two patio chairs at a pizza place (whose name I forgot to note due to fatigue – pretty sure it was the Leavenworth Pizza Co. or something). We didn’t end up getting home until after 1 a.m.


Let that be a lesson – always take the day after vacation off. So glad we did!

That was our Labor Day weekend in a nutshell. How was your long weekend? Did you spend the rest of the week in a vacation hangover too?

Until next time,