Last Wednesday, I was given the opportunity to fly to Oregon for an event on behalf of Harry and David. I had to go – I’ve had a leeeettle obsession with Harry and David since I was a youngin’ because my dad would always get these wonderful gift baskets and pear boxes and truffle towers sent to our home from clients, and my mom WOULD NEVER LET US EAT THEM. Ever. I mean, she would be all “we are going to save this for a special occasion” and run away with it. And my brothers and I were all “ugh SERIOUSLY? How can you do that to us?!” And I sort of think my dad felt the same way. Because after my mom’s attempt at hiding the basket or tower of goodies (if it was fruit, we would be allowed to immediately consume it…), the three of us would search that baby out, find it, and secretly devour the contents. But it wasn’t so secret because less than a day later my dad would most likely also go in search of the basket and do his own bit of damage. And then weeks later my mom would want to beat us all. Moral of the story: I will find a better hiding place for my treats when I have children. Heck, I’m gonna build some sort of secret underground or something.

So on Wednesday, I went to the airport at 3AM. Yeah… Oregon is sort of far away. But a nice lady offered me a peach on the plane, and I was grateful for the kindness of strangers. Except I was too afraid to eat the peach because I was inwardly afraid that it would be laced with some sort of LSD and I would die. Raise you’re hand if you agree that I’m COMPLETELY INSANE.


This event was organized by Sandy from the Reluctant Entertainer and oh my gosh… I’m pretty much in love with Sandy. She had us over to her gorgeous home for dinner and made us the most incredible meal. Her family is fabulous (totally reminds me of my own!) annnnd I’m about to invite myself to move in with them.

Sandy shared a ton of shots from that night and details on lots of the food she made for us, so I encourage you to check it out. You know how lackadaisical I get with my camera.

I can’t tell you more before mentioning the other girls that were there with us… because I adore them so. There isn’t even a word for how much I adore them, so you have to check out the sites of Rebecca (amazing), MariaLori, Jenna, Amy, Bridget, Heidi (omg… because she hilarious), Kristen and Rachel. I am insanely inspired by all of them.

I had a mini meltdown when I met Bridget because I admire her so, so much. Beautiful person inside and out!

The rest of the trip we did fun things like explore the pear orchards and the Harry and David chocolate factory (yes, the entire time I was like OMG) and drink wine and eat cheese and eat more cheese and drink more wine. We had gorgeous views for dinner and such incredible food. Oh… and it was like 110 degrees and I thought my face might melt off. This required lots of hair-wearing-up.

You may recognize baby Caleb from Maria’s blog. Gahhhhh can you even take him?!

Here is my plate one afternoon. There are a lot of vegetables on it!

No worries. I more than made up for it after.

Oh and right after I took this photo of this beautifully crafted zucchini bowl, I definitely knocked two over and completely destroyed the set-up before everyone ate. I’m such an embarrassing mess.

Hi Rachel. You are sooooo cute. You are hilarious too. And you live in Texas so I feel totally comfortable busting out my big, hot-rollered hair in your presence.

We got to paint our own chocolates and put them in little egg molds. In true I-love-the-90s-and-all-things-glitter-pink-and-sparkly fashion, I painted different colored hearts on my eggs. Don’t even tell me you’re surprised.

On the last night we made our own little makeshift happy hour where Rachel, Jenna and I squished our faces together. Jenna and I ordered margaritas… but then regretted our decision and ordered mojitos after one sip. We aren’t indecisive or anything.

Perhaps the best part was our trek to the Harry and David country village, which I can only describe as even more amazing than Trader Joe’s. And you know how much I love my TJs. Let’s just say I did quite a bit of damage in that store and when the products arrive on my doorstop on Tuesday (yes, couldn’t even fit that much in my suitcase) I might have to frantically hide them from my husband so he doesn’t see how much I spent. Or devour six wedges of smoked blue cheese before he gets home – whichever comes first.

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55 Responses to “What I Did All Week.”

