the portland effect



Pine State Biscuits (top left), Cascade Brewing (middle left), breakfast at Pine State (bottom left), Salt & Straw (right)

…medic…medic!!!…postpone cholesterol test…check belly to see if it has morphed into a biscuit…

I just came back from attending a wedding in Portland, OR. Have you ever been? If you have, then you know what it feels like to be overwhelmed by the amount and variety of food and drink in the city. It borders on ridiculous. It was the first time I wished I had kept the baggy overalls I used to wear in the ’80s. What? Text you photos of myself in overalls and poodle perm mullet? How dare you!! You are very lucky my belly biscuit prevents me from coming after you.

Fortunately, I was with a group of friends. I tend to eat less when eating family style or doing tasters of beer. That being said, no one helped me eat my biscuit sandwich with fried chicken and gravy. My fangs – which I try to keep on the down low – would have definitely sprung out if anyone tried coming near my plate.

I was super impressed with the creative and artisanal energy of the city. We would be driving in areas where I would think to myself, “Doesn’t seem like there’s much out here…” and then !kapow! a little pocket of interesting restaurants and businesses would suddenly appear.

While my belly was definitely in charge of this trip, my heart was being pulled all the while, knowing how much natural beauty the rest of the state had to offer.

Wait for me, Oregon, I’ll be back for you.

For those who are interested, this is where I went:

Blue Star Donuts
Voodoo Donut (I preferred these over Blue Star, but am willing to do another tasting comparison)
Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Pine State Biscuits (twice)
Life of Pie (best mushroom pizza I’ve had in a looong time)
Pok Pok (delicious chicken wings & refreshing drinking vinegars)
Nong’s Khao Man Gai (keepin’ it simple with great chicken & rice)
Rev. Nat’s Cidery & Taproom
Bailey’s Taproom
Hopworks BikeBar
Cascade Brewing Barrel House (twice) (excellent sour beers)
Breakside Brewery
Upright Brewing
Ruby Jewel Ice Cream
Salt & Straw Ice Cream (super friendly & unique flavor combos)
Random Order Coffeehouse & Bakery
Food carts (dizzying amount of choices)


peace out

To experience more serenity, go to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge here.

I live in a stunningly beautiful part of the country. So it only makes sense that I leave that beauty and replace it with new beauty. I’m insatiable! Nothing is ever good enough for me!! I always want more!!!

breathe…calm yo’self…serenity…

I never get up and drive to watch the sun rise. But I’m on a little birthday getaway, and these are the gifts I received for stepping outside my door yesterday morning:

Canvas Ranch sunrisesheep

As I get older, I realize how important it is for me to have the peaceful silence of nature around me. It softens the hard edges, sheds light on dark corners, and clears some of the static in my brain.

It fills, energizes, and it is the answer to a lot of my questions.

It gives me joy.

And that is the best present, really, that I could ever ask for.


Back. Need vacay from trip. Post pics to buy time. Unable form full sente

Arriving in Seattle

Arriving in Seattle

The stunning EMG building with photobomb by Space Needle

The stunning EMP building with photobomb by Space Needle

Leaves on Ground Retrospective:

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset


Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Oftentimes when I return from a trip, I need a vacation. The beautiful accumulation of sights and sounds, the wanderings and wonderings…it all tends to give me a travel hangover. My brain has been fogged over, compounded by a lingering head cold.

I came back from Seattle with memories of a very green-living city in the full bloom of fall. The trees! The leaves!! The people so fantastic!!! The men with beards so prolific!!!! I know you were hoping for a Bearded Men Retrospective, but I get kinda shy taking pictures of bearded strangers.

I also didn’t take one photo of anything I ate. No food porn to post. I have no regrets – except for the grilled goat cheese & tomato jam sandwich with tomato soup I had at Radiator Whiskey. It’s not the first time I’ve wanted to marry a food item and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

I was traveling with my friend GMoney (shout out to her street cred), who by the way, is a great photographer. Without her, I don’t think we would have found our way around as well as we did. If I were on my own, I would still be standing on that street corner after having gotten on the wrong bus. (I think in another life I was robbed by a circus clown while holding a map, staring at a fork in the road. Just a few of my fears rolled into one.)

Let’s return to something more pleasant, shall we?

Open Spaces, Peaceful Places, Quiet Moments aka Nature Will You Marry Me Gallery:

green with envy

GMoney at the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island

GMoney at the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island

Seattle Center

Seattle Center

I like visiting cities and feeling the excitement and energy in the air. I like getting the vibe of different neighborhoods. But I am clearly and definitively a country mouse who likes to rock ‘n roll once in a while. Travel has a great way of jumpstarting the brain with new activity. It blows the dust off those synapses and stretches them out like rubber bands. Feels good. It has inspired me to make a list of new places, near and far, that I want to explore with my boyfriend, Camera.

