All-Time Favorite Travel Photos

A month from today I’ll be on my way to Amsterdam for a week of fun with two girlfriends who live in the Netherlands. Thinking about being back in Europe literally makes my stomach do back flips — it’s a mix of nostalgia, excitement, fear and longing. I am so glad I mostly kept up with blogging while we lived in Amsterdam because going down memory lane and reading old posts and seeing all the photos I took is so fun. I mostly can’t believe we ever lived abroad and got to jet off to Spain and Italy whenever we felt like it! I totally got carried away the other night going through old travel posts and I couldn’t help but round up my absolute favorite photos from our travels over the years. Can’t wait to keep adding to this collection in the years to come — even better to have the kids by our sides 🙂



CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICAcapetown2capetown3capetown4

south africa 4south africa 5

KAUAI, HAWAIIhawaiihawaii1hawaii3



Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany


BRUGGE, BELGIUMbrugesbruges2


LONDON, ENGLANDlondonlondon2

NICE, FRANCEnicenicefrance


SANTORINI, GREECEoiagreece2santorinisantorini6santorinisunsetsantorinisunset2


SWISS ALPSswissswitzerland

{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}

Anniversary Day Date in Willamette Valley Wine Country

This past weekend my mom came over and hung out with the kids while Corey and I headed out to wine country for a little day date to celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary! Sometimes I think day dates are even more fun than evening dates, but it’s definitely hard to choose. I guess you can’t go wrong with a little adult time #amiright?! 😉

We started our day with brunch at Jory — the restaurant at The Allison Inn & Spa. Corey and I have stayed here overnight a couple times and their breakfast rivals some of my absolute Portland favorites — it’s definitely worth the drive out there! We started with their beignets and you just cannot pay them a visit without ordering some. They come out hot with fresh cream and berries and basically melt in your mouth. Oh my gosh I feel like I need some more!

After stuffing our bellies we headed over to taste wine at a new winery in the Willamette Valley – L’Angolo. I have to admit what really brought me to this place was the gorgeous tasting room. It has floor-to-ceiling windows all around the structure with 360 degree views of beautiful grape vines and an impressive vaulted ceiling. We were eyeing the indoor/outdoor fireplace knowing it would be a dreamy place to watch the weather patterns pass along during the fall, winter and spring months. We also pretty much had the place to ourselves and Jacob, the hospitality manager on site, was so charming and knowledgable we couldn’t speak more highly of our visit. We walked out as their newest wine club members and can’t wait to return to pick up our first wine shipment in November.

After our long stay at L’Angolo we made a quick stop at Penner-Ash, a wine country favorite. Stunning views, plenty of space to sit and a large grassy area to walk and admire the grounds. Instead of tasting we went straight to a bottle of Pinot Noir Rose and casually sipped a glass before heading home to greet our sweet babes.

It was such a special day and a great reminder to take the time to focus on each other, do things we love together and celebrate the beautiful life we’ve built. Cheers to another seven(ty) years! 😉

P.S. Apparently I like really popular things because this dress and cardigan are both totally sold out. If you scroll to the bottom of the post I chose a few other darling little white dresses that I love!


Little White Dresses

My Camera + Editing Tips & Tricks

I was blown away by the response on Instagram when I mentioned I might do a post on what camera equipment I use along with how I edit my photos! I am always happy to share any insight I can, but I will say, I am not an expert. Pretty much everything I’ve learned has been through a ton of practice and trial and error.

First things first: I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II and I have two lenses — a 50mm 1.4 and a 28-135mm. I use my 50mm 80% of the time and I am obsessed with it. I’ve heard the 50mm 1.8 is a great option if you aren’t wanting to spend as much on a lens.  If I can recommend one lens to invest in, it would hands down be the 50mm. It is small and gives great quality photos, can be used to shoot in low light and gives that beautiful blurred background I love so much. I mostly only use my wider angle lens when I’m shooting interiors or for travel photography.

If you’re just starting out and looking for an entry-level camera, I started with a Canon Rebel and it was a great one to use to learn. My biggest advice if you’re just starting out with a DSLR is learn how to shoot in manual mode from the very beginning. This can seem intimidating at first, but you just need to learn the basics — aperture, shutter and ISO — and you can go from there.

