Portland Reminiscing: The Stay

We only spent one night in PDX, and we're so glad that we chose the ACE Hotel! Aside from being totally hip and fresh, having a fabulous bar and restaurant and Stumptown cafe attached, a photo booth, super cool art in all the rooms, claw foot tubs, comfortable bed (minus the down pillows if you're David) and a ten dollar breakfast that is worth it just for the croissants, they upgraded our room when they found out it was our anniversary. Pretty sweet I think. We would definitely stay again, and again, and again. 

It was a perfect setting for some ridiculous posed photos taken to a soundtrack of The Dutchess & The Duke played on the in room record player. 

It was also a good setting for a nerdy aeropress video. 

An AeroPress Brew Guide
from Photography by David L Clark on Vimeo.


Portland Reminiscing: Coffee & Donuts

I'm having a rough day so I was reviewing Portland pictures for a good dose of happy. I edited my first batch while I was at it, so I figured I would send some of my happy out to you along with recommendations if you find yourself in PDX.

The first thing we did after rolling in to the City of Roses was to grab donuts, except that we weren't satisfied with doing de rigueur and hitting up Voodoo. Our research led us to the conclusion that Blue Star would be our happy place and by golly was it! The flavor combos made it impossible to choose just one each, so we loaded up a box with a passion fruit and cocoa, coconut coffee cheesecake, blueberry bourbon basil, salted caramel, hazelnut dulce de leche, and a hard apple cider fritter. As if those don't sound like heaven on their own, these are not your typical donuts. The dough is a buttery soft, melt in your mouth, angel kiss brioche. The flavors are explosive and potent, but somehow still seductively subtle and very well paired. I die. My only regret was that we didn't try them all! Also, though we didn't get coffee there, they get bonus points for the beautiful La Marzocco. P.S. There bathroom was very clean and warm and smelled like donuts (you know how public bathrooms can be cold and weird, just me? Maybe I'm weird?).

We took a walk with our donuts over to Coffeehouse Northwest, where we fell in love with their mochas on our first Portland visit. We aren't even mocha people anymore and we thoroughly enjoyed them. Plus the barista was adorable, friendly, and knowledgable. She even directed us towards some good shops and roasters we hadn't tried back home in Seattle. 

So these are the captures from our first morning. I'll have more coming with pictures from activities like visiting Pittock Mansion, Multnomah Falls, our hotel, and our other food adventures and pitfalls, plus a bonus! Keep your eyes open. o.o


10 Things: Coffee Edition

Day 14: 10 things that make you really happy.

Since coffee is one of my greatest loves, I thought I would theme this little list accordingly.

1. Pretty mugs.
2. Chemex
3. Americanos
4. La Marzoccos
5. Beautifully designed cafes.
6. Aeropress
7. Lavender lattes.
8. Stumptown
9. Pairings (shortbread, donuts, pellegrino, croissants, etc.)
10. Coffee nerds.


It's Too Late To 'Pologize...But...

Day 13: Issue a public apology. This can be as funny, serious, or creative as you want.

Before I make some sort of apology I have to make some confessions. You see, I'm one of those "bad vegans" or "forgetful vegans," the ones that real vegans think are a joke and say have no right to call themselves vegans. They are right to feel that way! I may need to re-watch Earthlings every week to keep myself in line because my love of food, and my ability to eat without thought and consideration is a bit out of hand...

We decided to become vegan in September of last year, after 6 months of being vegetarian. We were vegetarian for economic purposes, and because I'm not particularly fond of meat anyways. I had entertained the thought of going vegan around the time we went vegetarian, but at that time David was resistant. When it actually came up again that maybe we should try it out it was his idea, and I was hesitant (things like butter, and cheese, and eggs in baked goods seemed like necessities in my head). Then we watched Earthlings and boom! I was horrified, David was horrified, and we didn't want to contribute to the violence, mistreatment, and superiority humans were inflicting on animals that are raised and slaughtered to feed our gluttonous race. As we delved into information about where to find key nutrients we would have a harder time getting, and finding recipes and substitutes for yummy stuff we loved that was non-vegan, I found that an all plant based diet would prevent combat the diabetes that I'm genetically predisposed to. That was a huge selling point for me in going vegan.

Now we're going to fast-forward through several glitches and cheesy pizza runs to last week when we went to Portland. While we very well could have been completely satisfied with one of the best vegan food scenes in the country we decided that vegetarian would be "good enough." So we ate basically whatever we fancied while we were there (minus meat). The only vegan things consumed were coffee and Red Bull. And then, in the Alberta neighborhood we sashayed past a japanese bistro, you know, sushi. Sushi was hands down always our favorite non-vegan food, also our first date, first dating anniversary date, first marriage anniversary date. Most of our dates ever actually. So it was sentimental, and the prices were insane(ly good), and we ate it. We ate the fish. While we were eating our way through Portland I never really felt guilty or unhealthy. The worst part of it all is that now I want to just eat whatever I feel like, like ice cream...because Salt & Straw.

