Nov 112013

My bff and maid of honor, Rachel, took the Bolt Bus down to Portland from Seattle on Friday night. I had an appointment after work and then hit the pool before picking her up downtown. It’s been awhile since we’ve hung out! The last time I saw her was back in June when I went up to Seattle for a girl’s weekend. I’ve been so busy all summer long with stuff and wedding planning and she went to Europe for a few weeks, so it felt like we hadn’t talked in years.

We grabbed dinner and a glass of wine at Al-Amir in downtown Portland. It’s a Lebanese restaurant that had really good reviews online but it fell flat for me. The food was fine, it was just rather boring. I’ve never had Middle Eastern food that was bland. All the other Lebanese restaurants I’ve eaten at in town have been bursting with flavor and spices and smelled wonderful. There wasn’t anything wrong with the food we got, it just wasn’t special or memorable. We skee-daddled as soon as we were done with our glasses of wine.

It was Friday night and while back in the day we would have gone out and partied and stuff, we were both tired and looking for something low-key. We went back to my place and Rachel got to meet Bella. Rachel and I ended up having a few more glasses of wine at home while we caught up and chatted and played board games.

Saturday morning the three of us went out to breakfast. I skipped the gym and we went to the J&M Cafe in SE Portland. The thing about Portland restaurants and weekends is that I LOATHE going out for breakfast. I want to go. I love breakfast. I crave something decadent like French toast once in awhile and homemade doesn’t do the trick. But I absolutely hate the Portland culture of standing in line for OVER AN HOUR to get a table for breakfast/brunch. I just don’t understand it. I don’t like it and will not wait in line for that! J&M is pretty good about not having super long lines and I think we got there early enough (by 9am) that we beat the “brunching” crowd.


I drank a lot of coffee. And I ordered the special: Eggs Benedict on toasted English muffins with a thick slice of ham in between it. The eggs were perfectly poached and I’m pretty darn sure that Hollandaise sauce was made with several sticks of butter…!!! It was so rich. I ate about 90% of the breakfast and then couldn’t finish the rest. It was decadent but I only order something like that a few times a year, so it’s not a big deal. Gotta splurge once in awhile.

We discussed moving to Mars and then planned a possible “squatchin” outing next summer. Then after breakfast we parted ways with Michael and us girls were off to do girly things! We had the whole day to do stuff so we hit a bunch of different bridal shops all over town–including David’s Bridal, some consignment shops and some really cute boutiques in Beaverton/Tigard. I was on a mission. I wanted to find a birdcage veil, a fascinator or hairclip for the wedding that matches my dress. I knew I could find one. I just had to find the RIGHT one and the right color (not white).

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We drove all over town! In the end, we ended up at the consignment shop where I bought my dress, Richele Kay Bridal, and that’s where I found the one! It was cool that that was where I found it because I really liked that store. They were so friendly and had great customer service. Several of the places I went to had terrible customer service. The fascinator I found matches my dress AND it was on sale! $24! SOLD.

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No, that’s not it. I’m not having a Little House on the Prairie wedding. :) On the way back from Beaverton I took Rachel by the venue. It was all locked up but we were able to look through the windows and she got to see what the place looks like. It was exciting!

Finally it was almost time for Rachel to catch the Bolt Bus back to Seattle. I took her to the Heathman Hotel bar for a snack and a drink and some chit-chatting to kill an hour. The Heathman usually has really good food and top notch service. Not sure why it wasn’t quite top-notch this time, but oh well.


Rachel got an Irish Coffee and I got a glass of the house Pinot Grigio. We shared an order of the spinach dip. It was pretty tasty but there wasn’t very much food. It was like 1/4 of a normal portion. I get that it’s bar food but…it was slightly disappointing. More for Rachel because she was going to be stuck on the bus during the normal dinner time and that teeny tiny amount of food wasn’t going to cut it.

Sadly it was time to part ways. The bus was there and we said our goodbyes. It was so good to spend some time with my best girlfriend. I miss living in the same city. We used to spend so much time together! Then she moved to Montana and I moved to Portland…funny how life turns out. Anyways, she was on her way to Seattle and I went to the gym.

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It was actually rather nice going to the gym at such a random time of day. Apparently it’s completely empty on a Saturday at 4:00pm! I got in a weight work out and then my motivation started to fizzle. Maybe because I was tired or it had been a long day but I wasn’t really feeling like running or using the elliptical. I called it quits and headed home to relax.

It was a good whirlwind of experiences and I’m glad I got one more thing on my wedding “to do” list done. I was also really happy to be home Saturday night in my PJs with Bella cuddling on the couch after driving all over the place all day!

Apr 022013

I don’t know about your city but summer came briefly in Portland this weekend! On Saturday it was 78 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. It was absolutely gorgeous! It didn’t feel like March, it felt like July and I loved every minute of it.

