A Night Out in Portland

I’ve worked in downtown Portland for years, and I often get asked about recommendations for a night out. So in this week’s blog post, I’m sharing where we ate, drank, and were merry when an old college friend recently came to town.

There are so many amazing bars, restaurants, and local hot spots in Portland, and in future posts I’ll detail some of my favorites by category. But for the purposes of this post, I’m sharing our stops on a single night out in the downtown area near Pioneer Square–from happy hour drinks to late-night treats.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. See my full disclosure here.

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One of my favorite little bars is Barlow, who’s Jazz Age vibe appeals to my personal love for all things Gatsby. I enjoy the “Summers Ago” cocktail (pictured above) because it combines local marionberries with lemon and vodka to create a drink that’s the perfect mix of tart and sweet.

We started here for happy hour and then walked next door to Barlow’s sister restaurant The Picnic House.

Their meat and cheese boards are incredible and were such great options for sharing with our out-of-town guests.

I’m always a sucker for a great charcuterie board, and I love that theirs includes deviled eggs. When we first tried out this particular board months ago, we were a bit leery of the “edible duck fat candle” that is also included. This time around we knew what to expect, and it’s actually quite delicious to spread on the bread!

We also enjoyed the sausage trio, and each meat is sourced locally. Here in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest region, we pride ourselves on our local food!

My husband usually orders their fried chicken (shown above) and it’s soooooo good.

I’m a big fan of rosé, so we ordered the rosé flight and highly recommend it! Three of the wines are from the West Coast, and one is from France.

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Our next stop was Departure, a rooftop bar on top of The Nines hotel just a few blocks from Picnic House. It’s a popular spot amongst tourists and locals, and for good reason: it has some of the best downtown views in the city.

Though definitely bring a light jacket or coat, especially in the evening. Even in the summer, it can get quite windy! (As illustrated above lol 😂)

My favorite time to go is just before sunset, which was when we arrived. We got lucky and snagged a corner table as a group was leaving. It was the perfect spot to hangout because we were on the corner of the balcony, which provided panoramic views of the Portland skyline.

Our last stop of the evening was for late night food at The Original, a “dinerant” once featured on the Food Network’s TV series Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. It’s located just a few blocks north of Departure on 6th and Oak.

Most of us ordered milkshakes or floats, and as you can see we definitely enjoyed them!

My friend ordered a crispy fried chicken sandwich. I had a bite, and it was excellent!

They also serve various pastries and desserts, if you’re in the mood for something sweet other than a shake or float.

One thing that was a priority when planning our route for the night was making sure everything was within walking distance of each other. From our starting point at Barlow to our final treats at The Original, the distance is only about nine blocks.

Cheers to a memorable summer evening, filled with old college stories, amazing views, and delicious food and drink! 🥂

Have you been to Portland? What’s your favorite spot for a night out?

Let me know in the comments! Thank you so much for stopping by ❤️

Twirling Through Tulip Fields

“A tulip doesn’t strive to impress anyone. It doesn’t struggle to be different than a rose. It doesn’t have to. It is different. And there’s room in the garden for every flower.” –Marianne Williamson

I recently visited the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, Oregon. I hadn’t been since I was a kid, and I was thrilled that my grandma, my mom, and my brother could come along as well (we also got so lucky that it didn’t rain on us!). 🌷

This gorgeous field of flowers is a local favorite spot of photographers and bloggers, but also a wonderful day trip for couples and families.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. See my full disclosure here.

We went on a weekday afternoon–which I highly recommend!–because the line to get in on the weekends can get super long. The Wooden Shoe Farm said on their Instagram page that if you do visit on a weekend, try to come closer to opening at 8am or later in the day towards closing time at 5pm (though as of May 5th, the festival has ended for the 2019 season).

Shop this look here.

I also recommend coming prepared with rubber wellies or a pair of old boots because the ground between the rows of tulips can get pretty muddy. It hadn’t even rained for a couple days before we went and the ground was still muddy in some areas.

My denim skirt is by Madewell and was a Nordstrom Rack find from earlier this year. I love the button details, the classic shade of blue denim, and the flattering length (not too short, not too long!). This exact style is unfortunately no longer available, but I included similar options for this entire outfit in the link above.