This leads me to my next disclaimer. I think you can approach photography from two sides — art or science. Science means you are super knowledgable and obsessed with getting your settings just right — you believe there is a “right” and “wrong” way to shoot and follow all the “rules”. I am more of the art type. I know what I like, and I shoot that way, whether that be right or wrong. I don’t mess with my settings much and I honestly couldn’t even really explain how my camera works very well. I just know from practicing a lot what I’m doing and I am still in a constant state of learning and discovery. So, basically, take what I say with a grain of salt, because I’m far from an expert! And if you’re a real-deal photographer and you’re reading this — it will probably make you laugh and maybe even roll your eyes, and hey, that’s okay. You do you! But if you like the way my photos look and want to replicate the look and feel, that I can help you with 🙂

Aperture // I really like the look of a blurred background (shallow depth of field), so I rarely put my aperture at a number higher than f/4.5. Of course if I’m traveling and want an entire landscape in in focus, or taking photos of my home, I’ll use a larger aperture.

ISO // Here’s where my non-professional status shows through — I often keep my ISO on “Auto” — GASP!!! The only time I manually mess with it is if I am taking portraits inside in low light, I make sure it’s on a higher number to help let in a bit more light, but sometimes that means sacrificing the sharpness and accepting a little more grain to the photos.

Shutter // I am not ever really overly concerned with my shutter speed, I use it more as the last component to the “exposure triangle” (Aperture/ISO/Shutter). I mostly shoot stationary objects, but when my subjects are moving (perhaps a squirrelly toddler?) I make sure I use a faster shutter speed (higher number).

EXPOSURE // I tend to like my photos to be super bright and light, so I almost always over-expose them on the meter by one or two clicks.


When I edit photos on my computer, I use Adobe Lightroom. I use the presets in the Mastin Labs Fuji Pro Pack almost exclusively. Which preset I use from the pack depends on what I was shooting — for my most recent photos at the beach I used the Fuji 160NS – C.

One thing I really love about these presets is once you purchase them you get a few videos in your inbox that show you exactly how to use them to their full potential. It was so helpful for me since I am definitely a beginner level with Lightroom!

I don’t do anything super tricky when editing — first, I choose which present I want to use and then I adjust the exposure, contrast and saturation (usually increasing most of them). A lot of times I’ll stop there, but if the photo still doesn’t look “right” to me, I’ll adjust the Blacks or Whites and Shadows/Highlights. And on the rarest occasion I go into the HSL / Color / B&W section and adjust the red and orange tones to fix skin tone issues if necessary. But that is very rare. That’s honestly it! Easy peasy, right?

Here are some before and afters for you to take a peek at. I’ve also included my camera settings as well as the settings for each of the “afters” to give you an idea of where things landed.

Before:AfterCamera settings: f/8.0 / ISO 3200 / 1/8000 sec

Lightroom Settings: Temp 0 / Tint 0 / Exposure +.40 / Contrast +54 / Highlights -47 / Shadows +30 / Whites -53 /  Blacks +100 / Clarity 0 / Vibrance -9 / Saturation -5Before:After1

Camera Settings: f/2.8 / ISO 3200 / 1/60 sec

Lightroom Settings: Temp 0 / Tint 0 / Exposure +.60 / Contrast +58 / Highlights -63 / Shadows +33 / Whites -41 /  Blacks +88 / Clarity 0 / Vibrance -10 / Saturation -5]

Camera Settings: f/2.2 / ISO 3200 / 1/500 sec

Lightroom Settings: Temp 0 / Tint 0 / Exposure +.10 / Contrast +49 / Highlights -63 / Shadows -2 / Whites +12 /  Blacks +91 / Clarity 0 / Vibrance -10 / Saturation +17]Before:After3Camera Settings: f/1.4 / ISO 3200 / 1/3200 sec

Lightroom Settings: Temp 0 / Tint 0 / Exposure +.40 / Contrast +899 / Highlights -90 / Shadows -+43 / Whites -88 /  Blacks +82 / Clarity 0 / Vibrance -10 / Saturation -13]


The same company that made the presets I use also have an iPhone app called Filmborn, so it won’t surprise you that I use that app to edit almost all of my iPhone photos. The interface honestly seems kind of complicated, but much like my Lightroom editing, I keep things pretty simple here too. I usually just choose my photo and apply one of their filters — 99% of the time I use one of these three: Fujifilm 160NS or 400H or Kodak P160. I am obsessed with the look of film, but don’t actually know how to shoot film so their presets and this app give me the ability to get as close as I can to that film look without actually shooting film!

