Monday, March 28, 2011

how do you measure, measure a year?

Just came across the site 365 Things to do in Portland, and I love it!

I'm all about making lists and exploring parts of the city that I haven't yet discovered.

I wish they had a list so that I could start checking things off, but I guess I'll have to make my own for all of our spring and summer adventures!

What's on your "must see, must do, must visit" places in Portland? I'm dying to know!

just another manic Monday...

This weekend was a whirlwind!

Friday night, we continuted our newfound tradition of grabbing pizza with our friend Marty. Our goal is to try a new place everyweek. We decided to try a place in our neighborhood, but when we stopped into Firehouse we were turned away since they were all booked up for the night.

We went across the street to Good Neighbor Pizza. Its right next door to one of our favorite places, Breakside Brewing, so we've wanted to try it for a while. The pizza is a tad more spendy than the usual gourmet pizza we are used to, but it was totally, totally worth it!

We ended up sharing a 18" half Chicken Pesto (roasted chicken, pesto, feta & spinach) and Hog Heaven (pepperoni, spicy italian sausage, Canadian bacon, apple-smoked bacon & tomatoes). They were out of bacon (the horror) so we subsititued for salami. It was by far the most delicious pizza I've had in a while - maybe even since our best pizza experience in San Francisco last year!

Then we were feeling spontaneous, so we ended up going cosmic bowling! Hilarious to say the least!

On Saturday, I went down to Aurora for day 1 of my cousin's bridal shower. Fun to catch up with family and hang out.
My sister and I decided to go in on a gift together for the bridal shower. Instead of sticking to the registry like most other people did, I got her 2 Kate Spade bangle bracelets. They come in these adorable mini hat boxes, and they bracelets have cute phrases engraved on the inside. One was white, and said "on cloud nine." The other was purple and said "three cheers." When I bought the bangles, I went up to the counter and the sales woman ran to the back to get me some new ones instead of the ones on the floor. She wrapped them up in the boxes and tied the ribbon.

Day of the shower - our cute Kate Spade gift bag is up! Everyone's looking since it's not from Macy's or Bed, Bath and Beyond. She opens the box and goes, "Oh cute!" and I was trying to tell her to read the inscription. She looked on the inside and began reading it aloud. "Tickeling the...ivories?" Everyone was dead silent. She did an akward laugh. I was horrified. The. Wrong. Bracelet. So very awkward!

The festivities continued on Sunday, when we all went wine tasting throughout the Oregon Wine Country. All of the younger ladies piled into a limo while my cousin chauffeured the other ladies around. We stopped at Anne Amie Vineyards, Erath Winery, and Elk Cove Vineyards. Wine tasting all day on Sunday? I'm exhausted!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

please forgive me if I act a little strange...

I just went from enraged to insanely happy in 3 minutes! For the last few days, I have been paitently waiting for the chance to purchase or pre-order their "Kate Spade New York Supports Japan" tote bag. With a cool $18 price tag, 100% of the proceeds will go towards the Japanese Red Cross. A win win, right?


Let it be known that I would buy this bag on it's own anyway. The donation to Japan relief efforts was an added bonus. But unlike the spirit of the Kate Spade brand, this experience took me from a fan to a foe within a few days.

With the hype of the adorable tote bags plastered all over their Facebook and Twitter pages, Kate Spade kept insisting that they'd tell their customers when the link was ready to purchase and made us all sit tight and wait.

"We are so thankful to have so much excitement about the kate spade new york supports japan tote. our team is working hard to make sure that it is uploaded correctly on our website. we will share more details soon!"

So the link went up this morning, and the bags sold out in 15 minutes. Their website didn't display the link properly which they attributed to "growing pains of our new website." I'm all for blaming technology, and I don't doubt the demand was high, but from a marketing perspective - it was all wrong.

As one Facebook fan pointed out, all of this could have been avoided if they made enough bags to accomodate the demand or at least filled customers in on the production status. With 212,754 fans on Facebook and a few thousand more on Twitter, they obviously drummed up enough attention. But producing a product with the proceeds going to charity will do that. I'm afraid that they just pissed off a lot more people than are pleased with their tote bag purchase.

I love the idea that their brand decided to design a bag to help Japan. While Groupons and LivingSocial pages were offering a place to donate and the company will match, Kate Spade went a different route.

A simple email blast informing everyone of the details would have saved a ton of time and less dissapointment. Right?

