Beyond Words: Salt To The Sea

One of the things that I’ve really loved about being involved in book clubs is that it’s made me read some books that I wouldn’t have picked up otherwise, it’s encouraged me to read more, and it’s helped me to read books that I’ve wanted to read that I haven’t made time for yet. The last point was definitely applicable to last month’s Beyond Words: A Blogger’s Book Club’s, headed by Christy and Carolann, selection of The Light Between Oceans, and this month’s selection of Salt To The Sea is the exact same.

The Wandering Weekenders- Beyond Words A Blogger's Book Club

I’m a huge fan of WWII fiction, so Salt To The Sea had definitely peaked my interest with the description, but also because a few fellow bloggers had mentioned it before so it was added to my ever growing TBR list. It might have gotten lost on there for a while, so thank goodness it was chosen this month for book club!

The Wandering Weekenders- Beyond Words: Salt To The Sea

Salt To The Sea follows four young adults and teenagers who are caught up in the tumult towards the end of WWII. In 1945 the Nazis are being pursued by the Russians from the east and the Americans and British are pushing in the west. Thousands upon thousands of refugees from Prussia, Lithuania, and Poland are fleeing the oncoming Russians and their brutality, and their only hope for survival is to board one of the few ships in a port city to escape back to Germany. Each of the teenagers has a past that is currently haunting them and on their journey towards escape from the Russians, they each must come to terms with their demons.

This book is a young adult book, so it read very fast, but oh my goodness does this book deal with some very adult and heart wrenching topics. In the author’s note at the end of the book, Ruta Sepetys said that she wanted to write this book from the eyes of young adults and teenagers because they were the ones that were most effected by the war, and I couldn’t agree more with her. Not only did the point of views work really well in this book, but that generation lived with the effects of WWII for the rest of their lives.

Obviously war is something that will always have casualties and will always be brutal, but just to hear about all the atrocities that were happening to innocent civilians on both sides was so horrible to me. One part of the book described how many refugees were trying to cross a frozen over lake and as they were trying to cross Russian planes fired into ice causing many people to fall into the water and freeze to death. All they were trying to do was survive and escape the brutality that was coming, but obviously they were viewed as the enemy by the Russians.

Once the characters have made it to the port city, they’re all granted passage on one of the ships making its way back to Germany. They all view this as their chance to be saved until the ship that more than 10,000 injured soldiers, refugees, and other soldiers is hit by torpedoes from a Russian submarine causing the most devastating loss in maritime history.

The Nazis really were trying to save as many people as possible from the oncoming Russians, so they had way more people packed onto the ships than they should have. When the ship was hit it caused a widespread panic amongst the passengers, and Ruta Sepetys did a fantastic job of bringing that chaotic scene to life. I felt like I was really transported back to that scene, and I could easily see many of the things that she described happening.

I personally don’t have that much knowledge about what happened in Eastern Europe during WWII, but this book made me want to learn more. Everybody knows that the Nazis murdered millions of Jews and homosexuals and gypsies during the Holocaust, but I had no idea that many other nationalities like the Poles and Czechs were also viewed as sub human and brutalized as well. One of the characters was Polish and it was sitting on pins and needles during certain points during the book when we thought that her nationality might be revealed to the Nazis.

In my Goodreads review of this book, I described this book as “another beautifully told but haunting story of WWII,” and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a wonderful story, and even though it’s very heart wrenching, I feel like everybody needs to know how these thousands of people lost their lives. I gave this book a 5/5 stars and I’m already looking forward to reading more books by Ruta Sepetys, but I think I might need a little break before I start another one!

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The Wandering Weekenders- Beyond Words: Salt To The Sea

Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

For our last day in Portland we actually decided to venture out of the city again to do some wine tasting. Willamette Valley is an area about an hour south of Portland that is well known for their Pinot Noir, and we all know how much I love wine tasting, so we thought that it’d be the perfect way to end our trip in Portland!