Once I’ve chosen the filter, I usually bump up the exposure, contrast and saturation and them boom! done! See — told you it wasn’t hard 😉

I feel like I could probably go on and on about photography, but this should cover the basics of the equipment I use, the editing software and presets I use and then my typical edits. If you want more specifics on anything or if anything wasn’t clear, please feel free to ask in the comments and I will answer!

{this post contains some affiliate links, which means I make a few pennies for sharing the love with you! I truly appreciate you supporting!}

Day Trip to Cannon Beach

Corey’s taking a little staycation this week so we decided to kick it off with a bang and take a day trip to Cannon Beach (and check one off the Denfeld Summer Bucket List!). Temperatures in Portland were supposed to get near 90, so we thought it would be the perfect day to beat the heat and head to cooler temps along the coast.

I was so impressed with how well the kids did being off their schedules and with the hour and a half car ride. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but our kids seriously hate the car. Any drive lasting longer than 25 minutes and one or both start melting down (mostly James). They each napped a little on the way there and back and the rest of the time Elodie colored and James snacked on Cheerios (haha!).

I reached out for Cannon Beach recommendation on Instagram before we left Portland and I got lots of great ones! We ended up grabbing lunch at Pelican Brew Pub and a quick pint at Public Coast. We started the beach day at Tolovana Park and then stopped off along Hemlock and Center Streets and walked down to Haystack Rock. Of all the (many) times I’ve visited Cannon, this was the closest I’d ever gotten to Haystack Rock! It was such a beautiful day (albeit really windy). The kids were seriously in heaven and all their smiles and delighted squeals made me so glad we decided to make the day trip!

If you find yourself in Cannon Beach, here are a few other spots you should check out: Sea Level Bakery for pastries and good coffee (if you’re a coffee snob like us!), Bill’s Tavern for fish & chips or Pizza a Feta for a delicious slice!

day trip to-2IMG_4016.jpgIMG_4025.jpgIMG_4031.jpgIMG_4067.jpgIMG_4093.jpgCannonBeach-13CannonBeach-12CannonBeach-5CannonBeach-15CannonBeach-4IMG_4154.jpgCannonBeach-22IMG_4175.jpgIMG_4298.jpgCannonBeach-20CannonBeach-19CannonBeach-18CannonBeach-16

{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}

What To Wear For Family Photos

This weekend, we finally had our family photos taken! We ended up going with a variation of Option 1 here and I think it turned out really well! I ended up deciding I didn’t want my dress to be the focal point of the pictures, which is why I went with the more neutral dress for me (even though I am obsessed with that floral maxi and wish I had an excuse to buy it!!).

I had a couple questions on Instagram about how I pick our outfits for family photos and having been on both sides of the camera, I thought I’d post some of my best advice along with some examples. I know that picking outfits for the whole family can be stressful and intimidating, but it really doesn’t have to be! I find that a little planning ahead goes a long way so you’re not standing in your closet the night before having a freak out (not that I’ve ever been there or done that 😉

Start with your location/setting and work backwards for a color scheme: Are you going to be taking photos in a really vibrant, colorful place? Will you be in your home that is mostly neutrals? What colors will complement or clash with the colors in the environment where you’ll be taking photos? Do you typically like lots of bright pops of color in your photos, or do you prefer neutrals? What will your photos be used for — to be framed in your home? For a holiday card? These are all questions you can ponder to help you start thinking of a color scheme for your family’s outfits. You can take inspiration from your location to decide on a color palette/scheme, or equally as important, decide what colors to avoid. Speaking of color schemes…


Decide on a color scheme before you start deciding on clothing items. Once you’ve taken inspiration from your location on what sorts of colors you want to wear, you can use a color palette to round out the rest. A quick search on Pinterest for anything from “family photo color scheme” to “neutral color palette” to “blush color palette for clothes” can give you tons of inspiration and direction.


photos by kati dimoff

Coordinate don’t matchCoordinating and matching are different. Matching means you’re all wearing a white top and blue jeans or you’re all wearing the exact same pattern. Coordinating means the color scheme you’re all wearing works together and your patterns aren’t clashing. A good way to know if your looks coordinate is by imagining that all colors and patterns are being worn on one person (got this tip from the lovely Jane Johnson) — if you wouldn’t wear the prints together or the colors together in one outfit, then they probably don’t coordinate well.