I'm apologizing now to the real vegans who are strong and passionate. And to the animals who had to suffer in order for me to be a crappy human. I also apologize to my readers for being led to think that I had some awesome self control and that I don't miss sushi and cheese, and for the amount of pictures of non-vegan food you will see in the next few days of my posting from our naughty foodcation. Oh, and I apologize to my body for putting 5 pounds back on it in my discrepancies. I feel like I need to apologize and hold myself accountable so that I can get back on track. Dun dun duh...

Anybody else have any food problems? Apologies?

Long Story Short

Day 12: What do you miss (a person, a thing, a place, a time in your life)?

To keep this short and sweet (hmm, ironic), I miss having short hair! I've been growing it out for over three and a half years now with only one or two trims in that time and it's so hard  impossible for me to love my long hair. I love it on other people, but on me I feel it makes my face look huge and I don't have much patience for it. By midday it's worked itself into borderline dreadlocks. Then there's my inability to do anything with it, or my lack of desire to.

I've been a bob girl off and on my whole life and every time my thick, heavy hair gets to about the length it is now I want to chop it off again. This time I'm growing it out for my hubby, but then at times he'll comment on how cute my short hair was when we got married...He slays me. Maybe we just both miss the cute, skinny, carefree, girl version of me.

Here are some short do's on Pinterest that have me swooning and sighing.


I No Longer Work In Sales, But...

Instead of haranguing myself, or spending a lot of time sitting at the computer picking my brain and trying to muster the motivation to catch up on 6 (it's been that many *gasp*) BEDM posts, I'm going to let it go. I'll keep up now, but this past week it's been pretty difficult as far as finding time for blogging. My parents drove from Boise last Saturday in order to watch our kidlet while we skipped on over to Portland for our third anniversary. We didn't leave until Monday so we were kept busy spending time with them until then. Then we were in PDX for two days. My parents left Wednesday morning and since then I haven't felt the desire to spend as much time at the computer. Also, Lorelei and I quit nursing, cold turkey, while I was gone, so she's been extra needy the past six days (read: every time I sit down at the computer, or anywhere she wants to snuggle, which I love) so I haven't had much time for writing either. On those lines, aside from being super sore and full of milk, we're handling it VERY well. Lorelei has only asked one or two times, and other than that she's just reiterated what I told her before I left for Portland, "Boodies are broken, all gone." Once she is set on something it's crazy how well she takes to it, like potty training. The girl is going to be a pretty successful in life methinks. :)

Anyways, here's Day 11: Sell yourself in 10 words or less.

  1. Passionate
  2. Objective
  3. Sympathetic
  4. Optimistic
  5. Determined
  6. Abstract
  7. Progressive
  8. Humane
  9. Vivacious
  10. Prudent
Looking at those now it would appear that I'm very future-centric, which I find slightly strange seeing as how I feel very present. Maybe I can be both?!

On another note, Happy Mother's Day weekend to those of you who are mama's and to your own mama's if you aren't one yet!  I've had good coffee, a nice breakfast, good sleep, and now I get a tiny bit of me time to pop in here while I wait for David and Lorelei to get back so we can take a hike. :)


Presently 3.0

Better late than never right?! I am finally ready to get back on the internets after my super relaxing, fun vacation with my hubby. 

Reading: Blogs. When I came back from Portland I had over 100 unread posts in my Bloglovin feed. Maybe I need to do some feed cleaning?

Writing: I have 5 posts for BEDM to catch up on. And my daughter no longer naps, so it may take a couple days! Bear with me!

Listening: Oddly, to Smashing Pumpkins. What can I say I miss my dad, and it's of his musical influence.

Watching: We just finished season 2 of Downton, and now I think we'll slow down on watching much of anything. The weather is beautiful here in Seattle lately so I'm thinking lots of spontaneous park trips and bike rides.

Thinking: About Portland. We had such a good time while we were there and we miss it immensely. I'll be doing a post or two about our activities in the coming week. Also, I can't believe David and I have been married for three years. I don't know how that happened! It feels like just yesterday that we said our vows. Having a kid is like a slingshot through time.

Smelling: The Stumptown Kenya Gaturiri beans we picked up from the Annex in PDX. It's really lovely. Also, it smells super flowery here everywhere. Lily of the Valley, honeysuckle, and I couldn't tell you what else. Is good!

