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, whose 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 ❤️

Chasing Cherry Blossoms

Chasing Cherry Blossoms

“One moment they breathed pink, the next they faded. Cherry blossoms were as much an inspiration for beautiful verse as they were a reminder of life’s fickleness…” –Alice Poon, author

We’ve had quite the rainy April here in Oregon! But on a rare dry day, we managed to visit the lovely cherry blossoms at the Portland Waterfront before the delicate pink flowers disappeared for the season.

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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Not gonna lie: I specifically chose to wear this Band of Gypsies dress for a reason! The floral print has soft pink blossoms very similar to the real life ones, and I knew the light fabric would flutter gently with the breeze (sometimes we just #DoItForTheGram! 😉).

I’m also a big fan of wrap dresses–since they tie at the waist and are usually adjustable, I think they’re such a flattering silhouette. Honestly, I think wrap dresses are the dress style I have most in my closet!

This dress is a couple years old, so unfortunately this exact one is no longer available, but I linked a bunch of similar styles in the LIKEtoKNOW.it app! They would be wonderful options for Easter, bridal showers, or Mother’s Day.

Because it had been so rainy and the ground was still damp, I paired this dress with my go-to ankle boots by Blondo Waterproof. When heels aren’t appropriate for the weather, I always think ankle boots can be a great alternative to wear with floral dresses!

I also brought my Levi’s denim jacket to throw over my dress when the wind picked up. As I’ve said in a previous post, classic denim jackets are wonderful layering options for unpredictable spring weather.

On a different note, I wanted to provide an update on one of my New Years goals! Writing and journaling have been big parts of my life since I was a kid; at the beginning of 2019, I started working my way through Moorea Seal’s 52 Lists for Happiness, and I’ve been LOVING it.

Each week has a different writing prompt that helps you identify the things in your life that bring you happiness and fulfillment (and the things that don’t!). I’ve found the variety of prompts to be very insightful, and they’ve helped me re-evaluate situations in my own life.

One of my favorites so far has been: “List the things in your life you are actually able to control.” That one was pretty eye-opening for me because I’ve always been a worrier, and as I was putting together my list, I realized how many things are truly beyond my control. So why am I bothering to worry about such things?

In short, I highly recommend this journal (especially if you’re like me and enjoy making lists!). I really like that it’s just one list per week, and that each list includes a practical action plan on how to incorporate what you learned into your life.

One of my other favorites from 52 Lists for Happiness: “List all the little things that happened today that brought you joy.”

For my list, I wrote: snuggles with my hubs and our sweet little dog, spring flowers in bloom, planning for upcoming trips, and a great cup of tea.

Today, what would that be for you? I’d love to hear in the comments below! ❤️

P.S. A big thanks to my best friend Aundria for coming with me on a busy Saturday afternoon to see the cherry blossoms and being my photographer! 🌸

Birthday Girl, Part 1

This week I had a blast celebrating my 27th birthday with family and friends. In this post, I’ll be sharing all things birthday-related: gift ideas at various price points, a restaurant recommendation for those of you in the Portland area, and, of course, style inspiration.

My stunning birthday bouquet was a gift from my mama and was designed by the amazing florist at Spellbound Flowers. Spellbound is my favorite flower stand and is located in the heart of downtown Portland in Pioneer Courthouse Square. I love fresh flowers, and this place is my go-to when I want a special bouquet for a loved one.

I want to do a shoutout to my sweet and talented step-sister Nichole, who made me these beautiful sunflower cupcakes! I am not a baker, so I’m seriously in awe of anyone who can create anything this beautiful (and that also tastes amazing!). 🌻

Buying birthday gifts for loved ones can be tricky. I always think perfume is a thoughtful gift, and my mom found this Tom Ford gift set during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. It’s the scent “Black Orchid,” which is one of my new favorites.

I’m a huge Minions fan and this luggage tag my best friend found for me while traveling in Hong Kong. I’ve linked similar options here.

Kylie Cosmetics is immensely popular, but these are actually my first items from this brand! I’ve been wanting to try out the famous lip kits for awhile, and I’ll let you know my thoughts on them in next week’s post.

Inside that Gucci dust bag is a black Gucci belt, something that’s been on my wish list for quite some time. This was actually a birthday splurge because I personally think there is nothing wrong with treating yourself for your birthday!

And last but not least, you can never go wrong with gift cards! Nordstrom and TJ Maxx are two of my favorite places to shop, and the ease and convenience of gift cards makes them wonderful gifts.

For dinner we went to Jake’s Famous Crawfish, which is an iconic seafood restaurant in downtown Portland that’s been around for over a century. This is one of my favorite local restaurants, and I love that their food is sourced from the great Pacific Northwest. Their crab cakes are amazing!