Make sure you’re comfortable and you’re not wearing anything too “fussy”. If you aren’t comfortable, or you’re wearing something that only looks good from certain angles, or tucked in just so, it’s going to show in the photos. And if you’re wrangling your kids for most of the shoot, chances are your outfit isn’t going to stay perfectly in place. Choose pieces where this won’t be a problem.


photos by olivia strohm

Try to avoid large-scale prints. Or, if you choose a large-scale print know that the eye will go there first when looking at photos. Perhaps choose a more neutral palette for the print so it isn’t too overwhelming. Smaller prints will blend in more and are typically a little easier to coordinate with.


Don’t feel like you need to be super dressed up. You want the photos to be a true reflection of you at this moment in your life. If you rarely dress up and you’re more comfortable in a t-shirt in jeans, there are still ways to make that look cute for family photos! Going casual can actually be quite cute!


photos by olivia strohm

I hope this was helpful! If you have any more questions – feel free to ask in the comments, I’d love to help!


Our Family Photos // Summer 2017

I’ve had a vision to go back to our wedding venue to take family photos with the kids for a while now and this weekend we finally made it happen! The photos were done by our friend Vic Garcia who also took the photos from Elodie’s first birthday, which are truly some of my favorite pictures we have of our family. I’m so glad he got to capture us now with sweet baby James here too. I couldn’t recommend him enough — he is incredibly talented and seriously awesome with kids. He had James giggling up a storm and Elodie showing off for him! I am so thrilled with the way our photos turned out and I already know they will be treasured for years and years to come.

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9 Diaper Bag Backpacks for the Modern Mama


one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine

One thing that saves my sanity on my daily adventures with Elodie and James is my diaper bag backpack. I had a Petunia Picklebottom diaper bag I absolutely loved before James came along, but after he was born I realized a backpack would be so much more comfortable and easier to carry around. Any opportunity to keep my hands free, especially with two kids, is a huge win. Carrying around a backpack has proven to be so easy, I now wonder why I ever carried anything but a backpack! I’ve rounded up nine amazing diaper bag backpacks, including the one I carry around daily, which is less than $50!

DiaperBag (3 of 5)DiaperBag (2 of 5)DiaperBag (1 of 5)DiaperBag (4 of 5)

{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}


Best Portland Restaurants

IMG_7302 2Okay, so this title might not be entirely true. A better title might be “Best Portland Restaurants According to Liz & Corey Denfeld”, but that’s just what I love about the Portland restaurant scene. There are so many amazzzzzing restaurants, the list of favorites you get from one person to the next will be totally different. Not because we disagree on what is great, but because there is just truly such an abundance of ridiculously good food in this city.

The restaurants on this list are not places we’ve tried once or twice. These are our go-to absolute favorites. They’re the ones we keep going back to again and again – for the food, the ambiance, the service and everything in-between. So if you or a friend or family member are visiting the Portland, OR area soon and are looking for some awesome spots to stuff your faces, you’ve come to the right place 😉

Olympia Provisions: While I’m putting Olympia Provisions in the brunch category, it is also open for lunch and dinner. To be honest, it is one of the rare restaurants I would gladly go to for any meal, but brunch is what really hits the spot for us here. Even though “brunch” and “charcuterie” might not seem like the most likely pair, you’d be remiss not to try one of Olympia Provision’s Spanish boards. I’m not even a big meat eater and I am practically fighting Corey for the last pieces of salami every time. The classic Benedict, lemon ricotta pancakes and biscuits and sausage gravy are also winners.

Mother’s Bistro*: Oh, Mother’s. An oldy but goodie. A Portland tradition. If you get here much past opening just expect to wait… But know that it is so. I also need to get a little bossy and tell you that you must order the Wild Salmon Hash. Just trust me, okay? You will NOT regret it. I don’t even bother trying anything else anymore because nothing can beat it. It’s one of those meals I would daydream about when we lived in Amsterdam and brunch was hard to come by.

Tasty ‘n Sons*/Tasty ‘n Alder*: Either of these restaurants are exactly what they promise: TASTY. No, seriously. Of the hundreds of times we’ve been (okay, that might be an exaggeration..) I can hardly think of a time I’ve ever ordered something that didn’t make me say “oh wowwww… but seriously wow wow wow”. Brunch and dinner are equally good here. It’s a toss up to pick which is better! The menu is ever-changing, but there are some staples that we can whole-heartedly recommend: Potatoes Bravas, Radicchio salad, Auntie Paula’s French Toast, Fried Egg & Cheddar Biscuit and the fries.

