portland getaway: part II

in the beginning of march, chris and i headed back down to portland to explore and taste all the delicious food it has to offer. since it’s been about 2.5 years since we were last there (how is that possible?) i thought i’d share an update on some of our favorite spots to eat, because let’s be honest, that’s all we do when we visit another city.

we took the amtrak early saturday morning, we’re talking 7:30am, and made it in to Portland just around 11am. the train is my favorite way to travel to portland. it’s easy to check-in & get on, it’s relaxing, and there is great scenery. if you’re ever traveling from seattle to portland, or really anywhere – check out amtrak.

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we planned to spend most of our time on the east side of the river on hawthorne and division so we found a hotel in that area. normally we like to try to save money by staying in airbnbs when we travel, but in portland it’s more cost-effective to stay in a hotel, which is my preference, so win-win for me!

okay, on to the good stuff… food, food, & more food! when i go out to eat i’m always hoping for a magical experience, otherwise, maybe we should have just stayed home & cooked. anyone else feel that way? there’s not a single spot that we went to that didn’t leave us craving more.

first stop was lunch at bollywood theater. from the street you can tell that it’s going to rock your socks off. it’s inside of a california-style abode building with beautiful plants and a large patio covered with cafe lights. then you step inside. there’s bollywood films playing on the wall and there is this rustic, yet hip feel about the place. owner troy maclarity’s hope in starting bollywood theater was to bring the atmosphere of india to portland.

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the menu consists of an array of indian street food options, with a short list of small plates. there are tons of vegetarian options and a few amazing meat picks. here’s what chris & i ordered: pork vindaloo (a portugese-influenced dish), gobi manchurian (an indo-chinese cauliflower dish), and paratha (flatbread). and oh my, were we impressed! the food was full of flavor, perfectly cooked, and an all-together experience.

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once you’ve finished your meal you can head over to their little market area and buy cookbooks, spices, and other ingredients to recreate your experience back at home. if you’re ever in portland – don’t miss this one.

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seattle’s donut scene is pretty lackluster, at least in comparison to what i’ve experienced in los angeles. so, when we go to portland i always like to make a trip to bluestar donuts. it’s the closest thing i can find to sidecar doughnuts, which are the best. ever.

anyway, we stopped in after lunch, just before they closed. surprisingly, they still had a good number of options left. i snagged the last raspberry rosemary buttermilk (YUM) and chris got the OG (horxata glaze). these donuts are sweet, but their flavor packs a punch! i’d definitely recommend the raspberry rosemary. and if you are going anytime soon, bring me back one, please.

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it’s not a trip to portland if we don’t stop at pok pok, twice. saturday night we stopped by our favorite spot in rose city. yes, we waited an hour & a half, and yes it was totally worth it. we always get the same thing when we go here: wings & coconut curry. also sticky rice, always opt for sticky rice when you can. it’s chewy and a comfort to your taste buds as you eat the flaming hot wings (they also offer a non-spicy version).

for our second dessert of the day, we walked over to eb & bean. think pink berry, but organic and local, and i’m not even trying to be ironic. there’s not much more to it than that, though it is so delicious! i went with the same combo i’d go for at pink berry – original frozen yogurt with gummy bears. it’s such a winning combo that chris tried it too. the best part is when the gummy bears freeze and get suuuuper chewy.

sunday we went to pine state biscuits for breakfast, again a must-go-to for us whenever we’re in portland. i always (if you haven’t noticed by now, i’m a creature of habit) grab the same, over stuffed, sammie – the reggie. biscuit with an egg, bacon, fried chicken, and gravy. i try to be healthy and keep my gravy on the side. 😉 my advice, get up and go early to beat the rush.

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after breakfast we checked out of our hotel and found our way over to the west side of portland. a year ago if we had gone to portland we probably would have stopped by at least 3 coffee shops, but we recently stopped drinking coffee, or really caffeine. i know, we’re so lame, but maybe i’ll tell you more about it another time. this trip we did go to heart for some americanos and sunshine. and yes, the sun shines in march in portland. it was even warm enough to sit outside!