Lace Top: One Clothing (similar) Jeans: Topshop Belt: Gucci Ankle Booties: Qupid (similar)

I wore black from head-to-toe for my birthday dinner at Jake’s. The lace top and ankle booties are both from TJ Maxx, and the jeans are a high-waisted pair from Topshop (super comfy and flattering!). And of course, I’m wearing my brand new Gucci belt!

Now that I’m 27 (and inching my way towards 30! 😉), something I’ve noticed about my 20’s is everyone cruising at a different pace, pursuing a variety of things—school, career, love, marriage, family, travel, etc. Sometimes all of the above. Everyone has different priorities, different dreams, different timelines. And you know what? That’s perfectly okay. Your journey is not theirs, and I’m so grateful for all those on this journey with me. ❤️

Cheers to being one year older, and hopefully another year wiser! 🥂

We have more birthday festivities planned this weekend that I’ll be sharing next week in Part 2. Happy Friday, loves!

August Haze and Summer Days

“When summer opens, I see how fast it matures, and fear it will be short; but after the heats of July and August, I am reconciled, like one who has had his swing, to the cool of autumn.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

We’ve had a lot of hot weather the last month here in Portland, and this past week the air was hazy from all the wildfires out in eastern Oregon and southwest Washington. As such, many are dreaming of autumn rain and cooler temperatures, though thankfully the air quality has improved the last couple days.

This quote from Emerson seemed fitting this week, and it also reminded me of the fall fashion trends that are everywhere, despite that a lot of us are still experiencing summer temps in the 80’s and 90’s.

This time of year, when we have hot days and cool nights and are inching closer to fall, I love pieces that transition well from one season to the next.

Dress: Billabong Booties: Qupid (similar here and here) Bag: Chanel Medallion Tote (similar quilted styles here and here)

This floral wrap dress from Billabong is a recent purchase from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and will transition with ease from summer to fall. It’s still available on their website, though unfortunately is no longer on sale.

I wore this in downtown Portland and am pictured above in local landmark Pioneer Courthouse Square. I paired it with ankle booties from TJ Maxx, and the peep-toe style is perfect for summer days out on the town.

The Chanel Medallion Tote I’ve had for a long time and is a beloved piece of mine. It’s a smaller tote that still carries everything I need for day-to-day. I love the shape, the iconic quilting, and the gold medallion zipper. When it comes to handbags, like a lot of bloggers and fashion editors, I’m more willing to invest in a classic style from a high-end brand because I know it will withstand the test of time. And it’s no secret that Chanel bags are my favorite!

I linked two similarly-sized quilted totes (since Chanel stopped producing the Medallion Tote around 2012, you would nowadays only be able to find it on eBay or in vintage/consignment shops).

Over-the-Knee Boots: Blondo

The dark floral pattern of this dress will still be stylish for the earthy tones of fall. The long sleeves will be perfect for those cooler days and pairing it with over-the-knee boots will keep your legs nice and warm. I personally love tall boots paired with midi length dresses and skirts, as there’s something very chic about it.

My boots are by Blondo are an amazing waterproof suede (and currently on sale on Nordstrom’s website, linked above!). I’ve mentioned their shoes in several posts because they are so perfect for rainy climates like Oregon. They look great, but they’re practical too!

This is what it looks like when your doggy REALLY wants to be in the pic. He’s a master of the photobomb! 😉

Happy Weekend, all! Thank you for stopping by ❤️

Sweet Summer

I’m really excited about today’s post because I’m sharing two of my favorite things: sundresses and sweets! Anyone who knows me is aware of my major sweet tooth, and there are several local bakeries and restaurants here in Portland that are my go-to spots.

But first, I’m sharing today’s sundress. This lovely maxi dress was a TJ Maxx find, and I absolutely adore this shade of purple. The fabric is also lightweight, which is ideal for the heat wave we’ve been having this week!

Heels: Nine West (similar) Dress: Love @ First Sight Similar purple dresses: here and here

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale floral dresses: here, here, and here

I linked above a variety of gorgeous sundresses in multiple styles and colors. Several are part of the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, so if you have a Nordstrom card you have early access (it opens to the public on July 20th). I picked up some fabulous items there yesterday. Seriously, this is one of the best sales of the year!

First up is my Portland ice cream pick: Ruby Jewel. I know that little scoop looks like your basic vanilla, but don’t be deceived. It’s my all-time favorite flavor, honey lavender. It’s light, refreshing, and the two flavors complement each other perfectly.

