The Spicy Bee is #KINDawesome {Sponsored}

This post is about a recent sponsorship opportunity with KIND Bars. I was not paid to write this post, however, my registration was comped to attend the Color Run in Portland. Thoughts are still my own.
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While on vacation, I was contacted by someone with KIND Snacks (mostly because of the hugely amazing network of Portland Bloggers--Thanks Erika and Michelle!) to run the Portland Color Run on Saturday, September 6th. I've had the 5K on my bucket list since before I started running two years ago--so this opportunity had me dancing in my seat! First time hearing about the Portland Color Run? This video covers the Chicago run (sweet home, Chicago)--and is fun to watch with the John Hancock and other skyscrapers in the background--makes a girl homesick!




As a #KINDawesome ambassador for the race, I get my registration waived and some fun KIND Snacks swag--I plan on getting a few good runs in prior to the race as summer tends to be my off season for running (I expend energy doing more hikes). I will say that doing a summer race has got me a little nervous--there's a reason I love doing the Shamrock 15K every year! It's cold! I thrive running in the cold but the heat--not as much. I'm more of a huffing, puffing, run-walker. My goal for the color run is to do the whole thing running. Sounds like I've got some hard training to do in 90°+ heat this week. Wish me luck!

Looking to do the Portland Color Run? Check the site out or on the banner below to learn more. Wondering what I do to bulk up after a run? I'll be updating closer to the race about my post run routine. 

Image via The Color Run site

Until then, I would love to hear about things on your bucket list! What are things you've been meaning to cross off your list?

The Spicy Bee is on Vacation


Hi! I'm currently in the wilderness for the week. Can you guess from this picture where I am? Here are some clues:

  • Huckleberries
  • Bears
  • Big blocks of ice ;)
Hope you're enjoying the last weeks of summer!

Pairings Portland: How it Works

The worst thing you can do for a place is to keep it to yourself (AKA hoard it). I've kind of been doing that with a little shop up in NE PDX called Pairings Portland since about March. My original intentions of teaming up with Pairings Portland was to host a casual bloggers evening for late May, and after a visit with the owner, I was quick to realize that with its close-in location, conscious selection, and fun atmosphere, there was little chance I was going to ever get away from this place. We ended up planning a "Keep Portland Weird" pairing theme for the Portland Bloggers night, and the response from those who attended was extremely positive. While a narrow shop, the owner, Jeffrey, creates a flexible atmosphere--all aisles of wine are on rollers, and chairs and tables are easily moved to recreate the space a hundred different ways to accommodate groups. There are even tables and chairs outside for those looking to lounge with their wine and enjoy the delicious scents of 24th & Meatballs, Uno Mas, and The Sudra.


This shop is built like a wine shop but caters to those looking to sip a glass and socialize as well. It's one of the only spots I've found in Portland that carries one of my sought after wineries--Truchard (base in CA). Pairings Portland specializes in wines that are organic and have not been inoculated. The shop is organized by different pairings--you dream it and the owner can pair it! You'll find wines paired to food, emotions, and even TV shows! I found the funniest picture was snapped by my friend Macey the night of our bloggers event :)


The owner of Pairings Portland is Jeffrey, is a bubbly gent who is difficult to get pictures of as he rarely sits still! He's extremely knowledgable and so very passionate about what he does. He is the mastermind behind each and every pairing in the shop--finding the strength in each bottle of wine and connecting them to different genres. I recently took one of his pairing courses and was delighted by the amount of applicable knowledge I learned during the afternoon course.

Exploring Wine Through the Pairings Basics Class



The key to pairing a good wine is to try it with a variety of tastes. Since my least favorite type of wine to drink is white (don't read that the wrong way people--just when given the option, I usually go red or go home)--because it's usually too sweet--I decided it was time for some forced growth and jumped into the course hoping that by the end, white wine would be more tolerable. We tried either a white or a red that had been picked for the class, and the first goal was to try it on its own and rate it. Then we applied different flavors to the pallet to basically manipulate the senses. For me, both acid and fat made the wine much more flavorful and enjoyable. Salt and sweets--not as much.   


The class' little nibbles throughout kept you from getting too carried away with your wine, and with each step you tracked your rating of the wine's taste. What I loved most about this class (besides Jeffrey's wealth of knowledge) was learning how different the tastes of those around me were. It made me realize how difficult it could be to pick a wine to share at dinner--if others didn't have the same tastes it could even ruin the experience! Luckily, for whites--most loved the addition of fats and the only disagreement was when it came to citrus with that particular white wine. 


Think the Wine Pairing Course is interesting? The shop holds the classes monthly and you can soak up all the knowledge and nibbles for a mere $25 a person. Pairings Portland also has an active events calendar--find that here. You will find Pairings Portland on the southwest corner of NE 24th & Glisan in NE Portland. Hours are Wednesday-Friday 2-8pm, Saturday & Sunday 12-8pm.


If you get a chance to stop by this Portland gem please let me know what you thought! Do you have a favorite wine shop?

