Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Portland Hotspots

I feel so fortunate to live in a city that is so vibrant and full of fun places that are unique and special.  I am even more fortunate that I can easily walk to all of them and normally have a partner in crime two steps ahead of me checking places out and giving them the thumbs up.  I then tag along to see what all the fuss is about. I normally learn that there is good reason for the fuss.  Here are a few of my current favorite food and beverage places in Portland.

First Fave: North Point

This little gem is tucked away on Silver Street. As you walk up you are drawn in by the amazing decorations, inviting summer patio and the chalkboard that always has a witty saying. Once inside things get even better.  It has a long bar and you can be sure that the bartender will be friendly and that at least one of the owners will be by to chat.  The drinks are impressive, the food a nice compliment to the drinks and even the bathroom is a place you might want to spend a bit of time! The pear martini is a signature but the beer and wine lists are also splendid.

Next Fave: Local 188 and Sonny's

Two distinct places but same owner so I have lumped Local 188 and Sonny's together.  They both have amazing atmospheres, great drinks and yummy food.  I adore the yam fries at Sonny's and even though I get a wee bit embarrassed at the size of the plate I always manage to take care of most of the plate.  Both places have fantastic infused vodkas. Local 188 is a great, easy location with fun seating areas, great bartenders (theme anyone) and just as fun for a loud get together as it is for a quiet dinner for two.

Here are a couple of beverages from Local 188:

Another Fave: Zapoteca

I first went to Zapoteca during Restaurant week and their special menu had a wonderful vegan option that was basically one of the best meals I've ever had.  Combine that with fantastic drinks and I was sold.  Turns out they have a full vegetarian/vegan menu available all of the time.  

Here is the menu from restaurant week,  I has the veggie tacos with arugula.  OMG yum.

And here is their fantastic margarita:

I could name many, many other places but for now these are my top spots.  There are a couple of newer places that I'm anxious to try out though.  One is MJs Wine Bar.  I have a Living Social deal to use on food and drink.  The other place is Outliers which is just down the street from me and looks amazing!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Eve Food

I love pulling a meal together and having my parents over for good food and company on Christmas Eve.  This year I didn't have time off and only left work a few hours early so it made for a crazed afternoon but everything came off without a hitch and a good night was had by all.  And I did it with only two glasses of white wine and 2 glasses of sparking prosecco.  

I made a vegan lasagna.  I put the sauce together on Sunday so that it had a couple of days for the flavors to develop and I admit it smelled and tasted really yummy!

Here is the finished product:

I always make a big salad with festive pomegranate seed garnish:

I also made way too many cookies!

These are peppermint chocolate chip:

And here are pumpkin oatmeal chip cookies:

At one point my kitchen looked like a tornado ripped through.  This is just one small corner of the disaster scene:

But here is the table all set and ready to filled with wine and food!

Saturday, December 21, 2013


How is it that I can despise snow but think decorative snowmen are absolutely adorable?  It makes absolutely no sense but here are a few of the men hanging out around my place this time of year.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Costa Rica Review in Pics

I'm a bad blogger I know.  I'm supposed to post every day about all of the exciting fun travel times I experienced in November.  It's now December and the trip is in the past and I should move on to more relevant topics.  So, I'm a bad blogger but it's MY blog and I suppose I'll do with it what I please!

When I went to New Orleans, Mexico and Aruba I forced myself to pick one picture from each unique place.  The trip to Costa Rica was so diverse that each location felt like it's own individual trip.  I started out in a large, modern city, I was in the mountains, I was in the jungle, I was at volcanoes, I was at the diverse!!  So, I am going to choose just one photo from each location. This might even be harder than the other trip!

