Thursday, June 30, 2011

vacation weekend...

For the Fourth of July I'll be in Clear Lake, Cailfornia, with the sun on my skin and the breeze blowing through my hair. (In other words, paradise.) I hope it's as pretty as it looks it this photo. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures and report back. Happy Long Weekend!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Little Big Burger just opened across the street from my apartment, and it’s been staring me in face, begging me to try it, since opening night. Last week Jeff and I finally caved. He indulged in a small juicy burger—it’s little but has a big taste!—and a bag of fries, crisped and oiled and salted just right. Lately I’ve been eating healthier, so I skipped the burger and nibbled on a few frites while taking photos of Jeff.

Later that week, we had dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house in Southeast Portland. The menu: flaky white fish topped with spicy mango salsa, plus a salad of mangos, avocados and black beans. My little cousin had a burger instead. (And how stinkin’ cute does she look eating it?!)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

a hot air balloon ride!

Okay, so I didn't go on a hot air balloon ride. But I watched lots of other lucky people take off in hot air balloons this weekend. (Oh, what I'd give to fly in a big balloon!) I woke up at 4:40 a.m. on Saturday to meet my friend Liz for the Tigard Hot Air Balloon Festival. We arrived just as the sun was coming up, and by the time the colorful globes were airborne the sky was a brilliant blue.

There were so many colors! Jeff makes fun of me because I'm drawn to intensely hued objects: anything splashy, showy, you get the picture. (You should see my closet. It's brighter than a rainbow.) He calls me a bumble bee and makes buzzing sounds when I see something kaleidoscopic—like a hot air balloon. 

Point? On Saturday, I was happier than a bumble bee on a sunflower. 


Friday, June 24, 2011

Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift

First of all, Happy Friday!

Second of all, there’s been a lot of change happening in my life lately. (If you’re not one of the few who knows about it, you will be very soon!) Anyway, it's got me thinking about what matters most in life. (Which explains the All You Need is Love print above. Cute, isn't it?)

I first posted the list below a few years ago, when I was living and working in San Francisco. Back then my favorite sentiments related to my budding career: #3, #15, #19, and so on. Now that I’m revisiting the list, I realize my favorites have changed completely. Today I appreciate the ones about love, relationships, family. Why? Because I’ve learned not to take my job too seriously. (That’s my expert analysis, anyway.) Numbers 3, 15 and 19 don’t resonate so much anymore because I don’t have to remind myself that “my job won’t take care of me when I’m sick” or that today’s “disasters” won’t matter in five years. Since moving back from San Francisco, life has taught me both of those things.

It’s funny how we change over the years.

Without further ado, here’s one of the most meaningful lists I’ve ever read. My new favorites are in bold. 

1. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
2. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
3. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
4. Pay off your credit cards every month.
5. Don't compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journeys are all about.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
9. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
10. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
11. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
12. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you.
13. When it comes to going after what you love, don't take no for an answer.
14. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, and wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special    
      occasion. Today is special.
15. Over prepare, and then go with the flow.
16. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
17. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
18. The most important sex organ is the brain.
19. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: In five years, will this matter?
20. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
21. Forgive everyone for everything.
22. What other people think of you is none of your business.
23. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
24. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
25. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
26. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
27. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
28. The best is yet to come.
29. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
30. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Which ones are your favorites?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

shootin' the breeze

I caught up with an old friend tonight. I first met her in 2004, when we were just two of the hundreds of girls rushing sororities at the University of Oregon, trying to decide where we’d fit in. We picked the same house and formed an instant bond. (Cheesy! I know.)

Since college she’s moved to Boston to earn a master’s degree in physical therapy (or something that has to do with muscles), and I haven’t seen her much. (Actually, last fall I bought a ticket to Boston, packed my bags with brand-new super-cute outfits, and then had a meltdown the day I was scheduled to leave to visit her. I didn’t anticipate my unattainable copywriting deadlines and unfinished freelance projects giving me a full-blown panic attack, complete with crying on the floor of my office and popping a Xanex from my boss' purse. (What?) As one would expect, I didn’t get on the plane.)

Anyway, tonight we had happy hour at Journeys, a cozy wine bar in Multnomah Village with tables and chairs set up on an expansive porch and freshly cut lawn. I nibbled on a plate of extra-cheesy grilled cheese bites and shot the breeze with my friends until the sun began to sink.
{The giggly photos of us were taken in Eugene a couple years ago.}

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

a birthday, a grad party and father's day, oh my!

My weekend was chock-full of parties. (Three, to be exact.) It was so busy that I actually looked forward to coming back to work, to my quiet desk, on Monday morning. (Not kidding.)