Wishing: That the pain in my chest from cold turkey weaning will go away soon! Maybe that's TMI, but any breastfeeding mom should know that whatever pain or trouble you may have experienced in the beginning probably doesn't compare to this. I didn't realize my supply was still so good until I hadn't nursed in 12 hours, now at more than 48. I might be dying!

Hoping: That Lorelei continues to be okay with the weaning thing, and that her new sleep schedule sticks. She's currently going to bed at about 9:30pm and waking at 9:30am. 12 hours of sleep seems to serve her well, and while she isn't napping anymore, I'm getting that extra hour or two in the morning of me time.

Loving: The weather, duh! Seattle had the highest recorded temp in the nation on Monday, followed by New Mexico, respectively 86º and 85º. Though, when it gets any warmer I might complain...

Wanting: To grill. All. The. Time. We've grilled marinated tofu, zucchini  artichokes, squash, tofu dogs, and sandwiches so far and I think we'd all be happy to eat grilled food every day.

Needing: Maybe a little motivation, a little more words, and a little more time before Lorelei wakes up.

Feeling: Content.

Clicking: Just blogs so far. I've been away from social media since last Sunday!


Well And Cheaply

Spending time with family today, living this quote. Hope you're all having a lovely weekend! 


It's Getting Hot In Here, So Take Off All Your Clothes

Not really... but let's talk about awkward, uncomfortable stuff.

Day 3: Things that make you uncomfortable.

Honestly, it's rare that I think about what makes me uncomfortable because I don't feel like there's a lot. It's in my nature (and my upbringing, my dad is a goon and my mom is just crazy *also I love you guys*) to not get embarrassed too easily, and I've been known to do ridiculous things for the sake of entertainment. I'm also an open book. I don't shy away from many topics of discussion. I will tell you just about anything you want to know about me because I like to share my life and experience for the sake of human connection and relatability. So I've been really picking my brain trying to think of instances where I felt uncomfortable. It seems that most of my discomfort in life comes from my own feelings and brain waves.

  • I feel uncomfortable when I think like someone is hinting at something without coming straight out with it. I feel this a lot, like if my husband says something like, "These dishes are clogging the sink," instead of taking it as a statement I think he's implying that I need to do something about it, stat. 
  • It makes me squirm when I'm out and about by myself. I feel like everyone is looking at me and judging me. This is obviously in my head, because I know that people are way less concerned about what I look like or what I'm doing than they are with whatever they are doing (or at least they should be). I guess I'm uncomfortable in my own skin.
  • On the same lines as above, I get a little antsy when I can't read what someone is thinking. Especially in social situations. I'm in constant fear that maybe I'm imposing, maybe people aren't interested in what I have to say, maybe I'm making them uncomfortable, maybe I'm taking up too much of their time, maybe I'm just being weird and awkward ( I am weird and awkward, but if you are too then you wouldn't notice). 
  • Okay, so I'm just uncomfortable with most social situations. Introvert much?
What makes you uncomfortable?


What I Can Teach

Blog Every Day In May - Day 2Educate us on something you know a lot about or are good at. Take any approach you'd like (serious and educational or funny and sarcastic).

As someone who is constantly finding new interests and changing I've dabbled in lots of different things, but never felt particularly skilled at or committed to many of them. I tend to gather more theoretical knowledge of how to do something than tangible practice.

As a child I dance ballet for 7 years, but now I'm clumsy and can hardly remember the five positions. I also rode a unicycle for a school team, where we performed choreographed routines with somewhere around 50 unicyclists, but that doesn't mean I can do it now. Cheerleading was my life for 5 years, and I can still remember choreography and yell like no one's business but I don't have the personality for that now. I played electric bass in band for 2 years (odd instrument for a school band, I know...) and was getting pretty good. I taught myself to play before I ever even touched the instrument by making double sided flash cards with the notation on one side and the fingering on the other. I memorized the sheet music so I could play with my heart without using my eyes. Now, I can't play a lick. I've sung in choirs, competed at solo festivals, did harmonies on a worship team, auditioned for American Idol (now that's a short and ridiculous story), recorded a duet with my uncle, and sang karaoke in my parents local bar since I was 14 (another story, small town y'all). Singing is something I'm not theoretically practiced at. I can hardly sight read and I've had no real training. I have a knack for creating recipes entirely out of my head and executing them fairly well, but ask me if I remember how I made something and most of the time the answer is no.

What I'm trying to convey is that I don't feel like I have any wealth of talent or knowledge to educate anyone with. But... I have some coffee knowledge for beginner brewers who want to get more serious, who want to soak up more.

