Books · food · Life · travel

My Weekend in Portland, OR (Part 3)

I’m going to be honest, getting back to work this week was a struggle. I still can’t believe Portland was a whole week ago. 😦

On day 3 of my trip I slept in a little and let myself recover from all the exercise I got the day before. With the time changes and daylight savings happening all at once, my sleep schedule was pretty thrown off. After acquiring coffee and something light to nosh on, I explored the downtown a little bit. That early, before the streets get crowded with tourists, it is quite lovely to look at.

By the time lunch time rolled around I had ventured my way to the Nob Hill/Alphabet District, which was about a mile from where I was staying. The walk there alone was so peaceful with all the pretty old houses and churches, trees, street art, and laid back vibe. The main street was lined with interesting shops and fun food places (and coffee, of course) to check out. I spent some time perusing the main street, but only after I ventured over to my intended stop: Salt & Straw.

Salt & Straw is a super popular ice cream place that I’d been dreaming about for months, almost as much as I was dreaming about doughnuts. They’re known or their homemade, unique flavors. There’s usually one or two “weird” flavors on the list, as well. The menu was creative and there were lots of flavors I wish I could have tried, but sadly my stomach is only so big. The seasonal offerings were all Thanksgiving-themed flavors, including turkey salted caramel. I didn’t want to order a whole scoop of this, but I just knew I had to at least sample it while I was there. (Because where else am I ever going to find turkey ice cream?!) The flavors I actually ordered were sweet potato casserole and almond brittle. Both flavors were delicious, especially the sweet potato! The turkey spoonful that I sampled, however, was quite odd.

After stuffing myself with ice cream I made my way to The Meadow, which was also on my list. The Meadow is a super fun gourmet salt, chocolate, and bitters shop owned by Bitterman Salt Co. As a foodie and former employee of a spice/salt shop, I was super excited to finally check it out. Just look at the walls of chocolate and salt:

 

When I finally ventured back to the Pearl District/downtown area I was in need of something other than dessert, so I headed over to one of the food pod areas. There are various places throughout the city that have food cards and food pods lined up. I love the whole food truck thing, as it’s easy to get to try different types of foods for relatively cheap. I went with a pod called The Eggy Pocket, which sold Jian Bing. Jian Bing is a Chinese street food, consisting of an egg crepe and some kind of filling. Mine had vegetables and Chinese sausage in it. It doesn’t look like much, but it was really good.

I spent my last afternoon sipping on coffee from one of the dozens of local coffee shops in the city. (The counter culture coffee scene there is huge.) Of course, I paid one last visit to Powell’s, as well. I’d share a picture of my final haul, but I actually didn’t get to take one…The store is actually shipping the rest of my books to me because I was running out of room in my bag. Hehe.

I had such an amazing time exploring Portland. I’m already trying to figure out when I can go back and visit (*coughmovetherecough*) because there are still so many other things I want to see/do there. If you’re a book lover/hipster/foodie/artsy type, like myself, you should definitely check it out someday.

(Check out Part 1 and Part 2 here)

Books

Fall Book Tag

I saw this over on the Storeys of Stories blog. The tag showed up on The Bionic Bookworm‘s blog last year, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t fill it out back then. Even if I had, it’s been a whole year and I’ve read plenty of books since, so that means I can do it again, right? Right.

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CRISP FALL AIR – A BOOK THAT FELT FRESH AND NEW: I’m parroting this answer and also picking Grim Lovelies. I’m currently in the middle of this book and I just love the story, the setting, and the characters. The plot is very different from any fantasy book that I’ve read in a long time.

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HOWLING WINDS – AN ENDING THAT BLEW YOU AWAY: It’s not the end of the series, but City of Glass (Mortal Instruments #3) had me feeling all sorts of crazy emotions.

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COMFY SWEATERS – A BOOK THAT GAVE YOU THE WARM AND FUZZIES: Ummm,  how do I even answer this? All books give me the warm fuzzy feels. 🙂

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BRIGHT COLOURS – A COVER WITH RED, ORANGE, OR YELLOW: Vicious. 

