Review | LuLaRoe Clothing

When it comes to fashion, I have no qualms about dealing with discomfort in the pursuit of a cute outfit. I’ve had dresses I’ve had to tape myself into, I continue to wear cute shoes known to cause blisters, and I’ve spent half an hour getting out of an outfit at the end of the night thanks to several layers of Spanx, undershirts, and insanely difficult zippers.

As much as I really don’t mind a little pain for some fashion gain, it’s always refreshing to find an outfit that is as comfortable as it is cute. I was excited to try out LuLaRoe clothing recently when my friend Courtney sent me some samples, and I am pleased to say the items I tried out fit the comfy-and-cute-as-heck bill perfectly!

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LuLaRoe is a direct sales clothing company – so it functions a bit like Avon in that you’ll need to find a consultant to buy from rather than purchase from a central website. If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of buying product from a network marketing company and discovering it was really sub-par and disappointing, you’ll be glad to know this isn’t a problem with LuLaRoe! All of the garments are well made and durable. You may have also come across some direct sales companies that just leave you feeling gross and sure they’re just a front for a pyramid scheme. From what I’ve seen, there’s no worry with LuLaRoe – the consultants don’t push you to become a consultant yourself, they don’t spam your Facebook feeds with a million posts a day, and they buy stock and sell it, like a regular business.

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Tuesday Tidbits | Favorites From Pinterest This Week

For this week’s Tuesday Tidbits, I thought I’d round-up some of my favorite pins from this past week. I try (ha) to not fall into the trap of pinning and never using – I’ve found some amazing recipes, cleaning tricks, and clothing pieces from Pinterest! Here’s what I’ve been pinning this week:

Tuesday Tidbits | Pinterest Favorites

→ My doctor recently recently recommended I check out their office’s Pinterest board for some healthy recipes. Kevin and I tried out this Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potato and holy cow is it amazing! We added some lean ground turkey to the recipe and it fit in well. If you’re looking for a little extra creaminess, I added a dollop of Greek yogurt on top of mine. It tasted and melted just like sour cream on a regular baked potato!

pinterest recipes

Photo from SkinnyMs.com

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Django Girls PDX: Code Like a Girl

I learned an interesting fact about myself this weekend – I code like a girl.

A few months ago, I stumbled across a post on Reddit (despite what you may have heard, Reddit has a ton of wonderful people and useful communities). The post mentioned that applications were open for a workshop meant to teach women with no prior programming experience how to code using Python and Django. The workshop was being offered through Django Girls, a global movement to introduce more women to the programming field. Thanks to Kevin, I had a vague idea of what programming entails and what Python and Django are. I’d never really messed around with programming myself.  I have a good grasp on HTML/CSS and how those work, and had looked over some of the things Kevin had coded while he worked through some of his Python books.

I applied for the PDX workshop, hoping that it would provide me with new skills to better market myself in my job search. As a public relations professional, I thought it would be neat if I could say “not only can I craft the content for your website, I can code it for you too.” Excitingly, a month later, I received an email telling me I’d been accepted to the workshop.

As the date approached, I became a little nervous that I was going to be in over my head. After all, I went the liberal arts route because my brain isn’t mathematically oriented, and some of the lines of code Kevin has shown me looked like literal Latin to me. I was worried I wasn’t going to keep up with the rest of the group.

Now, go to nataliejhansen.pythonanywhere.com.

blog test

See that blog with the nonsensical posts on it? I put that there. Not only did I code the web page, I coded the blog app within it and created the server  it’s still running on.

And I understood (mostly) what I did to achieve that.

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cannon beach oregon

To Do List | Tourist-y Portland Top 5

After 5 months of settling into our new city, we are more than ready for some visitors to show around!

In just under two weeks, my biological and adopted sisters (Chelsea and Chelsea, or Chelsea Squared) will be coming to visit. Chelsea #2 helped us move back in February, but exhaustion and limited time didn’t leave much room for exploring together. The girls will be here for just under a week. A few days after they arrive, we will be joined by my dad and step-mom. After the long weekend, we will be off to Las Vegas for nearly another week. My current state of unemployment comes in handy here, as it leaves ample time for showing guests around town and hopping on a plane shortly after.

I have tons of things to do, see and eat on our agenda. The list, of course, includes some “tourist-y” items. When I lived in Vegas, I had a handful of tourist hot spots that I took guests, even when I’d lived there long enough to be jaded by cliches myself. With Portland, we’re still very new and exploring ourselves. Some of the to-dos are things we’ve seen before, and some we’ve saved specifically to experience with our visitors.

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Also mildly excited to show off our revamp of our itty bitty back yard to someone!

