things to love {about portland}

November 30, 2010
by Stacey, a new blog friend
Stacey's Feet
1. It’s green. No, I don’t mean environmentally friendly (though it is). I mean good old-fashioned green: all of the streets of downtown are lined with trees, bushes, and flowers…it makes Portland feel more homey and less hectic.
2. Portland is equal distances from the mountains, the desert, and the beach. Whatever scenery you want, you can get it in less than two hours.
3. The quirkiness. I’ve never seen another city put random punctuation marks on their sidewalks, or go nuts over a shop called Voodoo Donuts (that really sells voodoo donuts, with pretzel stakes through the hearts), or put on shorts and sandals when the weather hits 60 degrees (it’s like the tropics!).
4. We like to eat organic, local food here in Portland, and it’s easy to find. There’s at least one farmer’s market every day of the week here in town, full of local farmers selling their produce, beef, salmon, cheese, jams, and bread.
5. There are distinct seasons, but they’re mild. We get blissfully perfect 80-degree summers, magnificent autumns, winters with just the right amount of snow (enough to build a snowman, but not enough to block up the roads), and sweet, delicate springs. (And yes, it rains quite a bit, but we're used to it.)
6. The public parks are some of the best in the country. From Forest Park in the West Hills (one of the largest in the country, with extensive trails), to the beautiful Rose Garden at Washington Park, to the world’s smallest park (Mill End Park, 0.3 square meters in size), Portland knows how to rock the outdoors.
7. The people are friendly. They’ll chat you up in line at the grocery store, smile at you as they walk past on the sidewalk, and run after you if you drop so much as a quarter on the ground so they can return it. It’s just grand.
Stacey's Powell Butte
Stacey's Leaves in the park
Stacey's Reflective building
Stacey's Portland and Mt Hood
Well, I'm ready to pack my bags and move up north to Portland. I love green. I love mild seasons. I love quirk. Before Stacey sent in her list, I'd heard of Voodoo Donuts and I love that such a wacky bakery is a city trademark. Her lovely photos only add to the list's charm. My favorite thing about this post is that David and I will be in Portland in approximately 2 weeks and we get to witness the lovely things Stacey shared with us. Well, we probably won't go to the beach and the mountains while we're there, but I'm excited for local produce, beautiful parks and friendly people. Thanks for sharing your list, Stacey! I can't wait until I'm there myself!

thanksgiving weekend

November 29, 2010
more butternut squash than i ever imagined
pre-thanksgiving naps
cutest little raiza
on the bathroom door, for visitors
ghost children
my dress (photography by raine)
There comes a time when you can't bring your camera everywhere, or if you do, you're just too busy living to stop and take pictures. This past weekend felt like that. All of these photos are from Thanksgiving Day but other than these I don't have much to show for the weekend.

Per tradition, my sisters and I went Black Friday shopping (brother, cousin and nephew came for the first time) and I'm not sure I would have wanted to photograph that experience even if I had the time to. This year seemed a lot more hectic than the past years, but I did get a $3 hand mixer, two pairs of $7 jeans and lots of Christmas presents. Mid-shopping at 7:30am, we had a family breakfast at Mimi's Cafe where they serve huge, warm and delicious muffins. I know a lot of people think Black Friday shopping is crazy and not worth it, and in a lot of ways, I agree. But I go every year because its a sister tradition and I love my sisters.

The rest of the weekend seems to be a bit of a blur as my sleep cycle was thrown off so badly. Saturday was a lot of errands and Sunday I went out in the Berkeley marina with David's family to paddle in a dragon boat. The skies were clear and we could see San Francisco and the Golden Gate perfectly from across the bay. Strangers in bay-front restaurants even waved back as we rowed past them.