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Left Coast Cellars

Our friends Brett and Lauren have a winery that they absolutely love that is actually located in the Willamette Valley, so that was our first planned stop of the day, Left Coast Cellars. It also made sense to stop there first because it was the furthest south from the city.

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Since we were visiting Memorial Day weekend, several of the wineries were having some special tastings on their properties and Left Coast was no exception. For Memorial Day they were hosting a Sip & Stroll where you got to walk around the property to different locations that they have set around the property and try 5 or 6 different types of wines.

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

I really enjoyed being able to try a wide variety of wines from Left Coast, including their White Pinot Noir and Rosé, but I also really enjoyed being able to see Left Coast’s beautiful property. There was just a ton of rolling hills of vineyards and so many flowers blooming, not to mention that it was a cool 70-something degrees while we were there which made it an even more beautiful day!

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Everything about our experience at Left Coast was amazing, but the coolest part of our whole visit to Left Coast was the fact that we got to meet the owner! Brett and Lauren started talking to one of the Left Coast employees about how tbsp found out about the winery and how much they loved the wine that the employee ended up pulling them over to meet the owner! They talked for a few minutes and the owner even made us a pizza for us to have while we drank a bottle of wine before we left!

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Our experience at Left Coast couldn’t have been more perfect! Even though it was a larger winery that produces wine that’s even sold in Texas, it still had the smaller more family owned and operated feel to it. Left Coast was definitely our favorite winery of the day, and I can’t recommend a stop here enough if you’re in Portland!

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Address: 4225 North Pacific Hwy N, Rickreall, OR 97371
Price: $10/flight or $20/seated flight

Namasté Vineyards

Before we left Left Coast we asked one of the employees if they had a recommendation for another winery to visit in the area and she recommended a smaller winery called Namasté Vineyards.

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

We traveled a little bit further south and arrived at Namasté to realize that we were the only people there. We enjoyed a tasting, and while it was fun to be the only people in the tasting room, we all just really enjoyed the wine and our experience at Left Coast more. The location of Namasté was pretty though and we were able to get some pretty pictures with the vines before heading to our next winery.

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Address: 5600 Van Well Rd, Dallas, OR, 97338

Stoller Family Estate

Our last winery of the day was one that I had read about online and that I was pretty excited to visit, Stoller Family Estates.

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Stoller was having a special event going on for Memorial Day like Left Coast where they had cracked open some of their reserve wines and you got to walk around their fermentation room and taste a wide variety of wines. We enjoyed the wine at Stoller a lot more than Namasté, although I wish that we’d been able to walk around their beautiful property like we had at Left Coast.

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Once we were done with our tasting we decided to share a bottle of wine and some cheese and crackers before heading back to the city. Stoller had a huge patio where a lot of people were sitting and enjoying the beautiful weather. The cool thing about Stoller was the fact that there were a lot of families there. It reminded me a lot of Pedernales Cellars in Texas where the kids were out playing in the fields while the parents were sipping on wine and enjoying themselves too.

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Although Stoller wasn’t as much fun as Left Coast was, it was another great winery that we visited during our trip, and I definitely recommend a stop here if you’re wanting a wine day during your trip to Portland!

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Address: 16161 NE McDougall Rd, Dayton, OR 97114
Price: $15/flight

With the Oregon wine country only being an hour away from the city of Portland, a day trip out here would be the perfect thing to add to your list of things to do during your visit. Even though Pinot Noir is what the Oregon wine country is known for, we really fell in love with their Rosé while we were tasting, and didn’t taste a bad wine! I hope that you have the chance to visit Willamette Valley soon to taste some wine! I’m linking up with these wanderful ladies for Wanderful Wednesday: Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World.

Other Portland Posts:

6 Things I Learned While Visiting Portland
Portland Food Cart Tour With Eat Adventures
A Walking Tour Through Portland
Exploring Multnomah Falls
An Afternoon At Washington Park

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 The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

A 40th Birthday Party Weekend

Another end to the weekend means another Monday, another start to the week, and another weekending recap with the lovely Biana! This weekend was all about family time as we celebrated my BIL’s 40th birthday in Dallas! So here we go with the recapping!