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LEAF FIGHT – A BOOK WITH NON STOP ACTION: Any of the Darker Shade of Magic books. There’s so much action and adventure that you’re constantly on the edge of your seat. Fun fact: This cover also has red on it. 😛

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PUMPKIN SPICE – YOUR MOST ANTICIPATED READ: In an Absent Dream. I just adored the other 3 novellas in the series. I can’t wait until the next one comes out in January!

If you love Fall and books as much as I do, consider yourself tagged.

Books · food · Life · travel

My Weekend in Portland, OR (Part 2)

Before I write the second post about my Portland excursion, let me just tell you that the post-vacation blues are starting to sink in. It’s always rough returning to reality after spending a few days away, exploring and enjoying yourself. (I want to go back! *sad face*)

I got up early on Saturday and made my way over to one of the local coffee shops to wait for the rest of my tour group. I’m not normally one for group tours, but I really wanted to go see the beauty that the Oregon mountains and the Columbia Gorge had to offer. We visited Multnomah Falls (the tallest waterfall in Oregon), a few smaller waterfalls, Vista House (the fanciest rest stop I’ve ever seen, with the world’s prettiest view), a fish hatchery, and just drove through the amazing Fall scenery of the mountains. It was only a half day trip, but it was a perfect 4 hours.

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After the waterfall tour I returned downtown and fed my grumbling stomach. I’d lie and pretend that I ate something healthy for lunch, but after all that sightseeing and hiking, I needed another doughnut. For my second visit to Blue Star, I tried the pumpkin creme brulee doughnut. (The little syringe sticking out of the top had some kind of boozy cinnamon syrup in it.) Don’t worry, I did eat food other than doughnuts that day. For dinner I headed over to Lardo, a highly recommended sandwich place that I’d been hearing about for months. I ordered a pork meatball bahn mi, which may have been the best damned sandwich I’ve ever inhaled, I mean eaten, in my life.

Of course, on my way back to the Air BnB that night I took a detour to Powell’s again. This was my haul from day 2:

Part 3 coming soon! (Check out part 1 here.)

Books · Life · travel

My Weekend in Portland, OR (Part 1)

Last night I got back from an amazing long weekend in Portland, OR! To be one hundred percent honest, if I wouldn’t be abandoning Boyfriend and my fur babies, I would never have come home. (Obviously, I would have had someone send my books to me. I’m not that crazy.) I fell in love with everything about Portland – the scenery, the people, the food, and the culture. I may or may not have already put the bug in Boyfriend’s ear that we need to move there.

I have so much that I want to share about my trip that I don’t even know where to begin. This will have to be a multi-part post, so bear with me.

Day 1: After a long, early morning flight I arrived in Portland a little after 11:00 a.m. As I wasn’t able to check into my Air BnB until 3:00, I decided to head straight to the downtown/Pearl District area and get a feel for what it was like. Exploring a new city is always such an exciting experience for me; this time was no different. After months and months of planning and reading about Portland, it was interesting to compare the picture in my head to reality. Downtown and the Pearl District were exactly as I expected: like a cleaner, less chaotic, more artsy version of New York. There were so many fun shops and restaurants, and cool street art to look at that I hardly knew what to check out first. My stomach dictated that I look up one of the places on my list and find lunch, so that’s exactly what I did, only to follow up with one of the most important reasons for visiting Portland: DOUGHNUTS.

There are a lot of popular, “must try” doughnut places in Portland, but the one I had my eye on was Blue Star. Blue Star has “doughnuts for grown ups.” Common favorites get fancy, more mature spins on them like the Valrhona Chocolate Crunch, Blueberry Bourbon Basil, Hard Apple Cider, and PB&J (filled with marionberry-habanero jelly). For my first taste, I went with Raspberry-Rosemary Buttermilk…and YES, it was worth every ounce of hype.

After getting situated in my Air BnB and dropped my bags out I headed back to the streets to find my #1 destination: Powell’s City of Books.

It wasn’t hard to find, considering it’s an entire city block. That’s right, an entire block of books. I can’t even begin to describe the excitement I felt when I walked into Powell’s and saw how freaking huge it was. Never before have I seen so many books in one place in my entire life.

