Falling for Fall

III. NATURE XXVIII. AUTUMN by Emily Dickinson

The morns are meeker than they were,

The nuts are getting brown;

The berry’s cheek is plumper,

The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,

The field a scarlet gown.

Lest I should be old-fashioned,

I’ll put a trinket on.

I chose this short and sweet Dickinson poem to share this week because it honestly made me chuckle at how relevant it still is!

Dickinson writes of all these beautiful things she’s observing about autumn through the use of personification (giving objects human qualities or attributes). For example, the berry has “cheeks” which are “plumper,” and both the maple and field are wearing metaphorical clothes that exemplify the colors and feel of the fall season.

And–for fear of being “old-fashioned”–Dickinson decides to be like the festively attired foliage and add some sort of adornment (which she calls a “trinket”) to her look. We aren’t told what exactly that trinket might be, but taking inspiration from nature’s vibrant colors feels very familiar to me. A quick glance at my social media feeds this week, and one can see the rampant obsession with fall attire, the warm tones of the changing leaves, and pumpkin-spice flavored everything. I guess Ms. Dickinson was onto something. 😉

We’re quite lucky here in Oregon because our falls are beautiful. This week has been exceptionally so, with sunny blue skies contrasting the bright yellow and orange leaves that are my absolute favorite this time of year.

I also decided that it was the perfect opportunity to go back to brunette! The talented Nichole, who owns Sweet Pea Salon and Spa, took me back to a dark brown color very close to my natural one.

Dress: TJ Maxx (similar styles in neutral colors here and here) Scarf: BP (similar here and here) Boots: Blondo Purse: Prada (similar styles here and here) Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar)

I love tall boots paired with dresses, and it’s a look that I think is perfect for breezy fall days. This charcoal-colored dress is a TJ Maxx find from awhile back, but I’ve linked some great basic dresses above. Of course black dresses are versatile staples for one’s wardrobe, but I also love gray, navy, and olive for other neutral options.

My knee-high boots are from Blondo, which is truly one of my favorite shoe companies. Their shoes are stylish, comfortable, and waterproof (SO practical and functional for the rainy Oregon climate!).

My exact BP scarf is unfortunately no longer available on Nordstrom’s website, but I’ve linked some great fall scarves above.

Have a wonderful weekend, loves! 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!

Burgers, Fries, and Sunny Skies

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Jean Jacket: Levi’s (similar) Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Choker: Topshop (similar)

It’s almost summer, and I can’t wait for the sunny days and warm nights that are coming our way (especially with all the rain and clouds we’ve had lately)! This week I’m sharing a classic summer food: burgers and sliders. Though let’s be real–I’ll eat at either of these restaurants no matter the season because they make my favorite burgers and sliders in all of Portland!

I’m pictured above, truly happy as can be, because I’m eating at one of my all-time faves: PDX Sliders. This highly-rated, local restaurant started as a food cart back in 2014, but now has two brick and mortar locations in southeast Portland. My personal slider of choice is the Tilikum, made of buttermilk fried chicken, topped with BBQ sauce, coleslaw, and aioli. Their PDX fries are amazing (fresh, crispy, and tossed in truffle salt).

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I’m also a huge fan of Little Big Burger! There are multiple locations in the Portland area and the surrounding suburbs, and they’ve even expanded with a few locations in other states. These fresh burgers are small but mighty (and oh so tasty!). The chain’s title explains what they’re famous for: small burgers a bit larger than your average slider, with a big beef patty. The chain uses Camden’s Catsup (made locally here in Portland), and it’s the perfect complement to their fries, which are cooked to perfection in white truffle oil.

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With sun and hot weather thankfully on the horizon, I stumbled across this lovely poem, full of beautiful imagery and eloquent wisdom, and just had to share it.

The Summer Day 

by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down —
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

Both my siblings are graduating (one from high school and one from college), and this poem captured the fleeting nature of youth, of summer days, of life. I love how Mary Oliver asks those big existential questions: “Who made the world?” “Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?” Yet she also hones in on those small moments too–kneeling in grass, strolling through fields, the grasshopper eating sugar from her hand.

Yet it is the last four lines that struck me the most. The poet tells us she’s been outside all day, clearly enjoying herself. And she asks the reader a very poignant question, “what else should I have done?” What should she have done with her day, when–as she points out in the following line–we all have such limited time here in this world? In other words, she’s advising us to stop and notice the small things, to have those “idle and blessed” days doing what brings us joy.

The final two lines are inspiring and will stay with me for a long time: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Wild and precious aren’t words I often see in the same sentence, but the contrast they create is so perfect–“wild” evokes ideas of freedom and abandon, while “precious” brings to mind something delicate and sacred. And the notion of one’s life encompassing all those things? That’s how I, for one, aspire to live.

