Heaven found on Orcas Island. Pebble Cove Farm

I am running not walking back to this place, and when I get there I am not leaving.  

It has been only three days since I woke up with this view through the windows from my suite.

Even now, when I close my eyes I’m back there sitting in the hot tub, resting, breathing, relaxing. 

Pebble Cove Farm is a working organic farm on Orcas Island, complete with its own beach. You are encouraged to pet the animals that are peacefully roaming the grounds: ponys, pigs, sheep.. There is a fire pit ready for your sunset s’mores and a hot tub located in the perfect spot to watch the moon reflect on the lapping shoreline. 

Guests are encouraged to stroll and pick from the expansive garden, reach through a special little door into the chicken coup for eggs in the morning and make themselves at home. 

A day could be spend on the rocky sand at the shore playing in the water or venturing beyond and exploring by kayak.  

When I go back, I can assure you I’ll be sitting on the beach and listening to the music of the incoming water for hours, will roast brats by the fire and end my day again with a soak in the hot tub. 

If you’ve ever wanted a perfect home to visit on Orcas, and it has everything(!), you’ve found it in Pebble Cove Farm. 




Crunchy Caprese

The power of social media led me to Church. Well, a Portland hot spot called Church. It was really the word Caprese that got me there, I’m not sure I’ve ever met a Caprese that I didn’t like and this was no exception. 

On a friend’s post was the Cruncy Caprese, it looked delightful! I found myself visiting this dish inside two weeks.  

Warm melty cheese inside a crisp exterior topped with sweet tomato, resting on a bed of pesto (God’s gift to the Italians and thus the world) and drizzled with just the right amount of reduced balsamic. 

Mozzarella sticks all grown up. 

Church 2600 NE Sandy, Portland, Oregon 





Christine Paints Italy- it's finally here. We kick off in NYC

To know Christine Swanson is to know an incredible human being.

Our paths crossed in 2013 when a mutual friend suggested Christine (then 22 years old) paint for a fundraiser dinner I was throwing. From that point forward we have partnered up for many many wine events, charity events and personal events. 

It was on event three or four that I stood back and thought, I wonder what would happen if we could put Miss Christine Swanson on the hillsides of Italy?

This trip is to do just that. 

Christine's first trip to Europe and it is my true honor to be able to facilitate it for her.  

Our plans include: 


Monet's Garden


Eiffel Tower

Musee D' Orsay

Hop over to Italy

Villa Calcinaia Winery 

Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort



Bagno Vignoni, - hot springs town dating back to 1170 and ties to St. John the Baptist

stop in San Gimigano

stop in Pienza

stop in Montepulciano

Assisi - St. Francis of Assisi


stop in Calcata

Ladispoli - on the Tyrrhenian Sea


MAP of Italian Route - leaving off Paris/Florence/Rome


Christine will be painting ten 12x12 paintings and fifteen 6x6 paintings. We have sold futures of these paintings for 400.00 and 200.00.  

A Gallery Pick-Up party will happen on December 3rd at Remy Winery. Purchasers who live outside of Oregon will be mailed their framed painting. 

Everyone bought blind, knowing they will receive a painting by Artist's Choice.  These are numbered 1/1. 

We do have one large and three small paintings left for purchase. If interested, text (text only) 503-883-1856 and we will send you a PayPal pay link and collect your details.  


As a way to kick off the trip, we have stopped over in NYC.  

Through the wonderful website Meet Up, we connected with the Plein Air Painters of Central Park and met Gerry.  

An afternoon of perfect weather and stillness, Gerry, Christine and Maureen, who sketched her art, visited and painted this scene.  

This painting will be featured in the gallery show, and will be for sale.  


Natalie's Estate Winery Winemakers Dinner at The Barberry

Saturday, May 6th, on the 19th birthday of Natalie, for whom Natalie's Estate Winery is named, 25 guests enjoyed a delicious family style Winemakers dinner at The Barberry, downtown McMinnville. 


All of the wines served were from the Natalie's Estate Winery brand.  


Special muse of whipped trout and ricotta, paired with Pinot Gris.  


Artist Christine Swanson at the beginning of the evening. 


Carlton Farms Pork Meatballs, summer squash and zucchini with herb creme fresh.  Paired with newly released 2015 Pinot Noir.


Braised Venison Loin served with potato gnocchi, black truffle buerre monte, braised collard greens and crispy leeks. Paired with 2014 Reserve Sangiovese. 


Listening to winemaker Boyd Teegarden describe the wines in detail.  


Dried cherry and pecorino bread pudding with an herbed créme anglaise. Paired with 2014 Zinfandel.  


More stories from Boyd. 


Two hours later, red Poppies by Christine Joy Swanson.  


We asked for names of charities the guests were passionate about, wrote them down, put them in the hat, and pulled one foundation name out: Family Bridge, Hillsboro, OR. 