The Wandering Weekenders- A 40th Birthday Party Weekend

Friday

Last week was pretty busy at work with conversion stuff and finishing up month end close, so I was pretty happy when Friday rolled around! I met Chris back at my bus stop and then we headed out of town to Dallas. They just opened up a new section of highway in Houston that shaves an hour off of our trip to Dallas, so it was pretty awesome that we were able to get to Dallas way earlier than usual. Of course our road trip wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Buc-ee’s! I swear I need to write a post about Buc-ee’s sometime soon so that all of y’all that don’t live in Texas can fully understand the awesomeness that is Bucees!

Saturday

Party day was Saturday but we still had the whole morning and part of the afternoon before the party started so we relaxed with our nieces and nephew and brother and sister in law for most of the morning. One of our niece’s birthdays falls right before our Europe trip so we’re not going to be able to make into town to help her celebrate. To make it up to her for missing her birthday, Chris and I took her shopping at Toys R Us for her birthday present. We had a lot of fun walking down the aisles with her before she finally decided on her toy. She was really excited about it and could barely wait to open it up once we got back to the house.

The Wandering Weekenders- A 40th Birthday Party Weekend

By the time we were done with shopping it was lunch time so we headed to a fun burger place near the house called Dugg Burger. Basically they hollow out the top of the burger and put all the toppings you want in the hole on the top. It’s a really fun concept, and they made a really good burger! If you’re in the Plano area I definitely recommend a stop by!

Being the bad aunt that I am, I might have promised my niece and nephew that we could get ice cream later on in the day, so we stopped by a gelato place after lunch. The gelato was so delicious, and of course all I could think about was that we’d be eating gelato in Italy in less than a month! We spent a few more hours relaxing at the house after ice cream before heading over to our other brother and sister in law’s house for the birthday party!

The Wandering Weekenders- A 40th Birthday Party Weekend

Chris and all of his brothers are all 5 years apart, so when Chris turned 30 this year, that meant that his older brother turned 40. They threw a big 40th birthday bash to honor him this year, and we had such a blast just hanging out with friends and family, drinking some beer, and eating some delicious food! Of course, the birthday party wouldn’t have been complete without cake, especially when there were trick candles involved!

Sunday

It always seems like our weekends go back super quick when we’re visiting family, so of course, Sunday rolled around way too quickly! We relaxed in the morning before grabbing an early lunch at Torchy’s with the family. Before we knew it, it was time to pack up again and hit the road, so we swung by and saw my grandmother before driving back home!

The Wandering Weekenders- A 40th Birthday Party Weekend

We always have a great time visiting our family in Dallas, but this weekend was really special because we were celebrating a big milestone for my brother in law, but we also got to see all of our nieces before they started back to school. I keep saying that time is flying by too quickly, but it especially feels true right now because our oldest niece is going to be in middle school this year! What? I keep telling myself that she can’t be old enough to be going into middle school, but I guess that I’m wrong!

Overall we had a fantastic weekend, and I’m already looking forward to our next trip back to Dallas!

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The Wandering Weekenders- A 40th Birthday Party Weekend

CG Swaps- Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you’ll probably notice that I really love a few things, and two of those things are swaps and books! So when The Chaotic Goddesses wrote about their twice a year swap called Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap, I knew that I wanted to participate! 

For this swap you send your partner a book that they want, a book that you love and recommend, another book you like, and all other things bookish! Even though I have a growing pile of books on my TBR, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join in this swap and get my partner a lot of goodies! I can’t wait to see who my swap partner is so I can get started on buying them all sorts of book goodies! 

My 101 in 1001- Check In #3

It’s the middle of August, which means that it’s time for my third check in for my 101 in 1001 with Macy from To Travel and Beyond! Overall, the past few months have been kind of slow for me, as far as checking things off my 101 in 1001 list. Hopefully I’ll check some more things off in the coming months, but here is my progress over the past three months, and my overall progress since November 16th of last year!