So go ahead. Eat the burger, the fries, or whatever your version of that might be. As I was reminded so vividly this week, we grow up, we graduate, we move on to new places and phases. Life is short, precious, and waits for no one.

Thank you so much for stopping by! Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Golden Hours

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Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

I’m sharing a short Frost poem this week, but don’t assume that its brevity makes it simplistic. These brief lines are filled with beautiful symbolism about youth, life, and the impermanence of things.

In the first five lines Frost asserts that the beautiful golden colors we see in nature are fleeting; I’m instantly reminded of the gorgeous oranges we see during fall here in Oregon, or the bright yellow tulips currently in bloom in my yard.

Yet I also think that he’s not only discussing nature–these images are metaphors for youth and time. Just as the hardest shade for nature to hold onto is gold, the blissful, golden days of childhood have that same quickness, that same elusiveness. He then mentions the Garden of Eden and how that paradise didn’t last forever either, much in the way that the sun rises, ending the beauty of first morning light.

And the last line–the poem’s title, the summary of it all–is that nothing precious can remain as it is. That’s part of why spring is so beautiful and childhood is so special. In Oregon, for example, we so cherish our sunny days because we get months of constant rain. Some things can’t last, and that’s precisely what makes them meaningful–truly what makes life itself meaningful. After all, if we could live forever or flowers could always bloom, we wouldn’t appreciate them as much, for we couldn’t grasp the true effect of time.

Remember those beautiful pink flowers from my post several weeks ago? Already falling off the bush and wilting! But, on the bright side, at least that means we’re heading towards summer.

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Top: J. Crew  Jeans: Vigoss (similar here and here)  Boots: Blondo  Bag: Chanel (similarly-sized black totes herehere, and here)

The coming week promises warmer temps and festive spring attire, but until then, I’ve been wearing some favorite basics during this transitional weather (in Oregon that means clouds, sun, rain, repeat–sometimes all in the same hour!).

My top is from J. Crew and currently on sale on their website for under $15! It’s soft and breathable and is a great layering piece for those cooler spring days. J. Crew has such quality staples, and they last season after season.

My jeans are Vigoss and I’ve had them for awhile, but I found some really similar options by the same brand on Nordstrom Rack’s website. I’ve been wearing these Blondo ankle boots nonstop lately–the pointy-toe adds a little edge, and the shiny leather has broken in so well!

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 some similarly-sized black totes in a variety of price points (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).

Looking forward to sunshine here the next few days! I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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Hope Is Where the Heart Is

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“Hope” is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
 
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
 
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
 
 
This is one of Dickinson’s more famous poems, and it’s short and sweet. It utilizes a simple–yet beautiful–extended metaphor: hope is a bird. And this bird, she claims, resides in our souls and never stops singing its melody. The bird’s song is sweetest during harsh winds and storms, signifying that difficult days are when hope truly means the most.
 
She’s heard the bird in the worst of times (“in the chillest land” and “on the strangest sea”), and yet this bird has never “asked a crumb” of her, has never demanded to be fed. It’s self-sustaining and sings on in our hearts, warming us from the inside out, even in our darkest hours.
 
I love literature that explores the resilience of the human spirit, the stories or poems that ponder: where do we get our hope? Where do we get the strength to journey on? Despite this poem’s brevity, it explores those very questions.
 
However, I’ll be honest; I struggle a bit with the last two lines–the notion that hope demands nothing of us. The Oxford English Dictionary defines hope as the “desire for a particular thing to happen.” It’s a desire for something that isn’t concrete or hasn’t yet come to pass.
 
And sure–I love the image of a resilient little bird singing in our souls, rooting us on, keeping our spirits up. But we’ve all been there, haven’t we? A time in our life when something felt hopeless?
 
When I was nine years old, my dad was in a horrific car accident. He hit black ice and went over an embankment. He was ejected from his vehicle, broke his neck in two places, ruptured organs, and was close to death. At first the doctors said that if he lived, he’d likely be a quadriplegic. And of course I wanted him to live more than anything, but I couldn’t imagine him not doing all the things he loved ever again–playing in his basketball league, waterskiing in the summer, going on runs while I rode my little pink bike just ahead of him. At nine years old, those were thoughts that filled my head, because those things were such a huge part of who he was, the things that made him my dad.
 
Months went by, and he had numerous complications. But his neck surgery had been a success, and he slowly learned to walk again. There were so many times when things felt hopeless, but something I admire most about my dad is that he never gives up. He’s stubborn to a fault, and he never loses hope. Yet it’s a choice he makes every day, even now–years and years later–to carry on with a hopeful heart in spite of his chronic pain and ongoing health issues.
 