One nice girl pointed out that their store in Texas was taking pre-orders, so I called, gave my information, and I'll have a bag in a week and a half. I'm happy to have the bag. I'm more happy to help Japan. I just feel so silly that I got so upset over a TOTE BAG!

My thoughts go out to everyone in Japan. Don't think that this is my only attempt to help Japan. I plan on donating more to help the relief effort.

At the end of the day, I feel totally silly to get so flustered over a tote bag. Forgive me?

Monday, March 21, 2011

come as you are

I've loved Nirvana for as long as I can remember. My dad would blast "Nevermind" from our Suburban speakers as he drove the carpool of me and my other white-polo-khaki-pants-wearing neighborhood buddies to Catholic school when it was his morning to drive.

My close girlfriend and I were obsessed with Nirvana growing up. We loved Kurt for his straggly hair and their music was something none of our other friends could understand. I remember sitting in the back of her mom's mini van after getting picked up from school and I opened my Jansport backpack to trade her CDs without her mom knowing.

We'd often go visit my cousins up in Seattle, and one spring day my dad was driving around Lake Washington to scope out houses (hello, realtor), and I insisted he drive me to Kurt Cobain's house which I knew was nearby. When we approached his huge home, I jumped out to see people signing his fence and the park bench near his home. I had to call my friend from the fence and let her know where I was. She squeeled and made me sign her name to the fence too.

In eighth grade, I had a book report due. The only catch? It had to be a biography of someone. Any one. When I brought my teacher a copy of "Kurt Cobain" by Christiopher Sanford, she flipped over the book to read the back cover. Rock star. Drugs. Grunge. Sucide. She turned it over and told me that I should choose a different subject since it wasn't appropriate for eighth grade. I looked at her as if she was crazy, but I went on to pick a more respectable, upstanding citizen: "Tiger Woods - The Making of a Champion." Who's laughing now, Mrs. Barton? The irony is almost too funny.
As a junior in high school, I embraced all things music. My group of friends and I would make mix CDs and go to shows every weekend. In my American History class, I was asked to write a final paper. Since my teacher was under 35, I felt as if he'd get my interest and passion to write my final paper on Kurt Cobain and the legacy of grunge music. My teacher asked for us to write the subject of our papers on a strip of paper and turn them in. Hell, he wore a flannel every day in front of the class - he'd be sure to love it. I remember him scanning through all of the submissions, and he glanced at mine and gave a certain smirk. I think he was impressed that someone approached the paper with something original and heartfelt. I spent hours and hours in the Pearl Room at Powells Books, and poured my heart into this research paper. My bookshelves were soon filled with Nirvana books, Kurt's journals and his voice echoed through my stereo. When I turned in this paper, I felt proud of my work and was pleased that my teacher allowed me the chance to research something that I was truely intersted in, unlike back in the eighth grade. 

Senior year, back in that same Pearl Room at Powells, my friend and I got to meet the bassist and co-founder of Nirvana, Krist Novoselic. Besides going to a Foo Fighters concert, this was the closest I'd ever be to a member of Nirvana. We waited to hear him talk about his latest book, "Of Grunge & Government: Let's Fix This Broken Democracy." Most people in that room cared more for grunge than government, but we all tried to keep our excitement under wraps. I had to buy his book for him to sign it. I had nothing else. While one kid brought his bass through the line to get signed, I had a book that I, to this day, have never really read. But it's a memory I'll always have.

While I haven't listened to Nirvana in years, the fasincation with their story is still strong. That friend that I would swap CDs with? We were college roommates and each hung a Kurt poster up on our dorm room (still can't find those photos online anymore, but I WILL! They are too hilarious). That final paper from history class is still one of the best pieces of litature I've ever written, and it even won me an award where my flannel loving teacher told the entire class that it was one of the best paper he's ever read (He even admitted to turning on a Nirvana album while he graded it, ya know - to set the stage).

Today I stumbled upon a press release from Seattle's Experience Music Project where they revealed their newest exhibit.

"The world's most extensive exhibition of memorabilia celebrating the music and history of Seattle grunge luminaries, Nirvana. The exhibit will feature rare and unseen artifacts and photography from the band, their crews and families. Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses runs April 16, 2011 - April 22, 2013."

I'm planning on making the trek to the Emerald City this summer to check it out, no apologies.

And tonight, I just so happen to be grabbing happy hour with my college roomie to catch up. Kurt's alligning some stars up there in the universe for me today.