Top 5 Most Useful Organizational Kitchen Tools

Warm weather in a new house sure makes a person's to-do list long! I've got the itch to fill empty spaces, paint walls, and organize new rooms. While I don't really think of myself as an "organized person" per-say, I will admit that my kitchen is usually my one organized space--most every cabinet has a designated role and organizational system in place. With a new house, however, comes new systems. I've come up with my top five favorite useful kitchen items I've collected to help keep sanity in a kitchen with limited drawer space.


5. Black Organizers

SKUBB from Ikea

Black (to match my cabinetry), fabric for a softer touch, and multi-sized; I recently purchased this set for bedroom organization, and upon finding them too small for most of the things I wanted to use them for, I found they made perfect wranglers for little items in my pantry. My favorite things to store in them are water bottle lids, open sugar bags, and canning lids, but the possibilities are pretty endless. This set was $8 for a pack of 6, and they are collapsable for when you're in between uses.

4. Bamboo Drawer Organizer

Oceanstar Version from Bed Bath & Beyond
I still remember moving into our first place in Portland, looking at my rental drawers and thinking--there's no way my organizer is going to fit in here...and then my handy brother-in-law walked by with a box, saw my predicament, and happily assisted in "separating" the adjustable ends from my organizer to help it fit in my drawer. In short, we technically broke it. I've had this organizer going on 4 years now and I still love it. This one is by no means the end-all-be-all of organizers either, but a nice, adjustable drawer organizer will help things find their place immediately. This one was about $25 when we bought it and is now going for $30 on BBB's site.

3. Mesh Bins

Elfa's Mesh Bins from The Container Store

Hands down my favorite produce storage at the moment. For my softer fruits, I line the bottom of the bin with paper bags to keep them from imparting their mesh pattern. What I love most about these bins is that they come in many different sizes and they nest inside one another well when not in use. I have an assortment of sizes from the days when we had floor to ceiling, deep shelved closets in our first place. They've held everything from crafting supplies, to dish towels, to kitties (Bonsai was especially fond of hiding in the wrapping paper bin that the top of said closets). The bins range from $15-$30 a piece and come in white and metal coloring.

2. Spice Jars

DROPPAR from Ikea
I hate screw on spice lids. What I have come to abhor more are the spice containers I recently ditched from The Container Store, which, after years of heating and cooling, had stuck and warped. Moreover, they enjoyed exploding spices like turmeric all over my counter tops when I attempted to open for measurement purposes. These little pretties above from Ikea brought a tear of happiness to my eye. Beautiful and easy to open, these glass spice jars come in packs of two at little more than $1.50 per jar. Now I just need to decide how I will label them (for now I stick with good ol' masking tape and sharpie).

1. Sorting Bins

Large Tapered Basket from Target


Gorgeous and so useful! I keep two similar handled bins (also from Target) under my open shelving at the back of the house for quick sorting of glass and other recyclables. I had purchased one for paper goods, then was gifted the second from a dear friend for our glass bottles! I love these sorts of bins because they are great additions (whether they are graphic like this one or bright colors like mine) and you can easily hose or wipe them out if they get a touch dirty. The handles are especially nice when you take them out to the curb. The above basket is $15 from Target and comes in black in addition to this white and black pattern.

What systems have you incorporated in your kitchen or home to make things more interesting, useful or beautiful? I would love to hear about it!

Three Avocados: Coffee For A Cause {Sponsored}

Three Avocados is a nonprofit coffee company. I was sent free coffee from Three Avocados. Three Avocados has given me 2 free bags of coffee, and a free bag to giveaway to one of you (my readers) in exchange for talking about Three Avocados in this blog post.

It's always fun to play a part in something bigger. I recently received coffee from Three Avocados, a non-profit organization that sells coffee, donating 100% of the proceeds to projects to help give water to families in Africa. You might be thinking, "Avocados....equal coffee?" Let me explain...

Three Avocados: The Story

Three Avocados started with a group's trip to a small Ugandan village. They attended a church service in the village and watched as a poor widow gave up her food (in this case, three avocados) into the offering basket, which went to feed others in need. The group visiting was so taken aback by her selflessness and generosity that they decided to name their nonprofit organization in her honor. 100% of the net proceeds from sales through ThreeAvocados.org help purchase fresh water and education for those in need. Four bags of coffee give one person water for LIFE. Over 20,000 lives have been impacted by the organization since its inception in 2010. 



The Coffee

Three Avocados' coffee is 100% single origin Arabica and comes from Mt. Elgon in Uganda in addition to Nicaragua, grown high in the mountains above Matagalpa (see the maps below).



The beans are hand picked, sun dried, and wet processed. The Ugandan coffee is grown in is known for a bolder taste and bittersweet chocolate, a flavor that definitely has resonated in the cups I've had since its arrival into my kitchen. The Nicaraguan coffee is low in acidity with a fruity tones. You can get the coffee both whole bean and pre ground, and come in 12 oz packages for $12 plus $3 shipping.

The thing I like best about this company's online shop is the monthly subscription offering. You save a dollar each month and you can cancel the subscription any time, and after four bags purchased, you've officially given someone drinking water FOR LIFE. Now's your chance to try out the coffee for yourself! I'm giving away a bag for you to try!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to use my code to get 10% off all your orders: thespicybeeTA

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