TO DO LIST: PORTLAND TOURIST SPOTS

Food | I honestly could make a full length list of all the food venues we will be visiting! Portland is becoming a major foodie destination. I have some tried and true spots we’ll be sharing with our guests, including Salt & Straw, Voodoo Doughnut, Kyra’s Bakeshop, Maki Sushi and Pastini Pastaria. We will all be trying out Mac! Mac and Cheesery together for the first time, and I’m hoping to maybe try some of the food carts downtown as well.

Powell’s City of Books | Any excuse I can find to head over to Powell’s, I will take! My little sister, Chelsea #1, is about to start her master’s degree in creative writing. I’m planning to find the shelf that her book will some day sit on and take her picture there.

International Rose Test Garden | Kevin and I visited this amazing place a few weeks ago. The trip was a bit rushed thanks to some minor dehydration, and I would love to go back and take another trip through. And guests to the Rose City can’t leave without seeing some roses!

Drinks at Departure | I’ve heard a lot about this hot spot with a view at the Nines Hotel downtown. What better time to find a new favorite drink than with visiting friends and family?

Oregon Coast | With the ocean so close to Portland, there’s no excuse not to experience your feet in the sand. I’m not sure whether we will be heading to Tillamook or Cannon Beach yet. Tillamook also has the Tillamook Cheese Factory, and Cannon Beach is a cozy, fun little beach town.

I better take advantage of the house cleaning time I have now!

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A Bed of Beauty and Thorns – Our Backyard Roses

When we moved here in February, one of the first things we noticed (after the fact that we have the tiniest backyard in the world) was that there were several rose bushes in our yard space. And by bushes I mean ten foot trees.

They were dormant back in February, but very obviously had not been cared properly in some time. We later found out from one of our neighbors that the bushes probably hadn’t been pruned in about 3 years.

Rose bushes are hearty, invasive plants that grow without much care, and will also grow as tall as you let them. When they began to bloom in April, the weight caused them to tip over. We were soon unable to maneuver the back yard thanks to the long, reaching arms of the bushes. Once the previously small green weeds surrounding them began to explode everywhere, we decided set aside a Saturday for yard work.

About $100 and 10 hours of fun with spiders, thorns, and snakes later, we’d removed the weeds, trimmed the bushes, removed dead shrubs, laid river rock, and planted some lilies. The yard is much more usable now, and the rose bushes were trimmed pretty drastically.

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Book Review | Beautiful Wreck – Larissa Brown

viking romanceBeautiful Wreck by Larissa Brown

Book Finished: July 1st, 2015

Rating: 4/5


If you glance at my growing library, you won’t find too many romance novels nestled there.

Sure, a lot of the fantasy and YA fiction I read features romance; but it’s not often the central axis of the stories I choose. I also don’t prefer romantic “chick-flicks” at the movies – I tend to get bored.

This book had enough of the fantasy and mystery I enjoy that found myself thoroughly wrapped up in Ginn’s drama. And why aren’t we featuring Vikings more often in literature and movies right now? I am convinced this is a severe oversight.

I picked up this book for free at my local library as a gift for signing up for their summer reading program. The synopsis on the back caught my eye, featuring Vikings, virtual reality, and time travel.  I was pleased to find when I got home that it’s a signed edition. A nice bonus!

The book only briefly introduces the main character and her world. Jen is a young, lonely developer in futuristic Iceland working for a company centered on realistic virtual environments. People here are so far removed from the past that they’ve essentially adopted full-time cosplay in their daily lives. Which might actually be kind of fun. Jen doesn’t have any true friends or relationships, but does seem to like her work developing the dialogue and voices for Viking characters in her virtual reality. Continue reading

Tuesday Tidbits

This month is flying by. With the sunshine, summer plans, and job hunt, I am feeling more optimistic than I have in quite awhile. When I’m feeling optimistic, I tend to feel more creative and more interested in trying my hand at some new crafts, recipes and ideas.

Pinterest is my favorite site for inspiration. I now have over 5k pins across all of my idea boards, so I have tons to try! I do try to test things  I come across on Pinterest often, so that I’m not just mindlessly pinning (although I won’t even claim to having used all 5k pins 😉 ). You can check out my full Pinterest account here.

This week’s Tuesday Tidbits features some of the Pinterest links I’m looking forward to trying soon.

What I’m Loving This Week: Pinterest Ideas

→ Soon, I will be registering my car in the state of Oregon and getting new plates. The current Wyoming plates on my car have been there for over 11 years, and are vanity plates, so I’m little sad about it! I’m thinking of re-purposing them into a coat hanger like this one to keep them in my home.