  1. #
    Dina Croy — August 19, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

    1. You had me at “visiting Harry & David”! 2. Shame I wasn’t there or I would have knocked things over first. 3. We have 4 kids and I ABSOLUTELY tell them some items are off limits, adult only food. And they do not dare touch them. (On those occasions I make some sickening kids treat so they don’t even care).


  2. #
    Ross @ TheFaceBaby — August 19, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

    a. This looks incredible, despite the face-melting heat.
    2. I could totally channel my inner-Picaso if it included a chocolatey ending.
    iii. I’m glad you had fun, now go play with my sister. she misses you.


  3. #
    Hayley — August 19, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

    Glad you had such an amazing time–those photos are beautiful and I’m obsessed with Harry & David! What an exciting opportunity to head to their orchards. Jealous!


  4. #
    Jen S. — August 19, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

    I love this post! It looks like it was so much fun.


  5. #
    Michelle | Letters from Boston — August 19, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

    That . . . looks. . . amazing. And you cap it off with smoked blue cheese?? YES please. I’ve only recently come around to how wonderful blue cheese is. What I was thinking before, I have no idea. But I love these pictures and I’m glad you had so much fun!! :-)


  6. #
    Nancy — August 19, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

    I want – wait, NEED – your life. I know you realize how blessed you are, Jess!


  7. #
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — August 19, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

    That looks amazing. I’ve “followed” along via pinterest! Man, I need to get myself invited to something like that, it sounds incredible (or I may have to just crash the party, ahhh, I remember crashing weddings..yeah, I did that).


  8. #
    Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy — August 19, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

    My husband’s mom always buys Harry & David dip (not sure what it’s actually called, but it’s some kind of chip dip) for family gatherings and it is sooo good! It looks like that was a fun event! And…I wouldn’t have eaten the peach either.


  9. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — August 19, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

    I can’t even begin to say how much I love this post – probably one of my faves you’ve ever written about ANY of the trips you’ve been on (and you’ve been a busy girl in 2012!). What a GREAT group of ladies to be with – so much awesomeness in one room and in one place. And Oregon looks stunning – the views, the natural beauty, mmm. Gorgeous.

    And the fact that this was a H & D event. Swoon. I have to RUN past that store at the mall (it’s right next to Williams-Sonoma & Pottery Barn – a very dangerous wing of the mall for me… lol)

    Glad you had a blast!


  10. #
    Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking — August 19, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

    What a great trip!! How wonderful that you had so much fun and spent such quality time with those incredible women and cute baby Caleb!
    Next time, will you pack me in your suitcase?


  11. #
    marla — August 19, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

    How fun is this!!!??


  12. #
    JulieD — August 19, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

    Beautiful trip, beautiful ladies, beautiful brand! I love their pearsssss!! I love everything you shared about the trip!! Hope you get some rest!!


  13. #
    kim@hungryhealthygirl — August 19, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

    Better than TJ’s? It must be insanely amazing. Love all of your photos and the food all looked so beautiful. What a neat experience!


  14. #
    TidyMom — August 19, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

    I loved following along with you all last week!! What fun you all must have had!

    I received H&D fruit of the month for 6 months about a year ago, as a gift and I think I need to find a reason to send it to myself again!


    • Rachel - A Southern Fairytale — August 20th, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

      you and me both! I think the fruit of the month would be the perfect gift for any Food lover ;-)


      • Rebecca (Foodie With Family) — August 20th, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

        YES! I think I might order it for myself, too. I don’t know that I can live without those peaches now.

  15. #
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — August 19, 2012 @ 6:04 pm

    Looks like so much fun! I am particularly jealous of the chocolate making–I would have loved that.


  16. #
    Claire @ Live and Love to Eat — August 19, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

    Those are some absolutely amazing shots – the scenery looks as impressive as the food!


  17. #
    Maria — August 19, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

    YAY! We LOVED spending time with you! And I love that photo of Caleb!! TOO CUTE! We miss you already. Come to Utah already…and not just for a visit. We really need to be neighbors:) Love you! xoxo


  18. #
    Jackie @ Daydreamer — August 19, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

    It sounds like such a fun trip! The food and company look amazing and the picture you took on the plane is gorgeous!