All their ingredients are sourced here locally, which makes their ice cream a wonderful representation of what the great Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Next is one of my favorite Portland restaurants, Papa Haydn, whose desserts are local legends (my husband and I went on our first date there! ❤️). Their French onion soup is one of the best I’ve had outside of Paris, and I love to follow up that savory soup with one of their decadent desserts.

We took my sister to the NW 23rd location to celebrate her high school graduation, and she adored their crème brûlée. I chose a seasonal coconut cake called “Lime in the Coconut.” The frosting was soooo creamy, and the lime filling added that perfect dash of tartness.

My next pick is Urban Fondue, located in trendy NW Portland, not far from Papa Haydn. My favorite dessert fondue is their bananas foster paired with an exquisitely crafted drink from Bartini, which is the adjacent restaurant located just next door.

Bartini has an extensive drink menu with over 100 cocktails (which you can order from at both Bartini and Urban Fondue). My personal drink of choice is their Tuscan Rosemary Lemon Drop (pictured above).

Bartini and Urban Fondue are wonderful options for celebrations. I’ve been to multiple birthdays and bachelorette parties at these two spots–we start out at Bartini for some flavorful cocktails and then follow it up with cheese and chocolate at Urban Fondue! I definitely recommend making reservations for Urban Fondue, especially if you’re planning to dine there on a weekend evening.

Last, but certainly not least, is French bakery St. Honoré Boulangerie (their map of the Paris metro makes me so nostalgic for the City of Light!). I’m a bit of a macaron fanatic (Paris’s famed shop Ladurée is my absolute favorite). Since I can’t make it to France for a macaron run and none of the stateside Ladurée locations are in Oregon, this sweet bakery is my go-to for a little dose of Paris in Portland.

I’m holding several of their current flavors below: Thai tea, strawberry rhubarb, coconut lime, and lemon.

Hope you all have the sweetest weekend and thank you for stopping by!

No Such Thing

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“You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” –Oscar Wilde

It’s been a hectic week so I’m keeping things simple and sharing this beloved quote by literary master Oscar Wilde, a quote that I’ve lived by ever since I first heard it. These words also relate to why I started this blog: having a space where I could explore my love of fashion and literature–where I could share what I love to wear and the countless things that literature continues to teach me.

Wilde is asserting that the notion of being “overdressed or overeducated” is impossible. Wear what you want, dress how you please–and whether others might consider it “overdressed” doesn’t matter. Fashion is a form of self-expression and an outward manifestation of individuality. I always aim to wear what makes me happy and confident.

I mentioned in a previous post that I believe in being a lifelong learner. As much as I loved school and college, I wholeheartedly believe that knowledge can be found in so many places–in travel, in people we meet, in life experiences, in books, in art… The list is truly endless. So being overeducated? No such thing.

In a way, this quote also asserts the concept of being your own person–that no matter what people may say about you (whether it be overdressed, overeducated, or a thousand other things), you are only defined by the opinions of others if you allow yourself to be.

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Kimono: Band of Gypsies (similar here, here, and here)  Tank: Paris Sunday (similar here)  Jeans: Lucky (similar here)  Boots:Blondo  Purse:Prada  Necklaces:6th Borough Boutique  Sunglasses:Ray-Ban  Slip Dress (shown below): Topshop (similar here and here)  Heels: Breckelle’s (similar here) Lip Color:Primrose by Smashbox

Today I’m sharing how to wear a statement piece (this lovely floral kimono by Band of Gypsies!) for two different occasions: casual or dressy. The above casual look was perfect for a breezy afternoon in downtown Portland with my sister. The easy layers were stylish yet comfortable. Spring weather is so temperamental here in Oregon; while it was warm in the sunshine, the wind often picked up, and I was glad to have something covering my shoulders! This particular kimono I bought at TJ Maxx recently, so I’ve linked some similar options.

I love partnering with 6th Borough Boutique; their gold necklaces layer together so beautifully and add that extra chic detail to both the casual look and the dressy version (shown below).

To elevate this outfit for a dressier occasion, I simply swapped out the jeans, tank, and boots with a little black slip dress from Topshop. I also wore a classic pair of ankle-strap heels that were a Nordstrom Rack find from last year, and I kept my necklaces and sunglasses the same.

Statement pieces like this floral kimono are so versatile because they effortlessly go from casual to dressy. Such items are also ideal for travel because they can be worn for a variety of situations. This is especially useful for someone like me, a notorious over-packer!

Speaking of travel: as we head into summer vacation season, for the months of May and June I’ll be doing a travel series—places I’ve been, favorite cities and sites, recommendations, what to pack, and where I can’t wait to go back!

