Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring is in My Hair

These days, trees are blooming, flowers are sprouting from the earth, and every once in awhile the sun even comes out. (Which means I’m in Heaven.) Yesterday, as I go on and on about how much I fancy spring, Jeff ruins my chirpy mood.

“I want to skip spring and go straight to summer,” he says.

I consider this for a minute, imagining what life would be like to skip the season. It’d mean I’d also have to skip my birthday, my espadrille-wearing phase (which results each year when it’s too warm for boots and too cold for flip-flops), and my transformation from brunette to blond.

There’s no way I could ever skip spring.

{Behold the new hair!}

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fill in the Blanks!

As I near my 25th birthday—my quarter-century mark, my half-way-to-fifty point—I’ve been thinking about my accomplishments, my mistakes, and the kind of person I’ve become. And I’ve filled in the blanks below to give you an idea, too. :)

Today I am exhausted because last night, I took my youngest sister and her friends out for her 21st birthday! I felt sort of mom-ish, driving the kids around from place to place and then yawning uncontrollably when the clock struck 10:30—my weeknight bedtime. But I made it all the way to 2:30 a.m. Hooray for me!

My favorite place is the Jersey Shore. It sounds silly, what with the hit MTV series and all, but it’s the truth. Every summer since I was four months old, my entire extended family has vacationed for two weeks at my grandparents’ house at the Shore, which sits on a beautiful beach in Ocean City, New Jersey, overlooking the boardwalk and the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. {See photo above!} I look forward to it every year.

Something I have been procrastinating is work, obviously, since I’m doing this instead…

The age I am is 24 and the age I feel is 25. Next Friday is my 25th birthday, and I truly feel my age. I’m a young professional with a year of corporate copywriting experience under my belt; I live in a vibrant, up and coming area of the ever eclectic city of Portland; I have the most amazing boyfriend in the entire world, and the best friends anyone could wish for; I’m responsible for the well being of a living, breathing creature, Freddie (which to me screams ‘grown up’ but not ‘old’); and I enjoy trying new restaurants, going to concerts, traveling, catching up with old friends, shopping, hosting dinner-and-wine nights at my apartment, and laughing until it hurts. So far, my twenties have been fantastic!

The thing I love most about my home is the super huge windows! Now that the sun stays out until after 7 p.m., we leave the apartment lights off and enjoy the natural sunlight until it’s completely gone. It saturates our home, bouncing off the (faux) hardwood floors and glass table tops, keeping us warm and totally happy that spring is finally here.

My fashion philosophy is cute but comfy. I’m not one to strut around in four-inch heels just because they look good. (I subscribe to Real Simple and Portland Monthly instead of InStyle, if that tells you anything.) Usually I can put together a chic outfit, but whenever I’m feeling un-pretty or fashion-less, I think of something my grandmother once said: “Just be kind, and your beauty will be apparent to everyone.”

If you looked in my purse right now you'd find.... an extremely random assortment of lip gloss, nail polish, a small jar of peanut butter (no joke!), a gigantic can of hairspray, two unpaid bills, a water bottle, deodorant, loose Euros leftover from Amsterdam, a Fiber One bar, a hairbrush, an umbrella, and of course the usual stuff: wallet, keys, phone.

My biggest accomplishment in life thus far is two-fold: traveling to Paris alone and navigating my way through a country in which I didn’t speak the language; and then plunging headfirst into adulthood by moving to San Francisco, accepting an unpaid internship at a weekly newspaper on a whim. In both cases, I was extremely challenged, and I thrived. Both experiences have given me the confidence I need to do just about anything.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Perfectly Clean for Spring

Jeff was gone last weekend, which left just Fred and me in our big apartment, all alone. But I made the most of it. I hosted a St. Patrick’s Day potluck on Friday—complete with green food, beer, and a deliciously sweet key lime punch (spiked with rum, of course)—and spent the next day with my youngest sister. We ate waffles from a neighborhood food cart, sipped coffee, and started planning for her 21st birthday on Wednesday.

On Sunday, I emptied every closet, cabinet and drawer in the place, wiped it down, and reorganized it from scratch. I gathered bags of clothes to donate to Goodwill. I even found a way to arrange the ridiculous amount of Nike shoes that have been stashed in the hall closet for months. (See photo below for proof.) By 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, the sun was peering through the clouds, lending just enough warmth to open the windows and let the fresh air flood the apartment.

It feels so good to start the week—and the spring season!—with a clean home.

(Now all we need is the sunshine.)

{ta da!}

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Our Winter Weekend by the Sea

Last week, on the day locals and vacationers were forced to evacuate the Oregon Coast because of the tsunami warning, we headed toward the storm. Jeff and I piled in the car with our friends Liz and Corey (and their puppy, Henry), and we drove to the beach. We stayed in the cutest little house, in a community of brand new vacation homes between Depot Bay and Lincoln City. Our afternoons were spent walking along the sand, while our evenings were consumed with board games, red wine, great conversation, and complete relaxation.

I couldn't get enough of the stormy water, which contrasted with the clear sky and gorgeous sunshine. The waves were bigger and bluer than I'd ever seen them, and the sand golder than I remember. The scene was absolutely beautiful, like God had turned up the saturation.

{Thank you, Liz, for the beautiful photos!}

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sunday Escape at Prost!

Many Sundays, for me, involve trips to Ikea for knick knacks I don’t need, for furniture I don’t have room for, and for other stuff I flat-out can’t afford but make my apartment look so stinkin’ cute. (At least in the wintertime, when there’s not much else to do besides shop.)

Yesterday was one of these Sundays. I’ve been dying for a big dining table, one that makes a statement and can hold six to eight people. I’ve also been dying to have friends and family over for dinner soirées, and hunching over the coffee table or balancing plates on our laps while scrunched together on the couch is out of the question.

We found a “statement” dining table on Craigslist and bought six simple chairs from Ikea. On Sunday afternoon, when we needed a break from hammering and screw driving—as two people usually do while assembling furniture from the Swedish manufacturer—we met friends at Prost!, an authentic German pub (called “Cheers!” in German) smack-dab in the middle of the historic Mississippi District, two blocks from our apartment.

The four of us shared a gigantic glass boot of Spaten Lager—a light golden, slightly malty, quintessential Bavarian bier—plus pretzels with salt and fiery German mustard on the side. The best part about Prost! is that each bier is imported directly from Germany, poured into a uniquely shaped and adorned glass, just as it is in Deutschland. We sat on the deck amongst other boot-drinkers and space heaters that radiated sufficient warmth and offered an escape from the sharp winter weather.

It gave us the just the boost we needed to get back to work on our Ikea chairs.