Interurban: One thing to note about Interurban is that they are just as much known for their cocktails as their food — perhaps more so. So if there’s ever a spot to justify a boozy brunch, this is it. I’m also borderline obsessed with their Salted Caramel French Toast. How can you not be? If you’re visiting with kids, you should note they don’t have high chairs — so bring your own or be prepared to have your littles sitting on your lap!

Grain & Gristle: If you’re looking for a restaurant that’s a little off the beaten path and a brunch spot with amazing food, but without a crazy wait, then Grain & Gristle is your spot. We used to live pretty close-by and it is open early, so it became a go-to for us (after an early morning wake-up with Elodie we’d all pile in the car and come here for many cups of delicious hot coffee). Their menu is always changing, but every time we visit their pastry of the day is out-of-this-world good.

Irving Street Kitchen: In the heart of the Pearl District with impressive decor, this is one of our favorite places to dine with the kids. It’s big, loud and has great food and drinks. I’m partial to the Moroccan Slow Poached Eggs or Smoked Soft Scrambled Egg Nachos while Corey is all about the Crispy Fried Chicken Sandwich.

Besaw’s*: Of all the restaurants on this list, this one might win for the most times we’ve ever eaten here. Especially since they moved locations a year or so ago, we’ve been frequenting this Portland favorite even more. As with many of the restaurants on this list, if you don’t get here really early, you should be prepared to wait. But no worries, their sister restaurants right next door – The Solo Club – is the perfect spot to grab a coffee or latte and a snack while you wait. I’m usually loyal to the Farmer’s Hash or the Belgian Waffle with lemon curd and dark chocolate depending on if I’m in a sweet or savory mood.

Harlow: If you’re vegan and/or gluten-free Harlow will become a new favorite for you. We used to frequent this gem a lot when we lived on the east side, but it is definitely worth your while to stop in if you find yourself on Hawthorne. Their Walnut Flapjacks and Chipotle Chili Bowl are superrr yummy (any bowl, really!). This is also a really great place to take kids as it is really loud and always full of families!

Coffee/Tea/Quick Bite:

Lovejoy Bakers: I recently took some out-of-town friends to Lovejoy Bakers for coffee and a quick bite and knew that I am a super-fan when one of them needed the code to get in the bathroom and I could give it to them. So I guess you could say I’m a big fan of this place. Their iced vanilla lattes are one of my favorites and I can’t stop in without getting either the B.E.L.T sandwich or their classic egg and fontina on homemade ciabatta roll. The icing on top is that the space is super cute and full of gorgeous natural light and they have Adirondack chairs lined up outside if you can stay awhile and enjoy some great people watching.

Commissary: At first glance this may seem just like any other cool Portland coffee shop – it’s small and cozy, with very instagrammable decor and you can tell the baristas know what they’re doing. But the best kept secret is Commissary’s food is equally as incredible as their coffee. They serve the best scones I’ve ever had and their “Lights” egg sandwich on house-made biscuits (that can be dressed up with arugula, bacon, sausage, jalapeño jam and much more) are to-die-for. This is a Denfeld family favorite for sure!

Tea Bar: My absolute favorite place for an iced vanilla matcha latte. Each location is super minimal and bright with tons of natural light! They also have matcha soft serve at their Division location, which I have yet to try, but I really want to!

Heart: Heart has an Eastside and westside location. We mostly frequent the Westside location, which is right across the street from Tasty ‘n Alder (see brunch restaurants). They serve fantastic espresso drinks, and if you’re willing to pay upwards of $7 for a latte, you should try their house-made nut milk. It’s a decadent treat!

Stumptown: If you’re even remotely interested in Portland and Portland’s coffee scene, you’ll be very familiar with Stumptown. It is our household’s coffee of choice – we buy fresh beans every week or so to enjoy at home, but anytime I’m near one of their cafe locations I stop in for my coffee drink of choice: a vanilla latte.

Barista: The people at Barista take coffee seriously. Very seriously. And while this might seem intimidating or pretentious to some, to a coffee snob like me I appreciate the heck out of it. It’s one of the few places that will lure me in even in the afternoon for a decaf latte, because they are that good (I typically think decaf coffee is blasphemous).

