Round and Round We Go

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For the Graduation

By Robert Creeley

for Kate

Round and round
again, and
up and down
again—always

these days do
go by, and
this one is yours
to go by.

This walking on
and on, this
going and coming—
this morning

shines such lovely
light on
all of us.
We’re home.

These last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, with both my siblings graduating (my sister from high school and my brother from my Alma Mater, the University of Oregon). The above lines “round and round again, and up and down again” definitely apply to how we’ve all been feeling. It’s been a special time too though, to see all their hard work and dedication come to fruition.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what a unique period graduation is: how you’re on the edge of something old and on the brink of something new, how you’ve achieved one goal and have your sights set on the next.

I read this sweet, poignant poem that acclaimed poet Robert Creeley wrote for his daughter for her graduation. And it reminded me of how commencement is also a time of celebration for the families—that all the years of support and love and sacrifice have culminated in a concrete way.

As a whole, his poem reflects upon the cyclical nature of life–the Earth goes round and round, and so do we: “these days do go by, and this one is yours to go by.”

He also wrote that “This morning shines such lovely light on all of us” and I feel like I know exactly what he means. The light of their achievements and success shines on us too– because we all helped each other, in various ways, to reach the points where we’re at now.

I’m really fortunate to be close to my siblings, and I feel such pride when I see them succeed. We are especially grateful to our mom, who has worked so hard and sacrificed so much. We wouldn’t be here without her.

So here’s to all the graduates, and their friends and families and loved ones, to the sleepless nights and stressful days, and to all the goals and dreams that we have yet to achieve.

Trench Coat: DKNY (similar here and hereKnee-High Boots:Blondo  Purse: Chanel Medallion Tote (similar)

June is generally a busy time of year filled with graduations, bridal showers, weddings, and the official start of summer.

In Oregon we still get a decent amount of rain this time of year, and my sister’s high school graduation was a stormy day when we had a mix of wind, hail, and downpours! As such, I knew my coat was going to be the outfit–especially since the ceremony was outside!–so I chose this silvery gray DKNY trench coat for the occasion.

Floral Dress: Soprano (floral options from the same brand: here, here, and here)  Purse: Chanel Classic Flap (similar here and here)  Ankle-Strap Heels: Breckelle’s (similar)  Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar)

For my brother’s graduation at the beautiful University of Oregon campus, the weather couldn’t have been more different. It was a breezy, sunny afternoon and I got to wear one of my favorite floral dresses from Soprano. My brother’s tassel and sash were light pink (representing the Music major), and my mom and I chose to color-coordinate (because we’re cool like that 😉).

I love versatile floral dresses for spring and summer–this particular one I’ve worn to work with a blazer, to a bridal shower, and now to a graduation as well. Soprano always has great prints and fun dresses, and I’ve linked a variety of options above. I’ve also linked some lovely quilted handbags that share a similar design with the Chanel classic flap.

In my next post later this week, I’ll be sharing style inspiration for the 4th of July! Whether you’ll be hosting a BBQ, attending a pool party, or camping in the wilderness, I have outfit ensembles for a variety of occasions. I’ll also be sharing some great activities for the 4th here in the Portland area.

Hope you all are having a great weekend!

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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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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