November 25, 2010
thanksgiving art by raine

Since Thanksgiving is on the 25th this year, here are 25 things I'm thankful for:

1. big, warm blankets from brother
2. candles on birthday cake
3. sushi with friends
4. baby kisses
5. wearing my mom's clothes
6. finishing books
7. making collages
8. breakfast burritos made by david
9. my yellow coat from oxford for £5
10. butternut squash
11. pescetarian options
12. seeing my mother so beautiful
13. knowing that my sisters have found their soul mates
14. sleeping in leggings
15. reminiscing about europe
16. planning for seattle
17. hugs from raine
18. wondering about the future
19. being happy for other people
20. not caring about "holiday pounds"
21. christmas anticipation
22. last minute dates with old friends
23. visiting an old job and being introduced as a "legend"
24. knowing that on monday, my roommates and i are having thanksgiving #2
25. being so happy and content, even if only for right here, right now

Happy Thanksgiving, loves!

a cozy weekend

November 24, 2010
lunch with rachel thurston
downtown santa cruz
vintage shopping
cocoa + whipped cream on a rainy day
my beloved hunters
at the poet and patriot
luke's 21st birthday
This whole week feels like the weekend because I'm on Thanksgiving break. Friday felt like a dream. I got to meet Rachel Thurston, one of my favorite photographers, and help her assist a really lovely wedding in Oakland. It was wet, cold and really rainy but I can't wait to see how the photos turn out. My rain boots even made a guest appearance! It was the first time I ever got to do anything like that and it was really amazing to see Rachel work. She's just as lovely as her photos- 7 months pregnant and everything.

After the wedding I headed down to Santa Cruz (during Friday rush hour ugh) to hang out with the boys and celebrate Luke's 21st birthday. We spent Saturday afternoon wandering downtown, and managed to miss the periods of heavy rain when we stepped into Lulu's for hot cocoa and then Pizza My Heart for some big slices of pizza.

If anything, this weekend is quite the reminder that winter is just around the corner- with lots and lots of rain and lots of lots of inside time reading. Christmas music is on the radio, hot chocolate seems perfect at any given moment, and Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Now all I need to do is finish this school quarter and everything will be perfect.

things to love {about nuremberg}

November 23, 2010
by Jenni, the blogger I live vicariously through
as she lives abroad in Austria and Germany. (Seriously, though, I'm so jealous).
Jenni's Nuremberg
1. If Nuremberg doesn't have something you need, huge cities like Frankfurt and Munich are just a train ride away. On the other hand, Nuremberg is surrounded by small Bavarian villages so a ''small-town feel'' is easily within reach as well!
2. With only 1 million inhabitants, you can wander around the city without feeling as though you are lost in a sea of people. Tourists do come to Nuremberg, but it is by no means a ''tourist trap''. I love that!
3. Walking through Nuremberg feels as though you have entered a fairy tale land. The castle, the churches, the buildings - all of it exudes a Middle Ages fairytale-ish feeling and you'll wonder if you've gone back in time.
4. There are so many historical sites to be found in Nuremberg! After WWII, for example, German officials involved in the Holocaust were brought before an international court; famously referred to as The Nuremberg Trials. Visitors can see the site firsthand and visit the documentation center where the Nazi rallies once took place. Hauntingly fascinating, it is not something to be missed.
5. You won't go hungry in Nuremberg. The N├╝rnberger Bratwurst, for instance, is a burger so famous that McDonald's added it to its German menu! I've never tried it but I love walking through the Hauptmarkt (main market in the city center) trying all sorts of snacks; roasted almonds, pretzels, chocolates, etc.
6. The beautiful Pegnitz river runs through the city center and further enforces the fairytale-ish nature of the city. One of my favorite things to do is stroll across the bridges at sunset and stare out at the peaceful river. It's a very tranquil place to be!
7. Perhaps what Nuremberg is most famous for (arguably moreso than the Nuremberg trials) is the Christmas market. Every year at the end of November (and throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas), 2 millions visitors from all over the world flock to the city to take part in this festive tradition. Hundreds of vendors set up wooden stalls in the Hauptmarkt (main market square), festooned with red-and-white cloth, selling traditional Christmas treats; Nuremberg spicy gingerbread, fruit loaves, baked goods and other sweets, Christmas ornaments and candles, Christmas toys and various other arts and crafts products.
Jenni's Nuremberg
Jenni's Nuremberg
Jenni's Nuremberg
Jenni's Nuremberg
This week, I'm so excited to share the first international "things to love" post! Jenni is a Fulbright scholar spending 4 months in Austria and then 10 months in Germany. Did I mention that these are two of my favorite countries that I've visited? My favorite thing about her list is that Nuremberg is like a fairytale- untouched by tourists and not a tourist trap. When I travel, these are my ideal cities. There's something so honest about them. Jenni's list also comes at a very timely part of the year as she writes about the Christmas market at the end of the month (Jenni, I hope you're stocking up). Any town that dedicates this much love and attention to Christmas has my stamp of approval anytime of year. Thanks so much for sharing your list, Jenni! To see more of Jenni's Nuremberg photos, visit my flickr-- or, just visit her blog and delight in all that is beautifully Austrian and German.

