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.

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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 ❤️

Hey, Pumpkin

Hey, Pumpkin

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“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” ― L.M. Montgomery

October is one of my favorite months of the year, and it’s not just because it’s officially pumpkin season. I do, of course, enjoy knit sweaters and colorful fall foliage, but I absolutely love scary movies and dressing up for Halloween! I’ll be starting this post off with a recent trip to a local Portland pumpkin patch and cozy fall attire. I’ll also be sharing some couples’ costumes inspiration, featuring some of my faves that my husband and I have worn over the years. Last but not least, I’ll be listing my picks for horror movies and spooky TV series.

Plumper Pumpkin Patch

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Last week my bestie, her husband, and I drove out to Plumper Pumpkin Patch and Tree Farm. It was sunny and about 70 degrees–we couldn’t have asked for more idyllic fall weather!

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Scarf: Kitson (similar here and here) Sweater: TJ Maxx (similar here and hereJeans: Topshop Boots: Blondo Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster

We wandered through the pumpkin patch and apple orchard, and I was so glad I wore a trusty pair of Blondo boots. These are the Elvina booties, and, even with the stylish pointy-toe, they’re still super comfortable.

This is one of my favorite fall scarves–I love the red, gray, and cream-colored tones, which contrasts so well with a simple, off-white sweater. My scarf is several years old and was a purchase from Kitson (which is no longer in business), and my sweater is from TJ Maxx. I’ve linked several similar scarves and sweaters above. As much as I enjoy neutrals in my day-to-day life, I especially love red and orange tones in the fall. Scarves are a great way to add a fun accent to an otherwise neutral outfit.

My high-waisted black jeans are the Jamie style by Topshop. I’ve featured these in previous posts because I seriously wear them all the time! They are super flattering and have the perfect amount of stretch–which is ideal when you’re doing something a bit more active, such as searching for that perfect pumpkin! 🎃

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How adorable are the pastel colors of that sweet little farmhouse?!

Halloween Couples’ Costume Inspiration

From Gatsby to Cleopatra, my husband and I have drawn inspiration from history and pop culture for our Halloween costumes. What was great about our Gatsby-era costumes shown above was almost every item was something we already owned in our closet! The black fedora Mark is wearing we borrowed from my brother, and the feathered headband I ordered from Amazon.

Phantom of the Opera is one of our favorite musicals (we saw it in London last year!), so getting to dress up as the Phantom and Christine was a real treat. My off-the-shoulder lace dress I already owned (I love re-purposing items from my closet and using them for costumes!). Our masquerade-style masks and my husband’s cape were all purchased at a very reasonable price from Amazon (seriously, Amazon is one of the best places to find costume accessories or ready-to-wear costume sets!).

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Last year I dressed up as the Egyptian queen Cleopatra and my husband was the Roman general Mark Antony. I enjoyed practicing the elaborate eyeliner in the weeks leading up to Halloween (Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra makeup was a big inspiration). My headpiece and necklace were awesome Amazon finds, which I wore with a high-neck maxi dress that I already owned. We purchased the Roman costume from Amazon as well, which is still available for purchase.

Sometimes just a few new accessories or costume jewelry can turn an item you already own into the perfect Halloween costume!

Scary Movies and TV Series

Something I have been a fan of since the very beginning is American Horror Story. This groundbreaking anthology series has a different theme every season, though most of the actors return from year to year to play new characters (or, sometimes to reprise the role of a character from a previous season). Though I miss the seasons with the incredible Jessica Lange, actors like Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters have such range and talent that they bring something new and exciting to each and every season.

This show is not for the faint of heart or for those easily spooked; also, it is quite violent at times, along with some graphic sex scenes and nudity. However, it does such an amazing job of weaving together myths, legends, and folklore with the creepy and the supernatural, and every season it never fails to surprise me in some way.

A new Netflix series I just started watching is The Haunting of Hill House. I’m halfway through and am really enjoying it. The first couple episodes were a bit slow in my opinion, but once I got to know each of the main characters I was definitely hooked. So far each episode focuses on one of the five siblings and jumps around in time between the past and the present. Gradually, a picture is emerging of the terrible event that occurred when they were kids, and the way it shaped all their lives.

In a way it’s a family drama, but so far what I find most interesting is the way it makes you question the characters’ realities. Are they truly haunted by ghosts or evil spirits? Or is it something else?

And if you’re not in the mood to invest in a TV series, here are a few of my horror film picks from the last several years: SinisterLights OutDon’t BreatheGet OutIt (the recent one, not the original), Annabelle (I like all the movies from The Conjuring universe). My husband and I watched Hereditary awhile back, and I’ll add it to this list just because it was so very strange and haunting (seriously, I couldn’t get certain images out of my head for days).

I would also add the films Split and A Quiet Place to this list, though some might argue they’re more of the thriller genre than true horror movies. A Quiet Place was particularly memorable–the premise was so intriguing, and John Krasinski and Emily Blunt had phenomenal performances. There are few words spoken aloud throughout the entire film, which further contributes to the film’s eerie tale.