Happy Friday! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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A Million Things I Haven’t Done

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Hello, all! I’m doing something a little different this week, and instead of doing an analysis of a book or poem, I’m sharing my thoughts on Hamilton, which my husband and I saw in Portland over the weekend. Of course I’ll be discussing my outfit details as well, but I’m also including a restaurant recommendation of where we ate before the show.

First, a little context: I do not consider myself a theatre expert, though I did study quite a bit of Shakespeare and the works of other playwrights during college. I attend, on average, several plays or musicals a year–sometimes local productions, or Broadway musicals that are on tour, or when we travel we get tickets to something specific to that city (such as seeing Shakespeare at the Globe in London).

I went into Hamilton, not as a die-hard fan who knew every lyric, but as someone who’d heard several of its songs over the last few years and saw various TV interviews with Lin-Manuel Miranda (the show’s creator and original Hamilton). At the recommendation of a friend who watched the show a few days before we did, my husband and I brushed up on our 18th century American history, particularly on the real-life figure of Alexander Hamilton.

Honestly though, my husband and I wanted to go into this play with somewhat of a blank slate–it’s been so hyped the last few years that I wanted to watch it with just some basic historical background and no expectations.

First of all, no Hamilton review would be complete without mentioning the sensational music! Seeing Hamilton, Jefferson, and the other characters rap about historical events that I first learned in grade school was exhilarating and informative all at once. The play beautifully juxtaposes modern elements with a story that takes place during the birth of the US, which is why I personally think that people have responded to it so well. It makes history more approachable and relatable. And in telling the story through the life of one man, we also get a glimpse not only at his experiences, but at what it might have been like to live during that revolutionary time–or, to quote the song, what it might have been like to be “in the room where it happens.”

Hamilton’s life is truly an inspirational story–a poor orphan boy born on a small Caribbean island, who rises to become one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He’s a businessman, a lawyer, the first Secretary of the Treasury, George Washington’s right-hand man, founder of The New York Post–the list goes on. But what I personally loved most? I loved how the character of Hamilton is portrayed–he’s a complex, flawed human being who makes his share of mistakes, just like we all do. Yet he has such ambition and seemingly limitless drive that he overcomes so much adversity and achieves great things in his lifetime. The second half of the play I especially enjoyed because it really tugs at the heartstrings and shows the consequences of his choices, while also illustrating the redemptive power of love.

However, it is this particular line that has stuck with me all weekend: “There’s a million things I haven’t done, but just you wait, just you wait.” Alexander Hamilton was a man of vision, but he was also a man of action, who worked and worked and worked until he accomplished his goals. It’s a reminder that dreams and vision aren’t enough on their own–we have to follow it up with time, effort, and hard work.

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White Blazer: Philosophy (similar here and here) Lace Top: Paris Sunday (similar here and herePonte Pants: Jolt (similar hereBoots: Blondo  Purse: Saint Laurent (similar herehere, and here)  Necklaces: 6th Borough Boutique  Lip: Urban Decay Revolution High-Color Lipgloss (currently on sale for under $10 on Nordstrom Rack’s website!)

I kept it classic with a black and white outfit, a red lip, and the perfect accessories: a Saint Laurent clutch and my beautiful new necklaces from 6th Borough Boutique. I love a black and white color palette–it’s simple, timeless, and always chic. You’ll recognize this blazer from last week’s post: white blazers are so versatile and I wear this one often during spring and summer. It was a TJ Maxx find so I linked two comparable options above. My black lace top is from Paris Sunday (an Amazon brand). They have a similar version still available on their website, but I also linked an additional black lace top above. My purse is by Saint Laurent and is a beautiful, textured leather. I linked this particular one and similar options from other brands at various price points.

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I’m very excited to be collaborating with 6th Borough Boutique, a Manhattan-based company who produces gorgeous eco-friendly jewelry (available online through Shoptiques). Their necklaces layer so beautifully with each other; the combination of these two pieces added that extra something special to my monochromatic black and white outfit. The “M” on the triangle necklace stands for my name “Miranda,” and I love how simple and subtle it is.

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Last, but certainly not least, a quick restaurant recommendation! My husband (that’s him above!) and I loooooove Grassa–it’s a casual Italian restaurant in downtown Portland that makes amazing handmade pasta. We went there for a quick bite before Hamilton, and the dish pictured below is their Spaghetti Aglio Olio and Grassa Meatballs (I order my spaghetti without the chili flakes because it’s just a bit too spicy for me, whereas my husband enjoys it as is). That particular area has so many fabulous restaurants (next door is Lardo, across the street is Cheryl’s, down the block is Jake’s Famous Crawfish).

I know this post was a bit longer than normal, but I hope you all enjoyed my reviews and recommendations! If you’re from Portland or have ever visited, I would so enjoy hearing what your favorite restaurants are. Have a wonderful week!

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