A floral dress and ankle boots are also great outfit options if you’re planning a photo op in a field of flowers, whether for engagement photos, family photos, etc.

Shop this look here.

Lavender has been a very popular color this spring, and I really liked the color palette of this particular floral print. I’m also a big fan of wrap dresses (as I mentioned in my previous post) because they tie at the waist and are usually adjustable.

I unfortunately couldn’t find this exact style online anywhere (the brand is Studio B by Bobeau) but I linked similar options above.

My Panama Hat is from J. Crew and has been a go-to of mine for years. It’s a versatile, classic style that looks great with so many outfits (denim, dresses, skirts, etc).

We also took some family photos at the Tulip Fest, and this one of my mom, my grandma, and me is a personal favorite. I’m really close with my family, and I truly cherish the time I get to spend with them.

Hope you all have a wonderful week! Thank you so much for stopping by ❤️

From the Mountains to the Ocean

From the Mountains to the Ocean

One of the amazing things about living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest is that you can go from snowcapped mountains to the Pacific Ocean in just a few hours’ drive. In last week’s post, I shared a glimpse of Mt. Hood, and this week–you guessed it–I’m sharing one of my favorite spots on the Oregon Coast.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. See my full disclosure here.

Recently, my best friend and I took a day trip to Cannon Beach, which is only about 90 minutes from Portland by car.

We got so lucky with the weather! If you’ve ever been to the Oregon Coast, you’ll know it’s usually quite windy and chilly (even for summer visits, I always wear layers). But on this particular day, it was sunny and in the mid 50’s, with almost no wind! Considering we were there in the middle of winter, it was an absolutely perfect day.

If you visit Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock is a must-see landmark (shown above). It’s also within walking distance of a great local restaurant, Mo’s, whose famous clam chowder is one of my personal faves!

To shop this outfit, click here.

I wore casual layers for our day trip, with an olive green utility coat and my beloved high-waist jeans (both from Topshop). The coat is from a previous year, but I linked similar options above.

As for shoes and accessories:

My faux fur beanie is by Kyi Kyi, and I adore the fun, oversized pom pom and the overall quality and durability. My Blondo boots are such a go-to in my closet, and–as you can see demonstrated above–the waterproof leather makes them safe to wear even on the wet beach as the tide came in.

My nylon crossbody bag I’ve had for several years (from Marc by Marc Jacobs), and I found a super similar Marc Jacobs style on the Nordstrom Rack site (linked above and currently on sale for under $100!). My scarf is an old TJ Maxx find, but I found some similar black and white options. And of course, my classic Ray-ban Clubmaster sunglasses kept my eyes both safe and stylish.

Last year I read Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize winner All the Light We Cannot See, and his precision of language and beautiful imagery were things I truly admired (for my more detailed review of this novel, click here). This passage from All the Light We Cannot See felt fitting for this week’s post:

“I have been feeling very clearheaded lately and what I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colors. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will turn the color of old coins. Right now the shadows of clouds are dragging across it, and patches of sunlight are touching down everywhere. White strings of gulls drag over it like beads.

It is my favorite thing, I think, that I have ever seen. Sometimes I catch myself staring at it and forget my duties. It seems big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel.”

Doerr paints such a vivid image of the sea in this quote, from its various colors that change with the time of day to the more abstract idea that its sheer size could hold anything you could possibly feel. I love standing in the ocean as the tide comes in because it makes me feel like a kid again, and I think sometimes it’s good to feel that way. It keeps things in perspective when you stand next to something so vast and powerful, something that seems to go on forever.

What do you think? Do you prefer the mountains or the ocean?

Hope you all have a wonderful week! Thank you for stopping by ❤️

Birthday Girl, Part 2

From classic Shakespearean theatre to the great outdoors, my husband planned the perfect birthday weekend getaway!

We road tripped down to southern Oregon, stopping once at the In-N-Out in Grants Pass. It’s the closest location to Portland–about 4 hours away–and one of only two locations in the whole state. I mean, if it’s on the way, you gotta stop! This girl loves her burgers.

I snapped a pic of this road sign because it had both our destinations on it: the historic hotel where we would be staying at, and of course, the Festival itself.