  • Coffee beans peak freshness is from 1-14 days after they were roasted. If you have only ever bought beans from Starbucks or the grocery store you are most definitely missing out. Find a shop or roaster near you that sells their own roast with the roast date clearly marked on the bag. Also, only buy as much coffee as you are going to consume in this period of time.
  • The greatest tool for making really good coffee, as opposed to decent coffee, at home is the grinder. *I'm also implying here that you should buy whole bean coffee, not packaged grounds.* Most a lot of households who grind their own beans use a standard blade grinder. The problem with blade grinders is that they do not grind all of the coffee uniformly (this prevents an even brew which will give you inconsistencies like sourness and bitterness from over or under extraction), and also they heat up a bit while grinding which compromises the careful roasting that went into providing you with quality beans. So, coffee professionals and enthusiasts recommend burr grinders. There is a pretty good selection of grinders with a wide range of prices. While even a Mr. Coffee burr grinder will give you better results than a blade grinder, I suggest investing as much as you can comfortably on this tool. This may sound elitist, but you get what you pay for. We used credit card rewards to get this one, and it was a huge step up for us, but even it has drawbacks. For instance, it doesn't produce a true espresso fine grind, and the coarsest setting isn't as coarse as we'd like for french press. 
  • Branch out from your electric countertop maker! I can't properly convey how eye opening and exciting it is to try new methods of brewing coffee. I will say that if you utilize an auto/timer feature on your maker because you don't have any time to fuss over your coffee, that's fine (at least your getting your coffee), but the experience of being more actively involved in making your morning (or afternoon, or evening, heck late night even!) joe is almost as gratifying as the higher quality result. If you are interested in branching out I would say that a french press is the second at home coffee experience you should have. When we replaced our 4 cup Mr. Coffee maker with a press we lit up, and that's when we really took an interest in the art of coffee.
  • Do it right! With all of the resources we have on the internet these days you can find any information you could possibly want at your fingertips, so use your resources! To name a few: brewmethod.com, coffeeforums.com, and the coffee subreddit. Coffee is more sensitive than people think. Precise measurements, temperatures, and methods go into getting the best cup possible. Coffee is an art and a science.
  • Fun fact: slurping your coffee actually lets you taste all those lovely notes and flavors that the packages describe. Give that a try!

I'd love to answer any burning coffee questions you have. The community and connection making qualities of the magic beans are what excite me the most about it. My husband and I have major passion for coffee culture, so we're always growing our collection of paraphernalia, and filling our minds with new information. We plan on sharing more brew methods pretty soon, hope you're up for it!

P.S. If you've been coming here a while you've already seen this (my apologies for the repeat), but if not I hope you enjoy it.

A Chemex Brew Guide
from Photography by David L Clark on Vimeo.


Waterfall Veins and Silo Stories

Day 1: Write the story of my life in 250 words or less. 

I was born in a waterfall town, an aquarius, to a couple of young dreamers. He was a libra musician, she a scorpio caretaker. An excitable gemini and a pisces intuitae followed. We climbed trees, swam in the river, picked blackberries, got muddy, fought and loved fiercely. Dangerous pasts and heartache drove us to the country, 500 miles removed, nigh over 500 neighbors all of which you knew. The country was in the desert, dry, stifling, suppressing. But it was predestined. Imagination and hope  quenched thirsts. The waterfall flowed in my veins, pulsing in my heart, calling me. I locked my hopes up in silos to keep them safe, to make them last. Adolescence caused heartache, life learned fast. I saw my future, and a future saw me. A figure took up residence in my heart, and we molded each other separately, together. He delivered me from the desert. It was a shotgun, shoe-in marriage. We created something beautiful, wondrous, magnetic, draining. We named her the siren. The waterfall flows in her veins. We are the water bearers. Intellectual, unpredictable, determined, modern, curious, spiritual eccentric, prudent. We borrow sustenance from the soils of the earth and feel the vastness of the universe in our hands. I no longer keep my hopes in silos, I live.

Blog Every Day In May, An Intro

This month I'm doing something different, for me, and link up with other bloggers to *gasp* blog EVERY DAY in May. You can read more about it, and see the prompts here. I figured that since I am doing my first sponsorship this month, and hopefully gaining some new readers, it would be a good way to maintain momentum. Plus I love a challenge! And it will be a challenge because at least two of the days I will be off the internets, away from my computer. I will be enjoying PDX eats with my man for our 3 year anniversary. So, I just wanted to give you a heads up! Expect the first post soon. Maybe you'll try it too?

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