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we hit up pok pok again for lunch. this time we went to their location in the alphabet district and tried a new dish – who even are we?? we got muu paa kham waan (boar collar) and sticky rice. if you don’t like spicy food, don’t go near this dish, in chris’ words “it burned my mouth to ashes.” we should have known better since the dish comes with greens chilled on a pile of crushed ice to help with the spice. the waitress told us she likes to eat the ice to cool her palette.. YEAH IT WAS SPICY. still, packed full of flavor and i’m glad we tried it! oh, and i can’t forget about the drinking vinegar. pok pok makes their own drinking vinegars that they mix with soda water. it’s the perfect balance of sweet & tart and a healthy alternative to soda. we tried one of their seasonal flavor – blood orange – and it was of course perfect.

after lunch we were still a bit hungry and really needed to cool our mouths off so we walked through the alphabet district to salt & straw. we waited in line for a while, and even though seattle now has 2 locations, it was totally worth it! we got the ice cream flight, 4 half scoops of any flavor. our picks were pots of gold & rainbows (lucky charms), coava coffee & cocanu craque, honey lavender, and meyer lemon meringue. all the flavors were great, we were definitely surprised by the lucky charms one, but i think our favorite was coava coffee. which, good news for you all, it’s a permanent flavor.

last place we check out was the solo club. i’ll say this, people in portland know how to brunch… until 3 in the afternoon. chris and i rolled into solo club around 2pm and i’m fairly confident everyone there had been brunching since 10am. this spot has a cuban / caribbean vibe with lots of plants, vibrant green, brass, tile, tons of natural light – it felt like a mini get away. we sat down for a quick refresher and some good people watching. i had a glass of sangria and chris tried some vermouth. i regret not taking a picture, but you all should check this spot out, especially in the spring/summer as they have a nice patio area.

sorry for my lack of photos, i promise to do better by you next time! also, if you are looking for non-food things to do in portland, i have some thoughts on that too, but it’s really just not as fun to write about.

 

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mother’s day gift guide

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset Processed with VSCO with f2 presetmother’s day is just around the corner (sunday, may 13th) and if you’re like me, you’re scrambling to find the right gift. i’ve always longed to be the type of person who gives the perfect, super-personal gift, but in reality i’m the person who stresses about getting a gift so much so that i don’t end up buying anything – how bad is that?! maybe let’s just keep that fact between us.

but, i’m not about to keep up with that habit. this mother’s day i’ve found what i think is the perfect gift.

in case you are like the old me, i’m sharing a short list of gift ideas, some are unique and others are like, no duh, but thanks for the reminder.

for the plant mama
does your mom have a green thumb? are you like me, and think plants are the most perfect gift (hint, hint)?

grab your mom a plant baby from the sill.

the sill is an online plant store that ships plants to your home. they offer both unpotted and potted plants, so there is something for everyone’s price point. their plants range in size from 1 inch (air plant) to 9 inches (rubber tree) and all have detailed care guides.

if you or your mom are new to plants check out their beginner’s list.

for the health mama
looking to splurge on your mom and help her keep up with all the greatest fads? maybe you should buy her an essential oils kit.

i know i said fad, but young living essential oils are anything, but a fad. i’ll save my soapbox speech for another time, but really, these oils are life-changing and your mom deserves them!

if you go this route let me know and i will get you a discount!

for the chef mama
is your mom still teary-eyed over the end of fixer upper? cheer her up with the new magnolia table cookbook!

and let’s be real, this is the gift that keeps on giving when your mom whips up some homemade biscuits for you.

grab the book from target and you’ll get exclusive content that can’t be found elsewhere.

for the scholar mama
does your mom prefer a gripping novel to a tv show? if so, check out book of the month club.

i’ll be honest i’ve never subscribed to this club myself, but i’ve thought about it many times. you can gift your mom 3, 6, or 12 months of some page-turning goodness.

it’s pretty simple in how it works, each month your mom gets to pick from 5 books, and the winning one is shipped to her door.

if you’re lucky, she might share the book with you!


