Posts Tagged ‘travel’

  • December 6, 2013

    photo (booth) friday

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    number 17 on the list and I have officially (sadly) exhausted all my portland memories. the photobooth at the ace hotel has been on my bucket list forever. mostly because of this lady and her genius friday ritual. sweet jyndia and I had the best time…after we figured out that it started taking pictures immediately upon your payment (hence that first one with my face caught unaware and my mouth forming an unintended expletive in surprise). gosh I love those black and white grainy photos that drop into the little slot still a bit damp from their fresh development. nothing better, I tell you. nothing better.

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  • November 14, 2013

    portland, i love you {part 3}


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    number two on the list and so many college flashbacks. not just of solitary walks across st. john’s on the days I felt too overwhelmed to be around people or anything other than blue sky and green steel. but flashbacks too of the outdoor life lived in portland. of hikes at forest park and multnomah falls. of one billion parks (okay, 279) pleasantly stuffed into neighborhoods and city blocks. of the swings at alberta and the roses at peninsula and the fountains at jamison square.

    flashbacks too of water water everywhere – always falling and all surrounding. making all things new and green and lush and alive. of running through puddles on the way to class. of huddling under hoods but always refusing umbrellas (because true members of portlandia never use an umbrella). of falling asleep to the sound of raindrops. of waking up to the sound of raindrops. of so much rain rain rain, I couldn’t help but write about it. of bridges crisscrossing the willamette and columbia.

    flashbacks too of days spent waiting for the clouds to break. of the rare occasion of a sunny day, when everyone everyone flocked outside with dogs and strollers and bikes and basketballs. when we would walk to new seasons and buy fresh bread and cherries and kombucha and sit on a sturdy cement park bunch and let the sun seep into our semi-seasonally-depressed skin.

    flashbacks too of summers spent driving with the windows down and playing ultimate frisbee at the park after church. of evening walks around the neighborhood, saying hello to neighbor kids on bikes and neighbor chickens heading into their urban coop for bed. of movies in the park and markets under burnside and impromptu trips to the coast.

    life in portland was as much out as it was in. full of reminders that the natural world will always seep into the urban world. it will make itself known. and we will take its presence for granted until we move away and find that not every city has one billion parks and skies so blue they look painted and rain that falls forever, but reminds us that everything washes away and eventually becomes new again. the outdoor life lived in portland was very fine indeed.



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  • November 7, 2013

    portland, i love you {part 2}


    number seven on the list and maybe my most favorite day in portland.


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    first was a long lunch with a pretty neat lady I’ve always admired and loved for her honest, authentic, uber-creative blogging habits. we’ve not spent much time together, but she has been one of my most favorite people to keep up with over the years. we ate at the grilled cheese grill. nashville may have one of it’s own, but this was the first food truck to feature grilled cheese…and it’s on a double-decker bus, no less! and here’s the best part – your order is placed not under your own namesake, but under the name of the famous people you may wish you could be. for example, I have always dreamed about what it would be like to be a notorious rapper with a cool name about spying on puppies. and you know what? I sure did feel “snoopadelic” when they called out “snoop doggy dog” and I skipped on up there to get my sandwich. although, I think they may have gotten my name wrong again. but I digress. the grilled cheese grill. check it out. after lunch, we wandered over to a shop belonging to one of andrea’s friends. wanderlust is full of all of the things I love and if I could have packed an entire extra suitcase with colorful, beautiful, vintage treasures from this store, I would have been a happier, if not slightly less financially-stable girl.


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    next, we decided to surprise ava and make a donut fun-run to my (old) neighborhood donut store. I’m telling you, annie’s donut shop CANNOT be beat. it may not be as famous as a few others, but annie’s is consistently the most delicious (and cheap!) donut store in portland. plus, it doesn’t brag about how awesome it is, which makes me love it all the more (I’m looking at you, voodoo). oh man, it was so good to see ava. she is, by far, one of the coolest people I know. has been since those early days when I was her sunday school teacher and she would calmly draw me pictures of her favorite hello kitty friends while the other munchkins ran around creating chaos. (I totally still have them.) it’s odd to know someone as a 7-year-old and then watch them grow up from afar, via blog photos. but in so many ways, she is exactly the girl I thought she would become – quiet and thoughtful, full of a centered and confident sense of who she is (can my 26-year-old self get some of that?), and such a wise and humble head on her shoulders. and did I mention? she’s got creativity coming out of her ears, just like her mama. those two are just so. much. good. I wish they would move back to the south already.