On Friday night, I helped my BFF celebrate her twenty-fifth birthday at Departure, a ritzy bar on top of The Nines hotel in Portland. 


Despite my late night—which included a pit stop at my favorite taco truck for a greasy pork burrito—I woke up early on Saturday morning and trotted my pajama-clad self to the grocery store for ingredients to bake: (a) chocolate chip walnut cookies, (b) cupcakes with sprinkles and (c) a very complicated salted fudge with walnuts and a crunchy-cookie crust, from a recipe in this month’s Martha Stewart Living. (Yes, I subscribe.) With all these parties to attend and not a darn clue what to get anyone, I decided to take the homemade-from-the-heart route. (Big success, btw.)

On Saturday evening, Jeff and I showed up at his brother’s college-graduation party with cupcakes that screamed “WAY TO GO!” in edible letters. Five other girls brought homemade cupcakes too—which I totally didn’t anticipate—but even so, they were a hit (especially with the two-year-olds, what with the rainbow sprinkles and all).


Sunday was Father’s Day. While Jeff made chocolate chip walnut cookies for his dad, I put my salted fudge in a suit-and-tie embellished Tupperware container (also inspired by Martha Stewart Living), complete with a handcrafted note on top. We went to my parents’ house for presents, dinner and Bocee Ball. I love seeing my dad as happy as he was on Sunday. ♥

Friday, June 17, 2011

yes, i had fried chicken for dessert.

ever heard of a place that serves really great sushi and fried chicken on the same menu? me neither. until last night, when my best gal-pal and i met for dinner on mississippi. i’d ben dying to try uchu, a new restaurant that serves delicate asian sashimi as well as all-american heart-attacks-on-plates.

“fried chicken?” alexa mumbles as she skims the menu.

“Mm-Hm,” i respond and settle into my seat.

the cobblestone patio beneath our feet is warm—it’s finally starting to feel like summer!—and well kept, like no one’s walked on it for weeks. i conclude the restaurant has a first-rate cleaning crew. we order veggie rolls and salmon rolls and the saltiest, most delicious edamame ever. And then i smell the fried chicken. i’m halfway through my dinner when the waiter asks if he can bring anything else.

“how about some friend chicken?” i ask him. it just comes out.

“sure thing,” he replies, spinning on his heels toward the kitchen.

i’m not much one to eat a whole chicken breast—let alone a fried one, after i’ve had my dinner—but hey? there’s a first time for everything. Besides, who wants to crave something later in the evening when they can get it on the spot, for dessert? Not me!

the chicken is white and moist and steamy, the outside fried to a light, dainty crisp. there’s not a hint of butter or grease or anything that would contribute to a heart attack. carrots and pickles even come on the side. (in my twisted opinion? that makes ordering fried chicken for dessert okay.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

{silly} saturday snaps

sometimes saturdays bring out the silly side of me. (how’s that for alliteration?) sometimes i dance out of bed, humming the tune to a childhood song and giggling for no reason at all. i pick Freddie (the cat) up by his furry armpits and hoist him to the sky and twirl him around while singing and giggling.

and i don't even take drugs.

i guess saturdays make me happy because it’s the one day each week i have zero responsibilities. no cares in the world. i don’t have to rise and shine at the crack of dawn to get to work for an 8 a.m. meeting, or sit at my characterless desk all day, or worry about making it to the gym in time for my zumba class, or worry about making a fool of myself in my zumba class, or get to bed early to start the whole thing over again.

(i know. my life is rough.)

anyway, saturdays rock. the best ones start with zero plans, or maybe a late brunch downtown, and end with a fun evening with friends. this is how my silly saturday went last weekend:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

my street of dreams

I live on Mississippi Avenue, the heartbeat of North Portland. I fell in love with it last summer. (Have I told you this love story? If not, read on.)

One day last year, Jeff and I were passing through, en route to my studio apartment at the waterfront, and suddenly I wished I lived on Mississippi instead of near the sparkling river and the boundless bridges that stretch over it. I could imagine myself here, among the hippies and hobos and eclectic families and artists. It reminded me of San Francisco. Three months later Jeff and I packed up and moved to the neighborhood. Since then, Mississippi and I have been inseparable.

(Okay, so it's a short love story. But cute, eh?)

Today the sun woke me up with surprising warmth. Jeff and I took advantage of the weather by strolling up and down the familiar streets of our neighborhood, acting as off-course tourists. (With cameras and everything.) We ate breakfast on the outdoor patio at Muddy's, wandered through a nursery we'd never been in, and savored lattes at Fresh Pot with foam on our upper lips. The streets bustled. And the trees swayed slightly, their leaves making music with each other.

Here are some snaps from our touristy walk this morning: