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!

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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