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    and finally. the one constant. powell’s is a must when it comes to portland visits. every. single. time. in between every trip, I actually keep a running list on my phone of random books that I cannot find anywhere, but just know will be at powell’s. and they are always there. just waiting for me to find them and stuff them into my suitcase and love them forever and ever, amen. you better believe that I always come to portland with extra space in my luggage for all that goodness. this time around, I kept the book-count to 11. which is much less than my last trip two years ago, which included three books of poetry by czeslaw milosz and a kombucha starter kit. if heaven is a place on earth, I am 99% convinced that it is powell’s.



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  • October 31, 2013

    lincoln city



    number 3 on the list and an overcast ocean to boot. I don’t really know what to say about these photos except for the fact that I really love the pacific northwest coastline. gray waves under a gray sky and clouds that sit right on top of the horizon line and rainboots that keep the sand from getting in between your toes. because that’s how to works on the oregon coast – you wear layers instead of bikinis and galoshes instead of sandals. and I love that.  and I love the mist and the damp air and the light leaking through the clouds playing tricks on your eyes and your camera lens.

    and I REALLY love becca and tim and theo. especially theo. it’s crazy when your friends have babies. he’s like this weird, but amazing amalgam of two of your most favorite people in one tiny body. and he looks at your best friend with so much trust and dependence and you can’t believe you’re old enough to have other human beings look at you that way. and she looks at him the same way, with the knowledge of this relationship only the two of them share, prompting you to wonder, just for a second if you even know her at all. (but of course you do. she’s still your best friend. who is just in charge of another human life. no big deal.) and for some reason, his smile makes you smile and your arms sort of ache when he’s not in them.







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  • October 29, 2013

    portland, i love you {part 1}


    for the first time since I left, I returned to portland without expectation or agenda. in the past, I’ve gone back with a comprehensive list of who to see and what to visit and have plotted out my few short days accordingly. I was so worried about visiting everything and seeing everyone that I loved, thinking that this one trip would somehow get me through the other 360 days of the year. but this time was different.

    for one thing, since moving to nashville, I’ve finally found a place that feels almost as much like home as portland. I’ve not longed for the day that I would get to move back for good in the same way that I did when I lived in DC. for a girl who never even considered life outside the pacific northwest, let alone way down here below the mason dixon line, becoming a nashvillian has sort of snuck up on me. I’ve found myself loving life here in subtle and ordinary ways – enjoying the ebb and flow of seasons and the slower pace of conversation and the abundance of southern accents.


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    {did you know that there is a double decker bus parked on williams ave full of vintage treasures? it’s true!}

    for another, I returned knowing that life four years out of college is as different for my best friends as it is for me. life four years out of college has morphed us into new people. we still love one another with a fierceness that can only be created in that unique period of life that we all shared – mostly in that lovely little beech house. and when I am with them, I still think that I am the closest to myself that I will ever be. but the reality is that we have now lived apart as long as we lived together. we have been pulled to opposite coasts and careers and lives. and I knew that if I returned expecting things to be the same as they were in college – or even the same as they were the last time I visited – I would be disappointed. and so I went to see who I saw and rejoice in moments that came instead of moments that I tried to plan. I wanted to enjoy the company of those I love without expectation.


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    {there are few people I love more on this great earth than these people.}

    but most of all, I went to portland without a plan because I needed to not have a plan. I needed a break from scheduled commitments and always rushing rushing rushing from one thing to another. because I was just kind of exhausted. because being an adult is just kind of exhausting. in high school and college, I relished the moments of structure and planning that I thought made me more adult-like. I sought responsibility and activities through which I could somehow prove (to who? I wonder now…) that I was a “grown-up.” but as I have continued to move into actual adulthood, I’ve found myself pushing back against all of the things I thought would define me in that world. I’ve found myself increasingly in search of experiences without purpose (but no less purposeful). I’ve longed for days without schedule, but full of quiet meaning and solitude. I’ve spent most of my life being busy, but now I just want things to be a little more simple. and so I went to portland to rest. to find bits and pieces of quiet and stillness in my most favorite city. to slide into myself and walk around in my own skin apart from all the doing that defines my everyday life. to see what life could be if I did not plan it. and funnily enough – life did not disappoint.


