I am Leah and I have Bipolar Disorder. To make life even more interesting, my husband, Dan, has Stage IV Cancer. He was diagnosed at 37 and has  been in ongoing treatment for 4.5 years! We also have a healthy and rambunctious 7 year old. So follow along as we try to manage our life together and strive for love, gratitude, and joy.

Holiday Shopping With Dan & Leah - Part One


If you are shopping for the holidays, you have one weekend left. If you aren't, lucky you to NOT be involved in the craziness! (I hope you will read this and keep in mind gifts for a rainy day.) Either way, we wanted to share with you our holiday shopping adventures. We came up with a few guidelines...


For Dan, this is the same as every day: T-shirt, jeans, hoodie, beanie, and sneakers...Sourced locally at Fred Meyer and Yamhill Valley Dry Goods or gifted:

Patagonia :: Flippin' beanie  // Revolution Brewery :: Chicago Flag t-shirt // Horny Toad Big Chill hoodie // Accessories: LCA bracelet & pin // Levi's 514 Straight Fit jeans // Patagonia Evader shoes (Similar)

For me, it means LuLaRoe by Leah Ruth, of course. [Score Christmas gifts now! Click here.] But I'm happy to layer up with other favorites:

Carlton Crush 2014 t-shirt // Loft Wool cardigan (Similar) // Horny Toad Lined parka (Similar) // LuLaRoe by Leah Ruth Camo leggings // (Gifted) Owl socks (Similar) // El Naturalista Yggdrasil boots

Yes, we are spendy on shoes. Shoes are important! They cradle and support our feet all day long, every day. We love our feet!




For Leah, this is a decaf vanilla soy latte and for Dan, it is black coffee with a pinch of ice and a dash of cream. We like other assorted warm beverages, but those are our favorites, so we have at least TWO if not THREE coffee shops that we rely upon in every town we know. You know, one and another for back-up, and another one for later in the day. (Is this an Oregonian thing? I don't remember being so obsessive about cafes when I lived in the Midwest.)

We started our shopping adventure in McMinnville, so we picked up our warm (delicious!) beverages at Chrysalis Coffeehouse on NE Alpine. While there, we had some options for gift giving --coffee, chocolate, pastries, coffee makers, and accessories. Dan is in need of a new press, so I picked up a Bodum 4 cup for him. Of course, the 3 cup Chemex is beautiful with its glass, wood, and leather design, but a press is more practical for Dan.* (Coffee and items can be ordered via Chrysalis' online shop.)

*Dan limits his coffee intake now that he is on chemo. Coffee can be dehydrating and Dan is focusing on making sure he is getting enough fluids to protect his kidneys and alleviate symptoms. I also ruled out an Aeropress over the French Press because of the extra steps involved in the Aeropress. Trying to keep things simple for Dan.

Is this too much talk about coffee?

#3 - GO LOCAL.

I know that my dear readers are spread out all over the world, so you can't quite shop my favorite places (unless they have online stores) so I encourage you to take this last weekend to explore what is local in your neck of the woods. Attend a craft bazaar, or check out a neighborhood of small boutiques that perhaps you've driven by but maybe never checked out. My point is...As convenient as Amazon and malls can be, it is worth more than you might know to support small businesses. For those of you who are in the greater Portland area, please do consider spreading your wings and traveling to Yamhill County for shopping. We have some wonderful small businesses and creative entrepreneurs doing excellent things out here, beyond all of the fabulous wine-making. And in addition to supporting Yamhill County businesses, you will likely end up supporting greater Oregon companies from Portland to Bend, when you find their products for sale out here.

Here's just a few examples of where Dan and I like to shop in McMinnville:


Dan especially loves this store for its quirkiness. There is such a wide variety of gifts here, you can find anything for anyone on your list. Dan has a fond memory of taking Raine here to find a Christmas gift for me last year, and the owner gifted Raine a Christmas ornament. How sweet!



Dan wants to note that it took him over a year to enter this store--he needed to work up the courage because he was so intimidated by all of the vats and numerous possibilities for tasting. He brought home a Barnea EVOO, and we have since had our eye on the Gremolata Olive Oil, Serrano Honey Vinegar, and Fig Balsamic. YUM! I think these will be under our tree...





The beloved boutique I formerly managed, Yamhill Valley Dry Goods, has great shoe brands in addition to clothing, accessories, and unique finds for men and women. Our top recommendations are Keen shoes, Hydro Flask bottles, East Cloud scarves, A Mano Trading jewelry, Patagonia beanies and belts, Kerisma sweaters, and socks by Socksmith and Sock It To Me.



The bookstore is your go-to for bound words, and they can order anything that they don't have in stock. I especially value the young adult section--there is some great fiction there! I also get my hilarious Blue Q socks here, Dan enjoys peeking at their cooking/foodie section, and I can stock up on chocolate and my favorite stationary items by Rifle Paper Co.


If you followed us this far, it's already time for another warm beverage or a snack. We bring all of our friends to Community Plate, the diner across the street from the bookstore. Favorites include Stumptown coffee, CP breakfast, pancakes, the reuben, or the soup or quiche of the day. Another block down is Harvest Fresh Grocery & Deli, where you can pick up vegan and/or gluten free soup and snacks or hit up the juice bar if that's your thing. I'm a fan of carrot-apple-ginger.


This is the last holiday shopping weekend for YamCo Holiday Market, and you do NOT want to miss out! Hop over to 4th & Galloway. The loveliness is incredible. Gifts to choose from provided by Pollination Flowers, Zachary Hixson, Basile's Workshop, Marjorie Parrott Adams, Letumeat, Type A Press, Mitch Horning, Aspen Summit, Maija Rebecca. We just can't say enough good things about the products these artists are collecting and producing, and many of them are friends. <3


Holiday Shopping With Dan & Leah - Part Two

One Week in Photos 12/2 - 12/9