Birthday Girl, Part 1

This week I had a blast celebrating my 27th birthday with family and friends. In this post, I’ll be sharing all things birthday-related: gift ideas at various price points, a restaurant recommendation for those of you in the Portland area, and, of course, style inspiration.

My stunning birthday bouquet was a gift from my mama and was designed by the amazing florist at Spellbound Flowers. Spellbound is my favorite flower stand and is located in the heart of downtown Portland in Pioneer Courthouse Square. I love fresh flowers, and this place is my go-to when I want a special bouquet for a loved one.

I want to do a shoutout to my sweet and talented step-sister Nichole, who made me these beautiful sunflower cupcakes! I am not a baker, so I’m seriously in awe of anyone who can create anything this beautiful (and that also tastes amazing!). 🌻

Buying birthday gifts for loved ones can be tricky. I always think perfume is a thoughtful gift, and my mom found this Tom Ford gift set during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. It’s the scent “Black Orchid,” which is one of my new favorites.

I’m a huge Minions fan and this luggage tag my best friend found for me while traveling in Hong Kong. I’ve linked similar options here.

Kylie Cosmetics is immensely popular, but these are actually my first items from this brand! I’ve been wanting to try out the famous lip kits for awhile, and I’ll let you know my thoughts on them in next week’s post.

Inside that Gucci dust bag is a black Gucci belt, something that’s been on my wish list for quite some time. This was actually a birthday splurge because I personally think there is nothing wrong with treating yourself for your birthday!

And last but not least, you can never go wrong with gift cards! Nordstrom and TJ Maxx are two of my favorite places to shop, and the ease and convenience of gift cards makes them wonderful gifts.

For dinner we went to Jake’s Famous Crawfish, which is an iconic seafood restaurant in downtown Portland that’s been around for over a century. This is one of my favorite local restaurants, and I love that their food is sourced from the great Pacific Northwest. Their crab cakes are amazing!

Lace Top: One Clothing (similar) Jeans: Topshop Belt: Gucci Ankle Booties: Qupid (similar)

I wore black from head-to-toe for my birthday dinner at Jake’s. The lace top and ankle booties are both from TJ Maxx, and the jeans are a high-waisted pair from Topshop (super comfy and flattering!). And of course, I’m wearing my brand new Gucci belt!

Now that I’m 27 (and inching my way towards 30! 😉), something I’ve noticed about my 20’s is everyone cruising at a different pace, pursuing a variety of things—school, career, love, marriage, family, travel, etc. Sometimes all of the above. Everyone has different priorities, different dreams, different timelines. And you know what? That’s perfectly okay. Your journey is not theirs, and I’m so grateful for all those on this journey with me. ❤️

Cheers to being one year older, and hopefully another year wiser! 🥂

We have more birthday festivities planned this weekend that I’ll be sharing next week in Part 2. Happy Friday, loves!

August Haze and Summer Days

“When summer opens, I see how fast it matures, and fear it will be short; but after the heats of July and August, I am reconciled, like one who has had his swing, to the cool of autumn.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

We’ve had a lot of hot weather the last month here in Portland, and this past week the air was hazy from all the wildfires out in eastern Oregon and southwest Washington. As such, many are dreaming of autumn rain and cooler temperatures, though thankfully the air quality has improved the last couple days.

This quote from Emerson seemed fitting this week, and it also reminded me of the fall fashion trends that are everywhere, despite that a lot of us are still experiencing summer temps in the 80’s and 90’s.

This time of year, when we have hot days and cool nights and are inching closer to fall, I love pieces that transition well from one season to the next.

Dress: Billabong Booties: Qupid (similar here and here) Bag: Chanel Medallion Tote (similar quilted styles here and here)

This floral wrap dress from Billabong is a recent purchase from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and will transition with ease from summer to fall. It’s still available on their website, though unfortunately is no longer on sale.

I wore this in downtown Portland and am pictured above in local landmark Pioneer Courthouse Square. I paired it with ankle booties from TJ Maxx, and the peep-toe style is perfect for summer days out on the town.

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 two similarly-sized quilted totes (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).

Over-the-Knee Boots: Blondo

The dark floral pattern of this dress will still be stylish for the earthy tones of fall. The long sleeves will be perfect for those cooler days and pairing it with over-the-knee boots will keep your legs nice and warm. I personally love tall boots paired with midi length dresses and skirts, as there’s something very chic about it.

My boots are by Blondo are an amazing waterproof suede (and currently on sale on Nordstrom’s website, linked above!). I’ve mentioned their shoes in several posts because they are so perfect for rainy climates like Oregon. They look great, but they’re practical too!

This is what it looks like when your doggy REALLY wants to be in the pic. He’s a master of the photobomb! 😉

Happy Weekend, all! Thank you for stopping by ❤️

One of Those Summer Nights

We’ve been back from our trip for almost two weeks, and–though I love cruisin’ the Caribbean–I truly love my home state of Oregon. *For some of my Portland faves–from sweet shops to burger joints–check out those links to my previous posts!

Oregon has beautiful summers, and one of my favorite summertime traditions is heading to our local drive-in theater, the 99W (named for the highway that runs beside it).