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    {these are just a few smatterings of photos. but so many things were crossed off the list. and I think those deserve a post of their own. so stay tuned friends. stay tuned.}



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  • August 13, 2013



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    26 was ushered in without much pomp and circumstance. in fact, I was traveling for work, so it was ushered in without any pomp and circumstance at all. don’t get me wrong – I was celebrated mightily on the days before 26 and the day of 26 found me overwhelmed by cards hidden in suitcases and so much technological love my phone almost died taking it all in. (including a photo montage of an almost 2-year-old signing me “happy birthday” which was, obviously, the best.) but that 31st day of july was spent on a lot of traveling and not a lot of talking to real, live human beings except to say things like, well, I suppose you may pat me down because the security screening thought my shirt buttons were a bomb. and the closest I came to actually being wished a happy birthday in person was when the man selling me wine had to look at my ID. he didn’t notice though…apparently, they don’t card too carefully out there in colorado. but to be honest, I was okay with that. for an introvert who misses clean mountain air like its my job, driving through the rockies with bon iver on the stereo was kind of a present in itself.

    what did happen on the days that 26 became a reality was this:

    1. plane rides with 6-year-old boys who started out as strangers but bonded over shared gummy bears and talk of favorite superheroes. my heart melted into a little puddle right there on my tray-table.

    2. almost car accidents with bear watchers. stopped in the middle of the road. on a blind curve. tahoe or estes park – tourists are always just the same.

    3. free bouquets of sunflowers from the sweet gentleman of a florist at safeway because he “needed the room.” if that’s not the best unintentional birthday present ever, I don’t know what is.

    4. eating dinner alone in a restaurant for the first time. a real restaurant. you know, the kind where you sit and order and try not to look too, “I will one day be an old maid with lots of cats” while sandwiched between couples reaching over candle light and families laughing boisterously. turns out, it’s not nearly as awkward as I thought. although don’t expect me to get into the habit of it anytime soon.

    5. a lovely little lake named lilly and the beetle bugs that are (nature at its worst!) eating all the trees around it.

    6. night that is NIGHT (no city lights to dim the darkness here, thank you very much). the milky way. shooting bits of fire a million miles away. stars for miles and miles. stars that remind me of abraham and promises and futures greater than the reality of life as we know it.

    7. stories of strength and dignity in africa that remind me why I’m here. the passion of others rubbing off on me. the honoring of those who have made the story so much of what it is. the reminder couldn’t have come at a better time. the reminder was needed more than ever.

    8. sunrise coffee and reading on the back deck to gain a little perspective before chaos ensues. the bit of calm before somehow always gets me through the storm.

    9. curvy, cliffy roads that feel more natural to me than highways and byways. when you learn how to drive in mountaintop blizzards, you feel a lot more confident on cliffs than you do in traffic.

    10. mountain wildflowers. for days and days and days.

    11. sunset from the highest road in north america. above the tree-line. inside the clouds. atop arctic tundra. amidst big-horned sheep and massive elk and even a porcupine to boot.

    12. a miniature donkey named stella.

    colorado I love you. mountains I love you. humidity back in nashville…well, you are just killing me.



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  • October 15, 2012

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    images from a lovely little staff retreat in the great smokies. most of them mine, but my two favorites are from barak.

    once the mobile devices were forfeited and we were left to our own, things seemed to more slower and with more intention. eyes adjusted to faces instead of iphone screens. words with friends traded in for jigsaw puzzles. instagram for pen and paper. shazam for acoustic renditions of all the 90s songs we grew up loving. there were too many requests to cover, but that didn’t stop us from trying.

    the fire started out so big we couldn’t see over it but when it finally died down we made s’mores and talked of unique african food and who would survive in the wilderness and the scary stories we used to tell as kids. we threw marshmallows at one another over the flames and finally went to bed with smoke lingering in our hair and laughter still at the back of our throats.

    we woke in time to watch the morning mist settle into sunshine. and on the way home we stopped for photos and bbq and even a bit of ice cream.