The first stop was in the capital city of San Jose.  The hotel was absolutely amazing and modern and it was directly across from a huge three story mall.  We took a day trip to attempt to see a volcano.  Trouble is that 70% of the time the volcano is fogged in and you can't see a thing.  That was the case this day.  However, on the way to the volcano we randomly drove past what ended up being the most special sight of the day for me.  Before the trip I had read about the ox carts that are used in Costa Rica and how they brightly decorate them and that it was a fun souvenir item to pick up.  I was amazed when we drove past this farmer, with his ox, on the side of the road collecting greens to feed the ox with his amazing brightly colored ox cart.  The fact that this cart was being used in a daily mundane routine task blew my mind.  Such beauty in the simplicity.
Here are two pictures which might be cheating but oh well:

After a two night stay in San Jose we boarded a boat to travel to our lodge in Tortugeuro.  The lodge has no tv, air conditioning, telephone, sporadic Internet and a ton of wildlife.  While here I took four river cruises, woke to the sounds of howler monkeys, swam in the turtle shaped pool and I got to see newly born turtles race for the water.  It's almost impossible to pick one moment but I sort of fell in love with these monkeys.  This guy looks so cool just laid back and relaxing.  

After rustic Tortuguero it felt like Fortuna was a metropolitan city but it's actually a very small town right at the base of a volcano.  It is here that I went zip lining.  I spent several hours zipping across 13 lines including a Tarzan swing right in the middle.  It was an amazing once in a life experience and it overshadows everything else that happened in Fortuna.  Eco Glide

From Fortuna we headed to Guanacaste to the JW Marriott beach resort.  I spent all day laying next to the pool and swimming in the ocean.  The pool is the largest infinity pool in Central America and you stand at the edge and it looks like you could just step right into the ocean.  I started drinking fruity drinks at 10 am and I sat in the sun until my body cried uncle. It was such a nice respite after long travel packed days. I don't have many pictures because I left my phone and camera in the room all day.  It was one of those days to just live on the other side of the camera lens.  Here is my hotel room and I will just share that after several days of not being able to flush toilet paper we all agreed that flushing was a highlight of this room!  It's one of those "you had to be there to appreciate it " things!

From there it was time to head back to San Jose for one last night before leaving.  At the hotel my dear Carlos kept popping up sort of like "Where's Waldo",  Part of the joy of the trip was having Carlos Arredondo shadowing our group and sharing the experience with us.  He photo bombed our group picture (he's the blue speck in the back with the bright light shining over him-coincidence?) and here is a better picture of this dear man.

I returned to the United States and I was really thrilled to be back on US soil even if it was Newark.  I'm fortunate I got to experience this once in a life time trip and more fortunate that I had things at home to look forward to return to.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Purchases I'm Loving

My bathroom needed some sprucing up.  I loved my old shower curtain but it had some stains from where I accidentally sent lotion flying onto it.  It also had a small but lovely mold stain.  I was a bit worried about these birds but it actually works very well in the room.  I added in a fresh bath mat and it distracts a tiny bit from the litter box complete with pee pad and... well that's  enough of that image!

These aren't technically a purchase I'm loving since I got them all for free.  I'm not typically a big wearer of scents.  In fact, my new employer has a very strict fragrance free policy.  However, these were free and I'm kind of enjoying them on my off hours.

I've told myself that if I can no longer wear flip flops and sandals than I am going to begin acquiring fabulous boots.  The only trouble with that is I can get a great pair of sandals for under a dollar and boots are a bit pricier.  Still I've recently obtained these two pairs.

It's candle season and that means yummy scents get to be introduced into my home.  I like this style of Yankee Candle since it has a double wick and a stylish jar.  I tried it for the first time last night and it does make colder nights a bit more bearable.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Randomness is a Theme

My posts lately have been all over the place and this one is no different.  I'm so busy lately that it seems I always have at least 25 thoughts floating right near the surface.  Here are a few:

If you haven't figured out by now, I love saving tons of money on stuff I need to buy anyway.  This past week I got a $10 coupon in my email from CVS.  This was not a buy $25 and get $10 off.  It was not a coupon to spend $10 on my next purchase.  It was a no strings attached just get $10 in stuff at no charge.  I've gotten lots of $2 and $3 coupons but never $10!  I needed batteries and I got two full packs plus 2 boxes of kleenex and a bag of candy for .37 cents.  Score!  