→ Now that we have spruced up our tiny backyard, I’d love to make these adorable book bricks to add some life to the garden area.

garden crafts

Image via HomeTalk

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Memorial Day Trip to Cannon Beach, OR

I am so excited that I live so close to the Pacific Ocean now!

While our original moving goal was Southern California, we eventually expanded our search to all of the West Coast. The important thing was being within a short distance of the ocean. We were finally able to drive out to the coast on Memorial Day to enjoy the sea breeze.

I have only been to Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast before, so we were open to any of the beach communities near by. After a quick Google search, I discovered Cannon Beach, and saw that parts of The Goonies were filmed there. We headed out on Monday morning to check it out.

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Tuesday Tidbits

Summer is fast approaching! Although in Portland (and I know back home in Wyoming), the weather has been really rainy, I can still feel the summer time breeze coming in. Yesterday, we had our first thunderstorm since moving to Oregon, and thunderstorms have always been a sign of summer for me.

Evenings are filled with the smell of propane and charcoal grills, including ours! Even in the world’s smallest back yard, we have a tiny, portable charcoal grill that is perfect for two people. Despite some adventures in learning how to properly extinguish charcoal, I am looking forward to more cook outs this summer.

This week’s Tuesday Tidbits features all things grilling! I’d love to hear some of your favorite grill recipes, especially with Memorial Day next week.

What I’m Loving This Week: Grilling

→ Lauren Conrad featured some tips for keeping grilling healthy last week.

→ If you have a charcoal grill, there’s a good chance the bag your charcoal comes in says Kingsford on it. Their website features a comprehensive guide to working with charcoal.

→ One thing that will definitely be making an appearance on our menu this summer is grilled fruit. I have always wanted to try this technique, and this recipe for grilled watermelon and feta salad from the New York Times seems like a good place to start.

custom bbq tools

Engraved BBQ Tools by Rustic Craft Design

 

→ If you’re spending a lot of time with your grill, it only makes sense to invest in quality tools to work with. I like these custom designs from Rustic Craft Design on Etsy. You can customize them with almost anything you’d like!

→ The online version of Women’s Health Magazine is featuring a comprehensive guide to grilling -beginners to advanced grillers will be able to find tips and ideas here!

What are your best grilling tips? Do you love the smokiness of charcoal, or are you a propane devotee?

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To Do List | Portland Restaurants

I love food. I am willing to pay more money for an amazing meal than clothes, and consider dining one of the Macaroni and cheesebest parts of traveling. I am an unashamed foodie, and will try most anything at least once. To me, food is one of life’s great joys, and should be an experience.

When I found out that we were moving to Portland, I was excited to discover that the city is a foodie destination of sorts. Local eateries out number the chain restaurants, and we’ve already tried some amazing dishes in the two months that we have lived here. From mac and cheese made to order at the Tillamook Cheese Factory (at right) and gluten free lemon basil cake at Kyra’s Bakeshop to fresh burratta at Fireside and burbon ice cream at Salt & Straw in the Alphabet District, I am surprised I haven’t managed to put on twenty pounds yet.

Through Pinterest and Portland news sites, I have built a running list of places for us to try next. Here’s the top five I am currently looking forward to most.

To Do List: Portland Restaurants

  1. Mac! Mac and Cheesery | Kevin often jokes that if you cut me open, I’ll bleed mac and cheese. This restaurant sounds like a goldmine for me. 17 varieties of mac and cheese. And all of them can be made gluten free! Is this heaven? It might be.
  2. Elephants Delicatessen | This deli has a couple locations, and is a frequent pin in the Portland tag on Pinterest. They now have dine in options, including a grill, wood fire oven, and cheese and charcuterie counter.  Though Kevin can’t always partake, I am all about fresh, warm bread.
  3. Urban Farmer PDX | I follow Urban Farmer’s stunning Instagram, and frequently find myself drooling over the photos. The steakhouse focuses on sustainable, farm to table fare and is located on the 8th floor of the Nines Hotel downtown. Kevin and I both appreciate a good steak once awhile, and will have to stop by the next time the craving hits.
  4. Toro Bravo | Tapas to me fit the idea of food as an experience perfectly. When we lived in Vegas, we used to love stopping at Firefly for an evening of small plates and drinks, and I dearly miss the food at Social in Fort Collins, Colorado. Toro Bravo looks like it could be our new tapas spot.
  5. Pok Pok | With every search for Portland restaurants I’ve done, this Asian eatery has turned up near the top. Their site notes that they’re not a “fusion” restaurant. Their dishes are researched and tested to ensure an authentic dining experience.

Ah, so many food comas ahead!

intrusions of beauty