okay, i did promise some “no duh” gift ideas also. so here they are…

flowers
if you live close by your mom check out whole foods or trader joe’s for some fun flower options. maybe test your creativity by buying a few different flower varieties and creating your own bouquet.if your mom doesn’t live close by, check out these online flower sources:

card
if you want to go real basic, get your mom a card. some kind words go a long way with moms!

i like to check out local stores for unique cards, but etsy and paper source are always safe bets.

alright, if you are still unsure about what to buy your mom for mother’s day, then check out these hip guides:

i hope these ideas help to shower your mama with love this mother’s day. now tell me, what are you planning on getting your mom?

summer goals in the (not so sunny) city

this morning i woke up to yet another gray sky. i’ve started to wonder if the sun will ever shine again on seattle. really though, this weather has my brain convinced it’s autumn.

it’s just the beginning of july and the forecast is cloudy and cool 60-some degree weather. this is not the summer I was hoping for. after a winter and spring with lots of rain, i am more than ready for some sunshine!

either way it’s summer and that means another list of goals. with the help of chris, i’ve quickly learned that goals motivate me (DUH), even the ones that are too far fetched. So here’s what i’m hoping to do this summer:

read 5 books – that’s not much of a feat i know, but i am a slow reader and have been bad about taking the time to do it

camp (at least once a month) – we got june down! It was just a quick one night camp out, but it was lots of fun! and it proved our ability to expertly (and quickly) pack for one night away.

yoga – i recently read a great blog post about sticking to exercise routines that you actually enjoy. the first thing to pop into my head was yoga, i can do that! (and easily get chris to do it too)

walk everywhere – the same is true with walking. i love to walk. get me in on a good conversation and i’ll walk for hours!

seattle center – i think we like it so much because it’s like the disneyland of the northwest. there is this fun, busy vibe. and my favorite part of seattle is the giant fountain that sits just under the space needle.


reggae saturdays – my new favorite coffee shop is in the same space as a local radio station. chris and i sip on some tasty coffee while listening to dj kid hops spin some reggae tunes.

farmer’s markets – there are tons of farmer’s markets in seattle that are only open june-october so we have to make the most of them! a new favorite: queen anne market, an old favorite: columbia city market.

canada – i don’t think this has anything to do with summer, other than i just imagine it’s really pretty up there! and, chris and i still have yet to go to Vancouver since we moved here.

outdoor movies – this is always our favorite part of summer. seattle center shows some great family-friendly movies starting july. just imagine laying in the grass watching a movie under the space needle, it’s magical.

soak up that sun! – i don’t mean tan. i mean literally get as much vitamin d from the sun that will last me the rest of the year. 😉

kayak – another thing that chris and i have not done since moving here. we have regularly gone down to lake union to sit by the water and watch the float planes take off and land. there’s tons of kayaks in the water, maybe this year we’ll join ’em!

that’s the list! excuse me now as i log out to go enjoy the sun and farmer’s market. i encourage you to do the same – list or no list.

Happiest of Holidays

Hi again, it’s been a while, but I’m back with the full force of the New Year behind me.

The holiday season has passed and I find the days (slightly) less cheerful than a month ago. I always love the lead up to Christmas: spirits are high and there is so much anticipation for family to be seen, presents to be opened, and cookies to be eaten.

Chris and I spent the Christmas holiday in California with my family. Our time there was spent working on puzzles, playing games, watching Star Wars, and making mountains of cookies. It can get a little rowdy with 8 family members in a small home, but we still manage to have fun and enjoy each other..most of the time. 😉

*Disclaimer* I am terrified of flying, so Chris and I compromised that we would fly to California and take the train back up to Seattle. On New Years Eve we boldly boarded the train that would take us to Seattle some 24 HOURS later. What kept us sane on that ride?

  • Unlimited snacks
  • Mini bottles of gin & bourbon
  • Three movies
    • The Royal Tenenbaums
    • Best in Show – just watch it!
    • Bourne Legacy
  • Books
  • Each other, obviously

Yes, we were nervous about the train but it ended up to be a lot of fun! Not to say we’ll do it on a regular basis; trains are dirty and my brother has convinced me of the great safety of airplanes.