  19. #
    Elizabeth — August 19, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

    Wow, looks like an amazing time! We have to enjoy these summer meals while we still can!


  20. #
    Patty — August 19, 2012 @ 8:57 pm

    Hi!! I’m Patty, the crazy girl in the glasses at the Harry and David country store who fed you Moose Munch. I just wanted to say that you made my day that day Especially because riiiiight after I saw you and was so giddy-happy about having met you, a boy I like BLATANTLY FLIRTED WITH ANOTHER GIRL IN FRONT OF ME…. luckily, I was so happy that I didn’t care! I hope you like your Moose Munch! We sampled out peanut butter malt balls today and they were pretty out of control. It was so nice meeting you and you have a nice day!


    • Jessica — August 19th, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

      OMG! Patty! You made my day on Friday… seriously! And that boy… totally not worth it. Totally. You rock!


  21. #
    Amber at Love, Laugh, Live Well — August 19, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

    Oh my, that looks like a fabulous trip! So many great photos!


  22. #
    Sandy @ RE — August 19, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

    Oh, sweet girl, you were one of the greatest gifts of the 3 days together. What a fantastic group, and we learned so much! Thanks for the love … can’t wait to see you again, hopefully soon! Loved our last night’s dinner together … writing, writing, writing … ha ha.


  23. #
    Mary — August 19, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

    you couldn’t have paid me to eat that peach–good call.

    harry and david pears on the other hand? yes please.


  24. #
    MikeVFMK — August 19, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

    I always wanted to go to Oregon. And now, thanks to you, I feel like I went. With a handful of pretty girls, lots of adult drinks and smushy faces. Except you went and I still haven’t. So that part sucks. So that’s what I did all week. Not go to Oregon.


  25. #
    bridget {bake at 350} — August 19, 2012 @ 11:18 pm

    “And then weeks later my mom would want to beat us all.” Haha….oh, I love that.

    First, it was such an absolute pleasure to meet you. Let me tell you, as an old-ish mom type, I was a little intimidated to meet young-cool-hip-fashionable-funny Jessica. YOU are just totally and absolutely precious in every way. Did I mention there is a house on my street that is for sale? And we have lots of air conditioning here?

    Second, IT NEVER OCCURRED TO ME TO BUY THE CHEEEEESE. What the heck?!?!? They were packing the BEER for my husband on ice….why, oh, WHY did I not think to throw in some cheese?!? I’m going back.


  26. #
    Rachel - A Southern Fairytale — August 20, 2012 @ 12:24 am


    I adore you, so much. You are sparkles and laughter and light and joy and silliness and fun.. not to mention crazy gorgeous. You’re totally an animated character come to life, complete with sparkling eyes and white teeth and insane hair.

    I can’t even begin to count the moments that I loved with you this weekend. There are so many things that make me giggle and smile and oh hai…!

    I need that pic of you and Jenna and me, I love it!!

    You are full of wonder and win and love and joy and talent. I can’t wait to learn from you and share xoxo plus, your hubby drinks Diet Dr Pepper.. so there’s that <3


  27. #
    Jess — August 20, 2012 @ 4:53 am

    Looks like so much fun! Although….a peach may be the weirdest thing ever for someone to offer you on a plane.


  28. #
    Jen @ Savory Simple — August 20, 2012 @ 7:19 am

    Beautiful photos! This sounds like such a great event.


  29. #
    Karen Norval — August 20, 2012 @ 8:06 am

    I’ll have what she’s having..

    I have been seriously purging purging and then purging again the bazillion things in my e-mail box, begging people to “unsubscribe” me. But your blog is simple perfection, and my weekly wine group has enjoyed being the beneficiary of your food whenever it is my turn to host.