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As much as I love scary movies, I’ve had so much fun soaking up the beautiful weather we’ve been having the last few weeks. Plumper Pumpkin Patch and Tree Farm was such a cute spot to visit, and it had tons of activities for kids and families as well (if you’re local, check them out!). Unlike some of the Portland-area pumpkin patches, they’re open daily from the last week of September through Halloween from 9:00am to 5:30pm. I really enjoyed spending the afternoon there and marveling at these gorgeous views of the Willamette Valley. I also want to thank my BFF for being my photographer for the day!

Are you dressing up for Halloween? Do you have a favorite scary movie? What do you love most about this time of year? 🎃👻

Have a great week everyone!

Stars, Stripes, and Style

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“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…” –from On the Road by Jack Kerouac

This oft-quoted passage from American novelist Jack Kerouac seemed fitting to discuss for this post as we head into 4th of July weekend. Obviously he mentions roman candles, the longtime firework favorite that is practically synonymous with this American holiday.

But the reason I love this quote is for what the roman candle represents: what kind of people do we want in our lives? He wants the passionate ones, the “mad ones”–those rare individuals who have a fire in their hearts for life and want to share it with everyone they meet.

This beautiful quote never fails to inspire me–to find your passions and pursue them and to treasure those who are the roman candles in your own life.

Style Inspiration

Though the 4th isn’t ’til Wednesday, we’re headed into 4th of July weekend, and a variety of festivities. Whether you’re hosting a BBQ, attending a pool party, or camping in the great outdoors, I’m sharing style inspo in red, white, and blue! I’ll also be sharing a few 4th of July events here in the Portland area for those of you who are local.

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Jumpsuit: Monteau (similar here, here, and hereBag: Prada  Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similarSunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster

I’m starting off with this fabulous jumpsuit that was a TJ Maxx find! I adore jumpsuits– they’re almost like comfy pajamas but with a certain cool factor. Vertical striped jumpsuits also tend to make me look taller than I actually am, and I love how this particular one ties at the waist. This would be perfect for a 4th of July picnic or an evening barbecue, and I’ve linked great striped options in similar colors above.

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Swim Shorts: O’Neill  Red Bikini Top: Sweaty Rocks (available on Amazon in a variety of colors)  Striped Bottoms: Xhilaration (similar here and here) American Flag Bandana: Target (similar)

Next up: stars and stripes swim attire if you’ll be spending the 4th by the water, whether at a beach, lake, or pool party! My husband’s swim shorts are O’Neill and have been a favorite of his for the last few summers (still available online). I mixed and matched for my ensemble–the red top is from a bikini set from Amazon, and the striped navy/white bottoms are by Xhilaration from Target (I’m a longtime fan of Target’s swimwear!).

I’m so happy that hair accessories are back in style again (bandanas, scrunchies, bedazzled clips, etc.), and my American flag themed bandana is also from Target (similar option linked above!).

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Last but certainly not least, I’m sharing a casual, yet classic look. I love a great striped shirt, and this one from Mailey Rose is so soft and sweet with its little cherry detail. Mailey Rose is a fabulous online boutique based out of St. Louis, and I was thrilled when they contacted me to brand rep for them. This adorable shirt (named the Shirley Top, after the beloved childhood drink garnished with maraschino cherries) was made here in the USA.

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Striped Top: Mailey Rose  Jeans: Topshop  Sneakers: Converse Jack Purcell  Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster  Lip: Urban Decay Revolution High-Color Lipgloss

My high-waisted jeans are by Topshop and are super stretchy and comfortable. I love how flattering they are–even though they’re high-waisted, I definitely wouldn’t call them the 90’s-inspired “mom jeans” that have been trending for awhile now because these are more fitted. Honestly, I’m not really a fan of “mom jeans,” but that’s just me.

This festive, casual look would be great for outdoor activities (though let’s be real–I would leave the red lipstick at home for a camping trip! Maybe unless you’re “glamping,” but that’s a different thing entirely 😉).

4th of July Events in the Portland Area

For those of you who are local or visiting Portland, Fort Vancouver does an annual “Fireworks Spectacular” across the Columbia River in nearby Vancouver, Washington. It’s one of the largest firework shows in the Portland metro area and starts at 10:05pm on the 4th. You can watch these fireworks at Fort Vancouver, and this year entry is free (though there won’t be any food vendors or beer garden).

My favorite spot to watch this show in years past was on Hayden Island, which is still within the Portland city limits on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. However, the Fort Vancouver Fireworks’ website claims that the fireworks won’t be visible from the Columbia River or Portland this year (good to know!). For more info and restrictions, visit their website here.

If you’re a fan of blues, from July 4-7 the Waterfront Blues Festival will be taking place at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, which is located next to the Willamette River in the heart of downtown Portland. Visit their website here for info on tickets and passes.

Oaks Park, a historic theme park (opened way back in 1905!) that I frequented often growing up, also will have a fireworks show. The park will stay open until midnight on the 4th (admission prices range from $3 to $6, depending on your age).

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Whatever your plans may be, wishing you all a wonderful holiday weekend and a safe 4th of July!