Kelsey Malie

Holiday Tea at the Heathman

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

When I was sixteen, my grandmother took ten family members on an Alaskan cruise. I remember landing in Victoria, B.C. and wandering through the Empress Hotel, past the tea drinkers, and feeling it would be so royal to sit and sip tea. Naturally it was royally expensive and we passed on the experience, instead going to small shops and marveling at the fact that there were two types of money you could use to purchase your items and that changed the cost of everything tagged CAD in the store.

Moving to Portland and being obsessed with fancy things and Christmas, it was only a matter of time before I discovered that we had a high tea of our own at the Heathman Hotel in downtown Portland (for those non-locals, it's where some of 50 Shades of Grey was filmed). The holiday tea service (they have an afternoon tea all year as well), runs from November 27th through January 3rd and is a busy, bustling event with three sittings a day. It's wonderfully decorated with Christmas trees and most everyone attending is nicely dressed in their holiday attire - some are on their way to the Nutcracker showing at Keller Auditorium, and some are just practicing their own holiday tea traditions. I've been begging Ben to go with me, but somehow a tea service didn't allure him and so I've looked at the tea from afar for the past two years.

This year, I was lucky enough to get to with a group of ladies for tea and we spent two leisurely hours talking about all manner of things from AirBnb to Syrian refugees to Gossip Girl. As one does, at tea. We sipped on champagne and mimosas, drank more caffeinated tea than one (me) should on a Sunday around 2 p.m. and ate tiny little treats like mini chicken salad sandwiches in pita, delicious cupcakes, smoked salmon profiteroles, banana bread, deviled eggs, lemon tarts and fresh marshmallows. The Heathman was so kind to provide a complimentary tea to us and I plan to make this a new holiday tradition, hopefully among lovely company like the ladies I tea-ed with on Sunday.

When we left tea and wandered back into the frigid 30 degree day, we had the bellman at the Heathman take a photo of us and though he did a wonderful job capturing the branches behind our heads, we all turned out as blurred objects, secondary to the architecture on the building. Oh well. For fun, the now-artsy photo is below!

Cyber Monday and Handmade Ornaments

Thursday, November 26, 2015

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LoveAmericanHome #CollectiveBias

I have always thought of Thanksgiving as a speed bump on the road to Christmas. Once dinner is done, I love to pull out those twinkly, sparkly, fragrant holiday things that have been sitting in boxes for 11 months. And then it all seems to roll by quickly - we traditionally cut down a Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving (what other people call Black Friday). Because we miss the hoopla and hullabaloo of shopping in packed, people-trampling, TV-sale-fighting, no-parking-space physical stores, we always look forward to the joy of at-home Cyber Monday sales. Cyber Monday is simple, quick, people-free, and lets you find (sometimes better than Black Friday) deals and perfect presents for those around you. I like to use the day to stock up on a few things for my family: stocking stuffers, last-minute hostess gifts, and gifts for friends. 

My latest favorite gift-giving items are candles. I started decorating my own home with candles - a way to add some wonderful, seasonal scents, light, and ambiance to a room - and find that they often come with a big price-tag and I'm shy to spend that much on myself. Getting a candle as a gift has become a bit of a luxury that I look forward to during the holiday season. Once something starts feeling like a luxury to me, I think of it as a wonderful gift. Only problem? Despite the fact that a candle is a fantastic addition to a home, it can still seem like an impersonal gift. Add online shopping to the mix and you take all the handmade, personal touch out of the holidays. The solution? Add a handmade piece to your gift that shows the recipient you did more than click "add to cart." I have a tutorial for some handmade (and super simple) clay ornaments that would love lovely on any tree and double as gift tags!

This Cyber Monday, when you're comfy at home in your PJ pants (or at work wishing you were in your PJs), check out the new American Home™ by Yankee Candle® brand sale on They defy the standard of expensive candles (you can get 19 oz. of happy fragrance for under $15 and smaller 12 oz candles around $10, all the way down to some $2-4 options for votive candles!). The line-up of fragrances actually had Ben and I arguing over the potential best for our home: we waffled between the happy, cinnamon fragrance of Warm & Happy Home™ and Ben's favorite, the woodsy Balsam Fir, and then we both fell for the sweet baking fragrance of Ginger Pumpkin Pie. Take advantage of Walmart's line-free sales on Monday, the 30th, and snag two 19 oz candles (in Sparkling Cinnamon Spice and Balsam Fir) for only $22, while supplies last. A serious steal! What fragrances would you pick from the Walmart assortment page?

Read on for a DIY that'll accompany your cozy shopping day and make any candle gifts you give out sparkle brighter.

You'll need:

Air dry modeling clay
Rolling pin
Holiday cookie cutters
Metallic paint or paint pens
A paint brush or sponge
An American Home™ by Yankee Candle®  brand candle to set the seasonal mood!

Step 1: Take a small handful of air dry modeling clay and roll it out, on a hard surface or cutting board, to about 1/16-1/8" thick.

Step 2: Take a cookie cutter shape of your choice (I love a star shape) and cut out as many shapes as your sheet of clay will allow. Punch a hole in the clay shape with a straw in a location where you can tie on a ribbon later.

Step 3: Let air dry until hard for 24 hours.

Step 4: Take gold or silver paint and a brush or sponge (a paint pen also works) and decorate your shapes with the sparkly paint.

Step 5: Take a small piece of yarn or string and tie a loop through the hole in your shape. 

Step 6: Hang your ornament around a gift, the neck of a bottle of wine, or a candle for a homemade touch.

Powell Butte

Monday, November 23, 2015

When you've complained to everyone you know about how cold your Powell Butte hike was, there's nothing left to do but to complain to the blogosphere. This hike, as evidenced by the photo above where I am wearing not one but TWO down jackets, was the coldest hike I have possibly ever been on. But more about the positives of this (frigid, windy, Portland hike/walk/trail-run/dog walk/bike location)...

First off, Powell Butte is a butte, obviously, and a nature park that covers 612 acres out on 162nd street. As the name suggests, you follow SE Powell all the way out past the juntion to 205, until you're in a rather unrecognizable area of Portland, unrecognizable because it's actually Gresham. The butte is an extinct cinder cone volcano that offers some wonderful views of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Adams. The top of the butte is all meadowland and was once used as a dairy (up until 1948). It was then slated to house Portland's water reservoirs, though only one was built at the end of the nature area. In 1990, the butte became a hiking, biking, trail running, dog-walking, and family-friendly outdoor recreation area. It was also just renovated this past year and has an expanded parking lot, nice roads, a visitor center, and well maintained trails. It's a great place to watch wildlife, catch stunning mountain views, watch the moon/stars, and do all manner of outdoor activity. Warning though: it's cold up there. A fierce east wind blows in and the unprotected top of the butte is buffeted by chilly wind in the winter.

Ben and I walked the Mountain View trail, the Summit Lane (through pastureland), then down the South Trail down through the Redwood forest, and back up the Hawthorn Trail back to the visitor center. Though cold, the hike was beautiful and pretty well used. We saw a ton of families "enjoying" the frigid weather. I would absolutely recommend checking out the hike for the pretty vistas on any day that isn't 40 degrees with a 20 mph wind.