As a way to give back, we auctioned this painting in a silent bid. 

Congratulations to dinner guest Adina (pictured on right), whose donation to Family Bridge will forever be a memory of this night as she enjoy Christine's painting in her home. 

27th Ann, one night away 5.4.17

It's incredibly hard to imagine our lives 27 years ago. It was a 90 degree scorcher for May and the little 20 and 22 year olds that we were, said I Do.  

Today, our lives are not defined by celebrating special days as though they are the moments to live for, but to celebrate every day together, and the "special days" just roll right into life.  

Marriage is not easy, but it's also not hard if you commit, support, be patient, and spend ridiculous amounts of time together. 

I am NO expert, but I am asked often what is a good secret to marriage? We always say the same thing, spend time together. Travel without the kids. Make time. It doesn't have to break the bank, it doesn't have to be epic. Make the little moments  epic by simply doing them. 

Different stages of marriage offer different opportunities. For the empty nest life, we choose to have coffee together, by candlelight and often classical music, every day. We may even get up earlier to do this which is difficult at times. It's the number one thing I miss when I travel. Number two is my cat. Sorry kids. 



27th Anniversary. May the 4th be with you.  



Forced MC to get a McMenamins Passport. First stamp: Roseburg!  



Made our way from Southern Oregon to Bend.  


Found a sign that said Michael, est 1986, his grad year from high school.  

ps. He's never actually been to Cabo Wabo, haha. Free shirt from a company trip in March. #classy #hesallmineladies


South Bend Bistro, in Sun River, OR. Chef Jeremy Buck is amazing. 

Favorite dinner view.  

Dont buy me gifts. Buy me a two to three hour slow dinner and I will love you forever. My happiest of places is enjoying art plated by chefs and raising a glass of wine. Add white linen and candles and, boom, you have me. 



Carried in our 2011 Roads End, by Dave Grooters. Special wine for special times .



Shrimp and lobster. Give me pasta, always.  



We may or may not have brought some 2011 Brooks Pinot Noir and put it in our Passport stamp winning tumblers to sit by the fire. 


Old Saint Francis, a McMenamins hotel, has the most spectacular soaking pool. It's a luxurious at it looks. 


Monday 4.20.17

When conversations are so enjoyable, it pushes back dinner to begin after 9 P.M. This is what life is all about, well this, and having friends who are amazing in the kitchen. I'm so impressed with people who love to cook and do it so well. 


 Lobster Risotto ❤️ 

Lobster Risotto ❤️ 


March golfing in Oregon

I'm a golfer. I keep saying those words. However, in Oregon, I'm a fair weather golfer, and fair weather has not been friendly to western Oregonians this year. I've read that we have had one full year worth of rain in just 3 1/2 months. Cabin fever is real for mediocre golfers like myself. 

We had a break and the sun spent a day with us, reminding the dreary that hope for summer is not lost.  


Eyrie, it was a pleasure.

The luxury of living in a wine region is not lost on me. On a random Monday, I can find myself meeting new friends and barrel tasting from one of our founding vineyards, Eyrie.

Jason Lett, the son and heir of highly respected David Lett took time from his day to spend with us. I'm proud to know him (and his late father) and to have the Eyrie story live on. 

Note: anytime a winemaker says he's going to get the thief, let him. Don't speak, just listen.  



1974, 1976, 1986..... 


This was a blend from 1974 to the current vintage. It has not been released and I am incredibly honored to have tried it. I know the name, but will let the Lett's share it, someday. 


Trousseau, loved it!  

My Lucky Guests

My dinner party guests the other night do not know how lucky they were. On the table was the olive oil I had shipped back from Italy two summers ago, from the winery Villa Calcinaia located just outside of Florence. You will see me talk about them again, just wait. 

The La Vecchia Dispensa Aceto Balsamico was a gift from a friend a few years. I've been hoarding both of these, my prizes that sit quietly in my kitchen cupboards. 

Sometimes though, an evening warrants the best, even if it's just for my knowledge and palate. 


Two reasons to go to Camp 18

Camp 18 is a log cabin restaurant located 18 miles off the Oregon coastal highway 101, between Seaside and Cannon Beach.  

I go there for the picture widows, bird watching and cats that live on the property. If you want a cinnamon roll the size of your plate, they have it. If you want a raging log cabin fire and view of the Nehalem river rolling past, they also have these. That is, if you want them. 


Scholarship Fundraising Dinner.

It's snowed big white flakes in the morning. The afternoon was crisp and clear. The table was filled with 24 guests who believed in the value of art and supporting dreams. The scholarship recipient is a university Art student wrestling to fund her education. Guest artist Christine Swanson shared her talents and inspiration with a live painting of the view from the home of the dinner. In a blind bid, Swanson's painting sold for 3000.00, making the total raised 6000.00. There is nothing like a night with great food and wine, conversation with strangers turned friend sand tears of happiness.