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.

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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 ❤️

Long Layers and Short Stories

In last week’s post, I had yet to choose a short story collection for my 2019 booklist. Turns out, I had the answer on my bookshelf the whole time! Great American Short Stories: from Hawthorne to Hemingway contains a range of renowned authors and stories. Some I’ve read before (“The Yellow Wallpaper” is a personal fave), but most are brand new to me.

Though I generally gravitate towards novels, one of the convenient things about short stories is that they’re not a huge time commitment. In this particular collection’s introduction, English professor Corinne Demas discusses advantages of the short story. She quotes the poignant words of Edgar Allen Poe: “In the brief tale, however, the author is enabled to carry out the fullness of his intention, be it what it may. During the hour of perusal the soul of the reader is at the writer’s control. There are no external or extrinsic influences–resulting from weariness or interruption.”

I love that notion of staying with a story and it’s characters from beginning to end. We remain fully immersed in the world the author has created and perhaps get as close as we can to the author’s true vision and intent.

I’m excited to share my thoughts on several of these short stories in upcoming posts!

Today I’m sharing how to layer this long wool vest, which was a fabulous find from the Zara sale (still going on in stores and online!). If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know I enjoy versatile pieces that can be styled for a variety of settings and occasions. In this post, I’ll be showing two different ways to style this vest.

Up first is a more relaxed weekend vibe, as I paired the vest with distressed denim and a classic white button-up. This look was perfect for a casual family lunch.

Gray wool vest: Zara (similar here and here) White button-up: Gap Distressed denim: Vigoss (similar) Black sock boots: Mia (similar here and here)

It’s been very windy here the last few days, and I’m not going to lie–I was pretty darn cold when we were taking these photos!

Black turtleneck: J. Crew Faux leather leggings: Spanx Black sock boots: Mia (similar here and here) Patent leather purse: Louis Vuitton (similar patent leather styles here and here)

For a more polished look, I layered the vest over J. Crew’s tissue turtleneck (I’ve had mine for years, and it’s held up so well!) and the faux leather leggings by Spanx that everyone raves about.

Sleek black sock boots and a patent leather purse complete this neutral outfit. I think it’s cool that when the vest is zipped up, it looks like a dress!

Hope you’re having a great week! Thanks so much for stopping by ❤️

Cozy Weekend

I kept my attire casual chic this weekend with a cozy cardigan and lace top. The soft cardi and elegant lace provided interesting contrasts in texture, while the cream color palette of both items coordinated well together.

Cardigan: Tahari (similar here and here) Lace Top: Love, Fire (exact style here in a variety of colors) Jeans: Topshop Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster Ankle Boots: Franco Sarto (similar)

These high-waist Jamie jeans by Topshop have been my go-to lately. They’re super comfortable, flattering, and can be dressed up or down with ease.

I know there’s that old rule that “you can’t wear white after Labor Day,” but I personally think that’s an outdated notion. It’s all in how you style it, and cozy layers really give this particular ensemble a fall vibe. I think these pointy-toed ankle booties by Franco Sarto add the perfect finishing touch, and white boots have been very on trend this year.

Instead of discussing a book or poem this post, I wanted to share some thoughts on the recent remake of A Star Is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, which was just released in theaters.

The various movie trailers had me extremely excited about the film (the music sounded amazing, and I’m a longtime fan of both Gaga and Cooper).

I’d also heard the film was rating well with critics. Experts are also already predicting that it will receive multiple Oscar nominations.

Thus, I went in Friday night with high expectations. And honestly? I was blown away. This was hands down my favorite film that I’ve seen this year, and here’s why:

  1. The on-screen chemistry between Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. In so many films I feel like something falls a bit short between the main characters–either their romance feels too rushed or too forced, and I just don’t fully buy into it. In this case, however, there are so many small moments and little gestures between the pair that feels so real and authentic.
  2. The music was incredible. The duets with Gaga and Cooper were particularly emotional and pulled at the heartstrings. They were catchy without feeling cliched. I also loved the way certain songs are repeated throughout the film, and how they play such an important role in the story’s momentum and character development.
  3. It felt like an honest portrayal of alcoholism and battling with addiction. Bradley Cooper’s character is an alcoholic and drug addict, and the film shows so poignantly how it affects his own life and the lives of those close to him. A family member of mine has struggled with alcoholism for many years, and there were many scenes in the film that truly hit close to home.