New Year’s Day we woke (still on the train) to a blanket of snow, a sight we hadn’t seen since moving to Seattle. We plowed through the snow for hours and we were reminded of the freshness that a new year brings. God has been beyond kind to us in the last few weeks and we are excited to see how He continues to bless us in 2016.

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This one lady on the train LOVED that we were matching (me, I was embarrassed of course).

This is the time of year to make some great promises to ourselves that we are allowed to break without penalty, right? Okay then, I promise to exercise and read more. But really, I do want to do those things this year along with:

  • Blogging regularly
  • Weaving everyday
  • Learning new things
  • TAKE MORE PICTURES!

I don’t expect I’ll be perfect, but now that the world knows, the pressure is on to stick to these things. I’ll keep you posted.

I hope you all enjoyed your holidays and are settling back into the “rest of the year.” For me, it’s hard to give up such a romantic time so maybe I’ll leave the tree in the corner with the lights on a little longer.

Portland Getaway


Recently, Chris and I took the train down to Portland for a long weekend. This wasn’t the ordinary getaway, though – Chris was headed there for a trade show and I wanted to tag along for once. 😝

Like most of our trips, this one was centered around food and coffee. I had used Yelp to bookmark a number of places to eat and drink before we left. I probably put 5 doughnut shops on that list and am ashamed to say we didn’t visit one. Not ONE! But we had plenty of delicious meals and some ice cream.

(Excuse the lack of pictures. I’m working on being better about getting snapshots of our lives.)

For breakfast, our two favorite spots were Pine State Biscuits and Cup & Bar.


Pine State Biscuits has an amazing array of breakfast sandwiches and Southern staples, like Shrimp-n-Grits. My go-to sandwich (yes I have a go-to) is the Reggie Deluxe: Fried chicken, bacon, egg, and cheese, with gravy on the side. It’s more than enough calories for one day, but don’t I always manage to find time for lunch. This is, hands-down, one of the best breakfast sandwiches out there and a must if you’re ever in Portland.


Cup & Bar is coffee shop and chocolate “factory” with a tasteful toast menu. Really though, I don’t know that I’ve had toast that’s so fancy and delicious! Chris and I were boring, though, and had yogurt with granola and a side of cinnamon toast. But the granola did have cocoa nibs in it!

There are some great lunch places in Portland, but they were never as exciting as breakfast for us. Most days, Chris had less then an hour to eat, so we were forced to stick close to the Convention Center. Burgerville, anyone?

HOWEVER, we did sneak away for an extended lunch one day. In an unsuspecting diner, Dick’s Kitchen, we each had one of the best burgers of our lives: grass-fed beef (we’re all about that stuff), Tillamook cheddar, lettuce, onion, tomato, secret sauce (hold for me), and a sourdough potato bun. Yeah, you bet it was juicy and amazing.

The best dinner we had was so good we went back the next day for lunch. (I hope that most people who go there do the same.) Sunday night we headed over to Pok Pok on Division. The charming restaurant serves up Thai street-style food in the owner’s old house. I regret not getting a photo! Chris and I ordered the Fish Sauce Wings (a must), both spicy and not-spicy. The spicy were definitely better, but prepare yourself for them. It was actually pretty comical how spicy the wings were… still, they were better. We also ordered a coconut curry noodle dish, which was a good balance for the spicy wings. Make sure to include some sticky rice and drinking vinegar with your meal.


We didn’t spend much time checking out new coffee shops (we were at a coffee convention, after all) but we did really enjoy Dapper & Wise. It’s pleasing to the eye and… tongue? (Sorry.) We ended our trip with a mocha, to go.

Over all, our trip to Portland was a blast! It was really busy and we crammed a lot into it, but it was still nice to get away from the norm. We did other things besides eat: walk around, ride the transit, visit family, play pool, chat with old (and new) friends, and window-shop. But eating is just the most fun to write about!

Here are a few more pictures from the trip.

