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Building a Better Central Oregon

Each year, the Central Oregon Association of Realtors embarks on Building a Better Central Oregon, which takes place during the summer and started last week. Each week, a group tours several locations throughout Bend that are doing cool and innovative work to make Central Oregon the best place to live (even more than it already is).

BBCO’s main purpose is to recognize worthy residents who have enhanced their community with outstanding new or renovated residential, commercial or industrial buildings. Projects are judged on economic impact, neighborhood improvement, unique design or use of materials.

At the end of the summer, locations are awarded with a variety of awards. Check it out to see who won what in 2018.

This year, Patty joined the group and we’ll be highlighting some of the amazing things happening around Bend.

First up, they toured the Bethlehem Inn, Northwest Storage, Trampoline Zone and On Tap. Here’s a few things that are going on at these incredible spots.

Bethlehem Inn

“After 20 years in existence, the Bethlehem Inn homeless shelter finally has their own home. The Inn doubled its family units from 5 to 10 in 2018 with Phase I, which included the administration and service hub along with a commercial kitchen and in 2019, the Singles Building will be complete which increases the capacity from 70 to 100 men and women. SunWest Builders and Ascent Architecture, along with a host of excellent subcontractors contributed to the success of the project, which serves a large population of homeless people in Central Oregon. The Inn works with over 70 agencies to assist in transitioning our under-served population to stable housing and health.”

Northwest Self Storage

“This building has had significant impact on the beautification and improvement of this neighborhood. It also has a unique design and enhances the area greatly. This company also has a program for their employees called the “Give Collective.” Northwest Self Storage foundation donates several $1,000 grants to their employees who apply on behalf of nonprofits that they are passionate about. Through that, they have given to Bethlehem Inn, Grandma’s House and Kid’s Center in Central Oregon, just to name a few. Which benefits our community even more.”

Trampoline Zone

“18th Street Sportsplex is a new 50,000 sq foot facility located on Bend’s east side near the 10 Barrel Brewery. This four story multi-sport facility is home to Trampoline Zone and Adventure Park, the Jumping Pickle Cafe and Pickleball Zone. Since opening the doors in November 2018, 18th Street Sportsplex has put a smile on over 30,000 visitors. The company is on a mission to create safe, wholesome, affordable family fun in our community.”

On Tap

“On Tap is a wonderful place to enjoy a beverage, tasty meal and do it with a view. It has 30 tap handles and six food trucks. They have a newly enclosed and covered patio with heaters, bar seating and TVs. The two large outdoor fire pits and lawn are great to sprawl out and let the kids and dogs play. On Tap filled a need in NE Bend for a fun family friendly place to hang out in the community. The owners remark that the community has been so appreciative and supportive since their opening.”

There’s more to come from Building a Better Central Oregon and we’re excited to see how things unfold!

Central Oregon Activities

Why We Love Living and Working in Bend

We sure do love where we live (and work). And I think we can all agree it’s one of the best places to explore, try new things and enjoy being outside.

Central Oregon has so much beauty to offer and we love it for so many reasons. Here are a few.

Because the Sun is Usually Shining

Boasting 158 of clear skies a year and 105 days that are mostly sunny, Bend is an incredibly happy place to be. It fuels us with the Vitamin D we need to be healthy.

Small Town Feel

Central Oregon offers amenities of some big cities, but has that small town vibe where you can see people you know shopping, out walking the river trail or at a restaurant.

River Trail Only 10 Minutes From Downtown

You can start at the Old Mill and follow the River Trail to feel like you’re out of town, but really you’re right in the middle of it. A real treat for a brisk one hour walk with your dog.

Dogs are Welcome Everywhere! 

Love to take our dogs to breakfast and sit outside, we always have people stopping by…mostly to talk to our dog, but sometimes they even talk to us too!

Diverse Restaurants

As we continue to grow, amazing restaurants continue to show up. We’re getting lots of healthy and vegetarian choices. There’s something for everyone.

Places to Sit Outside

Whether it’s wine or beer you’re after, there is somewhere to post up on a patio and enjoy the sunshine and a beverage with friends.

So Many Outdoor Activities

This one is a given, and one of the biggest reasons people move here, but there really is something for every one’s passion. Whether it’s water sports, trail running, skiing, biking, the list goes on and on.

High Level of Community Involvement

Bend is a very civic minded town and people love to get involved and support each other.

Generous Philanthropy

There are many many generous donors for many important causes and people show up to give and make change in our community.

What is your favorite part about living in Central Oregon?

Central Oregon Activities, Home Fun

9 Spring Activities to Kick Off the Season

Spring is in the air. Kind of. I think we all know Central Oregon spring doesn’t have quite the same pizazz as our neighbors west of the mountains, but its energy is still invigorating as we transition from winter to summer.

For you, kicking off this season might mean the standard spring cleaning or moving your runs back outside instead of in the gym. But if you’re looking for some ways to really say “hello spring” and make an event of it here’s a checklist to get you going.

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1. See Some Cherry Blossoms

You’ll have to get out of Central Oregon for this one, but not only is it worth it, it is a surefire way to get excited about spring. If you’re popping over to Portland for a weekend this season, you can catch an incredible cherry blossom show at Hoyt Arboretum, Laurelhurst Park or Pittock Mansion.

2. Have a Picnic in the Park

One of our favorite repeat bucket list items, a picnic in a park with delicious snacks, family and friends will give spring the feel it deserves. Drake Park and Miller’s Landing are always classics to get to as the season kicks off, but check out Hollinshead Park, Hillside Park or Sawyer Park if you want to mix it up a bit.

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3. Visit a Farm

We can’t have a spring list without being able to see some animals! Find a local farm and go check out some of the babies that are coming out to play. Or if you’re an alpaca fan, visit Crescent Moon Ranch to see the fuzzy critters.

4. Go Horseback Riding

If you’ve lived here for awhile, you likely know someone who has their own horses. And if you ask nicely, they might take you for a ride! This is an amazing way to welcome spring and feel the power and beauty of these animals. You can also check out horseback riding at Brasada Ranch for the full package.

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5. Hunt for Four Leaf Clovers

Okay, this one is just fun! And will also require a little bit of a drive, but the colors and beauty that will be coming this season will be more than worth it. You can start your hung along the McKenzie.

6. Make Sidewalk Chalk Art

This isn’t just fun for kids! (Although, if you do have kids, it’s a great way to spend the afternoon.) Let your inner child loose and get some sidewalk chalk, mark off your territory and create a masterpiece. There are few things more satisfying that enjoying the sunshine and getting chalk on your hands creating art.

7. Dance in the Rain

Sounds typical, but there’s a reason it comes up so often. Dancing has all sorts of health and emotional benefits and is a form of therapy. Adding the rain to it will just make it that much more freeing. Our rainy days here in Central Oregon are few and far between, but when it comes along get outside and let yourself be wild.

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8. Build a Bird House

As all the little animals start coming back out to play, building a bird house is a great activity to greet spring and enjoy some creativity. Then put them up and watch as your flying friends come by all throughout summer.

9. Plan a Garbage Pickup Day

Let’s not ever forget to commit to our community every season, but spring is an excellent time to get a group together, get outside and pick up some trash. Pick an area of town you’d like to tackle and make an event of it.

How do you like to kick off spring?

Home Fun

Going Green in the Kitchen: 6 Products to Get Started

In honor of Earth Day, which is just right around the corner on April 22, we wanted to share some of our favorite organic and eco-friendly kitchen products. Both of us are making a conscious effort to step up in the realm of going green and since the kitchen is one place we tend to be pretty wasteful, we thought we’d share some of our favorites.

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1. Unpaper Towels from Etsy

This little Etsy shop must be doing well because these paper towel alternatives are amazing. Not only will they give love to the environment but they will also make your wallet happy as well. AND THEY HAVE SNAPS! So they act and look like real paper towels (so don’t worry, your favorite paper towel holder still comes in handy) but without the environmental impact. And on top of all that, they’re absolutely adorable.

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2. Bee’s Wrap for Food Storage

We were introduced to these a little over a year ago and we love them! We now give them for gifts for friends, family and clients. They are so easy to use and, of course, bee’s wax is always something we’re excited about trying. Whether you’re saving fruits, leftover dinners or lost the lid to one of your jars, these will do the trick.

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3. Reusable Silicone Food Bag

These bags are amazing for lunches and snacks on the go. Instead of using those nasty plastic zip lock bags every day, just get a few of these and you’re set. They’re reusable of course and keep everything nice and tight and sealed in for deliciousness.

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4. Reusable Produce Bags

Something you might not often think about (I know we sure didn’t) is the environmental impact every time you go to the grocery store and put your fruits and veggies in those plastic bags. An alternative, of course, could be to not use any bag at all. But who wants that? Your produce rolling around in the dirty shopping cart with all the other foods? It may seem a bit spendy at first, but these are well worth the dime you put toward them. And you can pat yourself on the back for adding them to your Going-Green Kit.

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5. Eco-Friendly Pots and Pans

These pots and pans are not only good for the environment but they’re amazing in the kitchen. So although we don’t recommend cycling out your currently pots just because (since that would be wasteful in and of itself), if you’re in the market for a new set, do check these ones out.

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6. Silicone Sponges

Not only are regular sponges gross and collect all sorts of nasty bacteria, but they are awful for the environment since they don’t last very long. Mix things up with these silicone sponges that will make your hands feel good as well as your desire to help out our earth.

What products do you use to make the switch to an eco-friendly kitchen?