My “summer” day started with something I haven’t done since October: a bike ride. I decided to ride my bike to the gym to lift weights. I didn’t want to skip a session because I’ve been doing so well and getting stronger but I also wanted to soak up as much sun as I could. The bike ride to the gym isn’t very far so I knew I could do it and not worry about my knees. I was also close enough to home that if for some reason I couldn’t make it home, Michael wasn’t very far away to pick me up. Thankfully that wasn’t needed.

Michael made some adjustments to my bike seat. I think part of the reason my knees were irritated was that my bike seat was too low. But when it was higher I had back pain. So it’s kind of “try this and that” kind of thing to figure out the right spot. After making adjustments, I packed a backpack with my bike lock, my running shoes, my workout shorts and my weight lifting stuff (i.e. workout journal, gloves and resistance band for PT).


It was a gorgeous day! I was so ecstatic to be outside, on my bike, in the sun, and ABLE to ride. I rode to the bike trail and then huffed and puffed up the short but steep hill. I took it slow and steady and didn’t push it like I  usually do because of my knees. I made it to the top slightly out of breathe, my heart rate very high, but my legs were GREAT. I hadn’t lost all of my cycling stamina!!!! You have no idea how happy that makes me!

I made it to the gym and changed out of my bike shorts and shoes and got to work. I had some weight lifting to do. I did about an hour of weight lifting, physical therapy exercises and stretching. Then it was time to bike home.


The bike ride to and from the gym was 5.44 miles and it took me about 25 minutes total. I didn’t intend to spend my whole morning working out and I definitely didn’t intend to burn the massive amount of calories I burned but it was all an added bonus.


I BIKED!!! I BIKED!!! I BIKED!!! And there was no knee pain during, after or hours later. No pain, no tightness, no aching. I am so happy!!

Michael and I wanted to spend as much time outside as we possibly could so we ended up having lunch at Los Gorditos Taqueria on SE 12th and Division. We chose that place because it has a big outdoor patio and all we wanted was to eat lunch in the sun.


They had vegan and vegetarian items as well.  Michael got the tostadas and he said they were just ok– the meat was a little overcooked. But my burrito was great! I got the shredded pork burrito and it came with rice, beans, sour cream, onions and cilantra. My pork was juicy and not overcooked at all. They had a salsa bar and the salsa was delicious; ranging from habanero too hot to eat to mild and tomatillo. I liked it all and after burning 800+ calories I was starving.

We lounged in the sun and enjoyed our lunches and then enjoyed some of the “art” on the walk back to the car:

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After lunch, Michael and I went downtown to walk around. We hit the PSU Farmer’s Market briefly; sat in a park; and just meandered downtown for awhile. There’s a park downtown that has a fountain and an almost life-size version of a chess set.





Everyone in Portland was outside enjoying the unusual weather. Trust me, this is probably the last time we’ll see weather like this until July. :P



Our last stop was to Petunia’s for some dessert. We got it to go to eat later. All of their desserts were gluten-free and vegan. Michael and I wanted to try them out to see what GOOD gluten-free desserts should taste like…especially after some of the duds I’ve had lately. Petunia’s was a super cute dessert place. The staff was wearing cute sage green uniforms and the decor was just too hip for words. Loved it!

I got one Thin Mint Brownie and Michael got a slice of the Black and White Cake as well as a donut with sprinkles.



So how were the gluten-free vegan desserts? Well we ate a sensible dinner first, of course. Michael grilled up some chicken bratwursts and I sauteed kale with onions to go with it. I also made a spinach salad with Oregon gorgonzola cheese, freshly sliced strawberries and raw pecans. We sat outside on the deck as the sun started to set and ate our dinner and then excitedly tore into the dessert box. :)



Michael liked his donut a lot. I had a bite and it was pretty good. It was really dense and heavy feeling. My brownie had good flavor but it was really dry…Oh well.

On Sunday I went for a swim before we went to Michael’s mom’s for brunch. She made her famous crab casserole and a ham; Michael made the potato dish and there was coffee cake, fruit salad and white wine. I ended up skipping dinner because I was so full.





Easter Sunday was just as gorgeous as Saturday was–a little cooler temperatures though. Michael and I spent the rest of the afternoon working in the yard. Fat Kitty also got to play outside! It was such a sunny day and I knew he was dying to go outside so I gave in.



Both of my cats are indoor only. This is because I’m overprotective, but also because I’ve always lived in busy city areas and didn’t want them to get hurt. When I moved in with Michael in the suburbs I could have let them outside but I chose not to. The truth is, indoor cats live longer and I want my babies to be around for a long time. There’s also coyotes in the neighborhood!


We had some nice playtime outside until Fat Kitty decided to make a run for it. He ran toward the deck and I snagged him up to go back inside. The last time I let him outside he crawled underneath the house and I spent a few hours trying to get him to come out! Another reason he doesn’t go out very often. Silly boy.

What a fabulous weekend. It was too short and the nice weather made me wish it was SUMMER!!! How was your weekend?