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!

Oregon, Home Sweet Home

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I’m dedicating my travel series for the month of June to the beautiful state of Oregon that I’ve always called home. I’ll be sharing my personal picks for Portland (from restaurants to breweries to activities) and several quick and easy day trips–from Mt. Hood to the Oregon Coast.

I feel truly blessed to grow up in such a gorgeous, green region; we may get lots of rain, but that rain lends itself to colorful seasons and lush landscapes. Also, if you’re planning a visit to the Portland area, our summers are lovely, with mostly warm, dry weather from July through September.

Unlike my travel posts from May, however, I’m spreading out my favorite places and recommendations over the course of the whole month of June, so these will each be shorter, more succinct pieces.

I’m starting with a bit of nostalgia today and sharing one of my family’s favorite restaurants that makes the perfect pit-stop on Highway 26, when en route to coastal towns like Seaside or Cannon Beach.

Also, my summer reading list is at the bottom of this post!

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Camp 18 is a charming, rustic restaurant about an hour’s drive west of Portland (and only 25 minutes from Seaside). The restaurant’s name comes from the fact that it’s located at mile post 18 on Highway 26 (one of the major highways that runs east/west in Oregon, stretching from the coast to the Idaho border). Its structure is a beautiful log cabin with massive wooden beams, hand carved front doors, and a picturesque creek located just behind it.

We adore their brunch and have been coming here since I was a little kid (highly recommend the “flatcars”–aka giant pancakes–with the locally made marionberry syrup!). This family-friendly spot is great for locals and tourists alike (pictured above on a recent visit with my younger brother!).

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Striped Top: H&M (similar here and hereBlack Jeans: 7 For All Mankind (similar)  Leather Jacket: Wyatt (similarMules: Topshop (similarPurse: Prada (similar style here)  Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster  Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar)

The weather has been hit-and-miss lately; we’ve had some hot, sunny days, but also some cloudy, mild ones. This outfit is perfect for those temperate Oregon days, typical of spring and early summer. I’ve been loving the off-the-shoulder trend, and this version from H&M is an awesome striped option. My mules are from Topshop and are a comfy, 90’s trend that I’m definitely a fan of. My Prada purse was a purchase on our honeymoon in Italy; above, I linked the exact style and also a less pricey option that is a similar size.

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My summer reading list (so far!):

  1. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
  2. The Light We Lostby Jill Santopolo
  3. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  4. Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins
  5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitgerald

Currently reading The Little Paris Bookshop (and LOVING it)–I’ll share my thoughts on the full novel in a few weeks. The Light We Lost was recommended by a friend and is one of Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club picks.

As for the first novel of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, I’ll be honest: I’ve been trying (and failing) to take the plunge and read the series for years. I’ve been obsessed with the show since season two debuted back when I was a senior in college, but I have yet to read the book series. Trying to make this the summer that I at least read the first one.

My best friend and I wanted to read a poetry collection that we haven’t yet done, and we chose Collins’s collection Aimless Love. And last, but certainly not least, I want to revisit one of my all-time favorite novels, The Great Gatsby. I try to reread this American classic every few years, and it’s one of those incredible books that no matter how many times I read it, I get something new out of it.

I would love to hear what you’re reading this summer! Have you made it through A Game of Thrones and the other books in the series, and/or are you a fan of the show? Are there novels you love that you reread over and over again? Let me know in the comments!

Have a great weekend everyone!