…i plan to propose soon…shhh…

I know it seems like I am a proposaholic, but I assure you, I am not. I do not have a problem.

Do you know if Coffee is seeing anyone right now?


the pull

anais nin

Have you ever felt this way?

Sometimes I feel a fierce need to be in a different place. To refresh myself with things I’ve never seen or experienced before.

I traveled a bit last year, but nothing has taken my breath away like my trip to Scotland and England in 2011. I literally stood and gaped at an inordinate amount of stunning views. I wanted to ask someone to pinch me, but I didn’t want to wake up. I remember saying aloud, “I’m here. I’m seeing this.”

View from Cuith-Raing, Highlands, Scotland

View from Cuith-Raing, Highlands

The skies seemed bigger. I felt even smaller. I had my doubts that I was still on Earth.

Cuith-Raing, Highlands, Scotland

Cuith-Raing, Highlands

Calda House, NW Highlands, Scotland

Calda House, NW Highlands

I was a solo traveler on that trip. I find that there are pros and cons to traveling alone. The biggest pro is that you can do whatever you want whenever you want; the biggest con is that you don’t get to share the experience with anyone. After a while, I got a bit homesick on the trip, mainly because I became overwhelmed with the constant moving from place to place and the newness of things. The craving for familiarity started to seep in.

I don’t know what to attribute this feeling. I’m a creature of habit, yet I need to be released into the wild once in a while. Even on a trip to a new and fascinating city, I can only take so many museums and interiors of lavish castles. And then I need to be let out. Experience the small, quiet moments and the vastness of the landscape around me. Let my traveling mind reach out and wrap itself around the details of new people, culture and food. Lots of food. Of course, you don’t need to travel 5000 miles just to experience something new. Look into the familiar and unfamiliar of your everyday life, and you will see something you’ve never seen before.

What I see in my everyday life – big and small – isn’t too shabby.

beautiful day

Oh, but that pull…

I’m taking a short trip soon with a friend and I’m sooo looking forward to exploring the wild heart of a new city.

This traveler is ready to be unleashed.

[I think I inadvertently busted my way into a WP weekly photo challenge by linking my post on their site, so I’d better show some common courtesy by linking you to their awesome site:]

Saying Yes to The Big Easy

Traveling is good. It can stretch you out of your comfort zone and as a result, invite change. Transformation.

When I got on the plane for New Orleans, I felt a rush: I’m in an airplane. I’m going somewhere. I’m going to experience something new.

When a friend of mine told me that she was going there for a conference and asked if I wanted to meet her there, I hesitated for a moment. New Orleans? Isn’t that one of the most extroverted cities in the United States? I don’t know…

“Sure! Why not!” I said a moment later.

Who am I to say no to an opportunity like that? Sometimes an introvert has to push her anxiety aside to go meet life. Give it a big hug (and you know how I appreciate a good hug).

Was I transformed? No, not like in past trips I’ve taken. But it’s a fascinating part of the world. The only other southern state I’ve been to is Kentucky and I do so appreciate Southern hospitality, Sugar. Delicious food, sultry (I prefer this word as opposed to soaking, which I was) weather, local architecture…it’s good for the body, mind and soul to be out of your regular routine and shake things up a bit.

However, I could have done without the rowdy crowd mentality and the activity of drinking-likker-in-the-streets: “HELLO LADIES!!! YOU’RE CHINESE, AREN’T YOU!!!” Uh, no, we’re not, but we’re not going to stop and tell you that. We weren’t even on Bourbon Street, which we studiously tried to avoid.

As the plane took off on the connecting flight home, I gazed down at the twinkling city lights below. So pretty… I wanted to turn to a traveling companion and say just that; I wanted to share that experience with someone. And when I looked out and up at the stars, I wanted to have someone to look at those stars with me.

Crap. Now I was sad.

It happens.

Sometimes you just have to accept that your emotions have a life of their own. Respect them, and they’ll respect you. The more you try and fight what you don’t want to feel, the more you betray yourself. Emotions are constantly flowing throughout you in varying degrees. So go with the flow, I say. (But please seek help if you’re feeling entirely overwhelmed.)

Perhaps I was wrong after all. I’ve had a delayed, mini-transformation, because today, I was gloriously happy. But that’s another story.