My husband and I have been coming here every summer since we first started dating 8 years ago, and I hope this local landmark stays around for years to come so we can one day bring our kiddos! For now, we bring along our sweet fur baby Brody 🐶

The 99W Drive-In has been in Newberg, Oregon, since 1953. It’s a local landmark, roughly 20 miles outside of Portland, and makes for a perfect evening out. After all, what’s better than not one, but TWO, movies underneath the stars with your loved ones?

I love the nostalgic feel of the drive-in and supporting a local business that’s one of the few of its kind left. During the 1950’s and 60’s when drive-ins were in their prime, there were over 4,600 in the US. In contrast, there are less than 350 locations in the US today (more info on that here).

If you’re attending on a Friday or Saturday, I recommend arriving around 5 o’clock, which is when the line outside the entrance usually starts to form. And trust me, you do not want to arrive later and get stuck in the back, far away from the screen (it only happened to us once, years ago, but we haven’t made that mistake twice 😉). Our favorite spot is the third or fourth row from the front, in one of the middle spaces (as shown below).

This pic is a little throwback from last summer at the drive-in. Shout out to our besties, Aundria and Brett, who have been traveling abroad for most of this year. Can’t wait to finally see you both in a few weeks! 😭

Hat: Portland Gear Chambray Shirt: Calvin Klein Jeans (similar here and here) Striped Tank Top: H&M (similar) Leggings: Nike (similar here and here) Sneakers: Jack Purcell Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster

I always keep things comfy and casual for nights at the drive-in. The athleisure trend that’s been everywhere the last few years is perfect for such occasions.

I stuck to a neutral color palette, with classic staples like a striped tank, black Nike leggings, and Jack Purcell sneakers. My chambray shirt by Calvin Klein Jeans is a longtime go-to. It’s one of those amazing shirts that truly gets better with age. And last but not least, I’m repping my hometown in my Portland Gear cap, which is another wardrobe favorite.

Is there a drive-in theater in your area? What are your favorite summertime activities?

Happy Weekend to you all! Thank you for stopping by. ❤️

Sweet Summer

I’m really excited about today’s post because I’m sharing two of my favorite things: sundresses and sweets! Anyone who knows me is aware of my major sweet tooth, and there are several local bakeries and restaurants here in Portland that are my go-to spots.

But first, I’m sharing today’s sundress. This lovely maxi dress was a TJ Maxx find, and I absolutely adore this shade of purple. The fabric is also lightweight, which is ideal for the heat wave we’ve been having this week!

Heels: Nine West (similar) Dress: Love @ First Sight Similar purple dresses: here and here

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale floral dresses: here, here, and here

I linked above a variety of gorgeous sundresses in multiple styles and colors. Several are part of the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, so if you have a Nordstrom card you have early access (it opens to the public on July 20th). I picked up some fabulous items there yesterday. Seriously, this is one of the best sales of the year!

First up is my Portland ice cream pick: Ruby Jewel. I know that little scoop looks like your basic vanilla, but don’t be deceived. It’s my all-time favorite flavor, honey lavender. It’s light, refreshing, and the two flavors complement each other perfectly.

All their ingredients are sourced here locally, which makes their ice cream a wonderful representation of what the great Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Next is one of my favorite Portland restaurants, Papa Haydn, whose desserts are local legends (my husband and I went on our first date there! ❤️). Their French onion soup is one of the best I’ve had outside of Paris, and I love to follow up that savory soup with one of their decadent desserts.

We took my sister to the NW 23rd location to celebrate her high school graduation, and she adored their crème brûlée. I chose a seasonal coconut cake called “Lime in the Coconut.” The frosting was soooo creamy, and the lime filling added that perfect dash of tartness.

My next pick is Urban Fondue, located in trendy NW Portland, not far from Papa Haydn. My favorite dessert fondue is their bananas foster paired with an exquisitely crafted drink from Bartini, which is the adjacent restaurant located just next door.

Bartini has an extensive drink menu with over 100 cocktails (which you can order from at both Bartini and Urban Fondue). My personal drink of choice is their Tuscan Rosemary Lemon Drop (pictured above).

Bartini and Urban Fondue are wonderful options for celebrations. I’ve been to multiple birthdays and bachelorette parties at these two spots–we start out at Bartini for some flavorful cocktails and then follow it up with cheese and chocolate at Urban Fondue! I definitely recommend making reservations for Urban Fondue, especially if you’re planning to dine there on a weekend evening.

Last, but certainly not least, is French bakery St. Honoré Boulangerie (their map of the Paris metro makes me so nostalgic for the City of Light!). I’m a bit of a macaron fanatic (Paris’s famed shop Ladurée is my absolute favorite). Since I can’t make it to France for a macaron run and none of the stateside Ladurée locations are in Oregon, this sweet bakery is my go-to for a little dose of Paris in Portland.

I’m holding several of their current flavors below: Thai tea, strawberry rhubarb, coconut lime, and lemon.

Hope you all have the sweetest weekend and thank you for stopping by!

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!

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!