Pipp’s Original Doughnuts: There’s a great debate in Portland about which donut spot is the best in the city. For us it is a very close tie between Pipp’s and Blue Star, but if forced to choose, Pipp’s all the way. How can you possibly compete with hot, fresh, made-to-order mini doughnuts?! I can’t say enough about how absolutely delicious and one-of-a-kind they are.

Blue Star: Three words: Classic. Brioche. Recipe. Okay, I really only care about one of those words: brioche. That basically means these donuts are the bomb. Blue Star is known for their inventive, seasonal flavors — like Blackberry & Habanero Jam w/ Peanut Butter Powder, Maple Bacon, Matcha Latte and Orange Olive Oil. The consistency of these donuts is so good and while the flavors can seem intimidating at first, they taste uncomplicated and flat out delicious.

Papa Haydn: For us, this is the only real dessert spot worth visiting. If you’re looking for delectable cakes the size of your head, a giant rhubarb crisp served piping hot with melting ice cream on top or the best baked Alaska you’ve ever tried, then you can’t miss a stop at Paps Haydn. (I am really impartial to the Georgian Peanut Butter Mousse Torte… but I’d recommend sharing, the portion is extremely large and the cake is very rich!)

Salt & Straw*: Another Portland favorite where you’ll find a line wrapped around the corner nearly any day or time. A little known secret is if you’re willing to skip the experience of tasting all the different flavors, you can skip the line and go straight to the cold case, pick up a pint and a couple waffle cones and head on your merry way! It’s the only way to go for us — we always grab the Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons.

Ruby Jewel Scoops: If ice cream sandwiches are your jam, then Ruby Jewel is your place. You can pick your cookie and ice cream, get it dipped in sprinkles or chocolate (or both!) and it is sure to be the best ice cream sandwich you’ve ever had. Trust me.

Cacao: Maybe you’re visiting Portland during the winter, and it’s cold and rainy and the last thing that sounds good is a scoop of ice cream. In that case, popping into Cacao for a cup of drinking chocolate is definitely the way to go. But be warned, after a stop into their shop you might not be able to enjoy grocery store chocolate ever again.


Navarre: So hard to choose a favorite date night restaurant in Portland, but Navarre is very, very high up on our list. It’s a small restaurant with an ever-changing menu. Food is meant to be shared and they work with a CSA, so all the items on their menu are based on what is delivered that week. I can’t say enough about the romantic ambiance, the extensive wine list and the wonderful food. If you run into a wait for dinner you can pop next door to Angel Face — a really amazing bar (with awesome interior design).

Laurelhurst Market: A great spot for meat lovers especially, but I don’t eat beef or pork and still really enjoy my meals here. The ambiance is fantastic and they mix up great cocktails. It’s lively and the food is delicious every time!

Olympia Provisions: See my note from brunch — you can’t go wrong with any meal here! Both locations are stunning, on the smaller size, which I love for the vibe.

Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty*: Our absolute favorite place in Portland for pizza — especially when they have truffle pizzas on the menu, but they are all so incredible. The combinations may sound strange/unique, but these pizza chefs know what they are doing, they are all melt-in-your-mouth goooood. Then you can top your dinner off with house-made ice cream. Yes please! Very family friendly!

Ataula: Fun fact: We visited more cities in Spain than any other country when we lived abroad. Needless to say, we are huge fans of Spanish food and Ataula was the first place we tried in the States that had food that came close to the real thing straight from Barcelona. I’m going to be bossy and tell you what you can’t leave without tasting: Pa Amb Tomaquet, Tortilla de Patatas, Nuestras Bravas***(MUST) and one of their paellas (I’ve never been disappointed but if I had to choose a favorite it would be the Paella Ataula).

Le Pigeon: We love sitting at the bar and watching the talented chefs at work. Top notch food, great ambiance. Reminds me of being in an amazing restaurant in Europe. It’s always bustling in there and smells divine. Definitely need reservations for this one!

Piazza Italia: Best authentic italian in the city hands down — the decor is no frills, like what you’d find in Italy down a cobblestone path behind an unassuming door. In the heart of the Pearl District – never disappoints!