My grandparents used to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival almost every year for their wedding anniversary (I always say they’re where my love for classic lit came from!). They both passed away when I was in my teens, but they weren’t far from my mind this weekend when we saw Romeo and Juliet.

We watched the famous play of star-crossed lovers performed underneath the stars in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre. It’s an outdoor theatre, and, though it was a chilly evening, it was such a treat.

Peacoat: H&M (similar) Striped Top: Adrianna Papell (similar here and here) Black Jeans: Topshop Clutch: Saint Laurent Shoes: Franco Sarto (similar)

I wore a wool coat over a long-sleeved blouse, but I was admittedly still a bit cold. Many playgoers brought blankets with them, which was definitely a good idea this time of year (the evening temperatures were in the mid 50’s). The play’s start time was 8pm and was almost three hours long (including an intermission in the middle).

As for the play itself, I very much enjoyed the set design, the Elizabethan-style costumes that had a modern edge, and the high quality caliber of the actors (we weren’t permitted to take photos inside the theatre itself due to copyright laws). Juliet’s performance was especially memorable–the actress balanced the character’s youthful innocence and fierce passion extremely well. My husband thought Friar Lawrence provided the perfect dose of humor and wit to the tragic nature of the play.

I first read this play in high school in my freshman English class, when I was 14 and quite near Juliet’s own age of 13. Like a lot of teenage girls, I was a bit fanciful then–the whole notion of love at first sight seemed romantic, and the idea of a secret elopement felt exciting and forbidden.

Now I’m 27 and–needless to say–have a bit more life experience under my belt. I studied the play several times in college, but something that struck me this time around was the fact that Romeo and Juliet share only four scenes together–technically five if you count the death scene at the end; however, they don’t speak with each other because at first Juliet is still asleep, and then by the time she wakes up, Romeo has already killed himself. This is one of the most iconic plays in English literature, and the title characters barely interact with each other!

And yet, four scenes is all it takes. The eloquence of Shakespeare’s writing, the immensity of what’s at stake, and the timeless romanticism of forbidden young love all make it the great tragedy that it is.

Before the play, we had dinner at Larks, a cozy local restaurant adjacent to the Ashland Springs Hotel. I had one of their daily specials (the salmon was excellent!), and I was grateful my husband had made reservations weeks prior to our visit because it was such a busy spot.

We’d also made our hotel reservations at Ashland Springs about 5 months prior (Ashland is a small town and the hotel is so conveniently located to the Festival–barely two blocks away!).

The next day, we headed out on Crater Lake Highway to–you guessed it!–Crater Lake National Park. I’ve lived in Oregon all my life, and yet I’ve never visited this famous site.

It was formed by the explosion of Mt. Mazuma over 7,000 years ago. The crater was filled in with water over time, gradually becoming what is now the deepest lake in the United States.

Hat: Portland Gear Jacket: Levi’s (color is Concrete Indigo) Hoodie: J. Crew (similar) Leggings: Nike (similar) Sneakers: Nike (similar here and here) Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster

No filter needed for the incredible blue water of Crater Lake! It’s famous for its vibrant blue hue, and the intense sapphire color truly didn’t disappoint.

I’m no expert, but I learned that the remarkable blue color has to do with the lake’s depth and water purity. Since the water is so clear, sunlight is able to penetrate deep into the water and most of the colors on the light spectrum (red, orange, etc.) are absorbed. But the blue and violet light rays are reflected to the lake’s surface, creating that amazing blue.

We had planned a short hike at Crater Lake, but my husband was just getting over a cold and I was just starting to come down with one, so unfortunately neither of us were up to it. Next time!

I do recommend checking the weather and visibility before making the trek to Crater Lake. We had friends who went earlier in the summer, and they couldn’t see anything because of the smoke caused by the wildfires in Oregon and California.

All in all, it was the perfect birthday weekend! Thank you to my sweet husband for planning such a lovely trip with so many of my favorite activities. ❤️ I’m hoping we can take another visit down to Ashland next summer for some more plays! Is there ever such a thing as too much Shakespeare? 😉

Have a wonderful weekend, loves! Thank you for stopping by!