  30. #
    Mia Dumont — August 20, 2012 @ 8:07 am

    A full “Chronicles of Jessica M” ! What a gift! Or maybe the beginning of “The Life and Times of Jessica Merchant”? How’s that for a first book’s title suggestions?
    You don’t know me… I can be a grinder.
    Especially that I think you have such talent for writing!
    I KNOW! I’m at page 152 of “50 shades of Grey” (25+ millions copies sold worldwide) and she doesn’t have 1/9th of your talent for storytelling! Mind you, she writes sex chronicles and there are so much words to describe it. There is a stone step from boudoir to kitchen and so much more reciepes! And whoop-lazz around it ! Have a great day!


  31. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — August 20, 2012 @ 9:31 am

    Sooo wish I could have been there. If I say “totes jealz” will you delete me from your life?


  32. #
    Katie @ Oh Shine On — August 20, 2012 @ 9:44 am

    Did anyone else see the finger that’s missing the nail?


    • Dana — August 20th, 2012 @ 9:48 am

      definitely just IMed the link to my boyfriend and asked him, “what’s missing here?” That first pic is STUNNING, by the way : )


  33. #
    shelly (cookies and cups) — August 20, 2012 @ 10:08 am

    Such a great trip! Completely and utterly jealous, because my mom used to “hide” the truffles too!


  34. #
    Gerry @ Foodness Gracious — August 20, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

    Great pics and a beautiful place to visit! I am totally with you regarding the peach/stranger thingy…kinda like the witch and the poisoned apple deal…eeeehh


  35. #
    Mal @ The Chic Geek — August 20, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

    I love Harry & David pears! They are so amazing.

    Looks like a wonderful trip- great photos


  36. #
    Cupcake and Talk — August 20, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

    It sound like you had an amazing time. I love the photos.


  37. #
    Tabs — August 20, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

    Okay, how is it that I live in Oregon and didn’t even know that Harry and David is from right here in my own little neighborhood?!?!?! Seriously, I have been missing out! Well not any more, thank you Jessica! Now I know where I’m going to take my husband on our much needed date. :)

    Your pictures were gorgeous, too, btw.


  38. #
    Jennifer — August 20, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

    What a fun visit! Thanks for the pictures. I loved seeing them.


  39. #
    Jessi — August 20, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

    Your photos are amazing!!!


  40. #
    Kristin — August 20, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

    My husband’s parents used to get Andes mints and tell the kids they were “Mommy and Daddy candies” and that the kids couldn’t eat them because they’d get sick or something. Hubby was well into school years before some kid showed up with a box of Andes and hubby had to inform everyone that those candies were only for Mommy and Daddy and all the kids laughed at him. Poor guy.


  41. #
    Kat — August 20, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

    that seriously looks amazing!!!!


  42. #
    Rachel - A Southern Fairytale — August 20, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

    PS Text me that pic of you and Jenna and Me ;-) I miss y’all so xo


  43. #
    Diana — August 20, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

    Your picture are beautiful! Looks like you really enjoyed your trip!


  44. #
    Casey — August 21, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

    These pics are absolutely gorgeous! Curious–did you take them with your phone or your fancy camera? Or a mix of both?


  45. #
    raquel — August 22, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    i love that you wouldn’t eat the peach. After being stuck on a plane for hours once, the lady next to me offered me a luna bar. I’m just as crazy as you, was scared to eat it, and that was even packaged (obvi).


  46. #
    Rebecca (Foodie With Family) — August 23, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

    I adore you. And your laugh. And your hair. Can you teach me the art of the hot roller? I mean we’re PRACTICALLY neighbors and all. I loved getting to meet you. My eternal apologies for not spit-wadding that guy who was napping on you on the plane. Ahem.


  47. #
    Katie Fisher — August 24, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

    Okay, so I’m freaking out a little bit because I didn’t know you were coming to Southern Oregon, BUT I did know about this event, because a coordinator from Harry and David contacted me about giving out gift cards to the attending bloggers. Which meeeeans, you were IN MY FLIPPIN’ STORE AND I DIDN’T SEE YOU! :( That would be Paddington Station or The Paddington Jewel Box in Ashland.

    I’m so bummed.



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