We ate lunch in a cute park one day.
We ate lunch in a cute park one day.
I really liked the carpet at the convention center.
I really liked the carpet at the Convention Center.
I spent most of my time knitting this scarf.
While Chris worked, I spent most of my time knitting this scarf.
Just a pretty street, fall is really here!
Just a pretty street. Fall is really here!

Christmas in November


Alright you grinches, get out of here because I’m posting about Christmas and Thanksgiving is still weeks away.

Until I met Chris, I never knew anyone who loved Christmas as much as I do (with the exception of my mom who taught me everything she knows). Every year we start to listen to Christmas music mid-fall. It’s not that we’re trying to rush through Fall (we love Fall!), we just want as much time as possible to enjoy all of the holiday-goodness.

This year, to rein in the “fall-wintery, Thanks-Christmas”, we are watching as many Christmas movies as possible. From November 1st to December 25th, we’ll be watching as many Christmas greats (plus Die Hard…) as we can fit into our lives.

Here is the official list:

  • Bridget Jones’ Diary
  • Love Actually
  • Home Alone
  • Home Alone 2
  • Santa Claus
  • Jingle All the Way
  • Christmas with the Kranks
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • The Holiday
  • To Grandmother’s House We Go
  • Die Hard
  • Die Hard 2
  • Die Hard 3
  • Die Hard 4
  • Jack Frost
  • Charlie Brown
  • A Christmas Story
  • Elf
  • Mixed Nuts
  • The Grinch
  • A Muppets Christmas Carol
  • White Christmas
  • Polar Express
  • I’ll Be Home for Christmas
  • National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
  • The Family Stone
  • Nativity
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  • Trapped in Paradise

So far we are two for two: Sunday, we kicked off with The Holiday and, last night, we laughed hard at National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.


I’ll leave you all now to your Christmas-less worlds. But, if you want to indulge, check out our Facebooks for what we’re watching next!

Fall Capsule

This is a little on the late side, but why not?

As I covered in a previous post, it’s Autumn, and that’s got me thinking about new clothes (insert eye rolls and mass hysteria from both my dad and Chris – just kidding they love me!). But really, I do like clothes, a lot.

Putting together a fall wardrobe this year was a bit trickier than the previous years. Chris and I are still gathering clothes to make up for the ones we lost in the flood of ’15 (it’s going down in the Elliott history book), so it feels like we don’t have enough clothes to separate into different seasons. As a first-time capsuler, I seem to have a steep learning curve.

So this is how I made a capsule with a small wardrobe and a limited budget. No fear, it was done. First I’ll outline a few tips and then share some of my finds.

1. I sorted through my closet to find the pieces that I would keep out and wear this season – that way I got a better sense of what I needed to buy. I quickly found that I had much more than I thought I did.

2. I chose a color palate. I used to go for tons of color and patterns, but I’ve started to lean on a more simple and neutral palate (still with lots of stripes – I can’t help myself!)

3. Chris and I came up with a budget. It’s better to know how much you can spend ahead of time. 😉

4. I always shop the sales. I am not a thrift store shopper and I don’t coupon, but I do keep my eye out for good deals. I found exceptional deals at Madewell, Anthropologie, Gap, and Nordstrom Rack (my one exception to “bargain” stores): a flannel button down, a dress, a t-shirt, a sweater, three pairs of socks, and a pair of boots for under $180. These places are often having sales-on-sales or random one day deals.

5. This year I tried selling my extra/out-dated clothes. You’ll probably make more money selling your clothes yourself but even going to Crossroads / Buffalo Exchange will earn you a few extra dollars. Chris and I got $50 for a few items we dropped off.

So… my finds for this Fall!

Tees
Tees
Sweaters
Sweaters
Shirts
Shirts
Dress & Skirt
Dress & Skirt
Pants
Pants
Shoes
Shoes

It’s a little crazy to say this, but my closet this season feels roomier than usual. Through this process of losing all of my clothes and restocking my wardrobe I’ve sensed a lesson of thankfulness and contentment being pushed on me. It’s not one that I’ve been excited to embrace, but when I look at my closet I see now how I have been provided with great quality pieces that will last through this season and many more to come.