raine sings "do re mi"

November 22, 2010
I have so many fun things to share about this weekend... but I left my camera cord at school and I'm home for Thanksgiving week. But, I did finally learn how to get videos off of my phone and onto the computer, so here is little Raine, 3 years old, showing some Sound of Music love.

PS- Don't mind the kisses in the middle of the song. She's all about showing the camera some love.

pienza (the tiniest tuscan town)

November 19, 2010
beautiful, little pienza
street of kisses
flower boxes outside
mailboxes and happiness
una bicicletta
I've been thinking about Italy a lot lately, since my cousin is headed there tomorrow (jealous!) and I keep in touch with my host dad by emailing often (in Italian, of course). During my last few days in Italy, my language partner, Giacomo, and I drove through Tuscany to visit Montepulciano and Pienza. More on Montepulciano later, but for now, Pienza: is the quaintest little Tuscan hill town ever.

I think that Giacomo and I were able to walk from one end of the town to the other in less than 15 minutes. It's minuscule. But it's adorable. Everything has a lovely, rose tinge to it, and flower boxes hang on the walls along the houses. All of the streets are named something love-related, like "via dell'amore" (street of love) or "via del bacio" (street of kisses). I don't actually know if Pienza is the smallest town in Tuscany, but I think its smallness adds to its charm.

Clothes hang along the high walls to dry. The sun is warm and welcoming. Everything is picturesque, untouched by tourists. And along the city walls, are miles and miles of beautiful Tuscany. It's the small Italian town of my dreams.
me and giacomo!

apartment living

November 18, 2010
pumpkin seed pesto linguine
1. pumpkin seed pesto
crab quesedilla & homemade guacamole
2. crab quesedillas and fresh guacamole
little japanese desserts
3. adorable, individually packaged japanese desserts
baked cheesy pasta, with shallots and goat cheese
4. baked cheesy pasta,
with shallots, goat cheese, and tapatio
(from the time we had dinner without our table)
pumpkin bars
5. mini pumpkin bars
mushroom risotto
6. shitake and cremini mushroom risotto
(and grilled asparagus)
mondo cupcakes
7. extra large cupcakes, with homemade chocolate ganache

Needless to say, I have been eating well. Fortunately, these are all things I've had over the past month, rather than the past week (which would not be unusual). I love my apartment. I love that all of my roommates and I enjoy cooking and baking and eating. We love the farmers' market and we love cooking with wonderful, fresh ingredients. And we have no fear of carbs (clearly). Starving college student? What's that?

PS- Please excuse the bad lighting in a lot of the photos... our kitchen may be fully functional, but our lighting can be pretty terrible.


November 17, 2010
I don't really know what to say, other than: that's me in the front, and that's my roommate Jenna in the back. Yes, this was after a match and yes, she is face down. I chuckle every time I see this.

things to love {about washington, d.c.}

November 16, 2010
by Liz, one of my oldest friends
(oldest time-wise, not age-wise!)
liz's feet
1. They call Washington the "Hollywood of the Intellectuals." I've been a political wonk for a long time, so it feels awesome to be surrounded by people who feel as passionate as you do.
2. Biking in a bike-friendly city. I explored most of the city on two wheels. There's no adrenaline rush like biking down Pennsylvania Avenue, where the bike lane serves as the traffic median.
3. The history. Oh goodness, the history! How much power this city holds over the rest of the world is astounding. The Greek, Roman, and English-inspired architecture (not to mention the French traffic circles) makes DC the closest you'll get to Europe.
4. Farmers markets on weekends. There are more 6 or 7 farmer's markets available around the city, and Eastern Market is open all year round.
5. It's intimidating to walk around the city, where 90% of the people around you are in business or business casual. Everyone here looks good.
6. DC is obsessed with Sunday Brunch, and they are damned good at it.
liz's handlebars
liz's white house
liz's route
beautiful liz and the washington monument
I'm really excited to share Liz's list this week because

1. We have been friends since middle school.
2. She is a wonderful person.
3. Washington, D.C. is beautiful through her eyes.