The Wandering Weekenders- 101 in 1001

Travel

2. Visit 10 cities that I’ve never been to before. (2/10)
At the last check-in, I had only visited one city that I’d never been to before, and since then I’ve only visited one other city that I’ve never been to before, and that’s Portland. I’m right in the middle of recapping our trip to Portland, and if you’ve never been, I can’t recommend a trip there enough!
The Wandering Weekenders- 101 In 1001 Check In #3
10. Visit a brewery in another city.
Chris and I had an anniversary trip to Denver, Colorado, and one of the things that Chris wanted to do while we were there was to visit The Great Divide Brewing Company, which we did. Eventually I’ll get around to recapping our trip to Denver, I promise!
The Wandering Weekenders- 101 in 1001 Check In #3
14. Visit the Pacific Northwest.
I managed to check this off when we visited Portland earlier this year. The Pacific Northwest was so incredibly breathtaking, and I don’t know why it took me so long to make it up there!
The Wandering Weekenders- 101 In 1001 Check In #3 18. Go on a spontaneous weekend trip.
Like I stated in my last weekending post, things didn’t work out exactly how we’d planned, so instead of going to Napa, we made some plans and went on a spontaneous weekend trip to Waco. I know, when I say that I “made plans” that doesn’t exactly scream spontaneous, but that’s pretty spontaneous to me, whose Type A personality likes to have every single detail planned out!
The Wandering Weekenders- 101 In 1001 Check In #3
20. Go on a trip once a month for a year. (8/12)
Still going strong with this goal! We’ve managed to go on a trip once a month since December of last year, and if everything goes according to plan, we’ll meet this goal by November! I’m so excited!
23. Take a road trip.
I guess that technically this could have been met anytime we drive anywhere in Texas since most places are pretty far from each other, but I’m counting our trip to Magnolia Market as our road trip.
The Wandering Weekenders- 101 In 1001 Check In #3

House

42. Organize the pantry and keep it organized.
Not much happened on the home front over the past three months, except for me cleaning out the pantry right before Chris’s birthday party. I knew that everybody was going to be throwing stuff away in there during the party, so I spent a few hours throwing stuff away and cleaning it out. Thank goodness that we’ve been able to keep it organized still!

Life

61. Read 100 books. (43/100)
Reading has been going pretty well for me so far this year, and I think that the main reason for that is because of the book clubs that I’ve joined and because of the reading challenges I’ve participated in as well. Since my 101 in 1001 has started, I’ve read 7 books in 2015 and 36 books in 2016. 

Blog

97. Update old blog posts with better pictures and captions.
The weekend before last, I had quite a bit of time during the weekend, and I used that time to update my old blog posts about our trip to Napa. Not only did I update captions, but I also added some Pinterest graphics and added them to Pinterest. Even though I’m sure that I’ll update some more posts going forward, I’m going to consider this item done!
The Wandering Weekenders- Life Isn't Always Diamonds & Rose
100. Develop my social media presence more.
I feel like my Instagram game has really stepped up a lot, and I’m hoping that I’ll hit 1,000 followers by the end of the year. I have also joined quite a few Facebook groups that help with Social Media promotion and engagement, and I feel like my Facebook and Pinterest game have shown some positive growth from that as well. Hopefully my social media presence will continue to grow!

Recap:

In Progress:
Travel- (3/25)
Houston- (1/10)
House- (1/20)
Life- (2/20)
Food- (1/10)
Health, Fitness & Beauty- (3/10)
Blog- (1/6)
Total- (12/101)

Completed:
Travel- (8/25)
Houston- (4/10)
House- (8/20)
Life- (1/20)
Food- (3/10)
Health, Fitness & Beauty- (4/10)
Blog- (5/6)
Total- (33/101)

Overall, I don’t feel like I really accomplished that much over the past three months, but I feel like I have a lot coming up over the next few months, so hopefully I’ll have some more positive results next time around.

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The Wandering Weekenders- 101 In 1001 Check In #3

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