This is exactly why I would assert that maintaining hope and continuing onward in one’s endeavor, whatever it may be, is an act of courage–because that elusive thing we yearn for is not certain or guaranteed. Though the bird may always be singing, we still have to hear it and choose to embrace its song.
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Jumpsuit: Monteau (similar here, here, and hereBlazer: Philosophy (similar here and hereHeels: Nine West (similar here and hereEarrings: Chanel Lip Color: Birthday Suit by Tarte
 
I really loved the colorful jumpsuit I wore on Easter Sunday! It was chilly here in Portland and–though I briefly contemplated wearing a dress–I was so glad I chose something that kept my legs warm.
 
I’m a big fan of jumpsuits–they have a certain cool factor for sure, but probably what I enjoy most is I feel like I’m wearing pajamas! Granted, some of the more form-fitting ones can be a bit constricting, but the wide-legged variety like the one I wore on Easter is so comfortable. When you can merge comfort and fashion, it’s truly a win-win. This particular one was a TJ Maxx find, so I linked several similar striped options above.
 
I think jumpsuits can be a great alternative to dresses for events like bridal showers, birthday brunches, and tropical getaways. They come in so many fabrics and silhouettes that there are countless options available. Since it’s a one-piece, my advice from personal experience is to move around in it before you decide to buy it. I have a long torso for example, and sometimes I have to size up to accommodate that.
 
On Easter morning when the weather was even cooler, I paired it with a crisp white blazer (shown below), which I think is such a versatile piece for spring and summer. (Also, if anyone is wondering, the bunny ears are from Target!)
 
I’m excited about the next several blog posts I have in the works–I’ll be sharing some great local restaurants, what I wore to the theatre, and a new jewelry partnership! Stay tuned, and I wish you all a wonderful week!
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The Edge of Spring

img_1292A Light Exists in Spring by Emily Dickinson

A Light exists in Spring

Not present on the Year

At any other period –

When March is scarcely here

 

A Color stands abroad

On Solitary Fields

That Science cannot overtake

But Human Nature feels.

 

It waits upon the Lawn,

It shows the furthest Tree

Upon the furthest Slope you know

It almost speaks to you.

 

Then as Horizons step

Or Noons report away

Without the Formula of sound

It passes and we stay –

 

A quality of loss

Affecting our Content

As Trade had suddenly encroached

Upon a Sacrament.

 

This Emily Dickinson poem captures that moment when, in early March, we’re on the cusp of spring–the days are growing longer, the nights not quite so cold, and some flowers are already in bloom.

Dickinson specifically discusses light in this poem and the powerful effect it has on both nature and people come springtime–the very word is in the title, and it’s the “it” she speaks of in the third stanza that “waits upon the Lawn,” “shows the furthest Tree,” and “almost speaks to you.” This repetition highlights the word’s importance: light is life-giving. In spring it renews our health and our spirits, and nature is reborn.

In the final two stanzas she refers to the loss of light and how its absence breeds discontent–sometimes how we feel during the gray, gloomy days of winter. As such, the poem seems to end on a more somber note, especially contrasted with the hopeful tone of the earlier lines.

This makes me wonder, quite simply, “why?” Why end a poem about the special light of spring in such a way? Looking at the poem altogether, Dickinson appears to be contemplating the intricate relationship between nature and people (something that is truly a common musing amongst poets–all three of the other writers that I’ve discussed on past posts have numerous poems on nature and our place within it).

Seasons change and affect our moods, our activities, our lives–and how we choose to spend them. I feel that she’s commenting on the impermanence of things–light comes and goes, just as all seasons do. But there’s something unique about the bright light of spring after the darkness of winter because of all the hope and beauty that it brings.

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Ruana: BP (similar color palette here and here)  Pants: Jolt (similar style ponte pants here and here)  Hat: Kyi Kyi Classic Faux Fur Beanie  Boots: Ugg Australia (similar here)

With one foot in winter and one in spring, it’s that in-between time of year when the weather is at its most temperamental (especially in the Pacific Northwest!). Yet this in-between time produces some of my favorite conditions up in the mountains–blue sky, scattered clouds, and fresh powder. My husband and I took advantage of these perfect conditions to hit the slopes earlier this week at beautiful Mt. Hood. He’s a far better snowboarder than I am, but we always have a blast!

This is what I wore on the drive up there, and this soft ruana (also known as a poncho or wrap) I purchased on sale from Nordstrom after Christmas. Wraps are ideal attire for that awkward transition from winter to spring, when layering is key for unpredictable weather. I love the black and gray checkered pattern of this one, and it also happens to be reversible! I will definitely be wearing it on future travels because it looks stylish but has all the coziness of a beloved blanket.

I adore beanies with oversized pom poms, and this faux fur one by Kyi Kyi was a Nordstrom Rack find over the holidays (I found it still available online directly from the Kyi Kyi website). My waterproof ankle boots are by Ugg Australia and are unfortunately sold out, but I linked a very similar Ugg option above.

Happy Friday, everyone!