Friday, March 18, 2011

singing in the rain.

Spring officially hits on Sunday. Here's hoping for less rain and more flowers!

Oh! And the Portland Farmer's Market opens tomorrow! Can't wait to spend my Saturday's wandering the city with bags and bags of fresh produce and treats!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The horses are comin' so you better run...

The dog days are over.
The dog days are done.

The horses are comin' so you better run.

Nothing says "Happy Sunday!" like waiting in the rain for 1.5 hours just for the opportunity to have sore legs. On Sunday, I completed my first 5K. I survived!
While everyone I knew was running the 8K, I was forced to wait among the thousands in downtown Portland for the start of the 5K. My boyfriend was off and running like the cheetah he is, and I was about to throw up from the nerves and combination of the 3 pulled pork sliders, beer and peanut butter bar from New Seasons I indulged in the night before. Carb loading anyone?

My fateful partner in crime, Lacey met up with me, but not after a few dozen pre-race texts.

"R U pretty layer-ee?" Freezing?"
"Ur warm enuf? Can't decide if I wear ear warmers or a baseball cap..."
"U runnin w/ ur phone?"

I love 2 things about our text exchange. First, Lacey was hoping that her attire would influence the outcome of our race time. The other part? Lacey was a race criminal. After her sister missed the deadline to sign her family up, Lacey decided to be a sport and come out and run for the hell of it. No bib. No race number. No time chip. 100 percent baddass.

I had my Nike+ all synced up and ready to go. My playlist would get me through the next 3.3 miles of hell. After a small delay, we were off! Crossing that start line and breezing up to the Burnside Bridge. The first song on my playlist? Florence and the Machine's "Dog Days are Over." You know, the song from the Eat, Pray, Love movie trailer? It really got me going!

Run fast for your mother; run fast for your father /

Run for your children all your sisters and brothers /
Leave all your love and your longing behind.
You can't carry it with you / if you want to survive

Well, I wasn't running for anyone but myself. As turned onto Broadway, and passed a strip club, I saw the incline. Not. Fun. I was doing so well! My Nike+ robot woman had told me we had completed 1K, now 2K...and then a hill. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't slow down and walk a few times, but hey. Once we hit that 3k mark - it was on!

Everyone told me that I'd be surprised at how motivating it is to be running with thousands of others in the streets of Portland. It's true. At times, I'd look over and see a kid huffing and puffing and not stopping. Then to the left? An older gentlemen who was ignoring all signs of pain to keep running. So many times I been watching The Biggest Loser and seen people three to six times my size completing 5K runs and marathons. There's no reason I couldn't finish this thing.

I'd like to attribute my success to the $1.29 iTunes purchase of Britney Spears' new single, "Til the World Ends," and special recognition to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" during that home stretch.

Running is a funny sport. There's the men in the short shorts and toothpick legs that make it seem like a phyiscal God- given talent to be born with long legs and the lung capacity, but for the rest of us - it's just mind over matter.

I'm not sure I'll ever look at the streets of Portland the same way, but that's a good thing. This could be the beginning of a new chapter and yearly tradition. Who knows.

And one thing is for sure - true friends will break all the rules for you. Lacey takes the cake on that one! Getting up hellishly early to run a race, on the morning of Daylight Savings, in the rain, in a race that she's not even going to be able to log on and see her time speaks volumes. She was a better motivator than trainer Bob or Jillian could have ever been to me sitting on my couch.

(Ignore my face. I think I'm still sleeping. Lacey looks cute. Glad she went with the hat!)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

ready, ready, ready...ready to run

I'm not a runner.

But in 5 short days, I will be running in my first 5k race - Portland's Shamrock Run. I've been convinced to join my co-worker's team so we all get a $5 registration discount and she gets a sweatshirt...(there's got to be a better way to save money)!

I've been hitting the pavement pretty hard to train so I know what running a 5k feels like. My beloved iPod and Nike+ chip have been tracking my progres which makes goal-setting and tracking my workouts so easy. I'm also convinced that I need a complete workout wardrobe makeover. Running in sweaty Harvard t-shirt my step mom picked up for me on a trip back east is so not stylish, so I'm in the market to amp up my outfits. Dress for the job, right?

I've always been active with sports growing up, but running for the pure sake of running and moving your body in a forward motion is...hard. I often have to slow it down and start walking, but hey. I'm new at this running thing. And after coming across this Nike ad - maybe I am a runner afterall.