I think that’s something that I’ve always loved about the power of storytelling. Whether or not we share anything in common with the plot or the setting, we see in the characters real human experiences and emotions–and those are the things that we can profoundly relate to.

Are you planning to see A Star Is Born? Or have you already seen it? Let me know in the comments below!

Hope you all have a wonderful week! ❤️

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!

September Days

“By all these lovely tokens, September days are here. With summer’s best of weather and autumn’s best of cheer.” —from the poem “September” by Helen Hunt Jackson

We’re over a week into September and, though it’s not officially autumn quite yet, the nights have grown cooler, the colors of some trees are beginning to change, and the obsession for pumpkin-flavored things has once again returned. 😉

When it comes to fall fashion, transitioning your wardrobe from summer to fall means adding in versatile layers.

Dress: One Clothing (similar here, here, and here) Denim Jacket: Levi’s (color: concrete indigo) Shoes: Topshop (similar) Bag: Louis Vuitton Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster

A striped dress is a staple in my closet, and in this post I’ll be showing two ways to style it for fall. This particular dress was a TJ Maxx find, so I linked some similar styles above.

My denim jacket from Levi’s is a classic and will transition effortlessly from season to season. I also think denim always pairs well with stripes.

Vest: Bebe (similar here and here) Bag: Chanel (similar quilted bags here and here) Booties: Qupid (similar)

I love olive tones in the fall and winter, and this faux suede vest from Bebe is perfect for those temperate September days. I purchased it last year, but linked similar silhouettes above. I’ll definitely be showing more ways to style this and other great vests in the coming weeks! I’m so excited because we are heading into my birthday week! This Chanel classic was last year’s birthday splurge when we were in Paris. Every time I carry it, I am reminded of that special trip.

We have lots of birthday festivities planned that I’ll be sharing in my next few posts. Hope you all have a wonderful week! ❤️

One of Those Summer Nights

We’ve been back from our trip for almost two weeks, and–though I love cruisin’ the Caribbean–I truly love my home state of Oregon. *For some of my Portland faves–from sweet shops to burger joints–check out those links to my previous posts!

Oregon has beautiful summers, and one of my favorite summertime traditions is heading to our local drive-in theater, the 99W (named for the highway that runs beside it).

My husband and I have been coming here every summer since we first started dating 8 years ago, and I hope this local landmark stays around for years to come so we can one day bring our kiddos! For now, we bring along our sweet fur baby Brody 🐶

The 99W Drive-In has been in Newberg, Oregon, since 1953. It’s a local landmark, roughly 20 miles outside of Portland, and makes for a perfect evening out. After all, what’s better than not one, but TWO, movies underneath the stars with your loved ones?

I love the nostalgic feel of the drive-in and supporting a local business that’s one of the few of its kind left. During the 1950’s and 60’s when drive-ins were in their prime, there were over 4,600 in the US. In contrast, there are less than 350 locations in the US today (more info on that here).

If you’re attending on a Friday or Saturday, I recommend arriving around 5 o’clock, which is when the line outside the entrance usually starts to form. And trust me, you do not want to arrive later and get stuck in the back, far away from the screen (it only happened to us once, years ago, but we haven’t made that mistake twice 😉). Our favorite spot is the third or fourth row from the front, in one of the middle spaces (as shown below).

This pic is a little throwback from last summer at the drive-in. Shout out to our besties, Aundria and Brett, who have been traveling abroad for most of this year. Can’t wait to finally see you both in a few weeks! 😭

Hat: Portland Gear Chambray Shirt: Calvin Klein Jeans (similar here and here) Striped Tank Top: H&M (similar) Leggings: Nike (similar here and here) Sneakers: Jack Purcell Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster

I always keep things comfy and casual for nights at the drive-in. The athleisure trend that’s been everywhere the last few years is perfect for such occasions.