There are 4 floors, each consisting of different rooms, which are designated to specific genres. The first thing I saw when I walked in was the cooking section. Row after row of beautiful cookbooks. *swoons* After about 30 minutes I had to force myself away from the cookbooks just to go investigate the rest of the store.

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I’m pretty sure if I did that evening I would have been fine with it. Nothing will ever top that euphoria I experienced when I first explored Powell’s after dreaming about it for so many years.

I wandered around Powell’s for about two hours that first day. I could have stayed even longer, but I already knew I’d be back the next day. This was my first haul:

After Powell’s I ate a delicious dinner at a restaurant that specializes in handmade pastas. After that, I journeyed back to the Air BnB and slept pretty hard. It had been an exhausting, yet super awesome first day of the trip.

Part 2 coming soon! 🙂

Adult · Books · Fantasy

First Impression Friday: Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

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It’s Friday! And a special one, at that, as I am currently high up in the sky, on my way to Portland, Oregon! I’m SO excited. 😀

Since it’s Friday, it’s also time for another First Impression Friday post. (For those who are unfamiliar, FIF is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.)

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In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

This has been on my shelf for way too long. This is actually my first book by Robin Hobb, which is kinda weird, considering that I’ve heard so many good things about all of her books.

I’m about a third of the way into this one and I’m already hooked. I love Fitz and his naive, yet bold behavior. It’s easy to feel sympathy for him, as he is the product of some really shitty circumstances. I’m really hoping that by the end of the book Fitz learns to take control of his own life and doesn’t continue letting everyone make decisions for him. I’m eager to learn more about his gift with animals! So far there’s just  been a handful of references to it, but I need to know more

So, Fitz is training to become an assassin. I’m wondering if he’ll end up  being an assassin for the royal family, as planned, or eventually use his assassin skills to go off on his own and be his own assassin. That would be kinda cool. I don’t have many predictions, but I am eager to see what happens and learn more about the magic system in Fitz’s world.

I apologize for keeping this post somewhat brief, but I’m just too excited to post much right now. Talk to you guys when I get back!

Don’t forget to follow me on social media: Twitter Instagram Goodreads

Books · Favorites

Mini Halloween Book Tag

Alright, I have one more costume picture for you today. It’s not a whole costume, but I wore my cat ears to work. (Only 3 of us dressed up today. Why are the rest of my co-workers so lame?)

Ally posted the Mini Halloween Book Tag on her blog today and tagged everyone to take part. Since it’s Halloween, it only feels appropriate that I fill this out.

PUMPKIN: A feel-good bookGood Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman. This one made me chuckle so many times.

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TRICK: A book with an awesome plot twist – City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare. By the time I reached the end of this book I was literally about to throw the book and scream out loud because I was that shocked by the huge plot twist. Even thinking about it now I’m like, “Holy shit.”

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TREAT: A book/series you devoured – The Darker Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab. I loved everything about this series.

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GHOST: A book that stayed with you long after you read it – The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

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WITCH: Favourite book with wizards/witches – While I’ve read plenty of books with wizards/witches, the Harry Potter books will always hold a special place in my heart.

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VAMPIRE: A book that kept you up all nightThe Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.

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TAG. You’re it! 🙂

Life

Happy Halloween!

Greetings ghouls and gals! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

A few people asked about  my costume from the party this weekend, so I was going to share it today. Unfortunately, the pics I took of my costume kinda suck but, since they’re all I have, here you go. Here’s my circus ringleader costume, in all its pixelated glory.

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I didn’t realize until now that I went pretty heavy on the circus theme this year. (I was a clown a few weeks ago for our dance showcase.) Ironically, I don’t like circuses that much. Go figure.

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I’m not doing much for Halloween today, as I have to work. (I may or may not be wearing a pair of cats ears at work right now. Heh.) After all that partying we did this weekend though, I think I’m covered for the year. I do plan on eating lots of candy once I get home though. I mean, handing out candy…

What are you doing today? Whatever it is, I hope it’s amazingly spooktacular!