Bamboo Sushi: Just go here. Please. You think you’ve had good sushi, but you don’t know great sushi until you go to Bamboo. It’s the WORLD’S first certified sustainable sushi restaurant, which should give you an idea of the quality of the fish, meat and produce they use. You can’t leave without trying the Green Machine roll (with crab!) and they surprisingly have one of the best burgers in the city (wagyu beef).

Bollywood Theater: Loud, fun, crowded. A great spot to grab dinner with friends, especially if you go to their Division location during the summer months and can enjoy their large patio.  They specialize in Indian “Street Food” — my favorite dish is the Goan Style Shrimp.

Por Que No: I hate to admit that Portland has a serious shortage of really good Mexican food. Por Que No is without question the best in the city — and they have the lines out the door to prove it. Trust me when I tell you to have the Brian’s Bowl and don’t miss one of their Agua Fresca Margaritas. I am typically not a margarita fan because they usually taste too sweet with fake mix to me, but these are fresh and strong and sooooo good.

Stammtisch: Do you like German food? We do, but delicious and authentic German is not exactly the easiest to come by. Especially not in a spot that is this cozy and stocked with an amazing German beer list. We know it’s good because our friend from Berlin joins us for dinner here — if it has his stamp of approval, it certainly has ours. I can’t stand to order anything but the Maultaschen, it is so rich and flavorful.

Tasty ‘n Alder*: See brunch section — you’ll be sorry if you don’t go to one of the Tastys while you’re in Portland.

Toro Bravo*: Oh, Toro Bravo, how I love thee. I do not, however, love the long wait that is almost guaranteed, but your food is so, so worth it. Another favorite spot for date night, even better for a group of friends. Food is meant to be shared and everything is so flavorful, rich and delish. They also serve up a mean cocktail!

DOC : This place is special. It’s a quaint 20-seat restaurant, with the tiny kitchen at the front of the restaurant. That’s right, you can see the entire kitchen, the chefs at work, everything, right in front of you. It’s more of a special occasion place, at least for us. Reservations are a must!

Nostrana: If I had to pick a favorite food, I’d probably saying anything cooked in a wood fired oven. Ha! But seriously, you can hardly ever go wrong that way. Nostrana is well-known for their thin, wood-fired pizza (I daydream about the Funghi Verde Pizza) and famous for their Insalata Nostrana — made with radicchio, parmigiana, rosemary-sage croutons (!!!) and a Caesar style dressing. Yummmm.

Expatriate: I’m putting Expatriate in the drinks section, but their food is also amazing, so you could easily grab a snack and drink here before grabbing a bite somewhere else in the neighborhood (we love Yakuza, right across the street).

Angel Face: Amazing interior design with stunning hand-painted “wallpaper”. This is the kind of cocktail bar you go to and just tell the bartender what strikes your fancy (i.e. vodka & citrus, bourbon drinks, etc) and they’ll whip something up for you!

Interurban: Equally delicious food here, but also known for their craft cocktails. Great outdoor patio, too!

Multnomah Whiskey Library*: This place is really well-known among locals and tourists alike, and they have the wait to prove it. We’ve never waited or been quotes less than two hours, so your best bet is to check-in and leave your name then head somewhere in the neighborhood for dinner and come here for a night cap (we’d recommend Tasty ‘n Alder, Bamboo Sushi, Grassa, Lardo or Shalom Y’All).

Clyde Common: A great spot for dinner, too. But you can also grab a great cocktail and head next door to the Ace hotel and lounge in their lobby area – by the infamous “HOTEL” sign. Very instagrammable 😉

St. Jack: One of our favorite places to sit at the bar and eat and drink for date night. A French restaurant with amazing mussels and frites and tasty cocktails and an extensive wine list!

Wine Bars/Urban Wineries
Cooper’s Hall: Gorgeous, open space, great for big groups. The food, in our opinion, is mediocre, but this would be a great place to drink lots of delicious wine with friends! Best to check their schedule ahead of time as they do often get rented out for private events like weddings and such.

Southeast Wine Collective: A small urban winery with indoor and outdoor seating, great food and fun wine flights. Cute spot for a date night or good for a girls night out!

Muse: Tiny wine bar right off NW 23rd. Amazing selection of wines from all over the world, and the owners are awesome — super personable, not snooty in the least bit. Love this spot for a pre-dinner glass of vino!

My Everyday Makeup

I’ve been getting a lot of questions on my Instagram asking about what makeup I use (which I find extremely flattering since I really feel like I know nothing about makeup!), so I thought I’d give an update on the makeup I’m using these days.

Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I feel like my face just gets used to certain makeup and it stops being as effective. Maybe it’s just in my head, maybe I just get bored with makeup easily, or most likely, as I age and am extremely tired thanks to two kids I’m always wondering why I look so haggard and think trying some new makeup might be my miracle cure 😉 After lots of trial and error, I’ve really come to love the products in my makeup bag right now. I’ve already covered three of the products in this beauty post, so I’ll copy and paste what I had to say over here, too.MakeupFinals (2 of 2)

So, here’s the roundup. I’ve listed everything out in the order in which I put it on my face. Hope that helps!

Laura Mercier Mineral Pressed Powder: I’ve had people comment on how “flawless” my skin looks — well, as much as I hate to admit that it’s not my skin, I have to give credit to this mineral powder from Laura Mercier. It provides amazing coverage while not being cakey and it’s also luminous so it gives your skin great dimension. I love it!

IT Cosmetics Sunshine In a Compact Vitality Anti-Aging Matte Bronzer: This is one product in my makeup bag that I definitely love and have bought several times to replace, but I’m not obsessed with. I am sure there are other great bronzers out there that would work really well. I like this one because it doesn’t have a lot of orange or red tones in it and works well for giving a contouring type effect!

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Concealer:  Listen up tired mamas, you NEED this concealer. This is another one I heard about from miss Lauren and I am so glad I gave it a try. This concealer hides the fact that I have an infant and toddler at home and don’t get nearly as much sleep as I would like. My sister (a total beauty junkie who also has her own infant and toddler at home) ended up buying this too after noticing that I never looked tired even though she knew that I most definitely was 🙂

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips: I was, and still am, a huge fan of Bobbi Brown’s Shimmer Bricks, but my older sister uses the Physicians Formula version and recommended it, so I’ve been using that instead for the past year or so. I use it both to give my cheekbones a bit of shine as well as use it as eyeshadow when I am out of my regular Mac Woodwinked shadow (which I currently am!). Love!

IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara: I used to be a strictly drugstore mascara gal, until I found the IT Cosmetics Superhero Maskcare (thanks to Lauren McBride!). This stuff is so good — it lengthens and thickens and makes my lashes almost look fake! I’m hooked.

Christian Dior Eyeliner Pencil: I’ve used this eyeliner since I was 14 and I just can’t quit it — it goes on super smooth, doesn’t smudge and lasts throughout the day.

Billion Dollar Brows Universal Brow Pencil: I know everyone is all about the Glossier Boy Brow right now, and I’ve given that a try and it wasn’t my jam, but this stuff has been for a couple years now. It’s honestly foolproof, which I need because I am not an expert when it comes to brows and filling them in. I never got complimented on my eyebrows until I started using this. Now it happens all the time!

Bobbi Brown Blush in the color Peony: I used to be a strictly bronzer girl and didn’t feel I had any need for blush. Boy was I wrong! This Bobby Brown blush in the color peony is the perfect shade of pink to give your cheeks that flush pink color that brightens up your entire face without looking too pink. I now consider this blush my secret weapon to my makeup and my face definitely doesn’t feel “done” without it.

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{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}

2017 Denfeld Summer Bucket List

Summer has finally arrived in Portland! After the second worst winter in our city’s history, I am so ready for a summer full of sun and fun! Last week Corey and I put together a little summer bucket list to help motivate us to do all the things we always say we want to do… But somehow never get around to. Maybe if they’re written down and documented we’ll actually do more of them?! Here’s hoping! I’d love to hear what you’ve got on your bucket list this summer — especially fun activities for one and three-year-olds!

+Take a day trip to Cannon Beach
+Go strawberry or blueberry picking
+Go wine tasting in the Willamette Valley
+Walk the west hills and/or go on a hike
+Teach Elodie how to swim (in grandma & grandpa’s pool!)
+Take a day trip to Hood River
+Try three new (to us) restaurants (any Portlanders have recommendations?!)
+Make popsicles
+Go to an Oregon Zoo concert
+Host a backyard barbecue (we actually checked this off this last weekend!)
+Make s’mores
+Take the kids to our wedding venue – David Hill Winery – for a picnic
+Go on a kids-free overnighter (maybe for our 7th wedding anniversary?!)

don’t you just die for my niece’s bright blue eyes?!

{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}