Adventure, Central Oregon Activities

Soak In the Snow Day: 9 Ways to Relax, Be Productive and Support Community

If you haven’t heard, Central Oregon got record breaking snow this week. And that snow has put a bit of a halt on some of our plans. Restaurants are closed, people are working from home and no one is flying anywhere.

At the time of writing this, we’re kicking off the beginning of storm number two this week. We have two feet on the ground and another six to ten inches on the way. And you might be feeling a bit stir crazy if you haven’t left your house in nearly 48 hours. So we have a few ideas to help you feel like you’re using this time as a way to reset, recharge and/or gain momentum.

Relax

If your reaction to snow days is to cozy up with a book or turn to Netflix, this is the list for you. Now is a great time where mother nature forces us to slow down. We physically can’t go anywhere fast even if we tried, so might as well take advantage of it and collect all the fuzzy blankets and pillows and settle in.

Journaling

Snow days are a great time to reflect, and what a perfect time of the year to do so. We’re nearly two months into 2019 and now is a great time to check in with those New Year intentions you set for yourself. A few questions you might ask:

  1. Am I feeling positive about the moves I am making so far this year?
  2. What are three things I can do this week to honor myself and my body?
  3. What am I grateful for right now?

Reading

A fairly obvious go to on stormy days like the ones we’ve been experience, now is a great time to get back to that book you’ve forgotten about and catch back up. Or track down a new book to get inspired. Luckily, if you have a Kindle or Tablet, you can get yourself that new book without even making the trek into the snow.

A few books we’re really excited about lately:

  1. Drood by Dan Simmons
  2. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
  3. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Napping

Okay, this one might seem a little bit silly, but let us ask you: When was the last time you let yourself take a midday nap guilt-free? We never nap and we have a hard time feeling good about it when we do. But snow days like this give us the opportunity to take that rest and rejuvenate as we gear up for the snow melt that’s to come.

Our challenge: Let yourself take a midday nap. It doesn’t have to be long.

Be Productive

So maybe rest and relaxation is not your go-to when you’re cooped up inside your house, but instead you’d like to find ways to be productive. Lucky for you, there are still a lot of ways to find productivity even when you can’t (or won’t) go to the office.

Organizing

What better time is there than a snow day to go through your closet and organize and purge? Maybe throw on Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix to find some inspiration first.

A few areas of the house you could tackle easily and quickly during this storm:

  1. The Closet: Go through the clothes you haven’t worn in years, ask yourself some questions about them, and throw them in the Take-To-Goodwill-When-The-Storm-Passes pile.
  2. The Desk(s): Old paperwork stacks up without us even knowing it’s happening. An easy project for a few hours of your snow day is to get into your desk and pull out those papers you’ve been unknowingly throwing in there. It will feel so good to free up the space.
  3. The Junk Drawer: We all have one. It collects the things we don’t know what to do with but aren’t ready to get rid of. Again, this small project can provide a lot of relief…as well as room for new junk in the future.

Get a Sweat In

If you’re missing the gym on these days (and the snow shoveling isn’t enough for you), an at home workout might be just what the snow day doctor ordered. It doesn’t have to be much when you’re feeling trapped inside anyway.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. 32 Minute At Home Cardio Workout
  2. Full Body Workout
  3. Here’s a collection depending on what you’re looking for.

Try a New Recipe

Okay, so this one assumes that either a. you have the ingredients in your house already, or b. you’re willing to go to the grocery store to get them. But a snow day is a great day to experiment with new recipes.

A little inspiration:

  1. Tomato and Tortellini Soup: Patty made this one this week, added a little spinach and got sausage cheese tortellini instead and it is absolutely delicious.
  2. Experiment with Buddha Bowls: A new favorite for meal prep, Buddha bowls are both easy and scrumptious. Also a fun way to get the whole family involved.
  3. Something Delicious: 30 Minute Cinnamon Sugar Knots

Support Community

If you have the luxury of being able to work from home or take advantage of the snow days with your kiddos, now is a great time to remember those who are unable to do that. This snow can be harrowing for those who can’t leave their house or, on the opposite side, are forced to leave their house. Now is a great time to support and give back to the community.

Help a Neighbor 

Snow shoveling is difficult and painful for some. If you have a snowblower or an extra hand, maybe pop over to your neighbors house and give them a little help. Kindness goes a long way, especially when people are cold and having a hard time getting out of their houses.

Give Thanks for Service

Remember that your gas attendant and cashier at Safeway are working their butts off to serve you through this snowpocalypse. They don’t get to call in and ask for the day off and they’re currently keeping this city running. If you feel like going above and beyond, bring them some cookies or just give them an extra thank you before you take off.

Ask What Friends Need

You might have no idea that even your closest friends are in need during this record breaking snow, and this is a great time to ask. If you have the car that can get to the store, ask if anyone needs anything. If you like driving in this weather, that might come in handy for someone who recently moved here and isn’t used to these conditions. We can all help each other through this.

What are you doing to get through these snow days? Are you loving them?