I stuck to a neutral color palette, with classic staples like a striped tank, black Nike leggings, and Jack Purcell sneakers. My chambray shirt by Calvin Klein Jeans is a longtime go-to. It’s one of those amazing shirts that truly gets better with age. And last but not least, I’m repping my hometown in my Portland Gear cap, which is another wardrobe favorite.

Is there a drive-in theater in your area? What are your favorite summertime activities?

Happy Weekend to you all! Thank you for stopping by. ❤️

Oregon, Home Sweet Home

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I’m dedicating my travel series for the month of June to the beautiful state of Oregon that I’ve always called home. I’ll be sharing my personal picks for Portland (from restaurants to breweries to activities) and several quick and easy day trips–from Mt. Hood to the Oregon Coast.

I feel truly blessed to grow up in such a gorgeous, green region; we may get lots of rain, but that rain lends itself to colorful seasons and lush landscapes. Also, if you’re planning a visit to the Portland area, our summers are lovely, with mostly warm, dry weather from July through September.

Unlike my travel posts from May, however, I’m spreading out my favorite places and recommendations over the course of the whole month of June, so these will each be shorter, more succinct pieces.

I’m starting with a bit of nostalgia today and sharing one of my family’s favorite restaurants that makes the perfect pit-stop on Highway 26, when en route to coastal towns like Seaside or Cannon Beach.

Also, my summer reading list is at the bottom of this post!

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Camp 18 is a charming, rustic restaurant about an hour’s drive west of Portland (and only 25 minutes from Seaside). The restaurant’s name comes from the fact that it’s located at mile post 18 on Highway 26 (one of the major highways that runs east/west in Oregon, stretching from the coast to the Idaho border). Its structure is a beautiful log cabin with massive wooden beams, hand carved front doors, and a picturesque creek located just behind it.

We adore their brunch and have been coming here since I was a little kid (highly recommend the “flatcars”–aka giant pancakes–with the locally made marionberry syrup!). This family-friendly spot is great for locals and tourists alike (pictured above on a recent visit with my younger brother!).

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Striped Top: H&M (similar here and hereBlack Jeans: 7 For All Mankind (similar)  Leather Jacket: Wyatt (similarMules: Topshop (similarPurse: Prada (similar style here)  Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster  Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar)

The weather has been hit-and-miss lately; we’ve had some hot, sunny days, but also some cloudy, mild ones. This outfit is perfect for those temperate Oregon days, typical of spring and early summer. I’ve been loving the off-the-shoulder trend, and this version from H&M is an awesome striped option. My mules are from Topshop and are a comfy, 90’s trend that I’m definitely a fan of. My Prada purse was a purchase on our honeymoon in Italy; above, I linked the exact style and also a less pricey option that is a similar size.

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My summer reading list (so far!):

  1. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
  2. The Light We Lostby Jill Santopolo
  3. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  4. Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins
  5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitgerald

Currently reading The Little Paris Bookshop (and LOVING it)–I’ll share my thoughts on the full novel in a few weeks. The Light We Lost was recommended by a friend and is one of Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club picks.

As for the first novel of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, I’ll be honest: I’ve been trying (and failing) to take the plunge and read the series for years. I’ve been obsessed with the show since season two debuted back when I was a senior in college, but I have yet to read the book series. Trying to make this the summer that I at least read the first one.

My best friend and I wanted to read a poetry collection that we haven’t yet done, and we chose Collins’s collection Aimless Love. And last, but certainly not least, I want to revisit one of my all-time favorite novels, The Great Gatsby. I try to reread this American classic every few years, and it’s one of those incredible books that no matter how many times I read it, I get something new out of it.

I would love to hear what you’re reading this summer! Have you made it through A Game of Thrones and the other books in the series, and/or are you a fan of the show? Are there novels you love that you reread over and over again? Let me know in the comments!

Have a great weekend everyone!