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!

intrusions of beauty

A New Year’s Reflection

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The Sunny Isles skyline

New Year’s 2015 started in a very different place for me than New Year’s 2014 did – both in physical location and mind. A year or so ago, I was in an adorable mountain lodge in Estes Park, Colorado watching the ball drop on TV and the snow flutter outside with my handsome boyfriend. This year, the handsome boyfriend was still there (fortunately for me, I found someone who actually enjoys keeping me around, and loves traveling as much as I do), but my bare feet were in the sand as I watched fireworks burst and fall into the Atlantic Ocean in Miami, Florida. A year ago, I was stressed out about how impossible finishing my thesis seemed; now, I’m stressed out about how impossible finding a job in my field in a location I actually want to live in permanently seems. The past several months have not been the best. Both Kevin and I have gotten very close to getting more than one job, only to watch them slip through our fingers. Since this past April, I have applied for well over 100 jobs, and had some form of positive contact from a grand total of 5. I greatly dislike the snow, and had certainly not planned on spending another winter in Wyoming. Added all together, it makes for a pretty desperate, overwhelming feeling. After watching the New Year come in on the beach, and Kevin and I were back in our hotel room, I had a somewhat encouraging epiphany that I shared with him. This year is the year we move. We know for sure now that it wasn’t 2014. With 12 months ahead of us, this has to be the year we get jobs and move. In the coming weeks, I have a lot of thinking to do on how to make sure this gets done. Maybe this means we just keep plugging along and applying for jobs. Maybe this means we just move without a job and try our luck that way. I don’t know for sure yet, but I have to choose to focus on the positive aspect of one way or another, this is the year. Kevin is big on making New Year’s resolutions, and I don’t think I have ever come across someone as dedicated to keeping them as he is. The only resolution I made in 2014 was to read 50 books, and I read … 13 (thanks, grad school). Kevin was able to look back on the resolutions he made and note that he met nearly all of the goals he’d set. Together, we each set 5 resolutions for 2015, wrote them down, and signed them. Hopefully I can find a bit of his motivation and stick to mine as well. My resolutions:

  • Read 50 books (might as well give this another shot)
  • Move to the Pacific Northwest (one of the most interesting things about 2014 was how my
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    My resolution partner

    goal went from California to Oregon/Washington. California has not been ruled out, but there are many pros to going a bit farther north.)

  • Meet my goal body fat percentage (I have been slowly building back up the healthy habits that grad school and a finally-fixed back injury erased. I like to focus on body fat % more than a specific number on the scale.)
  • Learn 3 songs on my guitar/reach at least a moderate fluency in Spanish (learning goals got lumped in a 2-for-1 resolution)
  • Get a job in my field  using my degree

Do you make resolutions at all? And if you do, do you periodically check in to see how you’re doing with them?