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    {above two photos by barak bruerd}

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  • July 5, 2012

    the one photo I took in 700 miles of driving. we found horton highway en route from dc to nashville. aside from dropping and shattering my phone, I would call this road trip a smashing success. (pun intended.)

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  • April 25, 2012

    a sinking city

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    if venice were part of my family, she would be my spontaneous, slightly erratic, but lots-of-fun little sister. full of impetuous moods (see: weather), over the top personality (see: local gondoliers and vaporetto operators), and a slightly concerning shopping addiction (see: trinket stores and boutiques everywhere). she would also be super mysterious and beautiful but need a lot of direction in life (see: magical streets of water and cobblestone, but with no explanation of where anything actually leads). but if venice were my spontaneous, slightly erratic, but lots-of-fun little sister I would probably love her the most for all the same reasons she sometimes annoys me.

    the rain. it came. strong and continuous throughout our entire first day. but with water below me and all around me and coming down on me, I kind of didn’t mind it. I kind of felt at home. I didn’t very much care to get my pant legs wet and my hair frizzy. but I did like the feeling of rain covering everything and making it all a bit quieter, a bit softer. I liked the way bright umbrellas looked in a gray world. I liked the way strangers huddled together under store awnings and bonded for just a few minutes before venturing back into the downpour. I liked the way the gondoliers flipped their collars up, pulled their rain rackets over their striped shirts (yes, they dress that way at disneyland and real life!), and continued calling out discounted prices for a ride on the grand canal. I liked the way my world felt contained and settled in a blanket of rain.

    and as much as the first day was full of rain that I thought would flood an already flooded city, the second day was full of sun that seemed as though it didn’t even know rain existed. we went to an island where all they do is create masterpieces of blown glass. glass so hot that the master glass-blowers (like that lovely gentleman with the glasses) create something fragile and exquisite and then light their cigarette right off of it. I wandered through peggy’s favorites and dipped my hands in the canal of this sinking city and rode the vaporetto with venetian locals on their way to work just as if I were riding the DC metro on my way to work. we zoomed up the waterway like a freeway. and I marveled at half-flooded but still wholly-functioning buildings and boats carrying all the same things (food. lumber. moving boxes. people.) that cars carry in our world. but our world seemed about a million miles away.

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    Filed Under: ADVENTURES BIG AND SMALL, travel

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  • April 20, 2012

    a city with a view

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    we took our time in florence. with a larger handful of days than in any other city, we discovered the city slowly, peeling back layer upon layer like a giant sweet onion.

    we strolled the streets gazing lovingly at bright colors and perfect fits and beautiful bags. dolce and gabbana. roberto cavalli. and my favorite, max mara. it was nice to have them around for a little while to understand that art is as much on fabric as it is on a canvas.

    we almost became regulars at the restaurant at the corner. with it’s slightly overdone italian decor (we are italian! it shouted to us. please believe us!) and slightly earth-shattering pizza. all sorts of flavors and freshness and delicious bites shared.

    we became fast friends with lorenzo of lorenzo’s gelato on the corner as he let us (me) taste practically every flavor behind the glass. at least we thought he was lorenzo. he could have been anyone really. but we like to think he was the lorenzo.

    we met david at the accademia and I think I may have fallen in love. michelangelo was given a discarded and neglected piece of marble when he was 26 years old. 26. really? yes. really. and then he created something completely miraculous. breathtaking in more ways than one.

    we chatted with owners of camera shops and of leather shops. we got hit on by waiters who called us honey and sweetie, reminding me more of what my mom might say to me than what flirting men might say.

    we saw street performers and buskers. everywhere. campy puppet shows and classical guitar players and spray paint artists. I almost got pick-pocketed while enthralled with a slightly inappropriate charlie chaplin. and I’ll always be a sucker for an accordion player.

    and that last photo up there is of my lovely new friend, kristin. she is loosely related to my traveling friend and is from sweden. she is a writer and a walker and peruser of tiny hidden bookstores that she shares with us. and I think she looks just like joni mitchell. and we all know how much I love joni.

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    Filed Under: ADVENTURES BIG AND SMALL, travel

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