May 282015

I mentioned earlier that I was going on vacation; I went to Tucson for a friend’s wedding.



Unfortunately Michael wasn’t able to go with me but my cousin Anna was up for a girl’s trip so that was good! We flew out of Portland early Friday morning for the holiday weekend and went up to Seattle (a quick 45 min flight), waited less than an hour for our flight from Seattle and then we were in sunny Tucson! The bummer? It was REALLY windy that day and the turbulence was truly awful. Nothing like feeling like you are dropping out the sky for 30 minutes to think “oh my god we’re going to die”…

We checked into our hotel, the Marriott right by the University–which I really recommend. It was a great location, right on the street car line (only cost $4 for a 24 hour ticket and the street car runs every 15 minutes), the hotel was pretty cool and our room was huge and had a balcony with a view. The interior of the hotel was also pretty cool looking:


Our food schedule was a little screwy because of traveling. It was Friday afternoon, too early for dinner, too late for lunch. We stopped into Gentle Ben’s Brewing because it was right by the hotel and had outdoor seating. It was decent pub food. We split a salad and the giant pretzel and we each got a glass of wine while we tried to shake off the turbulent travel jitters and just relax a little.




We had some time to kill before our evening plans so after that we walked around the University shops and did a little sightseeing.


Anna wanted to take a nap (she wasn’t feeling well) and so I went down to the hotel pool to do some swimming. The wind had scared everyone off so I had the pool to myself. It was a small pool but large enough to swim some laps. I did about a mile, maybe a little less, in 40 minutes. Then went back up to the room to shower and change for the evening.


My friend Christine was getting married to her fiance Jeremy and they were hosting a post-rehearsal dinner drink event at Reilly Craft. Anna and I ended up taking a cab there because we didn’t know the area well enough yet to risk exploring at night in heels.

Reilly was SO COOL. What an awesome place! If you’re ever in Tucson you have to check this place out. We wanted to go back later that weekend and really explore it but never got the chance. Dang it!


Okay so Reilly is in a building that was apparently an old mortuary. The place is huge. You walk in to a super modern restaurant with high ceilings and exposed beams and brick and a chic white marble bar. Then you walk outside to the alley way and there is a super cool space with picnic benches, fake grass on the walls and ground, exposed brick and romantic lights.


Then you walk to the beer garden, that is inside but completely open without walls. It had such an awesome vibe and I’m bummed we didn’t get a chance to explore the basement cocktail lounge!


Anna and I ordered something small for dinner. I got the Ninkasi Tricerahops beer (beer from home) and probably one of the best salads I’ve ever had. Delicious greens with chicken, cranberries, some kind of toffee brittle, chopped green apple and goat cheese. It was divine and it hit the spot. Anna got the meatballs (I had one). They were really good. This place was excellent and I highly recommend it!



We chatted with the bride and groom a bit and then decided to head back to the hotel.


This time we were able to figure out the street car (it was like 2 blocks away) and took that back. We ended up using it for most of our trip and it worked well.


Saturday we took it pretty easy. We had the wedding to go to in the evening. We slept in and then I went to the hotel gym for a workout. For some reason I just could not get my heart rate up (no idea why) but I was glad I got some exercise in!



We decided to check out a local place for breakfast and took the street car to downtown (about 10-15 min away) to go to Nook. The restaurant was super cute–very modern and chic. We ended up sitting outside because HELL YEAH. We’re not in Oregon anymore! I LOVED that most everywhere in Tucson had outdoor seating.


The outside patio was enchanting. It had Christmas lights, bistro tables with umbrellas (if you wanted them), big comfy outdoor couches, and there were a few hummingbirds flitting around the garden area.


I got the BLTE: bacon over medium egg, arugula, tomato jam in housemade crumpet. It came with cottage cheese and Anna and I split a side order of fruit. It was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. It was messy and gooey and the egg dripped on everything but it was to die for and I could have licked the plate it was so good! Their tropical iced tea was fantastic.


Anna got The Godfather Benedict: crumpet, prosciutto, arugula, poached egg, hollandaise, balsamic drizzle. I had a bite and holy cow was it amazing! She won at breakfast.


We spent the rest of the day walking around 4th Street. It was a trendy area with bars, shops and restaurants. I’ll write more about that later. We did stop in for a “lunch” beverage. :) Vodka and pineapple juice at the Surly Wench.


Finally, back to the hotel where we spent the next three hours poolside lounging, reading, napping, relaxing in the sunshine!


Stay tuned for more!