I also got a great deal on cat litter.  It's necessary and I go through SO much of it. It was on sale at Target for 35 pounds at 11.99 each and I bought two.  Here is the breakdown:
70 pounds of Tidy Caton sale for $11.99 ea= $23.98
Minus 2 manufacturers coupons   -2.00
Minus Target coupon                  -5.00
Minus gift card with purchase      -5.00
Minus Target Red Card 5%         -.85
Total for 70 Lbs:                     $11.13 

I visted the library and was thrilled to see an exhibit by the author of "Where The Wild Things Are"  There were tons of drawings.  It's such a neat little space and they do such a good job with art exhibits there.

And finally here are a couple of pictures of Lou curled up on the sofa next to me:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What a Show

I know, I it comes.  Another rock show that was the best ever.  Blah, blah, blah, it's been said before. But Saturday night really did exceed all expectations.

I thought the opening band was going to be some local band.  Turns out I've listened to Charm City Devils on Octane so I figure at least I'll have heard a song and the set will be over quick.  They were so good.  The lead singer was hot, entertaining, and sung the heck out of every song.  I was very impressed.  I almost bought a really cool t-shirt after the show except it had a snake on the front and...well...enough said.  This video is of the 100 year old song "Man of Constant Sorrow"

Next up was the band that was the whole reason for going...Candlebox.   Before the show I fulfilled a twenty year dream to meet the band.  When I told Kevin Martin that I had waited that long to meet him he gave me this sweet look and then the biggest hug ever...sigh.  I waited for their set.  They opened with my favorite song Cover Me and never stopped until the last song.  I screamed.  I jumped up and down.  I totally freaked out the 17 year olds next to me who were only there for Hinder.  Candlebox never gets old.  They will never be boring.

I saw Hinder a few months ago and was underwhelmed by their performance.  Let's just say that the lead singer was a bit full of himself and that arrogance made for a lukewarm performance.  Well, he's tucked away in rehab right now so Jarred Weeks from Saving Abel was filling in.  I met Jarred and saw Saving Abel about a year ago.  He was the total opposite of arrogant.  He was laid back, real, and easy to be around.  I was super excited to hear Hinder's music with him as the front man.  There were a couple of Saving Abel songs thrown in as the cherry on top.  He did an amazing acoustic version of "Better Than Me".  Unfortunately my memory card filled up in a awkward part of the song but here goes:

One last note- I can't resist throwing in my deal of the day from CVS.  I walked away with 3 air fresheners and two bags of candy for .12 cents.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Random Musings

Here I go...

My deal of the day today was at Target.  How many times have I mentioned how much I love Target because of the great deals they have? Here is how I was able to get 4 Glad Fall Scents glass jar candles for 42 cents each! And can I just say that the salted caramel scent is to die for!

They were on sale for 2.99 each = $11.96
Minus 2 $2.00 off 2 manufacturer coupons= -$4.00
Minus 3 1.00 off Target coupons= -3.00
Minus one free item when you buy three= -2.99
Minus Target Cartwheel 5% off Glade Fall Seasonals= -.30

That makes a total of 1.67 for all four candles or .42 cents each!!

I went out for a crazy girl's night a week or so ago.  Crazy for me because it involved 6 drinks and a night that ended at 1:30 am.  Wahoo!!  I thought it was hilarious to compare these photos of me at 7pm and then again at 1 am.  What a difference a few hours and a few drinks makes!

Here's 7pm:

And here is 1am.. I don't even remember this photo being taken but I suppose that was part of the point!

I am always worrying about my little boy Lou.  I'm going away this weekend and he has someone staying with him all weekend as a live in.  It's such a change from years ago when he could manage on a bowl of dry food and just needed someone to pop in to check the water and litter box.  Anyway, there are moments where he seems so delicate and I wonder how much more fragile he can get.  Here he was looking like tiny, tiny kitten :(