Over the past few weeks, DC has really been on my mind. Four of my friends (including Liz) have been there within the past few months, and I really wanted to be in DC a few weeks ago during the Rally to Restore Sanity. Liz's list just makes me wish I could plan a trip there sooner. Biking everywhere... everyone well dressed... BRUNCH?!?! Need I say more? I've also heard that they have beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring. What a gorgeous city. Thanks so much for sharing, Liz!

If you have a list of things you love about your city,
feel free to send it in with some photos (including one of your feet!)

PS- How cute is it that Liz's daily route forms a boot?

dusk in santa cruz

November 15, 2010
the moon at dusk
dusk in santa cruz
the haze of dusk; the city down below
I've gained a new appreciation for Day Light Savings' end. Although I love the extra hour we get, I've always hated that it gets dark so early. This weekend, I became really appreciative of the early sunset because it reminded me of how beautiful the sky becomes when the sun goes down. This is the view from UC Santa Cruz, after Friday's softball game. The school sits on top of a hill so from the softball fields, you can see a view of the city below with the beautiful Pacific behind it.

During our Saturday drive into San Francisco, the sky was bright orange. Sunday, driving home, it was rose pink. Today, who knows? I just love to look up at the sky and wonder.

seven (revisited)

November 12, 2010
A little less than a year ago, I wrote a post on my seven favorite places in the world. My dear friend, Maddy, tagged me to write seven things about myself, so I thought I'd redo my list after traveling much more. This time, my list is limited to my favorite international cities, but it was still a difficult list to make. It's hard not to fall in love everywhere I go.

Nauplion, Greece
It's hard to forget the first city that showed me Greece's magic. It was the first time I saw water so warm and blue.

Assisi, Italy
Other than stories about St. Francis of Assisi, I didn't know much about the city before I went. It's magical. The lovely little pink city is at the heart of the Umbrian hill towns and it's so peaceful and relaxing. From almost any spot in the city, you can see for miles and miles around you.

steph & chels, tea in bath
Bath, England
(or any tea house, really)
Even though I spent most of my time in Oxford, Bath was the perfect little getaway... especially since all we really did was sit in a tea house for hours and eat bath buns with clotted cream. The town isn't as overwhelming as London and it doesn't seem as small as Oxford. I wish I took more pictures and spent more time there.

san gimignano
San Gimignano, Italy
When I first came to Italy, I asked my host dad what his favorite Italian cities were. He told me San Gimignano, a small Tuscan hill town, was "meravigliosa." And he was right. The little town with 14 medieval towers is quaint and marvelous.

englischer garten
Munich, Germany
I know I wrote about Munich recently, but it still holds a special place in my heart after going there last summer. I love Germany and all of the cities I've been to (Frankfurt, Cologne, Berlin and Potsdam) but Munich has a different feel to it. Maybe it's because it was summer or maybe because it felt like a miracle, but Munich was such a wonderful experience.

Salzburg, Austria
The fairytale city I never expected. Even though I chose to go because of my love affair with The Sound of Music, it was really wonderful beyond that. Quaint. Surrounded by the Alps. Beautiful pastel colored buildings. And gigantic cinnamon sugar pretzels. I wish I could go back and bring my whole family with me.

oh hey florence
Florence, Italy
The one place abroad I never feel like I need my family with me, because my family is already there. Florence is the reason I fell in love with Italy and the main reason I want to go back everyday. My host family was one of the best matches I could have imagined. I love that I have a favorite gelateria and salumeria, and that I know the streets well enough to take shortcuts to get where I want. I love that it was my first real experience abroad and I love that I have family to visit whenever I go back. Mi manchi, Firenze (anche tu, babbo!).

Lastly, I'm really terrible at tagging people so I'm going to leave this open-ended. If you have seven things you'd like to share- things about yourself, favorite places, things you couldn't live without, anything!- please blog about it and leave me a link to visit!