May 112015

What a crazy couple of days! The weekend started with President Obama visiting Portland for two days. He just so happened to be staying in a hotel nearby where I work! We got to see all the activity with the Secret Service, Portland Police, Bomb Squad, what looked like National Guard troops, and lots of adorable K-9/Bomb-Sniffing Dogs! Then on Friday we couldn’t get into our office in the morning because there was a pretty large perimeter of streets completely shut off around the President. We stood outside and watched as the motorcade came by.


We saw snipers on the hotel roof, the super long motorcade with about 20 vehicles went by and President Obama even WAVED at all of us as they drove by! I got video but it didn’t turn out great and unfortunately can’t see that he waved! Bummer! But what an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime kind of moment! Like holy shit we saw the President!!!

Anyways, that was Friday morning. Then Friday after work I had a girl’s night with my bff Rachel! She drove down from Seattle to spend some quality girl time together. I think the last time we hung out was my wedding. Way too long ago. I was so excited about her visit.

We went out to dinner at the Savoy Tavern on SE Clinton Street.


I’ve wanted to try this place out for awhile now and Rachel and I got a seat outside in the sun, which was super nice. It was in the 80’s and just gorgeous weather. We shared an appetizer of the fried cheese curds and each got a glass of wine (I got the Syrah).


The cheese curds were good, but could have been better. We both agreed they needed some salt, or something…We both got a burger. Mine came with cheddar cheese and bacon on it. I got a side of coleslaw. The food was average. It wasn’t bad but it was just lacking something…the patty was small, which was good because I wasn’t looking for a monster huge, messy burger that is 2,000 calories. It was just the right amount of food. But once again, it was missing something.


The coleslaw was kind of boring. I’ve had better. Again, the food wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t fantastic. What was fantastic? The shoestring fries Rachel got with her burger. They were to-die-for good. I was kind of disappointed that food wasn’t better, because I had heard some good things about that place. Not sure what happened there.

After dinner we went to a wine bar and spent a few hours gabbing and catching up. I got one glass of the Soave Classico Pieropan white wine from Italy. I’d never heard of it before and so I gave it a try. It definitely had lemon flavors to it. It was okay, but not my favorite white wine. Rachel got a red wine flight and we shared an order of chocolate covered blueberries. Yum! It was so nice to spend some girl time talking about stuff and reminiscing.


Saturday morning Rachel, Michael and I went to Sckavone’s for breakfast. It’s a good breakfast joint that never has a line. I got coffee and the smoked salmon scramble that came with amazing potatoes. They also bring out mini scones for the table that are drizzled with honey (so good)!


Michael got the huevos rancheros and Rachel got a Bloody Mary and the steak and eggs. They even had a Bloody Mary “garnish bar”. LOL Had I not been driving I might have had to partake. I <3 Bloody Mary drinks. 😀



After breakfast Michael went home and us girls went over to the Hawthorne district to do some shopping. There’s a bunch of cool, quirky, fun shops and several consignment stores. I was looking for a dress for an upcoming wedding I’m going to and we had fun checking out the sometimes awful and sometimes cute clothes. Also saw these shoes:


So tempted. 😉 After a few hours we went back to the house and Rachel had to hit the road. I was sad that it was such a short visit but I was glad to be able to spend some time together. After she left I went to the gym for some light weight lifting and the elliptical.



Happy Mother’s Day! 

Our dog walker sent me this photo, from Bella of course. 😀


We hosted dinner at our place for Michael’s family. It was a combo birthday/Mother’s Day party for his mom. It was also a good opportunity for everyone to see the new kitchen counters.



Since there were going to be 8 people over, Michael decided to make his famous mac n’ cheese since it’s a favorite and feeds a lot of people. I picked up some gluten free macaroni at Bob’s Red Mill for it. It was a huge hit, of course.


Michael’s sister brought a delicious salad and made her amazing green beans wrapped in marinated steak (they are so good).



Michael’s brother brought a veggie tray and some spinach dip, plus strawberry shortcake for dessert.


I definitely ate too much. No secret about it. Everything tasted so great. The evening was a success and we are both happy we were able to entertain a fairly large crowd comfortably. Honestly, I think 6 people is the sweet number for a dinner party. 8 is doable but difficult. Our house isn’t huge and we need a bigger dining table to do that comfortably.


Doesn’t that dessert look decadent? It was a nice treat. I haven’t had strawberry shortcake in a million years! Homemade is even better. 😀

Hope everyone had a great weekend/Mother’s Day!